‘It all starts with a line’: Marsha Hammel connects with jazz at TFAC
Published on Friday, November 25, 2022 at 8:30 AM
Exhibition ‘The Riff’ on view until January
TRYON – On November 10, the Tryon Fine Arts Center showcased Marsha Hammel’s jazz series “The Riff,” featuring several new works created for the show, including paintings by the legendary Nina Simone.
Simone said, “It’s an artist’s duty to reflect what they experience,” and figurative painter Marsha Hammel’s work truly embodies that feeling. Hammel has found a way to paint not only what she sees, but also what she hears.
One of the highlights of TFAC’s jazz series, which ran through Jan. 6, was held Saturday night with a black-tie dinner, where Marsha and the Quentin E. Baxter Quintet teamed up. Marsha painted live and accompanied the cool, precise rhythms of Grammy winner Baxter and his bandmates, including saxophonist Mark Sterank, pianist Demetrius Doctor and other Grammy winners for their work with the band Ranky Tanky, trumpeter Chester Singleton and bassist Kevin Hamilton.
Marsha doesn’t always join the band, but her connection to jazz music goes all the way back to her childhood.
“My parents had a large collection of jazz albums, so I came into contact with jazz music from the 1940s and 1950s very early on. Jazz music has always been an important part of my life,” says Hammel.
“Music is an emotional experience for me. I’m all for music.”
Marsha sees a clear connection between painting and music and looks for parallels with tone and rhythm. “It all starts with a line, which represents movement, gesture and form. Then I use the line to capture the essence of character and expression.”
“Then you go to color, which expresses rhythm and tone in my work,” adds Hammel.
Her paintings featured in the exhibit depict various legends of the Carolinas, such as Nina Simone and Theolonius Monk, who were born in Marsha’s hometown of Rocky Mount, NC. Marsha attended the Governor’s School of North Carolina and eventually returned to the Foothills two decades ago, and has made her home here ever since.
Marsha’s exhibition is on view from 10 Nov. – Jan. 6. For those interested in her work, she can be reached at marshahammel.com. She is represented by the Gallery in Flat Rock.
For more information on the Jazz ’22 Community Outreach Series, visit www.tryonarts.org/events or call TFAC at (828) 859-8322, Tuesday – Friday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Gallery hours are Tuesday – Friday, 12 a.m. – 4 p.m. 4 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. – 11 a.m