By Natasha Anderson
Story takes many forms at Blue Spiral 1 (BS1) this month, with exhibits in a wide range of media providing accounts from history, memory and imagination and inviting viewers to do the same. The five new shows open Friday, July 2, and run through August 27.
In this Main Gallery exhibition visitors are encouraged to look beyond the canvas and envision the unwritten and unpainted stories in works of art with open-ended narratives. Featuring 11 artists, the show places each viewer in the role of storyteller, providing creative answers to the questions the art itself poses but may never reveal.
“Many of the gallery artists are inspired by the written word—poetry, literature, mythology—and others by film, contemporary socio-political issues, pop culture and so on,” says BS1 assistant director and curator Candace Reilly. “Their works become a visual summation of these external influences and take on new meaning as narrative works of their own.”
The Parallel Search: Ke Francis
Narrative artist Ke Francis, presents a solo exhibition in the Showcase Gallery featuring large- and small-scale prints, broadsides, books and illustrations created at his Tupelo, Mississippi studio, Hoopsnake Press. Each work or group of works examines narratives and meta-narratives based on history, literature, travel and experience.
“I am primarily interested in communication,” says Francis. “The ability to see ourselves in other human beings is the beginning point of a successful communicative experience.”
Weave. Knit. Stitch.
In the Lower Level Gallery, photographic tapestries, portrait quilts, woven glass, cast thread, pine needle basketry and silkworm weavings describe the many ways traditional methods have made their way into the contemporary artistic process. The diverse group of artists in this exhibition create the extraordinary from very ordinary materials.
Signs & Symbols: Jon Sours
In his most recent body of work, on display in the Small Format Gallery, figurative painter Jon Sours breathes new life into old photographs and film stills. Using a combination of stained canvas, soft contours, hard line and vibrant, contrasting color, Sours permits the unexpected to take place in each of his subjects, drawing the viewer into an awkward gaze or perceived absurdity.
“I paint the figure using photographic reference materials that have often been collaged or reassembled,” says Sours. “The mercurial nature of this manner of painting is often a road to disaster, but occasionally it will produce an unexpected moment of clarity that would otherwise never exist.”
Will Henry Stevens (1881-1949): Naturalist/Modernist
Recently returned from the Huntsville Museum of Art, this exhibition presents the work of American artist and educator Will Henry Stevens, a lifelong naturalist and important modernist painter known for his two distinct artistic styles: representational naturalism and southern modernism. Blue Spiral 1 represents Stevens’ estate in the WHS Gallery.
Blue Spiral 1 Gallery is located at 38 Biltmore Avenue, Asheville. Hours are Sunday through Tuesday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Wednesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, visit BlueSpiral1.com or call 828.251.0202.