Saturday, April 4, 2009

Raleigh! Art! Yessss!!

Last night – First Friday here in Raleigh - was singularly pleasant: good art, good people, and good weather (finally! Jeez.) Despite my gripings about lousy bus service and the overall suburbanity (is this a word?) of Raleigh, some days it definitely comes through with Quality Stuff, artwise and otherwise. I stopped into Morning Times to catch the current show, featuring works by artists involved in the Bain Project. I was asking myself, "who is this Luke Miller Buchanan kid whose work I've seen all over lately and why haven't I seen it sooner? Because it's awesome." (In doing a little bit of research, I've found that he's part of the Bonded Llama posse, good stuff).
This painting by Luke Miller Buchanan

Next stop was Artspace; but first, a stop into Sosta Café, which I hadn't expected to be open so late – but they were showing some art, and therefore participating in First Friday. A funny discovery was made, which may speak to the smallness of Raleigh – it turns out that one of the two owners of Sosta is married to my dentist (Rebecca Schmorr). It was a nice discovery to make though, given that I love Sosta, and I love this dentist. A winning combination.

As for Artspace, good stuff going on there... loved the "Recreation" show currently in the upfront gallery by the awesome artists (and forces behind Visual Art Exchange) Sarah Powers and Rachel Herrick. I also stopped in at the studio of current Regional Emerging Artist in Residence (R.E.A.R., yes, this makes for an odd acronym) Megan Sullivan, who makes clever, whimsical and overall excellent fabric/thread-based art, an interesting combo teetering between 2-D and 3-D. Groovy stuff. Then I stopped by the studio of the awesome photographer Alison Overton, whose work grabbed me from the very first time I ever set foot in Artspace in 2007. Gorgeous, eerie work – we have one of her prints of an abandoned house, and I absolutely love it.

This photo by Alison Overton - title is Bending not Breaking, medium is transparent oil paint on silver gelatin print, image size 10" x 10", framed size 20" x 16, image is from 2008

After that I took a trip over to 311 West Martin Street to see the current show at Flanders 311 and in the 311 hallway, and to visit with the folks there. You may recall, this is where I’ve had my studio since December 2007, most recently sharing space with Shaun Richards. However, I've decided that I won’t be keeping a separate studio any more, for the time being... I do all of my painting in my home studio at this point, anyway. It's kind of sad, though, because I miss the people over there – Julie Niskanen, Susan Martin, Judy Jones, Shaun of course, Kim and Dan Chapin, Kristianne Ripple, all good people and groovy artists. I'll miss them (sniff!) In fact, another funny thing - in visiting Artspace, I checked out the current "New Works" exhibition, juried by Trevor Schoonmaker of the Nasher Museum over at Duke... and it's funny, because I realize that, out of the artists selected for the exhibit, 4 of them are from the ole 311: myself, Shaun, Judy and Susan. And, funnily enough, out of the 4 awards given by the juror, 3 were given to 311 peeps!! (Shaun got "Best in Show", Susan got third place, and I got an honorable mention). Whooo for the 311!!!! I'm so bummed that I'm not going to be there anymore... sigh.

One last thing, because this post isn't *quite* long enough – M Street Gallery, located within 311 but sadly closing at the end of this month, had a great show of work by Jenny Eggleston: surreal and meticulous nature studies rendered in graphite. Good stuff. Again, I should have taken note of her work sooner. And so should you!!

this drawing by Raleigh artist Jenny Eggleston.

In summation: Raleigh has some darn good people, and some darn good art. Yeahhhh!!!