Size (& location) matters
First Friday Art Hops happen the first Friday of each month in Greensboro along Elm Street and in Winston- Salem emanating from the corner of 6 th and Trade streets.
Okay… so this Friday night… if you are strolling down Elm Street in Greensboro and you just happen to come across a very nice, picturesque park in the middle of the city, you might think about walking into it and looking around. You could sit on a bench and look at the sky or walk by the fountain and drop a penny in the water. You could also think about walking past the fountain, crossing Davie Street and contributing columnist entering the red-brick building with the green roof.
It’s called the Greensboro Cultural Center, and in addition to housing a pretty hip restaurant with a great patio, it’s also home to a bunch of arts organizations and several art galleries — two of which are especially worth checking out this month.
The Green Hill Center for NC Art is hosting The North Carolina Arts Council Artist Fellowship Exhibition. Happening every two years, the show recognizes some of the state’s best film and video artists. This year 18 artists have received the prestigious fellowship — providing them with much-needed support as they continue to experiment and innovate in their chosen media. Greensboro artists and UNCG faculty Billy Lee and Nikki Blair will exhibit, as will Winston-Salem filmmaker Ramin Bahrani, Madison photographer David M. Spear and Burlington artist Kate Kretz. In addition to the opening reception on Friday, a slew of other events are scheduled and are listed in the First Friday calendar HERE. Definitely worth a look.
Another exhibition of note, a show that truly surprised me when I walked through the door, is Size Matters. Hung on the walls of the Center for Visual Artists gallery, the exhibition is a diamond in the rough. Now, I’ll be honest with you here… I’ve never taken CVA very seriously before. Back in the day, many of the members of the gallery weren’t very far along in their creative disciplines. But, to my surprise, quite a lot must have changed in the last few years.
The current exhibition is a strong one. Large works are hung next to smaller, more intimate ones, and most all of the images are engaging. Alex McKenzie’s wall of 100 dry-point prints may look somewhat haphazard at first, until you look more closely and find that many of the prints contain the same shapes. After comparing the various lines in each, I eventually realized that all of the images are essentially what printmakers call “state proofs” and were pulled from the same plate.
Becky Vanderveen’s four photos of the General Greene sculpture near the Carolina Theater at the end of Greene Street are nice and also have an experimental, searching quality.
Isabelle Abbot’s small Thicket paintings are great. It’s nice to see a painter work with subtle color and negative space so successfully.
Perhaps the most impressive works in the show are large in scale, though it seems as though the details within them are what make the images jump. Les Calson III has put together what seems like a two dozen small canvases to create one large light-blue cityscape. Using oil paint and pencil, “Get Goin” will keep your attention for more than a few minutes. Not only will you look high and low, searching for surprising signs of life around the painting, the more you look at it, the more you will look into it. Unlike so many pieces of contemporary art, Calson seems to have mastered perspective and successfully leads you into his composition.
Similarly, and perhaps even more powerfully, Maurice Moore has created a large charcoal drawing that, simply stated, commands respect. “Carry On My Wayward Son” is suggestive and dramatic in its depiction of a large male figure that seems to move across the paper right in front of your eyes. If only more artists understood how to use their materials to express depth within a two-dimensional surface. This is charcoal drawing (and erasing) at its best.