FLORENCE — Though their artistic styles may vary, mother and son duo Jan Roblin and Shane Wilson were equally excited to debut their work together in an exhibit at the new Art and More Gallery downtown.
“It’s a long time coming and a dream come true,” Wilson said Friday at the opening reception.
“It’s like telling him to go wash the dishes, and he says, ‘As soon as I get through with this,’ and it never happens,” Roblin added, happy the dream had finally become reality.
The exhibit, which is on display until Nov. 4, includes Roblin’s portraits of Helen Keller and W.C. Handy, as well as Wilson’s new gouache portrait series.
“Most of mine here are from the past couple of years, but this represents many different phases of her career,” Wilson said.
Wilson and Roblin’s roots are in the Shoals, though Wilson now lives and works as a video producer in Little Rock, Arkansas.
For many years, Roblin owned and operated the Shoals-based Spanish Oaks Gallery and School of Art, as well as an art gallery in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
“She ran the art school and art camps — we’re talking hundreds and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of students she taught,” said Wilson, who also taught there. “I was really good at drawing, and she was great at painting, so between the two of us, we had painting and drawing covered.”
Two of those students were the sons of local artist Carolyn Wear, who now manages Art and More on East Tennessee Street.
After reconnecting with Wear on a recent visit to the Shoals, the “Jan Roblin-Shane Wilson Art Extravaganza” was born.
“It’s absolutely phenomenal,” Wear said of their work. “The contrast between what they do is so dramatic. … I appreciate both of them as an artist.”
Two of Wilson’s favorite paintings by his mother are a busy scene at Trowbridge’s and a portrait of a young artist at work. Wilson is the subject of the latter, which was painted in 1984 when he was 14 years old.
“This painting means everything to me,” he said. “My mom captured me doing what I love most as a young man — drawing away in my own little studio.”
Wilson’s dramatic, black-and-white gouache portraits are part of a series that he planned to be six months, but ended up being about two years. He said his technique involves hand-drawing the large portraits — often of silent film stars or close friends — before painting the drawings with only four shades.
The result is an art deco-esque collection of “stories of lost love and dashed hope — of faded memories and our desire to recapture them, if only for a moment.”
“I’ve had a few exhibits over the past couple years, but this one’s more special than anything,” Wilson said. “We’ve exhibited together, but we’ve never had just a ‘mama-son’ show.”
“I love it,” his mother added.