Please welcome Little Rock abstract artists Dan Thornhill and Laura Welshans and their exhibition “Collected Shapes in Color” to the Price and Merkle Galleries August 3-30, 2022. There will be an artist’s reception on Tuesday, August 2 from 5:30pm-7:00pm.

Thornhill, whose favorite artist is Picasso, became fascinated with abstract art at an early age. He says, “With abstract art, there has to be creativity; there has to be originality. You really have to have your own voice as an artist and record it as if you’re keeping a journal. Abstract art is my journal.” Thornhill’s artistic inspiration evolves from his love of nature, “Although I am an abstract painter, I still have to begin somewhere and I begin with nature.”

Welshans, once a student of Thornhill’s at the Arkansas Arts Center (now the Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts), considers herself a minimalist inspired by silhouettes and simplified shapes. Her paintings focus on the interaction between the organic elements of earth and the human-made world through color, shape, and light. Using a limited palette, she pairs well-defined shapes with large negative spaces to illustrate the simplistic beauty of rock formations, flowers, and water. Welshans says “magic happens” on her canvas when these curvilinear shapes are juxtaposed against the angular lines of a city skyline, for instance. Similar to Thornhill, Welshans says, “Documenting the beauty of the earth by illustrating it in its purest, simplest forms is the inspiration for my abstracted body of work.”

Dan Thornhill, born and raised in Dallas, Texas, graduated from Dallas Baptist University with a degree in biology. After a hiatus of many years from art, he began studying art seriously in 2001. He eventually started taking classes at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR) and graduated in 2013 with a M.A. in Studio Art (emphasis in painting). Laura Welshans, who was born in the St. Louis Metro Area and grew up in Stuttgart, Arkansas, has always been a creator. Her current concentration is on abstracting landscapes and florals by focusing on the simple silhouette of the objects with a goal of showing how the organic nature of the Earth and the human-made world coexist through color and shape. Both Thornhill and Welshans currently reside in Little Rock with their spouses.

Thornhill’s artworks are included in the permanent collections at UALR; the Fine Arts Institute in Edmonds, Oklahoma; the Grand Prairie Arts Center in Stuttgart, AR; the Cancer Center at UAMS in Little Rock, AR; along with other public and private collections. Welshans has exhibited within numerous juried group shows including the 61st Delta Exhibition of the Arkansas Arts Center, The Other Art Fair Dallas, ACANSA Gallery, Mena Art Gallery, and the Arkansas League of Artists Exhibitions. Her solo shows include ASU-Mountain Home Gallery, Argenta Branch Library, South Arkansas Arts Center in El Dorado, Arkansas, and the Arts Center of the Grand Prairie in her hometown of Stuttgart, Arkansas. Laura’s paintings are included in a collection at The Haywood Hotel in El Dorado, Arkansas, CARTI Cancer Center in North Little Rock, Arkansas, and Raymond James in Little Rock, Arkansas. Her paintings have won several Abstract awards.

The exhibit is free and open to the public 9am-5pm Monday through Friday at110 East Fifth Street in El Dorado. For more information, please call the SAAC office at 870-862-5474.