When Anna Thompson, noticed that the little office space at 10 Walnut St. had been vacated, she wasted no time contacting the property owner with an ambitious plan. Within a month of finalizing details, Thompson has created The Project Gallery, an art space that will be holding its first opening reception this Friday, Jan 15, from 6:30 to 10 p.m.
Thompson graduated from Pratt University in 2008 with a degree in sculpture, and considers the gallery to be a personal conceptual art project, hence its name. "I hadn't been in a gallery in Asheville that I thought would be a good match for my work," says the mixed-media artist. "It seemed like the easiest thing to do would be to create a space myself."
"My work has always been about being a Southern tomboy," she says. "I love sewing, fishing, camping and hanging out with the boys." Two years ago Thompson constructed a quilt made of snakeskin that she skinned herself. Her papier-mâché raccoon masks were on display at the Over Easy Café last summer, and she plans to exhibit more of her work at The Project Gallery later this year.
Thompson will operate the gallery for six months—a span of time she considers a "manageable commitment." The diminutive space, approximately 8 feet by 25 feet, will showcase contemporary conceptual artwork in the form of installations, two-dimensional work, video and sculpture. Four solo shows are planned for the first half of 2010, and a small room in the back of the gallery will exhibit art objects for sale by a variety of artists, both local and national.
For this weekend's grand opening, Thompson has put together an exhibit that showcases a broad range of conceptual art entitled Because I said so. The show includes a video by Thompson, along with work by local artists Andy Herod and Mavis Clapp, as well as Ohio artist D.D. Sargent. (Sargent recently broke a world record after building a 250-feet-long picnic table.) The show gets its title from a quote by Bruce Nauman who once said of his own work, "People ask me how this is art, and it's art because I said so."
Open Wednesday through Sunday noon-5 p.m. or by appointment. Call 423-802-7094 for more details. theprojectgallerywebsite.com
All dolled up
Fifty nationally based artists have interpreted the blank wooden dolls designed by Cleveland artist Mike Burnett for a very entertaining show currently on display at The Satellite Gallery (55 Broadway).
A wide variety of people – from comic book lovers, to children and people who normally wouldn't consider themselves to be art aficionados – will likely find the show appealing, and the integrity of the work is top notch.
The imaginatively interpreted dolls are fun to observe, and the exhibit introduces the viewer to an assortment of quality artists such as Los Angeles painter Lola, whose delicately decorated little doll solemnly listens to headphones and holds what appears to be a dead possum.
The traveling show also features work from a smattering of Asheville artists, including Melissa Terrezza, who has placed her crowned doll inside of a toilet bowl, for her piece entitled "Royal Flush." Dustin Spagnola has created a scene of black-clad anarchists, and Bence Vetro has put a knife through the head of his doll that lacks a body.
Due to bad weather, Satellite was unable to host an opening for the show, so owner Bill Thompson has decided to celebrate with a closing reception on Saturday, Jan 23. Until then, the gallery will be open for public viewing during normal business hours.
Call 505-2225 for more info.