CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Fayette County artist Winter Dawn Marie used blots of dark blue, orange and yellow paint to depict a fluid tropical sunset at night.
When she entered her impressionist painting into the 2012 Best of West Virginia Exhibit, Tamarack officials liked it so much that they made it into a promotional poster for the gallery.
So, Tamarack officials said they were shocked when they discovered Marie's piece was very similar to Belarus-born artist Leonid Afremov's "Tropical Fiesta."
Afremov painted "Tropical Fiesta" in December 2008. It depicts a row of palm trees and streetlamps in Boca Raton, Fla.
Officials said they thought it could have been a coincidence until they realized about 20 of Marie's other pieces also are similar to Afremov works.
One of those pieces had been sold at Tamarack since the exhibition's opening on June 17, said Cindy Whitlock, marketing director. That customer will receive a full refund, she said.
All promotional material featuring Marie's work has been destroyed. Any mention of her work was wiped from the Tamarack website and Facebook profile.
"She was pulled from everything," Whitlock said. "There's nothing of hers from anywhere in the building displayed anywhere."
Cheryl Hartley, Tamarack general manager, would not say how many of the promotional posters were printed when asked Thursday. She was notified of the problem last week and needed time to sit down with Marie to discuss the allegations, she said.
"We haven't talked with the artist about this yet," Harley said. "It's really premature for us to say anything."