New Feature Exhibition in October September 15 2021

Donne Bitner & Cheryl Bogdanowitsch
A Visual Conversation

October 2 - 30 , 2021
Opening Reception: Saturday, October 2, 4 - 7 PM
Artists Talk: Friday, October 15, 11 AM

About the Exhibition

Donne Bitner has been represented by Arts on Douglas since 2004 and her work has been featured in three previous solo exhibitions.  For this display, she has invited sculptor Cheryl Bogdanowitsch to exhibit alongside her in this two-person show. 

Donne Bitner is a mixed-media painter working primarily in acrylics. About her process she explains, “I like the freedom acrylics give me to work on canvas, wood, illustration board, and paper. I also love the textures that can be created with this medium. I use joint compound and gesso to build up the surface and I like to embellish with mark-making tools like charcoals, oil pastels, stencils, and stamps.” Donne’s subject matter pivots between landscapes and abstractions, but for this display, she is focusing on her abstract paintings. “I don’t think there is a harder subject matter than abstract painting,” Bitner explains, “There are no references. Everything must come from the artist’s imagination and their understanding of design.” Even though her paintings are abstract, she intuitively incorporates a range of representational elements.  Chairs, houses, trees, and animals are often depicted, with birds playing a recurring role in her work. Bitner explains, “I don’t know why I keep returning to birds. Maybe it is because they symbolize life in a concrete world.”

Cheryl Bogdanowitsch is a sculptor known for her imaginative mixed-media creations combining wood, stone, ceramics, and acrylics.  She explains, “The trees and lakes that surround me provide both the inspiration and the raw materials for my work.  My favorite woods are citrus, cypress, oak, and crepe myrtle, which are readily available in my neighborhood.”  About her process, she elaborates, “Each work begins with a branch, log or limb that suggests a figure or a bird to me and may end with a sculpted ceramic head.  This blending of natural materials and sculpted clay helps me evoke a unique look to my work.”

Bitner and Bogdanowitsch got to know each other through various art festivals, exhibitions, and their involvement in organizations such as the Florida Artists Group, a statewide association of professional artists. Both artists are strong proponents of each other’s work and felt this opportunity to exhibit together would create an interesting dynamic. Bitner admires Bogdanowitsch’s use of materials and quirky designs, explaining, “Her work is unique and not like anything I have seen before. There is a bit of fantasy and whimsy that I appreciate. She’s an original!” Bogdanowitsch is also inspired by Bitner’s aesthetic, noting, “Her soft blending of colors and her mysterious and captivating addition of realistic elements, people or animals animate her abstract backgrounds."

While they work in different mediums and styles, their work shares a complementary aesthetic and adds another layer of intrigue when viewed in a shared exhibition space. Bogdanowitsch sums up this sentiment nicely, concluding, “I feel that we both respond to our environments, transforming our impressions into our art.  My rustic sculptures built from sticks and clay are different than Donne’s stylistic abstracts, but even though our styles and processes are different, they also play off each other, to create A Visual Conversation.”  

About the Artists

A full-time artist for the last twenty years, Donne Bitner maintains a studio at McRae Art Studio in Orlando, FL.  She teaches watercolor and acrylic painting at Crealdé School of Art as a Senior Faculty. She graduated with honors from Pennsylvania State University with a BA degree and she studied at the Slade School, University of London. She is a member of the National Watercolor Society, the Florida Watercolor Society and the Watercolor USA Honor Society. Bitner has been the recipient of many grants and fellowship awards and she exhibits in museum shows and art festivals throughout the United States. She has been published in Acrylic Artist, American Artist, International Artist, Watercolor Magazine and Watercolor Magic.

Cheryl Bogdanowitsch  was raised near woodlands in Eastern Iowa. Her parents had a strong interest in the natural world, which had a lasting influence on her own art making. She went on to receive her BFA from Drake University in Des Moines, IA. Bogdanowitsch has lived in Central Florida since 1970, and is currently based in Winter Park. She studied sculpture with Mia Westerlund Roosen and James Surls as a fellow at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in New Smyrna Beach. She also studied with David Cumbie at Crealdé School of Art in Winter Park and Michael Galletta at Valencia College in Orlando. She has been involved in group studios for many years, and now works in her own warehouse studio.  She is an active member of the Florida Sculptors Guild and the Florida Artists Group, a state organization of professional artists.