Arts Galleries

New Year, New Exhibits at Blue Spiral 1

By Natasha Anderson

Blue Spiral 1, in downtown Asheville, begins the year with four new exhibits on display from Friday, January 7, through Wednesday, February 23. In the Main Gallery, Construct features work by Eleanor Annand, Robert Burch, Ishmael, Althea Murphy-Price, Isaac Payne, Michael Poness and Katie Walker. For this exhibit, the artists fold, layer, fuse, mold, glue and sculpt to make visionary constructions in both two-dimensional and three-dimensional form. The resulting works range from graffiti-covered train doors to collaged architectural scenes to prints disguised as hair-covered surfaces.

Gold is Where You Find It. Kensuke Yamada, artist

“I intentionally make process the concept of my work—which grows from a similar place as the post-minimalist/process movement of the 1960s,” says Annand. “There is energy in process that brings my objects to life.”

In the Showcase Gallery, Drawn Together: Recent Work by Bethanne Hill, Darius Hill, Olivia Hill brings together the work of a painter, a sculptor and printmaker, and a punch hook artist all from the same family. Through their various processes, the Hills celebrate history, culture, folklore and materiality.

“We are all extremely independent in our work, and there have not been any collaborations for this show so it will be interesting to see the connections,” says Bethanne Hill.

The Small Format Gallery houses Kensuke Yamada: As You Are I Was, As I Am You Will Be. Using clay as a source of communicating shared experiences, Yamada creates child-like figures imbued with playful pop references and bright colors. His characters range from divers to lovers carrying rainbows to men dressed up as Mickey Mouse. While often void of facial expression, these sculptures carry magnitude with their gesture and boldly patterned bodies.

Opposites Attract. Scott Upton, artist

“I think now I am trying to recognize what I have to treasure, and to embrace life by embracing death,” says Yamada. “I hope I am sharing the opportunity with viewers.”

The Lower Level Gallery features new work by Scott Upton, an artist who has been part of the Blue Spiral 1 family since its beginning more than 30 years ago. Upton’s glossy compositions combine color and geometry, often giving the subtle suggestion of a surreal landscape or cosmic space. His canvases are layered with acrylic paint and silver and gold leaf allowing his admirers to look deep into layers of reflective color and texture.

“I start many of my works and my days by looking to the sky with a cup of coffee in hand, watching the light and color quickly change,” says Upton. “An overcast morning with low clouds and rising mist has as much to offer in the studio as the brightest sunrise.”

Blue Spiral 1 is located at 38 Biltmore Avenue, in Asheville. Hours are Sunday through Tuesday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Wednesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Learn more at

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