“Spirits of the Flame” exhibition at Bender Gallery, opens Oct. 2

From a press release:

“Spirits of the Flame” exhibition at Bender Gallery, opens Oct. 2

Spirits of the Flame, an exhibition of flameworked glass sculpture opens on Thursday, October 2 from 5-8 PM with an artists’ reception at Bender Gallery in downtown Asheville, NC. Spirits of the Flame is a three woman show featuring small scale glass and mixed media sculptures by Karen Buhler, Elizabeth Ryland Mears and Demetra Theofanous. The exhibition will run through November 30 during regular gallery hours.

Flameworking is an ancient technique of manipulating glass using the heat of a flame. Rods or tubes of glass are softened in the flame of a torch and then manipulated or blown into sculptural forms. Each of the artists has her own unique inspiration and style and the emotions conveyed from their works range from the philosophical and reflective to the figurative and lighthearted.

Karen Buhler is a contemporary figurative artist who has been working with glass in various forms since 1978. Her focus turned to flameworking as she found it to be the ideal technique to express her vision. Her current work is a study of the human form and social interaction, with a touch of humor thrown in. Most of her sculptures feature women in bathing attire and goggles participating in various water activities. For instance, Catching Some Rays depicts three women in gilded gold bathing suits and swim caps, sunbathing at pool’s edge.

An award winning artist, Elizabeth Ryland Mears creates glass and mixed media sculpture primarily using the glassblowing technique. In her Artist Statement, she explains that she “uses the lexicon of Nature images to portray her relationship to her inner and outer worlds” and how she relates to them. These themes are aptly portrayed in her “Bundle of Twigs” series where each bundle symbolizes some aspect of her inner or outer world.  In “Extremes of Continuum”, a piece in the “Basket” series, white leaves are cradled in a red basket. The basket represents the heat of fire while the white leaves symbolize cold ice.

Demetra Theofanous is also inspired by the beauty of nature. As described in her Artist Statement, “her work centers on the metaphorical bridges between nature and human beings”. Demetra’s delicate nest and flora sculptures depict the cycle of life: birth, growth, discovery, and renewal. Her subtle and restrained use of color is a poetic exploration of her ideas and aesthetic expression.

Bender Gallery is a fine art gallery with a focus on contemporary sculpture. It is located at 12 S Lexington Avenue in downtown Asheville, North Carolina. There is a parking garage on S. Lexington Avenue beneath the Aloft hotel as well as a weekend parking directly in front of the gallery. The gallery’s hours are Monday through Saturday from 11 am – 5 pm and Sunday from 12 pm-5 pm. More information is available at www.bendergallery.com


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