A! Magazine for the Arts

'The Magnificent Mandolin' by Ellen Elmer

'The Magnificent Mandolin' by Ellen Elmer

The Crooked Road Reveals Signature Art Piece

March 14, 2023

The Crooked Road revealed its first signature art piece Friday, March 10 in Clintwood, Virginia. The artwork, titled “The Magnificent Mandolin” was painted by local artist, Ellen Elmes, and was unveiled to tourism partners and community members at a private reception held at the Ralph Stanley Museum.

Elmes is a muralist and artisan from Jewell Ridge, Virginia, whosepaintings have been acclaimed for their unique, collage-style blend of symbolic imagery and flowing naturalism.

From watercolor paintings inspired by the majesty of the ancient Appalachians, to painted expressions sparked by the songs and music of Carter and Ralph Stanley, to murals depicting the heart of rural communities, Elmes’s art thrives on the rhythms of her personal life and community experiences.

Regarding the new Crooked Road signature art, Elmes said, “This painting evolved from both my love of the high-toned, high-spirited sound of the mandolin and from my admiration of its curvy and organic shape. The scroll shape of the mandolin’s upper body is particularly intriguing to me because it mirrors the natural form of the sea-dwelling chambered nautilus, a shell shape I have rendered in my design. This shell’s graceful spiral of growth is seen in many forms of nature – the fiddlehead of a young fern, the seed pattern of a sunflower center, the swirl of a pinecone base – and its ratio of expansion common to all these forms was considered by the ancient Greeks to be the perfection of beauty; as they called it, the “Golden Spiral.” I think the mandolin is a person-made perfection in sound and style.”

The piece will be displayed at venues and events throughout 2023 to promote heritage music in the region.

The Crooked Road and this project are supported [in part] by the Virginia Commission for the Arts, which receives support from the Virginia General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. Support for this project also comes from an award from the National Endowment for the Arts American Rescue Plan grant program.

For more information about The Crooked Road, visitwww.thecrookedroadva.com, call (276) 492-2400 ext. 2409, or email info@thecrookedroad.org.