Falling, a solo exhibition of paintings by Michael Francis Reagan, will open at the Grovewood Gallery on Saturday, June 9, with an artist reception from 2–5 p.m. The exhibit will run through Friday, June 15.
Reagan’s Falling series is based on a childhood memory. When the artist was five or six years old, he witnessed a mourning dove fall from the sky and land hard on the ground in the woods behind his childhood home. He watched the dove as it lay still and in shock, the sky darkening around them. When he finally reached out to touch it, the bird exploded into flight. “I felt a great loneliness, alone there in those woods—a stillness,” Reagan says. “Then I felt fear, and then sadness. Finally, as the bird exploded back into life and into the sky, I felt joy that such a thing could even be possible.”
It wasn’t until a cold, gray morning in January of 2016 that Reagan’s boyhood experience translated itself into the first painting of the series: Falling Mourning Dove. “That morning,” Reagan says, “as I worked, images of other birds began to come to me. In the days and nights that followed, those birds filled my dreams and canvases. I’ve painted 25 so far.” While the artist’s usual medium is watercolor on paper, he chose acrylic on canvas for this series. “I felt these paintings needed more depth and weight and size than I could get with watercolor,” he says.
Reagan is hopeful that his paintings will inspire viewers. “Rather than doom,” he says, “I want people to come away from this show feeling a sense of mystery and hope and feeling motivated to do something to help these birds survive.”
Grovewood Gallery is inside Grovewood Village, which is located at 111 Grovewood Road, adjacent to and below the Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville. Gallery hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free parking is available onsite. To learn more, visit grovewood.com or call 828.253.7651.