Arts of Darkness: Two weekend exhibitions couple music and art

By Kyle Sherard

Mountain Oasis doesn’t necessarily bill itself as an arts and music festival. But that’s not to say the two will be strangers this weekend. Two art exhibitions opening Friday night at Push Gallery and Saturday afternoon at the Apothecary partner artistic abilities with musical influences, adding to the weekend’s festivities.

The Arts of Darkness

The horror-themed “Arts of Darkness” exhibition has returned to the Push Gallery. This year, they’re hosting a Halloween costume contest with live music by DJ Frankie.

This “semi-regular” exhibition, in Push owner Rob Sebrell’s words, is returning to the gallery after a year’s hiatus. Sebrell skipped last year’s show while the shop overhauled part of the gallery.

“Arts of Darkness” features works depicting, enveloping or tinged with some bit of seasonally derived fright. It’s horror, but kitschy, with a tongue-in-cheek attitude that gives artists the opportunity to be less serious.

In years past, that included Peter Pan, a woodworker and painter, adding small pink, fangs to a framed mirror he had made. It was a minor amendment that made a would-be normal work of art into kitsch-horror.

This year’s show includes works by Julie Armbruster, Josh Rhinehart, Travis Medford, Severn Eaton, Richard Kirby, Adam Void, Alli Good, Nathanael Roney, Gus Cutty, Kim Turley, Leif Erik Johansen and Ted Harper.

“[The show] gives artists an opportunity to cut loose,” says Asheville painter and sculptor Severn Eaton. “The whole project was a bit off my path,” Eaton said, “but I consider that a benefit.” Eaton ventured outside of his comfort zone and even further away from his usual materials.

Eaton has two pieces in the show that transform the dead into art — literally. A fall-themed set of leaves is actually made from animal skin. He also created a sculpture that combines small speakers and a sound system attached to tracheas. “I tried the chop shop, but it was pretty raw,” he says of the store’s “palette.” “I ended up working with rawhide and dog toys … pig ears,” he says. “The tracheas were actually a chew toy called Noobles.”

The Arts of Darkness exhibition and costume party opens this Friday, Oct. 25, from 7-10 p.m. at Push Skate Shop and Gallery at 25 Patton Ave. For more information visit

Sound And Vision

“Music triggers visions for some people,” says Asheville artist Gabriel Shaffer. Sometimes those visions — when witnessed by the right audience — become artwork. Such is the backbone of “Sound and Vision,” a short-term art exhibition that brings together visual art, music and the musically adept during a three-day show at the Apothecary. The exhibition opens Friday night. Shaffer and the exhibiting artists will host a reception the Saturday afternoon from 3-6 p.m.

“Music is a big part of my work,” Shaffer says, “and I know it is for a lot of other artists.” Whether it’s the subject or the focus of a piece, an influential spark or just background noise, it’s always around he says — “there’s never a moment without it.”

“On some level, we all have relationships with music,” he says. In this case, some more than others. Cutty, Herod and Mara, who, aside from collectively prolific careers as painters, illustrators and muralists, also take to the stage on occasion. Shaffer also comes from a musical background, though he admits the performance aspect is long gone. Herod will perform at the reception on Saturday, along with a few other Asheville-based bands and musicians that Shaffer and the artists have in the works.

The show includes works by Shaffer and Asheville artists Gus Cutty, Andy Herod and Jotti Mara. The works depict the relationship between the artists and music they immerse themselves in, or draw influence from. There may be some literal interpretations, Shaffer says, but it’s all still up in the air. “All the work has come together in the last week and a half,” he explains. “It’s all fresh. There’s nothing being pulled out of the garage.”

The exhibition also happens to be one of the final events at the Apothecary, which is slated to close on November 1.

The multi-purpose arts, music and event venue, located in the YMI building on South Market Street, made for a perfect venue for such a show, says Shaffer. It embodies the mindset and musical and artistic combination that he and the other artists sought out in this exhibition. Shaffer sees the space’s shuttering as an unfortunate yet common part of the artists’ plight.

“It’s the game,” he says. “You just have to hope that when you do find a good space, that people recognize that, the value.”

“Sound and Vision” opens Friday night at the Apothecary. For more information visit Facebook.


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