Burbank’s Towns-Burr Gallery features twice gifted actor/artists

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jackiehouchin110BY JACKIE HOUCHIN

For the third time since opening their beautiful “downtown Burbank” gallery in February 2008, Connie Towns and Bruce Burr are hosting a fine art show, this time featuring the work of seven artists from The Fairfax Art Group.

The stylish gallery, positioned in a choice, street-side spot in the Magnolia Park Arcade (across from Porto’s Bakery), was abuzz at the opening night reception with nearly 150 art lovers and patrons enjoying both the art and the opportunity to speak personally with the artists. Food, wine and mellow jazz music by guitarist Riner Scivally in the adjacent courtyard added to the festive mood.

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Artists (L-R, back row) Andrew Prine, Richard Herd (L-R, front row) Kathy Kristy, Dulcie Adams, Betty Fanning McCaan, Erin Joy France. Photo: Jackie Houchin

The new exhibit features a dazzling collection of fifty or so original oil paintings in all styles and sizes, including portrait, still life, abstract, realist, and impressionist. (Matted ĝicleé prints of each painting are available for purchase as well as some of the originals.)

Many of the artists in The Fairfax Art Group have a background in film or theatre, and while their artistic experience varies, all have been inspired and encouraged recently by artist and teacher, Dulcie Adams.

Adams won her first award at age nine and has been involved in both commercial and fine art ever since. Her eclectic display at the show includes a large, arresting portrait of a multi-colored cat’s face titled “Miss Kitty” and the surrealistic “American Family” portrait made with swirling lines of gesso squeezed from a bottle. “When I paint, I feel the spirit or soul of the subject. If I listen and look, the painting tells me what it needs and how to paint it.”

Betty Fanning-McCann has been with Dulcie Adams for over twelve years.  She uses vibrant colors in her paintings, which in this exhibit include, a beach scene, the Monet Gardens in Giverney, France, and three stunning paintings of fairy tale-like houses nestled in a towering forest.  She explains that these are three of the six mansions built by William Randolph Hearst near Mt. Shasta as a private haven for his family. They are titled “Bear House” “River House” and the magical “Cinderella House” (which this reporter just HAD to have.)

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The Towns Burr Gallery in Burbank. Photo: Jackie Houchin

Andrew Prine, a film and stage actor, who still performs summer theatre in North Carolina, is inspired by forgotten places and objects.  Two paintings that reflect his nostalgic bent are of a general store in a “tobacco town” in Florida, and the rusty, derelict locomotive engine that he drove past every day in Burnsville, North Carolina.  Prine has never put out his paintings before, but “I have to make room in my house for new ones.”

Actor Richard Herd’s paintings are infused with intense reds and oranges that shout and project conviction.  When I commented on his bold colors, he grinned and said, “Better red than dead!”  His large American flag, painted in rippling streaks of (mostly) reds, white and blue dominated his display, but the metal sign he’d found and adorned with graffiti-like sayings brought the most attention.

Erlin Joy France’s gentle paintings centered on the beloved dogs she’s owned.  The brown and white Springer Spaniel, “Moxie” was featured as both a cuddly puppy and a stately adult.  A small sign paying tribute to the delightful, one-of-a-kind companion hung among her paintings. This is also France’s first show.

K. S. (Kathy) Kristy was born in Bulgaria and received most of her art education in Europe.  She loves to paint lilacs, roses and garden settings, but my eye was drawn to the subtle colors and Old World style of “The Fisherman,” a painting of men working at sea and gulls circling overhead.

Rob Word’s paintings and photographs reflect his passion for the West. His work has been featured in American Cowboy and Arizona Highways magazines and exhibited extensively.  Besides being an actor and well-known film producer, he’s seriously studied his art for over 15 years.  Unable to attend, his son Robbie gladly produced his favorite of Word’s paintings, a bald eagle.

This show continues through July 24, 2009, but Bruce and Connie hope to offer exhibition opportunities to many more artists in the months to come.

The Towns-Burr Gallery is located at 3609 W. Magnolia Blvd (near Hollywood Way), Burbank, CA 91505.  Free parking is behind the building, off Cordova Street. Gallery hours are Monday – Friday, 11 am – 5 pm or by appointment. If you have specific questions about the show or any of the paintings, call (818) 845-7144 or (818) 298-7315.

Jackie Houchin is a freelance theater reviewer, covering plays, musicals and readings for the San Fernando and San Gabriel Valleys. She also reviews books for several mystery magazines and writes articles for a local biweekly newspaper.  www.jackiehouchin.com

About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.