WEST JEFFERSON — Every artist dreams of a solo exhibition, a chance to show their work and the passion they put into every piece. The Ashe County Arts Council has bestowed that honor to Susan Jespersen for her exhibit, “Lyrical Light and Color.”

Jespersen said the works in the exhibit were both made for it and not made for it. She said there was never the idea of a solo exhibit when she worked on many of the pieces, but a general theme in her works made putting the exhibit together easier.

“Climate change threatens the beautiful nature I love. I express my perceptions of nature in my art like a celebration, as we celebrate our nostalgic memories of our loved ones passed,” Jespersen wrote in an artist’s statement. “This work records visual experiences in a free flow of self-expression with colorful brushwork in the style of lyrical abstract expressionism. It is lyrical because, like music, the colors sing.”

The retired educator cited artists such as Zao Wou-Ki as inspirations in her work, and the feel of color and nature she’s exhibting in “Lyrical Light and Color.”

The themes of nature and color can be seen in “Gehanna,” a large painting of striking red color. Influenced by the California fires, Jespersen said seeing the flames was a concern that links it to much of her other work.

Jespersen’s work has previously been exhibited at the Arts Center, as well as previous solo shows and juried exhibitions. This included a “Best of Show” award at the 39th Northwest Artist’s Juried Competition and Exhibition in 2018.

“Lyrical Light and Color” will be on display until March 13. The show had an opening reception Friday, Feb. 14, where Jespersen got to see visitors enjoy her works and discuss the show with guests.

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