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Region’s artists in the spotlight this month

By Barbara Schreiber
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2013/09/10/18/21/jvdT3.Em.138.jpeg|210
    - Ross Galleries
    Janet Williams’ “Terrain,” a mixed media assemblage, is on view at CPCC through Sept. 26.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2013/09/10/18/20/5kSX9.Em.138.jpeg|210
    Mitchell Kearney - Winthrop University Galleries
    “Junior Astronomers” photo by Mitchell Kearney is on view at Winthrop University Galleries in Rock Hill.

Sometimes you have to dig a little to find our region’s artists. This year, though, the season has opened with several shows that celebrate area talent.

Janet Williams:

Typography of Touch

UNC Charlotte Professor Janet Williams teaches ceramics, but her own work encompasses many mediums.

For Williams, who was born in the UK and recently became a U.S. citizen, maps and fingerprints have been important elements in a long process of acclimation and validation. For this exhibition, she used her own fingerprint as a personal map and starting point, employing digital and traditional tools in an effort to reconcile the technological and the tactile.

“Terrain” is an impressive wall installation consisting of four 8-feet high sheets of collaged inkjet prints studded with small sculptures made from porcelain or wire; while the fingerprint is the initial source of the imagery, it has been manipulated to look like mountains and geological strata.

Other works display a beautiful obsession with the fingerprint alone, rendered in ceramics, felt, acrylic sheet, wood, embossing, plaster, screenprint, graphite and as a cast shadow.

Ross Galleries, Central Piedmont Community College, through Sept 26, blogs.cpcc.edu/cpccartgalleries; 704-330-2722 ext. 3211.

Taiyo la Paix: A Retrospective

Mitchell Kearney: Inside Out

Taiyo la Paix is an Asheville-based artist whose brash paintings are inspired by his Japanese-American heritage, traditional and pop culture, nature and more. Crammed with images and icons, they feature a couple – the artist’s alter ego and his muse – who navigate an eye-popping world that serves as a constant distraction from an underlying sense of fragility and loss. The paintings are so busy that inattentive viewers might miss tiny omens – a warning sign with a figure being swept away by a tsunami, a newspaper photo of a mushroom cloud, or traffic signals with the lights reversed.

Mitchell Kearney’s photographic portraits are artifacts of relationships. Ranging from an image of his wife, Connie, to one of rock historian Legs McNeil, no two look alike because each relationship is different. Some are formal, some casual; some are tender, some confrontational – but all are intimate.

Winthrop University Galleries, Rock Hill; www2.winthrop.edu/vpa/galleries; 803-323-2493.

Multiplicity: 2013 Biennial Alumni Exhibition

Alumni exhibitions are often big and messy, but “Multiplicity” is a taut show with just seven participants: Daniel Allegrucci, Austin Ballard, Leigh Brinkley, Lorraine Turi, Banks Wilson, Liliya Zalevskaya and David Scott Sackett.

Most of them no longer live in Charlotte, but a crucial part of their development took place here.

Allegrucci depicts a world overwhelmed by technology and commerce. “Corpus Cloud (Wheel of Personhood)” is a funny, nightmarish animated mash-up of body parts, game show banter and unchecked desire.

In Zalevskaya and Sackett’s work, romanticized yearning collides with depressing reality. The sculpture “Frau Minne” features two hearts, one shot with an arrow and another in a bear trap; both are covered with cheery, folkloric embellishments.

UNC Charlotte Rowe Galleries, through Sept 20; coaa.uncc.edu/performances-exhibitions/rowe-arts-gallery; 704-687-0176.

David Furman: Architecture

Linda Brown: Spectrum

Charlotte architect and developer David Furman creates assemblages inspired by the work of Louise Nevelson.

These orderly but playful works are composed of found objects; each is spray painted a single, satiny color.

For this exhibition, Furman left one piece unpainted, allowing viewers to see the saw handles, trays, millwork and other remnants that are his raw materials.

Linda Brown’s vivid abstract paintings seem like portals into mysterious spaces; on exhibit here are crisp works on panel and more atmospheric ones on canvas.

New Gallery of Modern Art, through Oct 10; newgalleryofmodernart.com; 704-373-1464.

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