Thursday, August 26, 2010




"In case you were wondering, each piece takes about a month to puzzle out, assemble the found materials (continuously collected over the last 20 years or more), try out a zillion options, and carefully put it all together," says Mark Hosler who currently exhibits work at The Sean Pace Gallery in downtown Asheville.

Hosler claims his visual art isn't about anything particular. "I am almost embarrassed to say, [they] are mostly about the surfaces. I simply hope that you get up real close, touch the work if you want to, find yourself muttering "But....what the hell is that?."

There's something more going on to all this -- more than just surfaces. I mean, this is Mark Hosler we're talking about. He has worked tirelessly on alternative copyright practices with Creative Commons and has also lobbied the United States Congress for Digital Freedom. His band was sued by U2 back in 1991 for the song, U2, a melodic sound collage involving Casey Kasem and that song "Still haven't found what I'm looking For."

This exhibit is a glimpse into the inner workings of a creatively manic, droll, and very judicious person. A narrative element is present in much of the work -- like the lightbulb nestled in silver trimmings, or a burnt tie which breezes over the words, "scattered and smothered." A broken ceramic hand bears the title Kind of Grumpy. In another piece, a sea of google eyes are meticulously glued onto a board while a cell phone appears to be emerging from beneath like an ancient relic surfacing in a cauldron of tadpole eggs and pig ears.

Nostalgic items cleverly placed within contemporary formats make this a very entertaining and endearing exhibit.

Favorite Things will be on display until September 26th.
The Sean Pace Gallery is located at 5 Walnut St. in downtown Asheville between Lexington and Broadway.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Cher Shaffer

“All I have to do is be quiet for a few moments, and the images come to me. Whatever that image is, it has a life before it ever arrived on a piece of paper, or a canvas, or a piece of clay by my hand.” -Cher Shaffer

Many of Shaffer’s newest pieces, both drawings and dolls, were created as a response to the Gulf Coast oil spill, and she sees them as a way to heal the environmental devastation there. Several drawings appear buoyant, but they came from a deep place within Shaffer. “I started to dream that I was in the ocean with the animals, watching the oil bubble up,” she says.

Shaffer, 63, has been making art since she was five. Back then, she made dolls out of clay dug from the banks of the Georgia River. Today she still creates her “spirit dolls” from regional clay and stains them with earth pigments just after they leave the kiln to give them an aged appearance. The dots and lines that ornament their bodies are spirit lines, she says, places for energy to enter and exit the body. Shaffer is a self-taught artist, and she says her Cherokee and Melungeon ancestors inspire many images and forms in her work. “It’s as if they are standing right beside me,” she says of her Cherokee forebears.

--Excerpted from "What Lies Beneath: The Gulf oil spill haunts a folk artist’s dreams." Verve Magazine, August 2010
Read the full article here

Cher Shaffer will be exhibiting her drawings at the Greehill Center for NC art in Greensboro
September 10th - October 31st

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Fine art photography in Asheville

Photo by Danel Kariko

In spite of the bounty of Asheville-based photographers, there is a dearth of fine art photography galleries in Asheville. To deal with this, photographer Brie Castell has opened a gallery right off of Eagle Street in downtown Asheville. Refreshingly, the gallery is dedicated to featuring only photo-based media -- a departure from the galleries in town that exhibit mostly paintings and sculpture.

Much of the work in the gallery is of internationally based artists, and it's nice to get a whiff of the outside world here. At the moment Castell and Bridget Conn are the only local photographers exhibited.

Currently Castell Photography Salon & Gallery exhibits the photography of Daniel Kariko. Using a pinhole camera, Kariko documents the Louisiana wetlands post Katrina for his compelling Storm Series collection.

If you have a penchant for fine art photography and nifty off-the-beaten-path places, I would like to encourage you to check this gallery out.
2C Wilson Alley Asheville, NC
open Wed-Sat. 12-5
or by appointment
828.255.1188 to see more of Castell's work and a look at the gallery to see more of Florida-based artist Daniel Kariko to see more of Asheville-based artist Bridget Conn

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Touch This!

Isn't it such a drag when you visit a museum and you're not allowed to touch anything?

This Thursday evening, for one night only, Erin Fussell and Emily Baker are converting their apartment into a gallery where all the work on display is touchable.

Participating artists include: Erin Fussell, Emily Baker, Sarah Cavalieri, Ursula Gullow, Courtney Chappell, Alli Good, Sarah Danforth, Steve Spurgeon, Katie Johnson, Leila Amiri, Daniel Abide, Anna Thompson, Megan McKissack, Virginia Aberle, Marin Mitchell, Butch, Luke and musical installation by Ross Gentry

The event is located at 116 E Chestnut St. Apt. 25 (corner of Chestnut and Merrimon)
Thursday August 12th 7-10pm

(Here's an explanation of the piece I'm including in the show.)

Monday, August 9, 2010

New Art Exhibit by Mark Hosler (Negativland)

Mark Hosler, a founding member of the arts and music collective Negativland, opens his exhibition entitled Favorite Things in Asheville this weekend at The Sean Pace Gallery on Walnut Street.

Favorite Things is a selection of Hosler's current and older work taken from Negativland's much larger traveling art/installation group show called Negativlandland that has been exhibited in New York, Minneapolis, Seattle, London and Miami. Some of the works are illustrations of musical tracks on a Negativland CD called "Thigmotactic."

Here's what Hosler has to say about his visual art:

I simply hope that you get up real close, touch the work if you want to, find yourself muttering "But....what the hell is that?," and ultimately find a kind of odd and flowing beauty in how carefully and unlikely the various found materials are put together.
I am also aiming for a sense that you can't quite tell when the work was made or how old it is. And in case you were wondering, each piece takes about a month to puzzle out, assemble the found materials (continuously collected over the last 20 years or more), try out a zillion options, and carefully put it all together.

Opening Reception is Saturday August 14th 6-10pm

Monday, August 2, 2010

Lisa Nance mural at Downtown Books and News

While strolling through Downtown Books and News this weekend, I was delighted to discover a wonderful new edition to the store.

Recently DBN manager, Julian Vorus, had the walls of the store painted a crisp shade of white, but he noticed that handprints kept appearing on the door to his office. To fix this problem, Vorus commissioned local artist Lisa Nance to paint this mural.

The books on the shelf contain the names of people who have worked at DBN or have been associated with the store in some way. I love the little Star Wars creatures.

This is Retail, the cat who made DBN her home for over a decade. Retail passed away more than 3 years ago. She was crotchety and adorable. She had a little lightening bolt on her head. We all were sad when she died and I think this is the perfect homage to her.

You can find the mural in the magazine section of the store which is located at 67 N. Lexington Ave.

View more of Lisa Nance's work at