Raleigh Rambles

John Dancy-Jones at large!

First Friday recap – downtown Raleigh teems with good art.

Don't Squeal McNeil by Keith Norval

Don't Squeal McNeil by Keith Norval

     Up to date news is not the style of this blog – I am, as Clyde reminds me, part of the Slow Blogging movement.  No matter for this post – EVERY Friday is First Friday this December til Christmas, and you may easily recreate my journey with most of the galleries discussed.

     Starting at Artspace as usual, I stopped by the front gallery to see Keith Norval’s opening of  The Corporate Art Show.  Keith has outdone himself in the wake of his new parenthood, along with the talented Ann Podris.   Keith’s quirky rendering of goofy cartoon images with surprisingly subtle oil color and brushwork may or may not be your favorite style, but you can’t miss these hilarious concoctions of  Angry Squirrel Customer Service, Rhino Dollar Bills, and Pig Salt.

This new series of oil paintings by Keith Norval explores the theme of business and animals. With the current state of things (environmental destruction, factory farming, extinctions) it seems animals would be better off if they had some kind of representation. …this show aims to give them their own voices.  Artspace website

     The blessed couple was upstairs in their gallery, dancing and swaying their little bundle into First Friday submission.  Good luck, guys, and sleep when she does – you’ll need it!



     Down the street at Lump, more caricature and mayhem.  Cannonball Press has a jam packed display, indeed “an irrefutable deluge of relief prints.”  You could walk in here with a hundred bucks and get a lot of gift shopping done, if you have friends who like inyourface graphics.




     Up on Fayetteville Street, in what used to be my Dad’s barber’s basement shop, The Fish Market was showcasing an always widely varied and intriguing selection of work by College of Design students.  Marie Formaro had some wonderful spires of canvas framed with metal, as well as a beautiful screen on canvas called “Ritual of Gesture.”



     Right down Hargett and upstairs is a truly fine gallery in a decidedly unflattering space.  Adam Cave Fine Art stands up well to its claim as a home for national level talent.  The current offerings that reach that level are mostly prints, from the precise yet softly diffused light studies by Donald Furst to the highly textured assemblages of interacting shapes in the woodcuts of Merrill Shatzman.  My favorites prints were the alphabet and symbol studies by John Gall; intaglios with a hint of Bosch and a good dash of Rube Goldberg. 



     While Adam Cave looks and  feels like the former shopkeepers’ living space it is, the funky semi-amateur galleries at the top of Glenwood  are intricate mazes of hopeful artists, all offering wine and cookies and hoping to share their wares.  The Carter Building at 20 Glenwood and Point of View at 22 have a rich mix of artists, most of whom appear to have day jobs.  Make no mistake – there are magnificent high spots in these cramped halls – and lows as well.  I was thrilled to find Ellen Gamble and her abstract oils again after several years.  Peter Filene‘s double exposures (no photoshopping at Point of View!) present well composed and strongly evocative images.  And I’m always happy to have my horizons broadened by strong work in a realm I wouldn’t usually investigate – such as the fashion line drawings of Stephanie Freese, whose retro blackline compositions evoke a blend of the roaring twenties and film noire – and she turns out to be a fascinating comic artist whose online publishing work, pictured below, is revered by writers.


Dada Detective


     I make a late pass back east, heading for home but hoping to catch a couple of more spots. I have amazing luck.  I finally catch up with Nancy Baker, whose Tire Shop Gallery started on McDowell, migrated to Glenwood, and has found a permanent home in the snazzy new building on Morgan across from the Flying Saucer.  Her work, always at such a high technical level, captures scenes from Medici Florence to outer space with equal ease and insight.

     They were ready to close shop at the Longview Center Gallery, which is curated by Rory Parnell from the Collecters Gallery.  I asked the artist, Jesse Green, if I could see his light sculptures with the house lights out, and we had a neat experience looking at them in the dark.  Then they scooted me out of this basement space where, believe it or not, my friends and I built a church coffeehouse in the late sixties.


     I was the last customer at Carrie Knowles’ Free Range Studio, which held it’s last First Friday event.  Carrie will concentrate on studio work and continue to have several events each year.  Heading home, I realized I had missed DesignBox.  You really can’t do it all.



     I took a break from finishing up this post to visit the Boylan Artswalk, where dozens of talented folks exhibit the first December Sunday each year.  It was a chance to check on Rebus Works and their fine display of work from Penland, and to see a museum quality piece of cabinet work just completed by Billy Peacock down in the basement.  BLAM! was exhibiting over at Lee Moore’s house, with previews of the Bain Water Project work.  I will be posting much about the Bain Project soon. The Boylan neighborhood sported pet portraits by Emily Weinstein, linocuts and CDs from Gerry Dawson, pottery from Nancy Redman, coptic journals from Bryant Holsenbeck, and much, much more.  Friday or Sunday, there’s a lot of creativity around this town!

December 7, 2008 Posted by | art, Raleigh downtown, Raleigh history | , , , , , , | 1 Comment