Exhibit: Open

By Martha Skinner

Carefully Placed Lines on Paper, an exhibit of drawings by Tryon architect John Walters, opened late last month at Upstairs Artspace in Tryon — a full year after the gallery was forced to close following a destructive flood. His is one of three exhibits that had been scheduled to open in August 2021 and are only now finally able to be seen by the public.

Walters’ exhibit features his drawings — many of them depicting architectural structures from his sketchbook that he’s carried with him on numerous trips across the nation over the years. He says creating sketches that truly capture the essence of his subjects requires him to pay attention to how he places each line on the paper.

Inner Sanctum (Green), Ralston Fox Smith

Another of the three exhibits is titled The Thinking Eye and features works by Kevin Hogan, Jeff Kinzel, Martha Skinner, and Ralston Fox Smith, all well-known artists from the Asheville area. In this exhibit, the artists were tasked with exploring the axonometric perspective, in which a rotating subject reveals its multiple sides.

The third exhibit is a presentation of works by Catherine Baumhauer, of Los Angeles, and Caroline Rust, of Rock Hill, South Carolina. Their drawings, paintings, and assemblages are inspired by topical issues of feminism and personal identity. Some of Baumhauer’s pieces also express lighthearted aspects of the pandemic era. Rust memorably incorporates in her pieces textiles such as shirts and nightgowns to help convey her messages.

Edge of Chinatown, Jeff Kinzel

All three exhibits — and the entire gallery, as well — were interrupted when the flood, caused by a broken pipe in a hot-water heater, occurred in August 2021. Gallery Manager Steve Wong says, “Nearly every wall in the gallery had to be repaired and repainted. It was devastating, causing about $200,000 of damage in both the main and lower galleries.” (The artwork was unscathed.)

Now, 12 months later, the gallery’s restoration is complete.

Edwards Seafood is from John Walters’ Carefully Placed Lines on Paper, one of three exhibits in the newly reopened Upstairs Artspace.

Former gallery director Nancy Holmes reflects, “When Upstairs Artspace had to close, the arts scene was just beginning to come alive [following the pandemic shutdown].” Fortunately, she adds, the gallery’s patrons and artists have proven to be very sympathetic.

Over the course of the year, says Wong, “People realized Upstairs Artspace was not just viable, but alive with robust rebuilding activity and community participation.”

Upstairs Artspace, 49 South Trade St., Tryon. Gallery hours are noon to 5pm Tuesday through Saturday (closed Sunday and Monday). The three exhibits run through Friday, Oct. 14. For more information, call 828-859-2828 or see upstairsartspace.org.

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