By Natasha Anderson
Blue Spiral 1 (BS1) presents the work of Dana Brown in a solo exhibition beginning with an opening reception on Thursday, March 1, from 5–8 p.m. and running through April 27. The collection, displayed in BS1’s Small Format Gallery, features the artist’s new encaustic paintings depicting richly colored renderings of industrial and architectural structures.
“I’m fascinated by the honesty of work equipment,” says Brown. “Machinery, tools, oil rigs and industrial architecture have always caused me to stop the car and jump out for a closer look. Of course, the grunge, grime, rust and patina are appealing to me as a painter, but, above all, I’m drawn to the purity of purpose.”
Brown creates her paintings through a multi-step process that involves making a wax medium, adding pigments and burning them into a 3/4” board. Once she has fused the layers together, she carves into the wax and fills the areas with color, adjusting pigments as she goes. The pieces often have a common thread, with one painting relating to the next in both subject matter and palette.
“This group of paintings draws on my love of railroads as well as a recent visit to Bethlehem, PA,” says Brown. “The old Bethlehem Steel Plant is fascinating as a structure as well as a historic site. Light and shadow have always drawn my attention and the architecture there provides tons of opportunities.”
Brown has exhibited at Meridian Museum of Art (MS), Huntsville Museum of Art (AL), and Albany Museum of Art (GA). Her work has been shown by numerous art organizations, including the National Watercolor Society, The American Watercolor Society and the watercolor societies of Alabama, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Louisiana, Mississippi, Pennsylvania and Texas. She has been represented by BS1 since 2007.
“We adore every new piece we get by Brown because there is so much to discover in it,” says BS1’s assistant director Candace Reilly. “There is a sense of nostalgia one gets from her brightly-colored, complex renderings—almost as if Edward Hopper and Charles Demuth were communicating through Brown’s hand and inspiring a summary of their styles.”
BS1 is a 15,000 square-foot gallery offering diversity of mediums and aesthetics and presenting more than 15 shows annually. Thematic group exhibitions and individual artist showcases rotate on the lower two levels five times per year, while Blue Spiral 1’s upper level features a wide array of works by nearly 100 regularly represented artists. The gallery also represents the estate of Will Henry Stevens (1881-1949), an early 20th-century modernist inspired by spirituality in nature. An area in BS1’s upper level is dedicated to an ongoing and changing display of available works from the Stevens estate.
Blue Spiral 1 is located at 38 Biltmore Avenue in downtown Asheville. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. For more information, visit bluespiral1.com or call 828.251.0202