A small, cement-floored gallery just off the waterfront in downtown Hudson, N.Y., is currently showing work from an all-female, all-Asheville roster of artists. Les Demoiselles d’Asheville, curated by Asheville artist Connie Bostic, adds to the growing number of homegrown exhibitions traveling outside of WNC.
The exhibition features letterpress works from Bridget Elmer, collages from Nicole McConville and a wall-sized interactive board game that Amanda Wiles created specifically for the show. They’re displayed alongside etchings by Porge Buck, screenprints applied directly to the walls by Linda Larson and photographs by Alice Sebrell.
“I tried to pick a show that would represent different approaches to art,” Bostic tells Xpress. “And I saw them as people who make work that I really admire.”
Each of the show’s 29 works harbor notions of inter-human relationships. Some are between families, while others focus on women’s social roles, and still others on humanity in general. Sebrell’s photos look to the potentially permanent role that animals may play in our lives — in taxidermied form. Other works humor the human condition. Buck’s line etchings and mezzotints are traditional in form, but playfully contemporary in concept. They depict images of plastic grocery bags drifting to and fro. It’s an imagined sporting event simply called the “bag game.”
“Most of the work has a universal theme, but it’s not specifically related to Asheville,” Bostic says. It makes the works accessible to all. Hudson art-goers don’t have to understand our politics or some small facet of the Asheville subculture in order to reach the work.
The gallery where the work is housed, The Curatorium, is a space reserved for outsiders. It hosts artists almost entirely from outside the Hudson area. The gallery features a revolving series of two-month-long exhibitions organized by guest curators. Their model ensures a wide and constant variety of national and occasionally international artists and artworks coming into the gallery and Hudson’s arts scene.
Bostic began planning the show roughly nine months ago, shortly after her own work was exhibited in a Curatorium exhibit. She was among 14 artists to show work in 2012’s “Secretly Seeking,” which was curated by Robert Godfrey. Godfrey, who recently relocated to the Hudson area, was the former head of WCU’s art department, where Bostic earned an MFA.
That show became the starting point for Bostic’s current exhibition. Elwood Beach, Curatorium’s founder, offered the title, Les Demoiselles d’Asheville, and asked her to curate a show.
While the title references Picasso’s 1907 painting “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon,” it doesn’t delve into the painting’s historic themes. In fact, the name is about as far as the correlation goes.
The show is up through July 20. For more information, go to http://www.curatoriumhudson.org/home.
On Monday, May 27, artist Rae Whitlock will exhibit work, give an artist’s talk and perform her piece “In/Communicado” at Apothecary. The event is part of the Media Arts Project’s ongoing lecture series “Off the MAP” and will also feature a rehashed version of work Whitlock did for this year’s Happening.
Whitlock’s lecture will address notions of gender identity, sexuality and social media that play integral parts in her installation and performance pieces. The talk will be followed by a performance of “In/Communicado,” an on-site improv piece that “explores communication, comprehension, confirmation bias and control” through the marriage of visual projections and audio. The work is created in unison with her husband, Dash Lewis. Only, they’ll have no clue what the other is doing. Whitlock’s unable to hear Lewis’s audio creation. He’s simultaneously unaware of what she’s projecting. She calls the process a “double-blind art happening.”
As part of the exhibition, she’ll also have some of her piece “//COMMENT!//SUBSCRIBE!//” on display. This evolving and interactive installation piece combines an in-house recreation of a teenage girl’s room with app-accessed QR codes. These codes lead viewers to homespun videos of American teenage-dom at its Internet-inspired finest. The work received grant-funding from the MAP and was featured in this year’s Happening, a weekend-long arts event and fundraiser organized by the Black Mountain College Museum and Arts Center and the MAP.
Whitlock’s opening, lecture and performance begins at 7 p.m. on Monday, May 27. There’s a suggested $5 donation. For more information go to http://www.themap.org.