I was in North Carolina last month. It was hot, but cool in most of the galleries – though I must say that there were quite a few spaces without AC.
The Ashville area just oozes with artwork. It is everywhere you turn, in large quantities. And galleries feel healthy. Most of the work is high craft. Labored, labored, labored – some of the woodwork made me tired just to look at it – mostly because I happen to hate sanding. Everything is beautiful, honed and you want to caress it all.
But, unless you count the use of pithy sayings, I saw very little work with content. The artwork is completely non-confrontational. The challenge, I guess, is in the craft: See how good I am? My skills are honed over generations. Pretty, pretty, pretty.
But where are the issues? I know the area has them because I saw guys in dresses, heard tourists complain about all the tattoos and the area professes to be very GLBT friendly, but also houses a whole lot of Christian religion. You know there must be issues. I was there for less than a week and perhaps I did not know where to look but these do not appear to be reflected in the art. Beauty is beautiful, but to really keep my interest I need a little more on the cerebral side.
A few things I saw that I especially enjoyed in Asheville:
Jack Tworvac, poor man’s Abstract Expressionist, at the Black Mount College Museum
Ceramic fortune cookies printed to look like dollars
A small watch repair shop with stuff piled high on every level surface (above)
The cobblestones and rock face at the Grove Park Inn (below)
My friend’s beautiful, peaceful, tidy home back in the woods with a lovely view of the mountains