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Gallery hosts '52 Weeks/52 Trees'

FLAT ROCK — The Gallery at Flat Rock, 2702-A Greenville Highway, will present an exhibition of paintings by artist Dale McEntire  inspired by a love of the trees.

What started as an homage to the beauty of trees gradually turned into a series of artworks, with each painting rendered in a particular style. The exhibition— titled "52 Weeks | 52 Trees" — is the culmination of McEntire’s idea to create one tree painting per week over 52 weeks starting in 2018. Ten percent of proceeds from sales of paintings from 52 Weeks | 52 Trees will be donated to the local environmental advocacy nonprofit Mountain True. The exhibit runs Feb. 27-March 15.
The gallery will host an opening reception from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 27, and an artist talk at 3 p.m. Saturday, March 14.

“I had the idea of making a series of individual trees as I have spent a lot of time outside in the woods throughout my life,” says McEntire. “The outline and form of a tree against the backdrop of the landscape and sky are very unique and interesting.” Recognizing the vital role trees play in our ecosystem, given the current climate crisis, he wanted to express their significance while also challenging himself to paint a tree every week in a spirit of experimentation through painting in a variety of styles and techniques.
“My immediate surroundings were filled with unique trees: maple, poplar, oak, cherry, pine, willow, locust and cedar- so I chose to paint trees found on our property” says McEntire. After selecting a tree to paint, he would work on location to complete the painting, admitting that it took discipline to balance this practice with life responsibilities and his studio time and travels.
“Painting the trees became a practice of paying attention: to the different kinds of trees, the unique personality of each tree, to the seasons and how the landscape affects each tree. It also challenged me to interpret each tree in a different way, and to stretch myself to paint in multiple styles.”
A native of Western North Carolina, McEntire trained in fine art at Mercer University, at Penland School of Craft and through private studies in the U.S. and Europe. McEntire works in oils and pastel, as well as in stone, steel, glass and bronze to create paintings and sculpture out of his studio in Saluda. An interest in the spiritual essence of nature is evident in his use of color and form in his contemporary landscape paintings.