Redefining notions of the singular artist

The drawings and paintings that comprise Lisa Nance's solo show, Hanging Caverns and Plants, are the deconstructed forms, contours and characters for which Nance is known. Using thrift-store finds and re-salvaged materials, Nance challenges traditional forms of the painting by working over popular art reproductions or constructing frames out of cardboard boxes.

"Monk with Blue Angel," Justin Nostrala, charcoal (oil) on paper, 2009. Part of the first National Juried Drawing Exhibition at UNCA.

The paintings themselves are captivating examples of Nance's expertise. A self portrait that Nance painted a year ago has recently been imposed upon with large shapes of green. An old piece of wood bares a ghostly image of Nance's grandmother while hints of the original painted ornamentation are still present on the wood.

The artist asked three of her friends (Matt Schnable, Jaye Bartell and Ingrid Carson) to title each piece in the show. A small painting of an abstracted pink mass (Nance says it's a rendering of her mouth retainer) has been given the titles "Retain and remember the R.S.D.," "The Leaning Meat" and "Red Core." By inviting her friends to participate in her show (she also used artwork by different people for her fliers) Nance expounds on the idea of collaborative art and redefines notions of the singular artist. At Push Skate Shop and Gallery, 25 Patton Ave. 225-5509.

Jaw droppingly amazing drawings

Fifty drawings created by artists from all over the country hang on the walls of the S. Tucker Cooke Gallery on the UNCA campus, making up the inaugural National Juried Drawing Exhibition. The widely varied show demonstrates the numerous forms this low-tech art form can take — from photorealist renderings to more stylized approaches. Most of the work is of the charcoal and graphite variety we commonly think of as drawings, but there are surprises, like the piece composed entirely of rubber bands, and a small and an intricate paper cut.

"This exhibition is part of an ongoing commitment to promote drawing practices in the visual arts in our program," says Tamie Beldue, assistant professor of art and coordinator of the exhibit. "We're also hoping that the show will help demonstrate the continued significance of drawing through conventional and innovative methods to our students and to gallery patrons."

Internationally recognized artist Deborah Rockman selected the drawings from nearly 600 submissions. It appears that she chose the work not only for its technical merit, but also for the content matter. Such as the drawing, "Snatched," which depicts two cartoonishly rendered boy bunnies clutching the fur of a very realistically drawn rabbit. "I really am a social critic and that's what continues to shine through in my work," Rockman said in a Jan. 15 lecture.

Be sure to allow yourself a lot of time to view this exhibit, as almost every piece is jaw droppingly amazing and you'll want to examine the complex details of each. S.Tucker Cooke Gallery is open to the public from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. weekdays. 251-6559.

Life is good at the cake shop

Loosely painted narratives in acrylic and ink speak to contemporary social conditions in this intimate show by Asheville newcomer, Severn Eaton. A soldier stands within an abstracted field of poppies in "Harvest," while tiny helicopters buzz around a wasp nest in "Angry Wasps."

This might sound a little bleak for a cake shop, but the subtle colors Eaton uses pop with bright touches of yellow, red, and blue to make the paintings appear quite beautiful. Even the painting of the deli worker holding a dead yellow bird is cheerful somehow, with its punchy blue counter and exaggerated credit card machine. A masked man bearing the familiar "Life is Good" logo on his black form is particularly hilarious. At Short Street Cakes, 225 Haywood Road. 505-4822.

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