Through September, Asheville Gallery of Art will host Taking the Ordinary to the Extraordinary, an exhibition of works by painter Bill Cole. A self-taught artist, Cole began painting after retiring from his 26-year career in the Air Force. His work blends realism and abstraction, and there are no figures in the paintings, which he says allows the viewer to see themselves within the scene. When he is inspired by part of a landscape, he will snap a photo and then complete a sketch. “At this stage I’m primarily trying to lay down the shapes and lines that dominate the scene,” he says. “After I begin applying the colors, that’s when the painting begins to speak to me.” Cole does not try to reproduce the scene exactly as it was in nature, but rather to capture his memory of the scene. “That may mean using different colors and different shades than what were actually there, or it may mean emphasizing and changing values in certain parts of the scene to capture its essence,” he says.
For this show, Cole selected works that were inspired by Western North Carolina locations. “I’m inspired by the special nature of this region’s land and buildings,” says Cole. “I selected works that I hope will show the audience that there is beauty everywhere you look in this region. That beauty can be in a sweeping mountain landscape or even in a small, unnoticed piece of a larger scene.” There will be a public reception at the gallery on Friday, September 6, from 5–8 p.m.