The Mark Bettis Gallery, in the River Arts District, hosts Imperfect Beauty, an exhibition of new work by artist Balsam Abo Zour, running from Thursday, October 20, through Monday, October 31. An opening reception will be held on October 20 from 5–7 p.m. Guests will be able to meet and talk to the artist, and purchase artwork. Light hors d’oeuvres and refreshments will be served.
This will be the first exhibition of landscape paintings by Lebanese-born Balsam Abo Zour, who lives and works in Asheville, primarily creating ceramic sculptures. The paintings featured in Imperfect Beauty focus on barns in the Western North Carolina landscape. “This new body of work is pushing me out of my studio and into the light of the day where I have to walk the scene and take it all in,” she says. “I am infatuated by the variety of landscapes in North Carolina. Sometimes you see open fields with blue mountains in the distance; other times you are surrounded with thick, green forests that contain monstrous trees and winding rivers.” She recently toured a 100-year-old barn near Marshall.
She describes her style as having “vivid colors” and lines that are “loose, not straight, which helps in breaking up the normality of what is given.” She adds that she likes to “add more to what’s ‘there’ without totally abstracting it.”
Balsam’s first experience with barns was while shepherding goats at her family’s farm in Lebanon. In 2020, she moved to Bozeman, Montana, where she found inspiration to paint her first barn. “By its nature, a barn is a place where we connect to the animals and landscape we attempt to control,” she says. “I think seeing a barn represents a nostalgic yearning for a peaceful time and place far from the fast life in cities. I find that barns can also be symbols of loneliness, disconnectedness or abandonment. I enjoy playing with these feelings in my work.”
To learn more about the exhibition and the gallery, visit MarkBettisGallery.com.