Asheville Art Talk: Former UNC Asheville student returns to campus as visiting artist

MIXED MEDIA: Adam Cable's work combines photography with wood paneling, fiberboard, drywall and vinyl siding. The work will be on display at UNC Asheville's Own Hall beginning Friday, Aug. 25.
MIXED MEDIA: Adam Cable's work combines photography with wood paneling, fiberboard, drywall and vinyl siding. The work will be on display at UNC Asheville's Own Hall beginning Friday, Aug. 25.

The department of art and art history at UNC Asheville will commence the fall semester with a double exhibition in its two galleries at Owen Hall. Faculty work will be on display in the S. Tucker Cooke Gallery. Meanwhile, the building’s second floor gallery will feature the work of Adam Cable, who earned his BFA from UNCA in 2013.

“We try to bring a lot of our alumni back so that our current students can see what they’ve been doing since they left school,” says Carrie Tomberlin, UNCA photography instructor. Cable, she adds, is a great example, having recently completed his MFA in photography from the School of Visual Arts in New York City.

Cable says his latest exhibit, Real Realities, examines cultural values and the ways in which our surroundings impact our identities. Born in Asheville, Cable and his family relocated to Kannapolis when he was 8. Much of the work from his latest series is a result of his upbringing. Cable says he spent time “looking at my own past, as a gay man living in the South … and then thinking about how that played into how I came to see myself.”

YOU CAN GO HOME AGAIN: Cable, who was born in Asheville, will return to his hometown and Alma Mater for his first exhibition since earning his MFA in photography from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Photo courtesy of Cable
YOU CAN GO HOME AGAIN: Adam Cable, who was born in Asheville, will return to his hometown and alma mater for his first exhibition since earning his MFA in photography from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Photo courtesy of Cable

In Real Realities, photography is combined with wood paneling, vinyl siding and drywall; images are imposed on, or pair with, these surfaces. Cable notes that he is playing with the relationship between containers and content, to personify this otherwise abstract notion of influence. “I’m trying to figure out how to make images enter into a physical space,” he says.

Meanwhile, the 2017 UNC Asheville Art Faculty Exhibition showcases a diverse range of media, from drawings and paintings to ceramics and sculptures. “The goal of the exhibition is to show our students what we do in the studio,” says Tomberlin. She adds that the event’s opening night offers students a chance to get to know the faculty on an individual basis.

Real Realities offers a similar opportunity for students and members in the community to engage with Cable. The former student-turned-visiting-artist says he is grateful to have his latest collection featured at his alma mater.

Tomberlin shares in Cable’s excitement. “He’s grown quite a bit since [earning his] BFA,” she says. “He did wonderful work when he was at UNCA, but he’s really pushed himself to explore new ideas and new material with his latest body of work.”

WHAT: Real Realities and the 2017 UNC Asheville Art Faculty Exhibition
WHERE: UNC Asheville’s Owen Hall, 1 University Heights, art.unca.edu
WHEN: Opening reception Friday, Aug. 25, 6-8 p.m. Both exhibitions will remain on view through Friday, Sept. 22. Free

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About Thomas Calder
Thomas Calder received his MFA in Fiction from the University of Houston's Creative Writing Program. He has worked with several publications, including Gulf Coast and the Collagist. For his weekly #tuesdayhistory tidbits on Asheville, follow him on Instagram @tcalder.

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