Arts Galleries

Fresh New Exhibits for the Season at Blue Spiral 1

By Natasha Anderson

Blue Spiral 1, a three-story, multi-gallery space in downtown Asheville, presents three new exhibits opening Friday, November 5, and running through December 29.

Botanicals, in the Main Gallery, showcases a variety of flora created with paper, glass, ceramic, wood, textile, paint, silk, print and photo. Examples include John Dickson’s works made by scanning botanicals at a high resolution, controlling the subtleties of details, shadows and dimensional qualities; and Alice Ballard’s series of red earthenware wall platters imprinted with collected flowers, petals, leaves, branches, fruits, nuts, weeds and grasses.

Queen Anne Lace. John Dickson, artist

“All of my work, whether painted or sculpted in clay, has to do with memories, specifically memories connected to nature, the landscape itself and botanicals within the landscape,” says Ballard.

Other exhibiting artists are Jen Blazina, Christina Brinkman, Vicki Essig, Jean Gumpper, Amber Jensen, Alain Mailland, Elaine Quave, Justin Rothshank, Deborah Squier, Will Henry Stevens and Suzanne Stryk.

Dean Allison and Luke Haynes, featuring new work by the artists, is on display in the Showcase Gallery. While both artists render portraiture and storytelling, they do so in very different ways. Allison’s glass sculptures are intimate moments in time, derived from real people and real interactions. He uses a life-casting process to capture physical details of an individual as well as their interests and emotions.

“My recent work captures more of the figure,” says Allison. “There are some dynamic poses and deeper content intended.”

Haynes combines traditional and contemporary methods of quilting to create works made from recycled materials, each containing a history of their own. He often incorporates portraiture in his quilts to relay the history of a community, individual or culture.

In the Small Format Gallery, land | sea | sky SCAPES: new work by Amy Putansu features Putansu’s most recent ondulé weavings. Their wave-like patterns and textures emulate the geographic shifts we encounter as we observe the world around us. She assimilates reflective color and sinuous line, giving the impression of land meeting sea meeting sky, and everything in between.

Blue Spiral 1

Christina’s World No. 2. Luke Haynes, artist

“My hope is that these works can help transport a viewer to a peaceful and contemplative place, something I believe our society could use more of,” says Putansu. “To gaze at a distant horizon line is to contemplate pure potential.”

In the Lower Level Gallery, Rooted in the South showcases work by Luke Allsbrook, Clay Burnette, Julyan Davis, Will Dickert, Judith Duff, Eric Knoche, Matt Moulthrop, Philip Moulthrop, Ward Nichols and Peggy Root. The artists are inspired by everything from Southern folk ballads and historic farms to native clays and hardwoods. Exhibiting artist Julyan Davis will also conduct a book signing at Blue Spiral 1 on Wednesday, December 1, at 5 p.m. Davis’ book, A History of Saints, is an absurdist comedy set in Asheville during the Great Recession.

“My paintings, particularly of Asheville and WNC, might be considered the nostalgic backdrop for my writing,” says Davis. “Such painting, for me, fulfills in part the descriptive aspect of fiction writing.”

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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