Art walk with us

Clayton Santiago’s work at Haen Gallery.

Almost every fathomable form of art exists in this city of artistic milk and honey. And it certainly diversifies the works on display at each of the Asheville Downtown Gallery Associations’ art walks. But it’s the photography enthusiast that will find this season’s second art walk on Friday, June 1, particularly satiating. 

Coop Gallery (25 Carolina Lane) hosts the final night of Too Close to Home, a group showing by five area photographers.

Over on Wilson Alley, Castell Photography opens Vignettes, the gallery’s second installment of an ambitious and fine-tuned exhibition calendar. Dan Estabrook, Sharon Hart and Stacey Page, all of whom will be there, present a collection of hand-manipulated photographs. Their works delve into obscuring and altering the traditional portrait. Glimpses of figures are shrouded in black and faded into retro oblivion, offering a contemporary take on photographic vignettes.

Page sews directly into her photographs, making colorful headdresses ranging from a decorative scarf-hat combo that looks like a fox to outlandish ceremonial garb. The black-and-white portraits read like year book photos. They’re nothing short of fun.

A combination of darkroom techniques, drawing and painting alter Estabrook’s and Hart’s work. Hart darkens and enhances various background spaces in her work to isolate the figures. They’re haunting and occasionally skeletal, and they plunge viewers into forced, direct eye contact. 

Estabrook mostly sticks to the darkroom, but finishes off a few works with paints and graphite. His techniques have roots in 19th century photographic methods, namely calotypes and salted-paper printing. And it shows. The portraits range from seated, full-body studies to composed still lifes that harken to the antiquated styles from photography’s adolescence.

Push Skateshop and Gallery (25 Patton Ave.) is opening Stalefish 4, the fourth installment of its annual show. The binding force: “You have to be a skateboarder,” says shop owner and artist Rob Sebrell. Other than that, the work is largely up to the artist. Sebrell co-curated the roster with Marshall-based artist John Svensen. 

The show has always been local, but this year there will be national presence. This is due in part to Clyde Singleton and Grant Brittain. Singleton is regarded as a classic photographer in the skateboarding scene, and helped bring in a few of the exhibition’s artists, including other photographers active during the 1970s and ‘80s. Brittain, on the other hand, is the former photo editor of Transworld Skateboarding magazine and the cofounder of The Skateboard Mag

Aside from an array of skateboarding photographs, Sebrell himself will have work in the show, possibly a painting, possibly a pen and ink drawing. He’s still working it out. Asheville ceramists Alex Irvin is also on the list of a dozen or more artists, so one can anticipate some clay-based work as well.

What happened to Atelier?

The first art walk saw the introduction of Atelier’s miniature extension gallery at the corner of College Street and Lexington Avenue. This month’s art walk reveals more expansion, but you’ll have to wait until July to see what’s going on. Atelier’s main gallery is now that annex. The main gallery doors closed on May 27. It’s all part of a new spacial and directional change. Atelier’s new home is just a block down the street (inside the massive set of wooden doors across the street from Bouchon.)

The gallery is losing the dividers that characterize booth-style galleries, and opting for the more traditional approach to showing artwork. The change comes in the wake of success from its Charleston gallery, which adheres to the walled-format of most galleries. In the meantime, the corner location offers more work.

Around the Block

Chris Sedgwick, formerly of Asheville and now of Colorado, will be showing new works at Gallery Minerva (8 Biltmore Ave.). He combines the scientific with the spiritual to create large-scale oil paintings that have a slight historical tinge. They portray hyper-symbolic ritualistic scenes that often have an iconic feeling, possibly due in part to his use of gold leafing.

American Folk Art and Framing (64 Biltmore Ave.) will be hosting 15 ceramists in Pour, an exhibition that explores functional vessels. 

Izzy’s Coffee Den (74 N. Lexington Ave.) will host an opening featuring the works of Asheville artist Matthew Llewellyn.

Reliquaries and Reflections opens at the 5 Walnut Wine Bar gallery. The solo exhibition will feature monotype and mixed-media works by printmaker and Mars Hill Professor of Art Scott Lowrey.

— Kyle Sherard is an Asheville printmaker, painter and arts writer.

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

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