Arts Galleries

Witness: holding time at Penland Gallery

A new exhibition is on display through June 4 at Penland Gallery. Witness: holding time, curated by gallery director Kathryn Gremley, features work by six artists exploring the abstract concept of “holding time.”

A central component of the exhibit is Dream Prayer Observatory, a video by Dan Bailey that was made by layering thousands of images of the southern coast of Tasmania taken over a three-month period. The rhythm of the video attempts to capture a geologic time scale.


Element Series: Black Iron. Erica Iman, artist

“Though difficult or even impossible to achieve, an intent is to depict landscape where even the lifespan of a tree or the impact of humans is too short to be seen,” Bailey says of the project. “Those ephemeral events disappear into a blur. Images of both day and night are recorded equally to counter the bias of diurnal vision. The desire is to observe the landscape as it exists over thousands of years.”

Dream Prayer Observatory provides an anchorpoint for other explorations of time through geology in the exhibit. A series of textured steel forms by sculptor Kento Saisho are reminiscent of rock formations. A painting by Erica Iman was made by pouring iron oxide solution onto heavily tiled panels, creating a record of the pigment’s path that appears almost like a mountain vista. The exhibit also features work by Amy Tavern, Marianne Dages and Morgan Hill.

“The six artists in this exhibition have made the act of holding time tangible through unique and deeply resonating works that carry memory and intention,” writes Gremley in her curator statement. “They create, in material form, the holding of their experiences. When successful, the viewer is aware of the materiality, the presence of the artist and the breadth and depth of what has been gathered in the making of the work. We sense what is embedded and not seen.”

The Penland Gallery is located at 3135 Conley Ridge Road, Penland. The gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information visit or call 828.284.6211.

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