Surprise discoveries

Leap of faith: “Serendipity,” Jeffrey Lloyd Denver. Polymer clay, steel wire, plastic coated copper wire. Photos courtesy Blue Spiral One
Leap of faith: “Serendipity,” Jeffrey Lloyd Denver. Polymer clay, steel wire, plastic coated copper wire. Photos courtesy Blue Spiral One

If you want to look at impeccable contemporary craft and fine art, Blue Spiral 1 is the place to go. This is not an arena where you will find threadbare installations or experimental-video collage projected on the walls. If an artist is dealing with conceptual subject matter at Blue Spiral 1, expect serious craftsmanship to dictate the work.

The newest showcasing of BS1 artists, however, reveals a few unexpected blips within the gallery’s modus operandi.
      On the main floor is a selection of artists never before shown at Blue Spiral 1. There is the standard smartly crafted work on display like the prints of local artist Andy Farkas, whose delineations of line and space are quite astounding.

There are mixed media sculptures by Jeffrey Lloyd Dever. Each is accompanied by a sign desperately warning the viewer against touching the über-fragile works. Dever weaves colored plastic-coated copper wire into intricate organic forms and podlike polymer beads. The copper wire recalls electronic cables, as if it was salvaged from an old television, though I doubt very much that it was.

I can imagine the Blue Spiral 1 team took a leap of faith with Dever. His materials are a little off the charts — copper wire and polymer clay are generally reserved for jewelry found at jam-band concerts, but Dever has masterfully executed his sculptures (and those signs don’t let you forget it). His colors aren’t too bright, nothing is overly garish; everything is appropriate and in order in spite of his unconventional choice of material.

Most surprising in New x 3 are the paintings by Lillian Garcia-Roig. Sure, they are landscapes, but they burst with technicolor greens and dense applications of paint. They are thick and messy, though it is clear that she is in control of her medium. Amidst all the other scrupulously plotted artwork on the floor, these impulsive paintings come as a visual relief.

Ceramic is a medium of a thousand aesthetic possibilities, and this is exemplified through the exhibition of eight emerging Southeastern clay artists in Blue Spiral 1’s Showcase Gallery. Noah Riedels’ functional Asiatic stoneware pots are displayed near stately figurative work by Alex Irvine while the playful earthenware figurines of Leslie Hinton hang nearby.
      Hinton’s animated characters appear more naïve than they actually are; technical wizardry breezily emanates from the multi-headed, animal/human hybrids. They are deities with elongated necks, jocular faces and a multitude of toes. The risqué subject matter is quelled by her endearing stylization of these little beasts.

Delicate porcelain wreckages by Lauren Gallaspy introduce her as another of the aforementioned “messy but controlled” artists in Blue Spiral’s line up. Her small sculptures and vessels appear as piles of fragile bone and sticks unearthed from a murky underworld. Each is marked by illustrations that create an alternative dimension upon the surface. For this exhibit Blue Spiral mostly displays Gallaspy’s functional forms – I hope a showing of her larger sculptural work is in the gallery’s future plan.

Current exhibitions at Blue Spiral1 are up until March 26. In the downstairs gallery: abstract paintings by Asheville’s “Energy Loop” designer, Dirck Cruser and geometric sculptures by Robert Winkler. The overlapping of these distinct artistic visions invites contemplation on the viewer’s part. Info at Bluespiral1.com

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