By Gina Malone
The Gallery at Flat Rock hosts an opening reception on Thursday, October 14, from 5–7 p.m. for In a Quiet Cove, which showcases the work of married artists Ruby Bock and Barry Rhodes. Pottery and photography created by Rhodes and fiber art by Bock will be featured in the exhibition that runs through Sunday, October 31, and is free and open to the public.
In 2015, the couple moved from Atlanta to Madison County, where they work in adjacent studios. “The solitude of our remote environment, the history and culture of Appalachia, are all things I try to convey in my images,” says Rhodes, who has a Ph.D. in Physics that led to careers teaching and working as a computer scientist. He has worked as a potter for more than 40 years, but with the onset of the pandemic he found himself developing an interest in photographs printed using the platinum/palladium process in which a negative made from a digital photograph is placed on paper coated with light-sensitive emulsion and then exposed to UV light to develop an image. “As a maker of objects, I approach a photograph in much the same way I do a piece of pottery,” says Rhodes. “The brushstrokes from hand coating the emulsion at the edge of my photographs, the quality of paper on which the image is hand printed, the presentation and framing, are all as equally important to me as the image itself. By necessity but also by interest, I have limited my photos to things close to home, trying to capture the essence of the rural community and history of Madison County.” The exhibition will also include his high-fired stoneware. “The torn edges and silhouettes of the newest work seem to emanate from the landscape we now live in and my color palette has taken on the grays, blues and greens of distant mountain vistas,” says Rhodes.
Bock creates fiber-based artwork using fabric, papers, threads and found objects to create collages that become wall hangings, framed art, pillows and books. Her work embraces color and texture and seeks to evoke feelings such as calmness and playfulness. “I try to bring some quiet into the chaos that is swirling around us,” she says. “I hope that viewers will find some of that serenity.” Her creative background includes teaching elementary school art in Atlanta and managing the gardens in an 8-acre nature preserve.
“I use lots of combinations, but for this show I chose my colors to go with Barry’s current glazes,” says Bock. “He’s helping me with some photos that I’m incorporating into my work. Doing the show with Barry is special because, although we are together every day, we are often working on our own projects. We came up with the theme In a Quiet Cove together and I look forward to sharing with other people our experience of our life together here. I feel so incredibly lucky that I get to look out at the mountains every day, breathe the fresh air and experience a slower life in this rural environment.”
The Gallery at Flat Rock is at Flat Rock Square at 2702-A Greenville Highway, Flat Rock. Hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; or by appointment. For more, visit GalleryFlatRock.com or call 828.698.7000.