Down a set of steep, intersecting streets, at the base of downtown Asheville, N.C., down along the French Broad River and the old freight railroad tracks, Asheville artists, young and old, have taken over a sprawling area of empty brick factory buildings and filled them with working studios and galleries.
The August exhibition, opening at the Peninsula Gallery with a reception from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 3, will present the work of three Asheville abstract artists who call the River Arts District, as it is known, home. The title of the show is Bending Form and Color. The three artists are Karen Weihs, Vicky Pinney and Mark Bettis. The exhibition will extend through Saturday, Aug. 31.
Karen Weihs considers herself a modern expressionist and colorist. A recent article describing an exhibition of her work in Charleston, S.C. was titled Color Rioter, and color often takes primacy in her work. Using various sizes of palette knives, she first lays opaque oil color down in thin, then thick layers. In between she lays transparent color glazes to bring a luminous effect to the viewer.
“What happens to me while composing a painting is an emotional and intuitive response of me letting go of the subject and letting in my reaction to it," Weihs says. Similar to other abstract painters, her work places greater emphasis on a generalized visual sensation than the depiction of objects.
In similar ways, Vicky Pinney works with oil paint, wax and resin, building layer on layer to create an almost three-dimensional image, each layer partially visible through the next. The textured surface of each work is as important in appreciating the painting as color or shape.
A native of Chicago, Mark Bettis is best described as a mixed-media painter who works primarily in oils and cold wax. After attending Ringling School of Art and Design in Florida, began to explore the encaustic painting technique and has produced many works of art in this medium. After transitioning to a cold wax method that involved layering multiple layers of oil paint mixed with cold wax, cutting, scratching and smoothing, Mark found his current style of painting. “My process is truly organic. I can only describe what happens as somewhat magical. I try to let the image come together as I am painting and let the elements develop into art," he says.
The Peninsula Gallery is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday to Saturday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. Framing consultations are available Tuesday-Saturday. The gallery is closed Mondays. The gallery can be reached at 302-645-0551 or at www.peninsula-gallery.com.