Art of cycling comes to High Point this week

Above, Jeff Horney, executive director of the Theatre Art Galleries, describes one of this year’s entries. At far left, City Cycles, an oil painting by Matthew Scott Myers. Pictured at left are entries in last year’s Five Leading Lights exhibit. | @jeffreysykes

Art  and sport come together this week in High Point with a themed exhibition kicking off a weekend of cycling.

The 2014 High Point Cycling Classic takes place Friday and Saturday in downtown High Point. The event will determine the USA Cycling Professional Criterium National Championship for both men and women on Saturday. Racers will compete on a .95-mile course, with the start/ finish line at the Mendenhall Transportation Terminal across from the Showplace showroom on East Commerce Avenue.

It’s the fifth year for the event, and the second in which the national championships have been determined in High Point.

Seizing on the crowds and excitement, it’s also the second year for the cyclingthemed exhibitions at the Theatre Art Galleries.

Kristy Thomas, gallery curator at the Center for Visual Arts in Greensboro, served as juror for the exhibition. She selected 46 cycling-themed works in a variety of mediums representing 40 different artists who submitted pieces for the exhibit. The 2nd Annual Juried Invitational Exhibition begins Friday, with an opening reception from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

A second exhibit in Gallery B will showcase the art of the bicycle form. The show, Five Leading Lights, features nationally known custom bike builders. Each craftsman entered into the show will display one completed bicycle and one custom frame.

Jeff Horney, executive director of the Theatre Art Galleries, is excited about the juried exhibit, but his enthusiasm for the Five Leading Lights is palpable. “Leading light” is a cycling term for “being out front,” Horney said. The five artists in the show (Chris Bishop, Bruce Gordon, Drew Guldalian, Curtis Inglis and Mitch Pryor) should draw a lot of attention.

“These are people in the cycling world who are well known. They have a following,” Horney said.

The main exhibit has attracted artists from around the world who want to celebrate the beauty of cycling. Pieces include photographs of a cyclist’s shadow, mixed-media entries such as wooden blocks covered with fabric, framed Plexiglas with etched features, and a variety of paint ings. Several sculptures are exhibited, including a vertical wooden gear, and a creature made from metal gears soldered together.

The exhibit includes pieces from Bristol, England and Paris, France.

Several of the pieces surpass mundane allusions to cycling as form and sport, each approaching its own unique aesthetic. With an element of mechanics, and gears aplenty, a few of the pieces adhere to the Steampunk tradition, with Victorian flair imbued with advanced, digital-age technology.

One such piece is “Nighttime Ride” by Elisa Sanchez.

This large, India Ink drawing, features Victorian cyclists streaming through the air as if in a dream. Benita Van Winkle, art education coordinator at High Point University, has two works of digital photography in the exhibit.

The second piece, Bike Sketch, is a mesmerizing work of digital editing. The piece shows an up close of a bicycle’s gear mechanism. The layered, edited piece has a blurred, colorless feel when viewed in the near. From afar, however, the piece has an otherworldly element, with the blur distorting the viewer’s perception such that it appears to be an astronomical Renaissance sketch depicting an engineer’s design.

One of the largest pieces, Pedestrian Pathfinder by Isaac Payne of Charlotte, uses a variety of techniques to create a layered experience. The piece uses ink, conte, gesso and oil paint on papers. With this variety of tools he creates a complicated palette, the piece centered on a realist figure of a boy on a bicycle before radiating out into impression, cubist forms and abstraction. Payne won First Place in the exhibition last year.

Juror Kristy Thomas will select the winners this week.

Horney, the director of Theatre Art Galleries, said the opening will be among the biggest events of the year for the organization, with up to 1,000 people in attendance. The exhibit runs through Oct. 3. !


The 2nd Annual Juried Invitational Exhibition runs Sept. 5 to Oct. 3 at the Theatre Art Galleries, located at 220 E. Commerce Ave. in High Point. Visit for more information. Visit www. for more information on this weekend’s cycling event.