Ah spring … in case the blossoming cherry trees, yellow tulips and rising temps are enough of a sign, the first of Asheville’s downtown gallery art walks took place last Friday (April 4).
Despite the rain (another spring omen), the crowds were out in force, strolling between downtown Asheville’s 31 galleries to check out the newest exhibits and indulge in hors d’oeuvres and wine.
Among my favorite exhibits were:
• Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird at American Folk. On display through Friday, April 25, the show features new works by folk, outsider, primitive and raw artists Amanda Riddle, Betsy Carr, Cornbread, Ivy Billiot, Lucy Hunnicutt, Stacy Lambert, Michael Hunt, Moni Hill, Kent Ambler, Shawn Ireland, Eric Legge, Kyle Carpenter, Liz Sullivan and Kristin Helberg. The blackbird theme, repeated throughout, ran the gamut from whimsical and humorous to dark and spooky.
• Experiencing the Similarities by painter Colleen Meechan, in the Asheville Area Arts Council‘s Boardroom Gallery, is a study in the similarities and differences of the landscapes of WNC and Hawaii. Lush scenery in green, grey and blue melds the two topographies together. I enjoyed trying to decipher which scene each painting represented (tropical pink flowers — gotta be Hawaiian! — turned out to be local rhododendron) and the accompanying spread (the Arts Council had the best snacks by far) made it that much more inviting to linger at the exhibit.
• Blue Spiral 1‘s street-level exhibit, Greg Decker + Debra Fritts Painting + Sculptural Ceramics proved breathtakingly beautiful. The rest of the multi-storied, multi-display gallery is completely overwhelming (and no hors d’oeuvres for sustenance), but the ethereal hues and shapes of Greg Decker’s extensive body of work are worth a visit. The paintings are filled with mythical images rendered in soft-focus, each seemingly lit from within. Moving from painting to painting, I actually found myself holding my breath. Catch this exhibit by Saturday, April 26.
• Split the Difference, a comparison of works by Appalachian painters Evan Boggess and Lennon Michalski, is up at the Haen Gallery through Tuesday, April 22. Both collections are modern and edgy, and make great use of pastel colors and fluid shapes juxtaposed with more aggressive imagery. Scowling figures, electrical outlets.
• 16 Patton‘s current show includes several artists whose disciplines range from landscapes and still lifes to abstracts and impressionist studies. My favorite collection is a small body of work by Ga.-based artist Signe Grushovenko (his painting, “Winding Path,” is shown here). The painter works from photographs, creating frozen-moments of rural scenes. The colors are soft and rich, the figures interestingly square and faceless, though their groupings, surroundings and poses convey much of their stories. The rural scenes are comfortably pretty, with Southern themes.
—Alli Marshall, A&E reporter