Thursday, November 16, 2017

Ashville, North Carolina - I never thought of it as a pit stop...

Our whole road trip's schedule got messed up on day two, by a rutting deer leaping into the passenger side of our car in a suicidal frenzy.  Fortunately, we were unhurt and the car was still operable so we carried on with the vacation despite our trauma.

We still had from 2:00 - 5:00 pm in Ashville last Sunday, which happened to be the weekend of Studio Stroll in the River Arts District.  There were many more than 50+ artists.  This sign was just for one of many warehouses filled with studios in the district.

Artists were demonstrating their techniques:

It is always exciting for me to see other artists work spaces, especially when it is a medium I don't work in myself, like this glass and mosaic artist:

I met Lynn Bregman Blass who is a fellow former Californian, and is also a psychotherapist as well as artist.  I was very taken with her work, including, as well as her encaustics.

Here she is amidst an installation hanging from the very high ceiling in her studio, made from "scraps" from the visual history project.  We have much in common, including knowing that sometimes the "scraps" are the best part.

There was also an exhibit of vintage theater posters, of which this was my favorite:

I only made it to a portion of River Walk, but enough that I got the flavor.  A lot of folks were out enjoying the stroll:

Fortunately, there was also time to get to Blue Spiral I Gallery in the downtown arts district, a large gallery with museum quality work.  I could have easily spent much more time there, but they kicked us out at closing.

This was a very poignant exhibit, portraits of the faculty of this legendary experimental college that was founded in 1933 and closed in 1957.  

Robert Rauschenberg:

Helen Frankenthaler:

Willem De Kooning:

Cy Twombly:

Robert Motherwell:

It was an entire wall of these 12" x 12" portraits. (There wasn't time to take more photos because of the gallery's closing.)  Seeing all their faces together made a deep impression.  Intellectually I had known they were all at Black Mountain over the years, including John Cage, Merce Cunningham, et al.  But seeing their portraits in that location, in the beauty and isolation of the mountains, made it alive and real and brought them present.  

It may have only been a pit stop, not as long as I would have liked to be in Ashville.  But seeing the wall of portraits of the Black Mountain College faculty was a connection with the real Ashville, a reminder of why Ashville is such a mecca for all the arts today.  With that, it was time to get on the road again.

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