Artists Bill Dale and Laura Ball are long-time friends, and an exhibition, running through March 10 at Mars Hill University, emphasizes the dramatic differences between their works, as well as their common influences.
Dale’s hand-coiled ceramic vessels have been sanded and bisque-fired before being slowly smoked in burning sawdust for several days. The hues and surface textures of Bill’s works resemble those found in nature.
Ball’s small textile pieces show mountain landscapes and local flora and fauna as well as an arrangement of shapes and colors. “My traditional sewing background led me to an interest in a variety of sewing techniques. I paint, dye and print much of my own fabric. I also use vintage, commercial and repurposed materials,” she says.
Together, the artists invented the idea for the show as well as its title, Four Seasons, as a way to present their works in a shared exhibition. “Our pieces compliment each other in a way that echoes the influence of southern Appalachia’s natural beauty and a debt to craft tradition,” says Dale. “At the same time, Four Seasons lays claim to heritage and illustrates how each generation makes its way beyond tradition. The seasons change, the artists change.”
Balls textiles are hung on the Weizenblatt Gallery walls while Dale’s ceramic vessels rest on pedestals in the center of the exhibition space. “Because our work is so different it was a little puzzling to foresee how compatible it would be,” says Dale. “Laura’s brightly colored art is a visual explosion while my clay pieces are subdued and monochromatic, but the way the show is arranged creates enough physical separation of our different works that the overall feel is very warm and harmonious.“
Weizenblatt Gallery is located in the Moore Arts Building at Mars Hill University. For more information please visit mhu.edu/art/weizenblatt-gallery