Fly by these under-the-radar shows

This month's First Friday Gallery Crawls, set for tonight, will provide a chance to see talented artists who fly under the radar in Charlotte, artists with unique abilities who don't always receive the acclaim they're due.

Several will be featured at three free shows, all of which are well worth checking out:

Vessels and paintings

Artists Anatoly Tsiris and Anna Dlougolenskaia, a first-generation American couple from Ukraine and St. Petersburg respectively, pair up for an opening at Old Pomegranate Gallery, an unexpected and charming space a little off the beaten NoDa track.

You have to touch the smooth surfaces of sophisticated turned-wood vessels by Tsiris, (made of locally reclaimed woods such as walnut, maple, sycamore, box elder and cherry) to believe the subtlety of their polished forms in contrast to some of the jagged edges left to remind us they came from trees.

In counterpoint to the modern shapes of Tsiris' vessels, Dlougolenskaia's European-style oil portraits, illustrations and still-life paintings reveal familiar and comfortable subjects: a girl wearing a fur collar reads a book; a still-life contains worn-looking toys and flea market finds. All reflect the artist's classical training.

“Recent Work” by Tsiris and Dlougolenskaia inhabits the part-time Old Pomegranate Gallery, which by day is an architectural design office. Find their pieces at 908 E. 35th St. from 6 to 9 tonight, or call Tsiris at 704-258-9986 for an appointment.


Another compelling show opens tonight at Hidell Brooks Gallery in Southend. It's “Postcards from a Sunken City,” and it features digital encaustic collages with fanciful subject matter by New Orleans artist Miranda Lake.

In a mental landscape titled “Malfunction Junction,” brilliantly tinted peacocks strut with surreal aplomb along railroad tracks against a turquoise sky dotted with yellow orbs. Do peacocks fly? One of these does, across a full gray moon. Lake focuses her work “on the absurd contradictions of what it means to live in postdiluvian New Orleans while grounding these impressions in a very personal iconography.”

Hours are 6 to 9 tonight at Hidell Brooks, 1910 South Blvd. Gallery info: 704-334-7302 or www.hidellbrooks.com.


Another reception worth serious consideration is the fifth SOUP Show at the spacious Hart Witzen Gallery. Why is it called SOUP? Artist Clayton Venhuizen explained the concept as a visual version of making a soup in the kitchen of whatever foods you have on hand.

Tonight's ingredients feature contributions by regulars Venhuizen, Selena Beaudry and Diana Arvanites, as well as work by Karmina McMillan, Austin Ballard, and Malena Bergmann. And not to be missed: the piquant ingredient of Barbara Schreiber.

A block or two west of NoDa proper, Hart Witzen is just off Tryon Street at 136 E. 36th St. The opening reception is from 6 to 10 tonight. Gallery info: 704-334-3799 or www.hartwitzengallery.com.

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