A collage of works by Elmer Lucille Allen, Sandra Charles and Barbara Tyson Mosley | Courtesy of Carnegie Center

Just last August, Insider covered a show held at New Albany’s Carnegie Center for Art & History that involved three artists who happened to be friends and decided to share an exhibition together. That was Katy Traughber, Rebeka Sweetland and Aberlyn Sweetland-May’s “Spawning Grounds,” which garnered much buzz and attention from art-lovers around the community.

Now, the same concept is happening again, but this time it’s longtime friends and prominent local artists — Elmer Lucille Allen, Sandra Charles and Barbara Tyson Mosley — who are showcasing new work together in an exhibit that opens Friday, Feb. 22, at the Carnegie Center.

Curator Daniel Pfalzgraf tells us how this show came together in a similar way as the first group show. He has known Allen for a while, as she often attends art exhibits all over town, including the Carnegie.

Elmer Lucille Allen | Courtesy of ELA

“So one day I just asked if she would be interested in doing a show here. She agreed, but with the request of showing alongside her friends and fellow artists, Sandra and Barbara,” explains Pfalzgraf. “The experience was like déjà vu all over again for me. Last year’s exhibition ‘Spawning Grounds’ came together because I approached Katy Traughber about exhibiting, and she requested showing with her two friends, Rebeka Sweetland and Aberlyn.”

He sees the professional and personal friendship bond as a positive thing for Louisville’s artists.

“I think there is something very special and sweet about the support women creatives give each other here,” he says. “I’m not sure if that is a universal experience, but it is certainly something to be celebrated.”

There are about two-dozen pieces in the exhibit, including seven oil paintings by Charles, eight acrylic paintings by Mosley and nine shibori pieces by Allen.

Sandra Charles | Courtesy

Allen, who worked most of her life as chemist for Brown-Forman, retired in 1997 and then decided to pursue art at the age of 71, getting a master’s degree from UofL. She creates colorful cotton and silk shibori wall hangings that often reflect her scientific background in style and process.

Charles, meanwhile, is an interpretive portrait painter who uses facial expressions and bodily gestures to celebrate the strength of African-American women. She began her art career in fiber artwork but soon shifted her focus to canvas. She completed her bachelor’s in painting from UofL in 2015 and now works full time as an artist.

Finally, Mosley has worked as an abstract painter and fiber artists for more than 40 years. She often focuses on landscapes and seascapes in abstract form and likes to experiment with color and light and how those affect the canvas.

She received her master’s degree from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and has shown her work in numerous exhibits over the years — from the Smithsonian Institution’s Traveling Exhibitions Service to Actors Theater.

Barbara Tyson Mosley | Courtesy

Pfalzgraf says that while all three artists’ work is very different from one another, the pieces do share commonalities, much like the friends themselves. In fact, all three of them have a background in fiber art, which he used when laying out the exhibit.

“Though Charles and Mosley are exhibiting paintings now, I think you can still see some influences of their fiber past,” he says. “Color and pattern play prominent roles in all the work, and that is what I focused on most when I laid out the placement for this show.”

“The Art of Elmer Lucille Allen, Sandra Charles and Barbara Tyson Mosley” opens Friday, Feb. 22, with a curator’s talk with the artists at 5:30 p.m., followed by a free reception from 6 to 8 p.m. The exhibit continues through April 20. The Carnegie Center is located at 201 E. Spring St. in New Albany.

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Sara Havens
Sara Havens is the Culture Editor at Insider Louisville, known around town as the Bar Belle (barbelleblog.com). She's a former editor of LEO Weekly and has written for Playboy and The Alcohol Professor. Havens is the author of two books: "The Bar Belle" and "The Bar Belle Vol. 2."