Asheville, NC: Montford Books, an Art Show and a Critique
Art Opening at Montford Books in Asheville, NC
The Asheville area is known among locals as a creative haven for many genres: visual arts, music, drama. and more. The elements of worldliness and culture converge with the arts scene to imbibe an ethereal sense of wonder.
If you visit the Asheville area, you’ll never have a shortage of arts and culture to experience and enjoy.
Last Friday evening, I had the fortune of attending an art opening for a good friend of mine, Jocelyn Reese.
The art opening itself took place at a cozy bookstore, Montford Books, located just north of Asheville’s downtown area.
Reese’s works greet the viewer with scenic arrays of images inspired from nature, some juxtaposed with seemingly scientific but still natural elements. The results are beautiful, whimsical images that allow the viewer to contemplate nature’s majesty.
Her show is called, From Black Holes to New Life.
If you knew Ms. Reese, you’d know that this show is such a symbolic representation of her life’s journey in recent years. She has gone from having a great career in education to one that’s even better as a director of an organization where she is able to infuse arts curricula into the classroom. Her educational expertise and arts background provided the backdrop for this stunningly beautiful artistic display, and simultaneously explores her interests in nature.
I’d also say, based on these unique works, she has also explored her psyche and peered into her soul. What she found was a nirvana of natural bliss.
You don’t always think of a bookstore as a setting for an arts show, but I would argue that the venue couldn’t have been better: art, literature and culture aggregated for an evening of sophisticated conversation, jovial chattering and aesthetic ponderings.
I can’t forget about how perfect the venue was. I must include some information about Montford Books. I had never been there before. I live northwest of Asheville and don’t get as much time as I’d like to frequent the culture scene in Asheville proper.
What a little jewel of letterland! They have a plethora of gently used books, tapes, vinyl records, DVDs, CDs, and even works from other artists on display.
I saw pottery and jewelry amongst the sections of books. They even offer you a cup of coffee and Wi-Fi so you can stay awhile. They have plenty of little nooks and corners in which to absorb a little scholarly knowledge.
Their motto is “a neighborhood retreat in historic Montford” – a retreat, indeed! I just might find myself writing my next hub amongst their literary stacks.
Montford Books is located in the historical neighborhood of Montford, just north of downtown Asheville, NC. Reese's work is on display there.
More on Jocelyn ReeseClick thumbnail to view full-size
Critique of Jocelyn's Work
This hub wouldn’t be complete without an artistic analysis of Ms. Reese’s work. After all, she was the reason for the evening. My own background includes a number of art classes that included critiques. Here is my professional review of her work.
Her medium is primarily oil on paper. She uses her fingers – no brushes! – to create her works. Her inspiration is derived from nature, of course.
She also includes black holes as her subjects because they’re “not holes, but in fact, really heavy objects,” she said to me at the opening. She also remarked that she wanted to capture that “object” of black holes, and delve deeper and deeper with each of the four works in that particular series.
Ms. Reese had 22 works on display. I particularly liked “Different Perspective”, “A New Day”, “Red Trees” and “Red River”. I also liked her series on black holes.
The first picture in the series, “Black Hole: Autumn” really captured my eye. Its deep reds contrasted with the dark spot – a black hole – in the center. Reese subtly uses line in the background of the piece, but in terms of shape, the circle draws the eye in.
I found myself thinking that I was almost getting drawn into another nebula of color as I peered at this work. The nuances in tones and shapes draw in the viewer, leaving the person wanting to see more.
That’s when I went on and took in the second in the series: “Black Hole: Summer”. Reese does well in creating an object that is at once “hotter” and “bigger” than in “Black Hole: Autumn”, as if autumn is the representation of the summer disappearing and beginning its transition to “Black Hole: Winter”.
The contrast in color for “Black Hole: Winter” coincides with remarkable use of split complements on the color wheel. The red background of the other two pieces meshes into the dark blue, almost purple background of this piece. The yellowish “hole” emanating from the blue background serves to make up the split complement of colors.
By the time the viewer gets on to “Black Hole: Spring” – with a green background - it is the opposite color of red. Still, you see the dark hole staring at you, drawing you in. With contrasts and changes in backgrounds, you are at once reminded of the colors of nature.
You also feel like you are traveling through space and time, getting closer…and closer…to that most heaviest of natural objects, the black hole. Nothing can escape and you feel like you can barely escape the black, heavy circles looking back at you. At times we all feel like this: we experience the dark side of life, waiting, wondering, when the light will appear.
Just look at “Black Hole: Winter” and you see the white light that will draw you out. That is what is so fantastic about this series: though there is darkness, its opposite exists: light. What is even more interesting is the fact that winter, in this series, is the light.
This also is when my good friend found an amazing new career, one that allows her to combine all of her interests and expertise into one fine profession as an arts director.
This series is one of contrasts and natural elements, but these works force the viewer to reckon with him- or herself. It forces thoughts of darkness moving into light. The viewer walks away pondering the what-ifs and the ups and downs of life.
© 2012 Cynthia Calhoun