“The power of the arts to transcend and transform the human condition comes because the arts create circles of convergence, a place for people to meet and share and to talk and to listen. The arts invite relationship. This is the reason the arts are one of the very positive and creative ways we can rebuild the front porch of America.”

-Patrick Overton in Re-Building the Front Porch of America

PS:Gallery’s spring show, on display April 3 through June 29, presents not just an entertainment event but a gathering of the type championed by community arts advocates such as author Patrick Overton, who plans to visit Columbia this fall for a community workshop. Featuring local work alongside art from throughout the United States, the show invites viewers into the minds, lives and personal stories of the artists and encourages discussion among fellow gallery-goers.

Part of the spring show, the work of Columbia still life photographer Deb Roberts, comes from a lifetime of working with film, including seven years as a product photographer with a large-format view camera. Although she has worked in other art media for the last six years, since moving to Columbia from Chillicothe, Mo., Roberts has focused on what she calls “small arrangements.” A viewing of her pieces gives insight into her detail-oriented, meticulous process. She photographs tiny, delicate arrangements of collected and found objects—flowers, teacups, sewing machine drawers, vases—and blows up each image to a larger-than-life size.

Roberts’s photography reminds the viewer to take time to take in the work’s color and emotional impact—as well as the precision with which each still life has been organized and the incredible sensitivity to the available light Roberts waits to work with.

A look around her organized home makes the visitor aware that Roberts escapes into an intimate relationship with her found objects. One closet holds stacks of Rubbermaid containers, each neatly labeled with a list of contents waiting to be photographed: sticks, pebbles, tiny boxes, etc.
“It makes life worth living,” Roberts says of her work. “It’s the one thing I do that I feel I have control over.”

One of Roberts’s favorite pieces is Eleanor’s Teacup. The teacup was her only inheritance from her aunt Eleanor, who passed away a year ago.

To meet Roberts and the other artists featured in the spring exhibit, come to the gallery reception 6 to 9 p.m. April 21 at PS:Gallery, where you can start to rebuild the front porch.

PS:Gallery’s Spring 2007 Exhibit

Deb Roberts: photography – Columbia, Mo.
Joel Sager: collage, oil, tar on canvas – Columbia, Mo.
Mary Beth Yates: fiber – Kansas City, Mo.
Julie Hansen: pastel – Kansas City, Kan.
Cheryl Toh: encaustic – Seattle, Wash.
Heinrich Toh: printmaking – Seattle, Wash.
Conner Burns: ceramics – Natchez, Miss.

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