Saturday, January 28, 2023

Self-Taught Artist Puts Life's Experiences Into Moving Paintings

Joe Wren’s art career is taking off fast.

Joe Wrenn, a self-taught African-American primitive artist and Charleston, Miss. native, was featured in his first solo exhibition hosted by the Charleston Arts and Revitalization Effort (CARE) on March 21. The exhibition was a huge success! publisher Ed Meek, a Charleston native himself, has purchased pieces by Wrenn and believes the emerging artist’s fame and the value of his work will only grow.
Meek, who enjoys collecting the occasional art piece himself, said, “I remember when a friend purchased a great Theora Hamblett painting for $50 from her first show. Now this artist’s work is extremely valuable. I believe Joe has talent and a similar future. I both enjoy and now collect his work. His is a career that will be profitable!”
According to Glenna Callender, executive director of CARE, more than 100 people attended to show support for Wrenn, including art-seekers from Little Rock, Ark.; Jackson, Miss.; Tupelo, Miss; and all corners of Tallahatchie County, Miss.
“This is the first one many show that CARE has hosted,” Callender said. “We usually host three to six artists so we that we draw a crowd, but Joe drew a crowd himself.”
About half of the 35 paintings that Wrenn exhibited were sold that night. Barbara, Wrenn’s wife, prepared a congratulatory dinner for him and the Wrenn family after the reception. She cooked all his favorite foods, of course, including sweet potato pie, Callender said.
Congratulations, Joe! wishes you all the best and can’t wait for your next solo show! Save us a slice of that sweet potato pie.
Left to Right: Mike Workman, Barbara Wrenn, Fonda Workman, Joe Wrenn and Anita Greenwood. The Workmans bought several of Joe’s paintings at the opening reception.

Nature is an important element in Wrenn’s work.

So is industry and hard-working laborers.