State of the Arts

Alice Sebrell, “Innocence.” Photo courtesy the artist.

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


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


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

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

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

One thought on “State of the Arts

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.