Mica Gallery hosts a cross-disciplinary craft exhibition

FORGE AHEAD: Metalworker Bill Brown, whose work is featured in Rock, Paper, Scissors, works on a large-scale forging. Photo courtesy of Brown

Ceramic artist Pam Brewer, one of the 14 member artists of Mica Gallery in Bakersville, says that brainstorming can be fun when you have a group of creative people. “One display committee member said they would like to create something to feel interactive, another spoke of playing games and another was wanting to incorporate a multimedia, multiartist exhibition,” says Brewer. “Someone blurted out ‘rock, paper, scissors.’” And from that brainstorm session, Mica Gallery’s current show, Rock, Paper, Scissors — on display through Tuesday, July 21 — came to be.

The exhibition, constructed around the metaphor, features Bill Brown’s steel sculptures, Lisa Blackburn’s prints, and Thor and Jennifer Bueno’s glass stones.

All four artists live and work near the gallery, and Brown has had ties to the area since he was very young. “Artistic energy was the normal flow of my daily life,” he says of the 21 years he spent growing up at Penland School of Crafts, where his father was the school’s director. “The exposure and exchange with artists, their process and the artwork helped to shape my early artistic life.”

Brown’s art career spans more than three decades. His current sculptural works hold negative space around abstract forms while speaking to movement, balance and tension. “Today, my inspiration comes from the total of what is around me,” says Brown. “I make choices about what form, emotion or other elements I want to communicate through my work.”

Blackburn, a printmaker, shares similar ideas while working with an entirely different media. “Every day I start with what is in front of me,” she says. “[There is] what I observe from the day before, which colors remain, or the new ones that I mix, a new element or idea that came up overnight, and then I start working.”

Blackburn’s work is a richly-colored collection of monoprints and monotypes. Each monoprint is the unique result of sequencing between six and 12 layers of imagery. “Each time I add a layer of color, I am presented with a new set of decisions to make moving forward,” says the artist. “It’s as though I am having a conversation with the print as it develops: When to stop, when to add, which color in which order — are all constant questions.”

Considering the extremely high temperatures of molten glass, the work of the Buenos — a husband-and-wife team — has little in common with printmaking. Still, the couple’s intuitive process dovetails with Blackburn’s. “There’s so many millions of microdecisions that go into each composition,” says Thor. “The texture and the size, the big shape that the little shapes make, the different colors and how they interact with each other, the movement of the piece.”

The duo’s Stone Series includes both wall pieces and stacked table pieces arranged from individual round glass orbs, each with dense patterning of modulated color. The arrangements have a thoughtfulness that is similar to the stone cairns that one might find along the riverbanks or on the trails. The suedelike surface of each glass piece is created through sandblasting the blown glass orbs and then applying a sealer. “It’s rare for glass to be cuddly,” Thor says. “It invites you to touch it.”

WHAT: Rock, Paper, Scissors

WHERE: Mica Gallery, micagallerync.com

WHEN: Through Tuesday, July 21



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