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February Issue 2005

Upstairs Gallery in Tryon, NC, Features Contemporary Folk Art

A major exhibition of American folk art opens on Feb. 3 at the Upstairs Gallery, Tryon, NC, and continues through Mar. 26, 2005. Contemporary Folk Art: Self Taught, Outsider, Functional features almost 80 artists, many of whom are familiar to folk art connoisseurs.

"To the best of our knowledge this is the first major folk art show in the western Carolinas in more than a decade," says Nancy Holmes, director of curating at the Upstairs. "It is also the Upstairs Gallery's first blockbuster show since we moved to our new building last year." The art fills all three interior galleries as well as the gallery's gift shop. All art is for sale.

Much of the exhibit consists of exuberant paintings by self taught, or outsider, artists, many of them southern but there are artists from Minnesota, Oregon, Nebraska and Pennsylvania. Some master artists in the show are Purvis Young, Woodie Long, Jimmy Lee Sudduth, Mose Tolliver, Sam Doyle, William Thomas Thompson, Howard Finster and Bessie Harvey. "While most of the artists are living, we have included some who are deceased for the educational value of introducing them to our visitors," says Holmes.

A portion of the show is about functional folk art with tables, chairs, pottery vessels, dolls, chests and carvings which are crafted using pre-Industrial Revolution methods passed down through generations. "This is art made by educated folks who are enamored of the old ways and want to preserve the beauty of an object made by hand," says Holmes.

On Feb. 20, at 2pm, Joe Adams will lead an informal walking tour of the art. Folk art dealer and director of the America. Oh, Yes! galleries in Hilton Head Island, SC, and Washington, DC, Adams has supplied the Upstairs with much of the exhibit's art.

On Mar. 3, at 7pm, Scott Blackwell will screen his new documentary film about folk art, All Rendered Truth. Blackwell is the director of Folk Artist's Foundation and is developing a folk art museum in Flat Rock, NC.

Artists in the exhibit will demonstrate their craft on consecutive Saturdays from Feb. 12 through Mar. 12 at 1pm.

For further information check our NC Institutional Gallery listings, call the gallery at 828/859-2828 or at (www.upstairsgallery.org).

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