Momentum Gallery in downtown Asheville hosts new summer exhibitions – Mariella Bisson, Setting Shapes; Oil paintings by two new painters: Samantha Keely Smith and Paul Sattler; and a group invitational called Give Me Wood. These exhibitions continue at 24 N Lexington Avenue through the end of August.
Mariella Bisson deftly delineates the sculptural planes of regional waterfalls and sylvan scenes creating refreshingly contemporary landscape paintings. Her oil-over-collage paintings feature built-up texture, suggesting the complex surface of stone and tree bark, lichen, and moss. Bisson’s paintings demonstrate a strong understanding of formal composition and reflect a sensibility honed from time she’s spent immersed in the outdoors. Of note, Bisson is a two-time recipient of the Pollock-Krasner grant and was awarded a New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship in painting.
Samantha Keely Smith creates inspired and stirring abstract paintings in oil. The Brooklyn-based artist sees her paintings “as an expression of our internal turbulence. They reflect the overwhelming reality of being constantly aware of what is happening in the wider world – Change is the only constant.” Smith’s nebulous compositions are evocative of luminous cloudscapes and primordial oceans. Brilliant areas of stained pigment collide with waves of painterly brush strokes ultimately conjuring imagined environments with a timeless quality. “These paintings are about the essence of who we all are, as human beings… We all want love and connection.” Smith’s works give form to fluctuations between turbulence and calm present in everything from our emotions to the temporal world. Overall, Smith’s focus is on the underlying psychological impact of the dawning awareness of our shifting reality.
An accomplished oil painter, Paul Sattler was the recipient of the John R. Solomon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship. In 2004, he was selected to exhibit at the 179th Annual Invitational Exhibition of Contemporary Art at the National Academy of Design in New York, where he received the Wallace Truman Prize. Dramatic narratives unfold in his charged and enigmatic oil paintings which reference historic and literary sources. Sattler comments, “A diverse population of animals are enmeshed in my works’ human-inhabited environments, theatrical locales, and domestic dramas.”
Give Me Wood is an imaginative and evocative collection of contemporary painting and wood sculpture. Central to the identity and creation of all the extraordinary two- and three-dimensional works in the exhibition is the common material of wood. The participating artists defy logic, explore space (both real and imagined), carve, bend, turn, and otherwise construct some truly amazing and innovative work! Featuring Michael Alm, Garry Knox Bennett, Gil Bruvel, Christian Burchard, Tom Eckert, David Ellsworth, Ron Layport, Wendy Maruyama, and Sylvie Rosenthal.