Galleries Visual Arts

Two Artists’ Interpretations of Aesop’s Fables

The Fox and The Crow. Christine Kosiba, artist.

The Mark Bettis Studio & Gallery presents Parables in Clay and Paint, beginning with an opening reception on Saturday, May 20, from 5:30–7:30 p.m. and running through June 20. The exhibit, based on Aesop’s Fables, features paintings by Bettis and sculpture by Christine Kosiba.

“I think audiences will enjoy seeing my two-dimensional painted interpretations of the fables juxtaposed with Christine’s three-dimensional sculpted versions,” says Bettis. “Visitors can also read the stories as they tour the exhibit.”

Though their styles and mediums differ, both Bettis and Kosiba enjoy portraying animals in their work. Bettis, who is known primarily for his textural abstracts, produced his first series of animal paintings, Spirit Animals, in 2015. Kosiba, influenced by her love of the natural world, incorporates human and animal forms into dream-like figurative pieces. “When we saw each other’s work and started discussing how we could collaborate, the fables seemed like a perfect fit,” says Bettis.

The exhibit will depict The Fox and the Crow, The Wolf and His Shadow, The Bear and the Bees and other stories credited to Aesop, a slave and storyteller believed to have lived in ancient Greece between 620 and 564 BCE. The fables originally belonged to the oral tradition and were not collected until some three centuries after Aesop’s death.

“The use of anthropomorphic animals is an effective way to address the human condition,” says Kosiba. “The animals take on established archetypes and allow us to step back and see ourselves and the choices we make and examine how those choices impact our lives.”

Bettis, who is originally from Chicago, attended Ringling School of Art in Sarasota, Florida. After a successful career in the commercial arts, he pursued his true calling— painting. Currently living and working in Asheville, he also shows his work at numerous galleries throughout the US.

Kosiba, who is self-taught, is active as an instructor and lecturer in WNC. Her work can be seen in permanent public installations in North Carolina and Virginia, and in juried exhibitions and galleries across the country. She is a member of both Southern Highland Craft Guild and Piedmont Craftsmen. Her studio is located in Brevard.

All works in the Parables in Paint and Clay exhibit are for sale and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to Dogwood Alliance, an organization working to preserve and restore native forest ecosystems in the southeastern US.

The Mark Bettis Studio & Gallery is located at 123 Roberts Street, in Asheville’s River Arts District. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Light hors d’oeuvres and refreshments will be served at the opening reception. For more information, visit markbettisgallery.com.

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