Hendersonville Mixed-Media Artists Unite for Collaborative Exhibit

Artists Bobbie Polizzi and Chris Curtis found common ground. Photo by Suzanne Camarata Ball.

Hendersonville artists Bobbie Polizzi and Christopher Curtis evolved along different paths, but it doesn’t take second sight to realize how closely some of their themes align. The Gallery at Flat Rock and CANVAS ArtSpace prove the connection with this month’s Ancestors and Other Strangers, a collaborative show suggesting the commonalities in their unusual approaches.

Polizzi’s assemblage art, whimsical but sometimes polemic, is comprised of disparate found objects that may include baby shoes, rusted bottle caps, or segments of a downspout.

Christopher Curtis, represented by CANVAS, uses digital technology to produce his drawings on antique paper or parts of disassembled books, his enigmatic figures subtly threatening but otherwise open to interpretation. But both artists’ incorporation of old photos and other found materials in their work, calling on anonymous persons from unknown settings or ephemera that passed through unknown hands, links the two and lends the show’s title.

Polizzi’s creative life for years took a professional shape: she was creative director and art director for advertising agencies, and the travel involved exposed her to the art of a variety of cultures. Once she turned to making her own art full time, Buddhist iconography jostled with Spanish folkloric images and Christian hagiography, mixed with the Southern folk art Polizzi discovered after settling in the Carolinas. Curtis broke from the academic training he received at San Francisco’s Academy of Art to tinker with technology, mixing his drawing and portraiture with surreal imagery applied to the blank pages of old books. He sometimes salvages paper from attics and garage sales, which also supplies him with the vintage photographs he collages into his work.

“I feel fortunate to have met Bobbie,” Curtis notes in materials accompanying the show. (Polizzi discovered him during his solo show at CANVAS earlier in the summer.) “We both share an affinity for old photos, doll parts, and strange objects.”

Ancestors and Other Strangers comprises 12 works from each artist, plus two collaborative pieces, and will open at The Gallery at Flat Rock (2702-A Greenville Hwy.) on Thursday, November 9, with a 5-7pm reception, and run through Sunday, November 26. (CANVAS co-sponsors the event.) For more information, call 828-698-7000 or 828-577-4590.

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