Tryon, North Carolina’s contemporary art gallery, Upstairs Artspace, is currently featuring the works of mixed media artist Barbara Rehg and photographer Owen Riley Jr. that opened on August 2 to an enthusiastic crowd. With two different mediums and two distinct philosophies, the artists inspires viewer to define what lies beneath the surface to reveal a new understanding of the subject.
“Both Riley and Rehg are interested in processes that result in revelation, most especially Riley, who embraces the extremely laborious, dirty and imperfect 19th century process of wet-plate colloidon photography,” said Nancy Holmes, who is a member of the Upstairs exhibit committee chaired by artist, Margaret Curtis.
Riley’s exhibit at the Upstairs Artspace is entitled. “Owen Riley: Transformations.” A Greenville, South Carolina-based artist and teacher has worked as a photographer since he was 26. He says he prefers the challenge of the labor-intensive process of wet-glass colloidon photography that was used during the Civil War era.
“I find digital photography to be too perfect,” says Riley.” When you are working with wet-glass colloidon, it is unpredictable.
Rehg was inspired to create her “Woven Earth” series by digging in newly turned earth and uncovering layer after layer of roots. She utilizes an intricate, layered crosshatch technique to describe what she saw.
“As I dug down,” Rehg says, “my shovel kept encountering a system of roots that seemed to have no end. The next day, I found myself sketching page after page of images that reminded me of my day in the dirt.”
In addition to the two exhibits upstairs, the downstairs gallery has the “On the Mark: a Drawing Marathon” show that includes drawings from drawing marathons hosted by Rehg. Each marathon was a multi-artist event that focused on the various processes of drawing. Of particular note in that exhibit was encaustic painter Helen DeRamus’ work in ink on Terra Skin paper, which is reminiscent of blurred landscape images retained in the mind’s eye after you have driven by.
All three exhibits run until Friday, September 12. The Upstairs Artspace is a non-profit art gallery located at 49 South Trade Street.
For additional information: 828-959-2828.