State of the Arts

Anne Lemanski, A Century of Hair, 1900-1990, mixed media on wood stands. Photo by Steve Mann, courtesy the artist
Anne Lemanski, A Century of Hair, 1900-1990, mixed media on wood stands. Photo by Steve Mann, courtesy the artist

For the first time, the N.C. art museum and Penland School of Crafts have partnered: the project, 0 to 60: The Experience of Time Through Contemporary Art. It focuses on the temporal element, and features four WNC artists.

Sculptural artists David Chatt, Hoss Haley, Anne Lemanski and Tom Shields will have their work in the exhibit, which opens Sunday, March 24 in the Raleigh museum’s East Wing. Penland School of Crafts will host a separate exhibitional component.

This marks the first-ever collaboration between the two institutions. “Jean McLaughlin, executive director at Penland, and I started talking about artists we were both interested in and current trends in contemporary art, and the collaboration just evolved from there,” Linda Dougherty, curator of contemporary art the NCMA told Xpress. The school will also feature several site-specific works by Lemanski and American artists Dan Baily, Kyoung Ae Cho and Alison Collins. Each artist will produce the works during a series of month-long residencies.

The exhibitions focus on the passage of time and how it interacts, interferes and intersects with art, and as art. In some works, time itself becomes the material and sole content when recorded in photographic and video formats. Others induce a self-reflecting sense of time, via nostalgia. Penland artist Tom Shields uses materials from the not-so-distant past to frame the human role in such material use and its time-sensitive impact. Shields’ work involves found wood scraps and dismantled furniture. They are often rendered unusable and occasionally dangerous.

Asheville’s own Hoss Haley, whose sculptural pieces dot Pack Square Park and the Roger McGuire Green, will be showing “Drawing Machine.” The robotic drawing arm (more like an appendage) uses five actuators that operate on rotating intervals. They simulate a pendulum-like swinging motion, but also cause the arm to lift from the page. Each resulting image is unique, as the pattern never repeats.

Penland artist David Chatt’s piece “Bedside Table” features a series of household objects: a lamp, telephone, sunglasses, etc. But he’s covered them with individually strung and sewn glass beads, giving the pieces a pearlescent finish. They lay upon or in a wooden bedside table. It’s the very bedside table that the items were originally pulled from, that of his father. Chatt has immortalized the moment and memory by preserving them in their “natural” habitat. 

Anne Lemanski, a Spruce Pine-based artist, will feature “A Century of Hair.” The series includes a series of faux wigs — one iconic style for each of the 10 decades falling between 1900 and 2000. Each wig is displayed on a wooden stand and made of a material relevant to the period. “1950: Just Add Water” is primarily made of acetate and cast plastic in a transparent, orange-red, Ben-Day-dot color reminiscent of pop-culture images of that era. Lemanski is one of the few artists showing work in both Raleigh and at Penland.

For more information on this upcoming exhibition,  visit or

Flamingo sabotage in the River Arts District

If you’ve driven by the intersection of Roberts Street and Riverside Drive lately, you’ve probably noticed a stand of plastic pink flamingos (that’s what a group of flamingos is called, by the way).

“It all started with a parking lot that the city of Asheville did not permit to be used due to its close location to an intersection,” said Brit Oie in an email to Xpress. The studio could have posted a drab no parking sign, but where is the fun in that? So instead they got a fabricated flock of pink flamingos. Since early January, the dozens of yard ornaments have blocked vehicles from entering the driveway. But in the past few weeks, they’ve been disappearing.

The artists posted a mock missing poster asking for info on the whereabouts of “Fred.” The next day, Fred’s battered acrylic carcass was left in the driveway with the words “Fred Is Dead” across his wing.

The first stand was 50 strong. And while she and her studio mates would like to continue with the birds, the financial burden of good humor has asserted itself. That’s not to say a new option won’t be equally as entertaining. “There has to be room for creativity,” Oie said. It would certainly be better than an aluminum sign.

Who’s the preeminent craft organization in WNC?

We got called out online for the last State of the Arts column, which referenced HandMade in America as “Asheville’s foremost craft-centric nonprofit.” That was this columnist’s opinion, and to be honest, I wasn’t fully considering the Southern Highlands Craft Guild’s nonprofit status. Apologies, and kudos to Xpress commenter “Crafts Lover” for keeping an eye out.

About Kyle Sherard
Book lover, arts reporter, passerby…..

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