Monday, January 24, 2011

Raleigh pair headline February art at center

‘Big Daddy Owl’ by Keith Norval     Five Antelope’ by Anna Podris 


Two young Raleigh artists, husband-and-wife Keith Norval and Anna Podris, will headline the February art exhibit at The Clayton Center.

Both began their careers working in oils, and Norval still does. But Podris branched out into encaustics about three years ago. It’s a process using hot beeswax mixed with pigment, which gives great texture to a painting. Metal tools can be used to shape the hot wax before it cools, or the tools can be heated to shape the cooled wax.

The process harks back to the Greeks in the 5th or 4th centuries B.C.

The paintings by Norval and Podris will be on display in the Clayton Center’s lobby Feb. 1-28 from 9 to 5 Monday-Friday.

A meet-the-artists reception will be held Feb. 3 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the center, 111 E. Second St. Everyone is invited, and light refreshments—cookies, fruit, cheese, nuts, punch—will be served. The reception and show are free, and dress is casual.

Norval and Podris are both 2000 BFA graduates of the Savannah (Ga.) College of Art andDesign. They moved to Raleigh after graduation and share a studio in ArtSpace. Both are active in the arts community.

Norval uses animals, both exotic and ordinary, as subject matter, making them spotlight the absurd while he blends in humor.

Familiar themes surface regularly—business vs. life, king vs. subjects, surprise, outrage.

“My work is changing and dynamic,” he said, and “painting becomes an examination of relationships.”

Norval was born and raised in the suburbs of Harare, Zimbabwe, Africa, where his father was an entomologist studying tick-borne diseases. There, young Keith spent a lot of time in the bush around zebras, elephants, antelopes and other such animals.

The family later moved to Kenya and then to Gainesville, Fla.

When he won a scholarship to the Savannah College of Art and Design, he immersed himself in painting and focused his creativity while earning his degree.

Today he works in his studio and teaches painting and printmaking at the Pullen Arts Center.

Prizes include first place in the City of Raleigh Employees Art Show. He also was part of “Art on the Move,” Raleigh’s Bus Art Project.

His work has been shown in Raleigh, Charlotte, Columbia, Mo., Vail, Colo., Miami and New York City. His website is
Podris had been painting in oils for nine years before adding encaustics to her repertoire. Today, encaustic paints allow her to build translucent layers of imagery and add mixed-media elements to her work.

Her paintings always include people, plants, animals or buildings, and her paintings resonate mystery.

“I paint in a stream of consciousness way,” she said. “I let the work unfold, then take a step back and edit so the image is coherent.”

Podris grew up in Jacksonville, Fla., and took art in high school for fun.

“I was shocked when my teacher told me I could be a professional artist,” she said.

In college in Savannah, she began painting in oils and taking her sketchbook everywhere. The city with its squares, cobblestone streets, and architecture fascinated her.

Today, she is a professional full-time painter and also teaches art classes to children and adults.

Her art has appeared on Raleigh city buses for two years in a row.

Recently she had her first solo show in Brooklyn, N.Y., and she has shown in Vail, Colo., Miami and Alexandria, Va.

Her website is

Keith and Anna recently had a daughter, Ingrid.

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