Monday, December 21, 2009

Two shows to go see in Asheville

The artwork of Nathanael Roney is currently on display at Harvest Records in West Asheville.

Ted Harper has drawings at Bobo Gallery on Lexington Ave. And a dazzling mural in the alley.

Read more about the work of these two artists in this article I wrote for the Mountain XPress

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Melissa Terrezza at PUMP Gallery

Native American motifs are juxtaposed with industrial images on Melissa Terrezza's ceramic tiles currently on display at PUMP Gallery in the Phil Mechanic Building. Terrezza hand builds her ceramic wall pieces and ornaments them with image transfers as well as her own designs in hand.
An interactive sculpture involving fortune cookies the artist has made out of clay sits in the middle of the gallery. Viewers are invited to smash them open with a large hammer.
According to Terrezza, "Ideas are exchanged within each piece referencing the need for a shift in perspective relating to nature in an industrialized, governed society."

The show will hang through the first week of January.
PUMP is located at 109 Roberts Street.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Somewhere Along the Line

In this video by Rod Murphy of 6;14 Films, Asheville artist Paul Olszewski recounts the long and checkered history of a large mural he painted in the mid 1990's and has since carted all over the United States. Weighing between 2,000 and 3,000 pounds, the painting was finally exhibited for the first time in the River Arts District this past November via crane (!!!)

For all you non-Ashevillians who write to me wondering what is like to be an artist in Asheville -- this is a video for you to watch.

I recommend visiting this YouTube link to see a bigger and better version of the video.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Kreh Mellick's sublime simplicity

Local artist Kreh Mellick currently has her drawings on display at Tod's Tasties on Montford Avenue near downtown Asheville. Her haunted folklore is rendered in sinewy forms interacting with pattern and confident details -- such as in the beard of "The Sea Captain" and the hair of "The Sea Captain's wife."

What fascinates me about Mellick's work is all of the the empty space surrounding each form --while it contributes to the visual lightness of the work, it also provides an emotional weight. In a sense the empty space becomes it's own character -- every bit as important as the ones she has rendered.

Visit Melick's blog to see more work:

Monday, December 14, 2009

More storefronts for artists please!

Artist Paul Hayes has created a paper mobile, "Giant Ghosts" in an empty storefront at 989 Market St. in San Francisco.
Photo: Lance Iversen / The Chronicle

I really like the idea of artists using vacant storefronts as a space for public art installations. This has been happening in many cities. Two examples of this are:
San Francisco and Toronto. It seems like such an ideal response to the recession -- providing a forum for artists, and benefitting property owners by attracting people to the site and deterring crime. For a more in-depth look at this phenomenon read this NyTimes article by Diane Cardwell

In Asheville, unfortunately, I haven't seen any of this though I have seen some empty store fronts and I have seen some creative window displays for retail shops. One of the most notable is the holiday window display at
The Honey Pot by Tara Jensen who regularly creates mixed media installations. Check it out next time you're on Lexington Avenue in downtown Asheville.

Holiday head used on a mannequin for The Honey Pot display by Tara Jensen

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Art and Life by Adam Smith

Adam Smith's frenzied paintings of sad and funny faces with oversized features caught my eye last year when I saw them hanging at Downtown Books and News on Lexington Avenue. Doing some internet research I came across Smith's website and cheeky blog Art and Life.
How to prepare a painting for hanging (because the artist forgot to) is a particularly entertaining (and helpful) read.
I ran into Smith by chance a few weeks ago and he informed me that he's been working on a new series of paintings of houses. He also let me know that he would soon be leaving Asheville for California. I suspect that he has already left town, but it was fun to have his work around for the brief time he spent here. for more info and images.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Art for the mass-querades

There I was checking out the Riverview Station and I came across Paul Hersey, creator of Organic Armor. He made me wear one of his headpieces while we talked and I fell in love with it. Hersey creates one of a kind costume pieces from latex. They are very wonderful. Check out more at

You can visit Hersey this weekend if you are in Asheville for the River Arts District Studio Stroll

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tara Jensen and Lucky Fruit!

Asheville artist Tara Jensen will be traveling to Tokyo and Osaka, Japan next month to install her latest collection of multi media work entitled Lucky Fruit! Paper cuts, stuffed fruit dolls, paper mache and drawings are just some of the many elements comprising this visually exuberant installation.

Using bright colors and tribal-influenced designs she defines her work as "folkpop." Says Jensen, "I love the vibrant work of Paper Rad and can also get lost in the installation work of Louise Bourgeois. Much of my art depicts colorful fantasy worlds where I find the strength and positivity to work towards a real world that is just, lively and free from suffering."

This Friday, October 23rd Jensen will be having a going away party for all the artwork that she will be shipping to Tokyo and Osaka. Come and see her creations, learn how they were made, and celebrate the completion of Lucky Fruit!

The viewing party is located in Jensen's studio at Handcranked on Tingle Alley, and runs from 6-9PM. She will have art for sale priced at five and ten dollars.

Visit Tara Jensen's blog: for more pics, and to read more about her process and creative insights.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The imagined realms of Jason Sabbides

The paintings and drawings of Asheville artist Jason Sabbides appear to be a free association of ideas and imagery that emerge as the artist develops each piece. Using a classical approach to painting, the "realism" Sabbides achieves is remarkable, while his subject matter is allegorical and fantasy based -- reminiscent of the Renaissance Netherlander painters Hieronymus Bosch and Pieter Bruegel the Elder.

Sabbides begins each painting with a monochromatic under painting, which he overlays repeatedly with glazes - developing highlights and shadows as he progresses. The forms are given the luminosity and timeless three-dimensionality of Renaissance works while evoking a magical and surreal experience.

Currently Sabbides has work on display at PUMP Gallery in The Phil Mechanic Building.

To see more visit

Saturday, October 10, 2009

New paintings by Daniel Nevins

Number 1, 2009
oil and acrylic on wood
48" x 48"

Number 2, 2009
oil and acrylic on wood
48" x 48"

Step into the downstairs gallery at Blue Spiral 1 this month and experience the unbearable lightness of being via 5 brand new oil paintings by Asheville artist Daniel Nevins. I hesitate to call the paintings abstract -- they feel more like representational work - visual descriptions of a multi-dimensional emotional landscape that vibrates with melancholia, sensuality, celebration, anger, hope, confusion, fear and relief all at once.

People familiar with Nevins' paintings may be surprised by the creative and conceptual shift taken in this new body of work. Noticeably absent are the people, faces, and sentimental gestures of earlier paintings. The new paintings are much bigger and display a subtler palette; the central black forms of each are most intriguing. Layers of painterly washes appear beneath meticulously rendered ribbons and tubes, all suspended weightlessly - a far cry from the artist's earlier tightly composed narrative paintings. Flowers appear venerable, seeming wiser and less eager-to-please than the bountiful and colorful bouquets of Nevins' previous works.

See the evolution of Daniel Nevins' art for yourself:

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Karen Havens at FLOOD

New York artist Karen Havens exhibited work at FLOOD last month and I found her installment of paintings and sculpture to be quite profound. Unfortunately I cannot find any information about the artist and was unable to meet her when she was in town for the opening. I hope she continues her artistic pursuits as several people I've spoken with agree that her show was rather exemplary.
Below is the full review I wrote for the Mountain Xpress -- only a portion of it was printed in the paper:

In spite of the lack of titles present at this month’s FLOOD Gallery exhibit; the intention of the work is obvious. Karen Havens' solo exhibit of sculptural installations and 2D works, entitled USED, beautifully suggests the complicated relationship between the emotional being and the physical body.

The work is decidedly female. This is not to be confused with feminine. While there are some applications of pink here and there, the way Haven interprets the female body goes far beyond traditional depictions of the soft and submissive form we’ve become accustomed to in classical Western Art.

The art contains aggressive applications of paint, layers of evocative imagery, and distressed found objects. It’s as if the body and psyche of this artist has turned itself inside out for the world to inspect at close range. While the work is candid, it is not didactic or moralistic. There are no grandiose political statements to be found here. Nevertheless, the drama and assault of Haven’s work will probably turn some people off; others will identify with the artist’s sincere and unapologetic attitude.

Much of the work evokes a female psyche that struggles to make sense of pornographic imagery, memories and the objectification of the female sex. “I didn’t know you had a sister” is scrawled out on one photocopied piece. In others, photocopied erotic imagery is repeated and layered upon itself just enough that that it becomes an abstraction without obscuring the original image.

In one piece (title unavailable) cardboard boxes have been impressed with repeating circular forms of light blue and white, which at first glance appear as topographical map, satellite mages or even sonograms of embryos. Closer examination reveals that the shapes in all probability were produced with paint-slathered breasts, so one wonders if the act of the painting or it’s final product should be considered more.

All the pieces evoke a haunting and disturbed sensation like the sculpture comprised of a torn mattress cover spotted with bloodstains and cigarette burns. A multitude of plastic flowers lie in upheaval before it as if someone has placed flowers at a tombstone or alter. Bright orange circus peanuts are strewn amongst the flowers. What has happened on the mattress is left to the imagination -- the end result suggests a saddened state of a culture’s objectification around the spectacle of violence.

Another sculpture utilizes mesh pantyhose stuffed with marshmallows draped over roof tiles hammered through and through with tiny nails whose sharp ends jut out on the other side. A garland of cigarette butts along with a plastic bag filled with ashes and cig butts ornament the piece. Remarkably, the shadow cast by the sculpture reveals 3 veiled female forms marching in ceremonial procession.

Monday, October 5, 2009

This World and Nearer Ones

18 installations comprised Creative Time's exhibition This World and Nearer Ones curated by Mark Beasley which was located mostly on Governors Island. "Governors Island is a modern ruin on the verge of rehabilitation" Beasley writes, "The works assembled employ Spiritualism, science fiction, poetry, spoken word, tonality and dissonance, temporary architecture, and the projected image to reflect displaced states and the neither/nor."

I wasn't able to see all 18 installations, but the ones I did have an opportunity to experience moved me deeply. The underlying theme primarily seemed to be that history is written by the winners, and here the artists are appropriating history in alliance with the losers, the marginalized, the unspoken for, and the condemned.

Between You and I Anthony McCall 2006

I started off going directly to The St. Cornelius Chapel that housed the video installation of Anthony McCall. Here McCall used a simple projector and vapor to create architectural cones of light. Projectors installed on the ceiling cast slow rotating beams of light which seemed to create walls when reflecting against the mist. There was a hushed reverence amongst the crowd of spectators who moved slowly through the cascading light beams. This exhibit garnered the loudest "oohs and ahhs" for its kinetic and visual excitement, though I found that the subtler installations on the island spoke louder to me.

"Insular Act" was performed by the Mexican artist collective Tercerunquinto. A few weeks before the exhibit opened they threw a rock through one of the islands historic buildings. The simple act was planned out through elaborate storyboards, and then filmed and photographed to prove it had actually happened. Soon after they threw the rock, a fresh pane of glass replaced the shattered one - and if the collective hadn't documented the act there would be no physical trace that it had ever happened.

Invocation of the Queer Spirits through a peephole.

Another installation/performance that occurred prior to the opening of This World and Nearer Ones was "Invocation of the Queer Spirits" by AA Bronson and Peter Hobbs. Here the artists performed a sacred ritual to contact the queer spirits that had once lived and died on Governors Island. The material remains of the seance were on view through peepholes carved out in locked doors - a metaphor of the marginalization of queer communities. Through the peepholes (drilled out at suggestive heights) one sees the burned down candles, empty booze bottles, tapestries, offerings, food, and ashtrays -- the ghosts of the happening that had occurred there. "Queer communities have often overlapped with the histories of psychics, spiritualists, witches, and shamans, as well as the histories of all-male communities such as explorers, traders, loggers, cowboys, and the military." (All of which Governor's Island had plenty.) The exhibit invites us to "Think again about what is valued and what is excised from our collective history."

Land of the Free Photograph by Josh Robinson

I was particularly moved by the video "The Land of the Free" by Judi Werthein. Here she collaborated with a group of Colombian musicians on a remix of the US national anthem. She gave the musicians a Spanish translation of The Star Spangled Banner and asked them to reinterpret the words to craft an original song. She films the front of the group and the back of the group which are shown simultaneously on a two-sided screen that hangs in the middle of the room. From the front we see the musicians in their colorful attire performing the song, and from the back we see subtitles of the newly interpreted anthem "You say you can see/Does the flag still wave over the land of the free?" The work suggests that cultural history is always subject to new translations; they may be appropriated, rewritten, and made to tell a completely different story.
You can watch a brief video of the original video here

Click Here to read about all of the works and artists of This World and Nearer Ones.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Going Dutch

There were a couple of art shows happening simultaneously on Governors Island while I was there. It was a little confusing since everything seemed to be mixed together and I only had two hours to enjoy it all (on top of taking in the island itself.)
The Pioneers of Change exhibit highlighted various aspects of Dutch design while an invitational exhibition called This World Nearer Ours was installed through the public arts advocacy group Creative Time Both shows utilized empty buildings on Governor's Island in varying and interesting ways, and both were so grand that I will have to write about This World Nearer Ours in a separate post.

Designer Lotte Dekker developed a new view of gluing porcelain based on kintsugi, an old Japanese technique in which porcelain is repaired with gold leaf. It’s an extremely time-consuming, expensive method. Dekker found Bison glue to be the perfect Western variant for making beautiful yet simple repairs.

Highlights from the Dutch festival included Repair Manifesto which was set up by the art group Platform 21. This exhibit demonstrated ways to creatively repair broken things as metaphor for fixing a damaged economic system. Included was special wallpaper designed to cover chips in walls, and a group was sewing wool felt into the worn out parts of old Persian rug hung on the wall with veins of neon blue felt running through it.
I encourage you to read Platform 21's Repair Manifesto It makes a lot of sense.

Also noteworthy was the house that artists were "accessorizing" with handmade lace and beautiful fiber decorations. Paralleling the building with the human body, doorknobs, banisters, holes in walls and radiators were decorated with simple pieces constructed by Dutch and American designers.

Videos of the real time clocks of Maarten Baas were installed throughout one building. With his clocks Baas makes us aware of time by showing it passing in ‘real time’. He makes clocks by projecting footage of people in action, and their recorded movements become the clock hands, moving minute by minute.

Then there was the huge woolen carpet that Christien Meindertsma was knitting with her six-foot-long needles using wool from three different species of Dutch sheep.
Meindertsma is interested in the origin of things, raw materials and the history of techniques. She also made a book called, PIG 05049, in which she shows all kinds of products that have been made out of a single pig, unraveling the lack of transparency in the world of products. Simply fascinating.

The Slow Cafe also peeked my interest though I didn't have time to enjoy it (not surprisingly.) In wake of the Slow foods movement all the food was prepared by elderly chefs, teabags were constructed on site, menus embroidered by hand, and food portions were dependent on the distance they had to travel -- a salad made with local greens, for example, was abundant compared to a banana pudding which might have been the size of a dime.

To learn more about all of the projects and art groups involved with the Pioneers of Change go to www.pioneers of

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Haunted Paradise: Part One

Governors Island

There I was in NYC trying to decide which galleries and museums to check out during my all-too-brief stay a couple of weeks ago. I had only a few days, and most of them were filled up with friends, parks, and food dates. I even got to play tennis at the courts in the Bay Ridge Neighborhood which was very funny considering the noisy traffic that prevented us from holding any interesting conversation beyond screaming out the score before serving. Also our newly purchased fluorescent green balls turned grey from the dirt on the courts after just one hour.

Spaetzle is a German noodle dish

While drunkenly scarfing down a late night (early morning) plate of spaetzle at Prime Meats in Brooklyn my friend suggested I visit Governor's Island to see the current art shows there. "What's Governor's Island?" I asked, and she proceeded to describe the fascinating history of this place that has served as a US military base since the 1930's. In 2002 the federal Government sold the island back to NYC for one dollar and since then the city has been trying to figure out its future design.

This was the first I had ever heard of Governor’s Island, and I couldn’t shake the dystopic images that kept coming to mind of abandoned military barracks and deteriorating colonial style buildings filled with artistic sculptural installations. It sounded like my dream come true and I couldn’t wait to get there.

This is what I imagined. I wasn't disappointed.

To my understanding the island had not been very accessible to the public before this summer. I've been hearing differing reports of tours offered in recent years on rare occasions or that its interior was closed off and that people could only walk or bike around it's perimeter. But this year Governor's Island has been free (free!) and open to the public Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays all summer and will continue to be open on weekends until October 11th. You can catch a ferry out of Brooklyn at the Fulton Ferry Landing or from Manhattan out of the Battery Maritime Building for free. (FREE!)

I did not take this picture but it looks similar to what I saw at the Fulton Ferry Landing

So the next day I’m waiting in line for the ferry looking around at all the gorgeous people waiting with me, at the wedding group that’s getting their photos taken on the pier while the Brooklyn Bridge looms gloriously in the background. Contrary to popular belief, people are really really nice in NYC. The sun is shining and everyone has their sunglasses on, talking excitedly about the art shows on Governor’s island, or waiting with their bikes to explore the island fully. So many people were waiting to get out to the island that my friends and I were unable to board the first ferry that arrived. When the second came we hopped aboard and merrily rode the waves over.

I wish I could impress on you the haunted paradise that is Governors Island. From the boat I could see throngs of happy people looking to escape the daily grind of city living roaming the lawns and crumbling sidewalks, luscious trees and quaint colonial houses dotting the grounds. My first impression was that I was back in Iceland where things seem simple and parochial, even innocent, but the military buildings were grave reminders of institutional and nightmarish things.

Hope for the future: abandoned military buildings

I step onto the island trying to wrap my head around this relatively small place (172 acres) that was originally occupied by the Lenape Indians, bought by the Dutch in 1637, (allegedly for two axe heads, a string of beads, and some nails.) inhabited by Dutch settlers, taken over by the British who surrendered it to NY State in 1783 and ultimately ceded to the United States for military purposes in 1800.
The Treaty of Penn with Indians by Benjamin West. One of the scariest paintings I have ever seen.

So much history, so much ghostly gorgeousness, and then there was the art… I’ll write about what I saw in future posts but lets just say that there was no need to visit any galleries or museums after what I saw that day on Governor’s Island.

Governors Island Blog

Monday, September 14, 2009

Hannah Dansie

Be sure to stop by The Clingman Cafe in the River Arts District to see the multimedia work of Hannah Dansie. The show emerges powerfully with it's simple compositions and warmly structured forms. I especially like the way Dansie lets each object speak for itself without fuss or visual clutter.

Friday, September 11, 2009

For the Love of Marshall

Marshall NC is worth visiting not only for it's gorgeousness and gorgeousity, but also for it's low-key cultural hiptitude. Reasonable rents and a small population (900) are what lure many an artistic individual wishing to escape the confines of city life.

The Madison County Arts Council frequently exhibits interesting art shows and acts as a music venue most Friday nights. Currently Laura Marsico is displaying her site specific installation, 33. (pictured above.) Says Marsico: "'33' is a reflection of the dichotomy between resources and resourcefulness, roots and growth, space and imagination, pattern and organization...and, ultimately, the plasticity of nature. Within a forest of collected and altered throwaways, all of the aforementioned relationships bring to light the question of settling, hiding and wandering in this existence."
The show will be on display until October 2nd.

Across the river from downtown sits Marshall High Studios - an old high school that has been renovated into 25 artists studios. It is a must-see for visitors. Rumors have it that the school was slated for demolition but through heavy donations and investments a group in town was able to save it. The history and integrity of the original school have not been lost in the remodeling - it is an amazing accomplishment that such an institutional building has been put to good use by artists.
Read more about the Marshall High Studios and Laura Marsico's installation:
Marshall: The South of France of the South
MtnXpress 08/26/09

Monday, September 7, 2009

Beatriz Mendoza

The precisely rendered drawings of Beatriz Mendoza are currently on display in the newly renovated showroom of Bobo Gallery on Lexington Avenue.
Read more about Mendoza, her art, and her experience as a scientific illustrator, in this Mountain Xpress article I wrote about her.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Rose Candela

miss/salvage/internalize mixed media on paper 2009

One easily gets lost following the maze of obsessively rendered patterns found within each drawing by Asheville artist, Rose Candela. The eye happily settles on a little creature from time to time or teeny messages/codes written by the artist, obscured so that only the most committed viewer will be able to decipher them.

miss/salvage/internalize (pictured above) reveals an aerial view of a place upon which the artist has rendered a gossamer landscape. Appealing to my metaphysical sensibilities, the sentiment here seems to be: There is the material world, and then everything else which is reality.

Rose Candela is exhibiting her celestial drawings at the PUMP Gallery thru September 30 in her solo show "He Used to Profess."
Read more about her art and the use of text in this article written by Carol Motsinger for the Asheville Citizen Times to see more of Candela's work.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Advice from the Art

Gabriel Shaffer

I've been curious about how artists actually make a living in Asheville, NC. Most artists I know collect their income via a hodgepodge of activities and freelance work. I decided to interview Gabriel Shaffer for the Mountain Xpress because I see his paintings everywhere, and he's an outspoken person with a lot of things to say about a lot of things.

In the end I found his outlook quite refreshing. I know not every artist feels the same way he does, but we all approach what we do with different intentions. For Shaffer, making a living via his artwork is his goal, and it seems to me that his work has never been compromised in order to do so.

And anyway, I'm starting to think there's no such thing as a sell out artist anyway. Who am I or anyone to be a judge of such things? We all have to make compromises and shmooze it a little here and there no matter if we're homeless or billionaires.

Read the
full interview here.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

RIP Cali: a site specific installation

Don't worry, the cat is not dead in this picture

After my beloved cat Cali heaved her last dignified breaths in the privacy of my apartment, I had to figure out where to bury her. Unsure about the laws regarding such matters, I enlisted my friend Courtney to help me dig a hole somewhere remote.

Our first attempt at this failed as the ground was too rooted and rocky to get deeper than one inch. Desperate, we decided to hit a public patch of land where we knew the soil would be softer and easier to get a shovel in.

As we were digging the hole I spotted one of those do gooder neighborhood-watch type ladies circling the property with her dog. They both had their eyes on us.

"I swear to god if she comes over here tell her we're doing an art project or something," I whispered to Courtney.

I put the shovel down and started walking to the car to retrieve my little corpse announcing loudly over my shoulder "I'm just gonna go grab the camera okay??"

From the backseat of the car I watched the woman approach Courtney. They exchanged some words and then the woman walked away.

According to Courtney the conversation went something like this:

Neighborhood Watch Lady: I see you're digging a hole.

Courtney: yup.

NWL: Whatcha gonna put in it?

Courtney: It's an art project for school

NWL: Oh! Like Andy Goldsworthy!

Courtney: yes. exactly.

The lesson of the story is: If you're in a sticky situation and don't know how to get out of it, just tell them it's art.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Soundclash: It's electric


I'm not sure how many people in Asheville are aware that there is actually a thriving scene of musicians (nerds?) who compose really amazing music on their laptops and loop machines. This Saturday night several of the finest electronic musicians our humble town has to offer will be appearing at the Orangepeel. Some of these musicians (Auracene, J.R.R. Fool Killer, Kimathir) have composed soundtracks for movies or have appeared on national bestselling cds (Auracene.) Others have toured internationally (DoomRibbons) or received worldwide notoriety for their musical accomplishments (sys-hex, pomme de terre, IO)

Purists out there often scoff at the idea of making music on computers, but like any instrument, it takes time and inspiration to produce complex soundscapes via digital software. I've heard arguments that electronic musicians are simply allowing the software to make the music, but thats like saying that filmmakers allow the camera to dictate their cinematography or editing. The computer or electronic device is simply another instrument and how the musician handles it is where the artistry lies. 

Not only does this show promise to be a diverse sonic experience, but visuals will be provided by infamous VJ
The Moon Foetus Proceeds from the show will go towards the brand-spanking new local radio station Asheville FM.

Here's some links to quell your anticipation:


Music to Chaos in Berlin trailer by pomme de terre



Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Do it Yourself Art Show

Painting by Courtney Chappell

Asheville, NC is a relatively small city with a large percentage of the population living and working as visual artists, performers, and musicians. The number of decent contemporary galleries to talented artists is really low so artists look for other creative ways to exhibit and celebrate their art locally.
One such method is the private home show or studio sale. This Thursday evening the apartment of Erin Fussell will be temporarily transformed into a gallery where she will exhibit work by local talents that don't often show work in Asheville. 
The line up includes:
Erin Fussell, Emily Baker, Jana Busbin, Courtney Chappell, Emily Crabtree, Michael Iauch, Justin Rabuck, Melita Kyriakou, Andy Herod, Sarah Cavalieri, Katie Johnson, Ian Dennis, Shawn Peters, and  Christine Maiello 
Meghan Mulhearn will play some beautiful music around 9pm. 

Thursday, August 13, 2009
7:00pm - 11:30pm
Corner of Chestnut St. and Merrimon Ave.
116 E Chestnut Apt. 25, Jefferson Building
Asheville, NC

I heartily support these forms of alternative exhibition in Asheville. Now I just wish we could get our hands on some of those empty storefronts...

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Phil Mechanic Building this friday night!

Chaos Detail Beatriz Mendoza graphite on paper

fings break, colonel Brent Fleury

Friday August 7th FLOOD Gallery presents Oh Kaos a group show involving an array of interpretations on the theme of chaos. There will be live performance art, video, interactive sound sculptures and a variety of other visual art forms produced by local and national artists. Be sure to come to the opening to see the performance art but the show will run until September 5th.
Visit for more information about the artists involved.

Comics and Stories Part 1
2006 Merlin Strivelli,
mixed media

PUMP Gallery is also exhibiting the fantastical paintings of Merlin Strivelli.
The work is super inspired and sure to engage viewers with its off beat and charged imagery.

The openings are happening simultaneously from 7-10pm in the Phil Mechanic Building located at 109 Roberts St. in the River Arts District.
Performances start around 9:00.

Click here to see a video by one of the performers, Vitiatra

Monday, August 3, 2009

Is it cheating to use photographs?

Queen of the Wasps oil on canvas 40"x 30" 2007

Many artists these days paint from photographs or trace projected images onto their substrate - techniques which are frequently dismissed as "cheating." As an artist who garners source material from the Internet and personal photographs, I have often been asked my opinion in this matter. Here it is:

I have seen portraits/still lifes/landscapes etc painted from live subject matter that are derivative and staid, and I've seen paintings that were obviously traced from projections that are vital and imaginative. And vice versa. Ultimately, it doesn't matter to me what technique the artist uses, as long as the final painting is successful.

Furthermore, devices like Photoshop, projectors, photographs, and The Internet are reflections of the times we are living in. To expect that these methods not enter contemporary artwork is completely regressive.

To read an in depth critique on this subject visit this ARTnews link

Monday, July 27, 2009

A little chat with Jaye Bartell

Some of Jaye's stuff.

Pilgrim plays this friday evening at The Bebe Theatre in conjunction with John Crutchfeld's play "Songs of Robert."
If you miss this performance do not fret because Pilgrim will also be playing at Bobo's Saturday night.
Jaye Bartell is Pilgrim. With his haunting lyrics and simple melodies he is one of my favorite singer/songwriters -- Watching Pilgrim play live is always a captivating experience - Not just for his stance and delivery
, but for the revolving musicians that accompany him and evolve the music.
Below is an interview I recently conducted with Bartell via chat on the internet.
Check out his music at
You can download his entire album "Feeling Better Pilgrim"

me: Okay I got them.

I'm thinking I should...interview you!

for the blog, man.

: yeah!

11:56 AM


me: For reelz!

Jaye: yeah, let's do it

give it a try

me: Right noW??

Jaye: I don't think I can

ask me a question though

me: okay.

hold on.

11:57 AM

Jaye: or type questions, I'll print it, and answer on my break

me: which comes first, the lyric or the melody?

11:58 AM

How has your experience as a poet effected the music?

11:59 AM

(help me out here.)

just talk about stuff...

Jaye: hold on

me: whatever you think you want to have expressed

Jaye: The melody typically begins the writing process. A lyrical phrase is then developed from a phonetic origin. It could be that there are semantic qualities to certain melodies, but the enduring interest is speech, or lyric speech, melodic speech. Robert Kocik (Check sp.)in NY has done some intriguing work on the semantic value of sounds, of phonemes specifically--the basic sonic aspects of speech. I'd like to claim that I operate with those concepts in mind, because they have more weight perhaps than matching "don't leave me" to "do re me," but I can only do so much.

12:06 PM

me: hee hee

tell me more!

12:07 PM

Tell me more about your instrumentation choices with Pilgrim

12:11 PM

Jaye: In poetry, I went for the musicality in language, with a major interest in rhythm. The old "machine made of words," making it move, that the writing would comprise, would be, not portray, an act of speech. Since music is necessarily active, and so temporal (at least in the way I'm currently doing it), I find that I'm focusing less on formal elements, although movement and vitality will always be important. With respect to both activities, and any other that may come along, all I require is that the process engages, that the materials respond to efforts, to ideas, impulses, and "the need to get said what must be said."

12:14 PM

me: Can you please tell me about your musical training/education..formal or otherwise.

12:15 PM

please include aesthetic/artistic inspirations etc

12:16 PM

Jaye: I can't say that I have been able to make any choices with instruments at this point. I want to play with an orchestra. The Asheville Symphony, I don't care. I'm doing as much as possible with what comes readily to hand. There are over 80 instruments in an orchestra, yet they all work subtly together, with swells and rises from time to time. I resist the muddle because my mind is so muddled to begin with. All that said, I'll just as happily play alone and pursue that kind of fullness with presence alone, of voice and whatever else.

12:19 PM

me: What kind of things do you like to surround yourself with?

What do you avoid and why?

12:20 PM

Jaye: Influences vary greatly, and I'm afraid that I can't admit them without lying to make myself seem more interesting. You should flip through my records and make a small list (But don’t mention Lou Reed or Leonard Cohen because that’s too obvious.)

12:21 PM

writers are always of interest, even with writing music.

12:22 PM

Creeley, Camus, Olson.



hold on..

12:23 PM

me: I need to do some stuff.. I will be back

12:25 PM

Jaye: R. Bresson wrote in "Notes on the cinematographer" to "avoid paroxysm of emotion, because tantrums of any sort are all the same." I like that.

me: whats a paroxysm?

12:26 PM

What's wrong with having tantrums be the same?

12:27 PM

Jaye: They have no dimension

Why scream in horror if it's the same as screaming in pain?

Why yell when it's the same as laughing?

12:28 PM

me: How is it the same?

I know I'm being too literal, but the perspective could be that the subtleties are just as important.

Jaye: Anybody can do them

12:29 PM

me: because everybody feels them

Jaye: at any time

so why communicate what is so common as to be granted?

12:30 PM

me: because it's a matter of empathy?

12:31 PM

Jaye: but what's the value in that?

me: I need to read the thing, but I think that the nuances of each tantrum is important

Jaye: In many ways, there is no nuance

me: because its how we relate to each other.

Jaye: I'm talking about in art here

12:32 PM

not an argument, or at the kitchen table

in film, music, poetry

me: what is the alternative?

Jaye: Not seeming to be something

Not indicating or dramatizing

12:33 PM

me: but everyone's definitions of those words are different

12:34 PM

Jaye: sure

12:35 PM

I give up

me: I mean, imagine if Martha Stewart threw a tantrum? an artistic tantrum? how awesome would that be, but then again, who's to say she's not doing that right now with her self referential magazine and cooking show.

maybe it's all a tantrum

like everyone's art, all the time is a tantrum of sorts

Jaye: The intensity to your response is the same intensity of response given by everybody else when they respond intensely

12:36 PM

As such, I can dismiss it as "intense"

Or folk music.

me: like whatever, take a chill pill man.

12:39 PM

Jaye: You're right about celebrity tantrums, blow-ups and outs. I think daily of Bill O'Reilly screaming "fucking thing sucks" at the camera back when he had an anchorman job and haircut. It was much better than French film.

12:40 PM