Asheville Art Museum

The Asheville Art Museum in Asheville, North Carolina, has a wonderful collection exhibiting fine craftsmanship in various media from the Southeastern U.S. The collection is diverse yet striking. The exhibition space is pristine. The scale is not overwhelming. It is an altogether worthwhile museum. Here are a few images of items that I particularly enjoyed.

Eric Serritella, Paperbirch Basket With Vine Handle, 2014 (glazed stoneware)

Eric Serritella’s Paperbirch Basket With Vine Handle, 2014, is one item in the collection that illustrates the quality of the overall collection. Serritella’s Basket is a stunning trompe l’oeil gem. The artist creates lifelike illusions of material such as birch wood and vines by skillful application and firing of matte glazes.

I loved a piece by Cynthia Bringle entitled Raku Wall Painting, 1969. The sculpture is an assembly of four ceramic tiles mounted on board. Bringle’s tiles share a unifying palette and include graphic markings and textural “folds” that cross more than one tile, to the piece really works well as a whole.

Cynthia Bringle, Raku Wall Painting, 1969 (Raku fired and glazed stoneware)

It may not be wholly evident from the photos, but Bringle’s Raku Wall Painting has impressive mass and substance when seen in person.

Cynthia Bringle, Raku Wall Painting, 1969 (detail)
Cynthia Bringle, Raku Wall Painting, 1969 (detail)

Laura Perry’s Excuse Me While I Slip On My Good Manners Shoes and The Lover, The Savior Of Small Things are plain fun, creative, joyful, and packing a subtle sense of humor.

Laura Perry, Excuse Me While I Slip On My Good Manners Shoes, 2018-2022 (porcelain with Sgrafitto)
Laura Perry, The Lover, The Savior Of Small Things, 2022 (porcelain with Sgrafitto)

I liked how Mary Engel used clay objects as elements in her mixed media sculpture Louise, 2008. Engel is a contemporary artist who explores “ritualized animal imagery symbolizing a bridge between the rational and instinctual worlds” through sculptures of animals, oftentimes family pets, that incorporate family heirlooms and sentimental objects (such as porcelain mementos). Her work is very creative.

Mary Engel, Louise, 2008 (mixed media, found objects and ceramics)
Mary Engel, Louise, 2008 (detail)

Finally, I particularly liked Michael Sherrill’s ephemeral How Plants Travel made out of porcelain, glass and steel, and Black Medicine, made from bronze, moretti glass and porcelain. Sherrill references the bright colors that plants evolved to attract animals for pollination and dissemination of seeds in How Plants Travel. The works are difficult to photograph but wonderful to appreciate in person.

Michael Sherrill, How Plants Travel, 1989 (detail; porcelain, glass and steel)
Michael Sherrill, Black Medicine, 2014 (bronze, moretti glass and porcelain)

One final note of appreciation. My wife and I stopped at the Museum cafe and sampled a local snack that was ABSOLUTELY fantastic: Piedmont Pennies. Thank you Grandma!

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