Friday, January 07, 2011

Art Opening

Last night we did something we haven't done in a long time. We went to an art opening. It was at Blue Spiral 1 gallery in downtown Asheville and we had several old friends who are showing there.

One is Hunter Stamps. Hunter and I were in the Fine Arts curriculum at UNCA together, ten years ago now. He's now a ceramics professor in Lexington, KY. Hunter makes abstracted ceramic pieces that are based on the human figure. Over the past few years, he has started incorporating strong, vibrant colors in his work. Blue Spiral is showing quite a few of his works this month. I hadn't seen him in years and it was good to catch up with him again.

Another one we wanted to see was Hunter's lovely wife Amelia. She makes the most beautiful functional pottery - very delicate in appearance, with understated, soft colors, primarily a light green. We have a couple of her pieces at home. Amelia is the sweetest young woman and we had a great time talking with her.

Yet another one is Robert Winkler. Robert is ex-Bostonian, ex-New Yorker, and a sculptor of architectural forms. We worked together a number of years ago on a juried outdoor sculpture exhibit here in Asheville. He's an incredibly sharp man. Blue Spiral is featuring him in their downstairs gallery and it is a strong exhibit. I saw a lot of his works that I'd never seen before, things that were meant to hang on walls indoors. Very beautiful and exceptionally well done. I hadn't seen Robert in maybe three years and had a good time playing catch-up with him.

The art world is not really that big, and the art world in Asheville is really not that big. So if you go to an opening in this town, you're going to run into a lot of old friends. And since we hadn't been to an opening in years, we had a lot of people to talk with. We ran into Kyle Carpenter, who has a studio just down the road from mine. Just because our studios are within a quarter-mile of each other doesn't mean we see each other very often. Kyle makes really beautiful functional pottery - in fact, Janis had one of his pieces centered on our mantel.

We added two new artworks to our collection last night. One is a lovely little jar by Donna Polseno. In fact, if you go to her web site and look at the functional pottery, #15 is the one that is now on our mantel. Donna's ceramics go in a couple of directions: functional pottery with plant and animal motifs and figurative sculptures. Go take a look: it's some really beautiful work.

The other is a wonderful wood engraving by Andy Farkas. This particular piece (not on his website) spoke to Janis and me - to us, it was about the risk and joy of being an artist. Andy's work is incredibly well-done. It appears at first to be whimsical, but there's some serious meat to each piece. Each one is deserving of contemplation and study.

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