Transformation: Earth, Water, and Wood & Samantha Bates

OPENING RECEPTION AUGUST 30th, 5-8PM: Meet the Artists!
August 24, 2018



On Thursday, August 30th, from 5-8pm, Momentum Gallery invites you to the Opening Reception for the group exhibition, Transformation: Earth, Water & Wood along with a collection of new paintings and textile works by Samantha Bates. Artists Ron Isaacs, David Ellsworth, Vicki Grant, and Samantha Bates, along with other Momentum Gallery Artist Partners, will be in attendance! We are so pleased to be showing such innovative work at our downtown Asheville art gallery! The reception takes place at the gallery's 24 N Lexington Avenue location and is free and open to the public. All are welcome. These exhibitions continue through October 31st


Ron Layport, Return to Gardens, Turned, sculpted, and pigmented Maple, 10-1/2 x 6-1/2 inches


The group exhibition, Transformation: Earth, Water & Wood features recent work by five Momentum artist partners: Mariella Bisson, oil painting with collage; David Ellsworth, wood; Vicki Grant, porcelain and mixed media; Ron Isaacs, trompe l'oeil painting on wood; and Ron Layport, wood. New York painter Mariella Bisson turns her attention to our regional waterfalls, depicting dramatic scenes of stone, water, and woods in her signature style. Bisson deftly delineates the sculptural planes of her subjects and often selects scenes that represent metaphors for adaptation and change. Trompe l'oeil master Ron Isaacs refers to his work as being "exactly halfway between sculpture and painting." His birch plywood constructions, painted with acrylic, often portray the illusion of shirts or dresses (representing the figure) in the midst of a state of metamorphosis into foliage and branches. 


Ron Isaacs, Little Sister, Acrylic on Birch plywood construction, 32 x 22-3/4 x 3 inches


Vicki Grant has developed an exciting new body of free-standing sculptural totem forms inspired by an intersection of nature and literature. Maurice Sendak and Edgar Allan Poe are some of the writers Grant cites as influencing the direction of her most ambitious project to date.  Towering individual forms installed as modular trios and larger ‘families’ evoke the idea of a whimsical forest. Highly-textured ceramic serves as the jumping-off point for imaginative columns embellished with found natural objects, carved wooden birds, and even basketry (a collaboration with Montana Blue Heron).


 Vicki Grant, Botanical Series #18042, Porcelain and mixed media on slate, 24 x 12 x 2 inches


New Botanical wall tiles are inspired by things one would see in the woods. Textures of tree bark and imagery suggestive of toadstools and lichen, foliage and wildflowers all coalesce in abstract dimensional works that are an unexpected alternative to traditional paintings and wilderness photography. The works nod to Grant’s background in architectural design through compositions of seed pods and bundled reeds or gathered horsehair, organized to form elaborate structured patterns.


 Vicki Grant, Windows to the Earth #18020, Porcelain and mixed media on slate, 12 x 12 x 2 inches


Momentum Gallery is pleased to represent Vicki Grant and present her newest work in relationship to other artists whose work references the bounty and wonder of nature.  The textures and palette that define Vicki Grant’s work complement the surfaces and forms that make up Mariella Bisson’s contemporary landscape paintings and original collages. Grant’s work relates to vessels and sculpture by world-renowned wood artists David Ellsworth and Ron Layport through shared inspiration, reference to material, and (in the case of the latter) intricate surface carving.  Ron Isaacs’ fantastic garments which transform into and out of wildlife and botanical imagery complete the collection. 


 David Ellsworth, Mataak #2, Ash, 30 x 20-1/2 x 12 inches


Transformation also proudly presents work by two renowned American wood artists, David Ellsworth and Ron Layport. Ellsworth, who recently relocated to the Asheville-area, is a preeminent wood turner with work in 36 museum collections around the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. Ellsworth's aesthetic embraces nature's irregularities and might be compared to the Japanese principle, wabi-sabi, where anomalies that arise through the process of making add uniqueness and elegance to the work. Ellsworth's turned work is done on the lathe while the wood is still green, allowing for unusual things to happen as the turned forms cure and dry. Precisely rounded vessels may become oblong and asymmetrical, or even split open -Ellsworth welcomes these effects as part of his creative practice. Some might find it curious that the masterful woodturner's latest series isn't turned at all. For his Ascension series, Ellsworth cuts blocks of burled wood into concentric rings, then telescopes them out into dramatic, towering spires. Interestingly, Ron Layport first learned how to turn wood in a class led by David Ellsworth. Over the past 30 years, Layport has established a place among the top wood artists in the world. Layport uses negative space as a design element, carving intricate patterns of wildlife and habitat into the surfaces of his turned vessels. The results are complex relief carvings that maintain the integrity of the original form despite having been completely transformed.


Samantha Bates, Hoodsport, Pen, acrylic, screenprint, pastel, and colored pencil 

on unstretched canvas, 100 x 90 inches


Momentum Gallery is also thrilled to debut a collection of new mixed media paintings and textile works by Samantha Bates. Bates' contemporary landscapes are created through meticulous mark making and patterning, thousands of dashes and dots emerge into imagery of forests and water on the surface of Bates' unstretched and primed canvases. The artist's wall-mounted textile works are sculptural constructions with imagery of sky or trees developing out of sections of expressive marks she makes by 'drawing' with a sewing machine, embroidering, and weaving. Read more about Samantha Bates in our interview with the artist on our blog. Both exhibitions continue through October 31st.


Mariella Bisson, Five Trees Five Mountains, Oil and mixed media on linen, 50 x 38 inches


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