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April 30 - Roots Up Gallery Celebrates Fifth Anniversary With A Special Show By Local Artist, Helen Durant

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Savannah Business Journal Staff Report 

April 30, 2019 - May 1 marks the fifth anniversary of Roots Up Gallery representing 25 local Savannah artists and 50 regional and southern self-taught folk artists. Together these unique artists collectively share a world of soulful art that is borne from within.

This anniversary also celebrates the resiliency of the gallery. For the past five years Roots Up Gallery has captured the personal journey of gallery owner Leslie Lovell and late husband, Francis Allen. It has been filled with the highest of highs in 2014; getting married and together opening the gallery, to the lowest of lows; having Francis endure a three-year illness only to lose in the end. “During this time the gallery became my personal anchor,” says Lovell, “it was full of balance, hope and growth. Francis and I could still work on concepts and ideas and I would implement them.” As the end came on August 30, 2018 for Francis, so did the plight of the then gallery space. But what Lovell construes as ‘Divine Intervention’ is the current space presented itself in the Downtown Design District and the gallery moved and reopened on September 27, 2018. “As Francis was always my pillar of strength and support, it was as if the new space was a parting gift which filled me with a focus that consumed and helped me to move forward,” says Lovell.

“To honor this journey” Lovell says “I could not feel any more connected in celebrating the gallery’s fifth anniversary than with this kindred spirit show of In The Moment by friend and local artist, Helen Durant. This body of work is filled with drawings, paintings and mixed media capturing the moment.

“I’m so drawn to Helen’s work, it's like she releases herself in each piece which delivers such depth and emotion.” says Lovell, “There is nothing tiring or static in her artwork, the fluid strokes creates a conversation that is ongoing."

The pieces from In The Moment are just that. They are so entrenched with daily moments that are filed with marks expressing Helen’s voice from within. “It was just before the holidays,” says Durant, “which leaves us all more exposed to emotions. From the moment I woke up I was led by the paint and charcoal to release my feelings from the heart. There is no conscience message, it’s in the moment and the purest form of my art. It invites the audience to experience and bring their feelings and interpretations in the moment.”

Durant is informally trained honing her skills recording life through drawing. She has been experimenting with paint, torn paper, graphite, and found objects for most of her career. She found her voice in the ability to capture a fleeting moment expressing with gestures, energies and spirits of animals and people surrounding her.

Over the past few decades, Durant has exhibited widely in the United States. Her work can be seen in many public, corporate, and private collections throughout the United States and abroad. Her varied bodies of work are represented in Jackson Hole by Diehl Gallery, in Atlanta by Thomas Deans Fine Art, and in Savannah by Roots Up Gallery.

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