[image-1] This April, the Ellis-Nicholson Gallery will be exhibiting a new collection from Virginia-based artist Debra Keirce entitled, As Life Happens. The exhibit, Keirce’s first solo show in Charleston, captures the day to day, the moments of beauty that appear in the mundane. Drawing on great artists of the past, she evokes a range of emotions, from humor to nostalgia.

And in addition to having her works on display in the gallery, Keirce is getting a little more hands on with local art aficionados. The exhibit kicks off on Fri. April 6 with an opening reception from 5 to 8 p.m. Head back to the gallery on Sat. April 7 from 11 to 4 p.m. and Sun. April 8 1 to 4 p.m., when Keirce will be on hand for an interactive painting demonstration. Free and open to the public, the demonstration will give guests a chance to take a stab at painting by finishing some of Keirce’s paintings.

In an artist’s statement Keirce says, “I love the way the Golden Age masters, such as Vermeer and his contemporaries painted everyday scenes in such an unpretentious, and often humorous way. Crumpled napkins and plates about to fall off table edges abound. Also, there is so much symbolism in their paintings. Whole narratives unravel as you study the compositions.”

The same can be said for Keirce’s work. In pieces like “Charcuterie” and “Happy Hour,” the saturated colors, along with her ability to capture the diffused light and warmth in spaces like local bars or state fairs, bring life to her subjects and stir up memories of past times spent in similar spots.

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