Contemporaneo Gallery recently acquired several works by international artist Doyle Reno, which can now be seen in the gallery’s permanent collection. “His blind reverse hand carved sculptures are an example of a long-gone dedication to an art form,” says Francisco Troconis, who co-owns with Gary Culbertson the gallery. “When you see one of his pieces, one’s immediate thought is, I have never seen something like that.”
A native of Seattle, Reno works out of his studio on Whidbey Island, Washington, where he practices his signature creative technique of blind reverse carving. The process begins with a sheet of optical grade acrylic or optical grade bullet-resistant glass, which has a protective paper coating on either side. Reno removes the paper from one side, begins hand carving and doesn’t see the finished product—on the other side of the glass—until he is finished. “I never look because to do so slows production to a crawl and causes considerable confusion,” he says. “The viewing side is the exact entire opposite of the carved side. Left is right and the marks are inverted. It is a precarious process not without considerable risk.”
It took a decade for Reno to master the carving tools he uses, and about 18 years to master the reverse carving technique. His pieces often take between 100 and 300 hours of work. “Most viewers have never seen anything like this process,” he says. “I want to challenge their perception to make sense out of something they have no frame of reference for.”
Contemporaneo Gallery is located at 4 Biltmore Avenue in Asheville. For more information, visit ContemporaneoAsheville.com.