Defining Lines at American Folk Art

Defining Lines at American Folk Art

Night Crawler. Chris Bruno, artist

The beginning of so much of art—lines drawn on paper, painted on canvas or etched into wood—is the basis for Defining Lines, a show this month at American Folk Art & Framing (AFA). The show runs from Thursday, August 1, through Thursday, August 22, with a reception Friday, August 2, from 5–8 p.m.

“Powerful art triggers something in the viewer, creates a space for us to be absorbed into the scene, opens a way to be touched by emotion,” says Betsey-Rose Weiss, owner of AFA. “Creating emotional content successfully is a finely honed skill which often begins with a line.”

Among the artists whose work will be exhibited in observance of this theme is Chris Bruno, who grew up traveling to art festivals with his parents, both of them artists. “At 30, I finally hung up the corporate towel and threw all in and started doing festivals as well,” Bruno says. He began with photography, moved to mixed media and now paints. “Being self-taught, my education continues to this day.”

He calls his pieces “abstract narratives.” Often he layers the written word, painted images and lines of block print and numbers for a collage effect. “Even though it’s a boat, a horse, a schoolhouse, a submarine, a bicycle or an elephant, they’re still open to interpretation,” he says. “The contrasts lie mostly in colors: usually a dark footing with a lighter and looser top half. And most have a defined horizontal line.”

Ellie Ali, who was born and raised in New York City and who maintains a studio in Lisbon, Portugal, uses line (sometimes just one) to portray the human body. “Having a successful, lifelong career in art has produced a palpable, mature mastery of her minimalist style,” Weiss says. Ali applies a mix of acrylics, oil paints, wax and Chinese ink to paper to produce the human figures that dominate her work. She is inspired by her travels and by the jazz and literary worlds of the 1950s and ‘60s. Woodblock printmaker Kent Ambler, who lives in South Carolina, and painter Ellen Langford of Mississippi will also exhibit work in the show.

American Folk Art and Framing is located at 64 Biltmore Avenue in Asheville. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. For more information, visit or call 828.281.2134.

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