Changes large and small are bringing some much-needed energy to our visual arts scene. While we could use a major shake-up or two, these stirrings are most welcome.
The big museum news earlier this year was the hiring, at long last, of a curator at the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art. It usually takes at least a year for a new curator’s work to be evident, but Jennifer Edwards, recently arrived from Los Angeles, is moving fast. Look for “Sam Francis: Rapid Fluid Indivisible Vision” (Sept. 18-March 7), which will center on the “1 Cent Life” portfolio, a 1964 collaboration with poet and painter Walasse Ting that includes work by a panoply of major artists.
At Central Piedmont Community College, the Ross Galleries have always looked good, but the Pease Gallery was plagued by a loud, ugly floor that competed for attention with the art. Both galleries were renovated this summer, and artists will now be delighted to show in either one. A highlight of the upcoming season is “Continuum” (March 14-May 20), a multimedia installation by Sensoria Festival keynote artist Charles Williams, whose terrifying, beautiful paintings of the sea at night explore our deepest fears and how to move beyond them.
Visual arts calendar
Visual arts heads into a busy and intriguing season with something for every taste.
SOCO (Southern Comfort) Gallery made a splash this summer with its water-themed grand opening exhibition. Specializing in photography, this sleek space is generating much excitement in a city hungry for good galleries. Now, SOCO has opened a small bookshop, filling it with volumes as well-selected as the work on the walls. Next up is “Night Garden” (Sept. 9-Oct. 31), an exhibition of photograms by Brooklyn artist Liz Nielsen.
In its two years of existence, LaCa (Latin American Contemporary Art) Projects has distinguished itself with consistently impressive exhibitions. Its studio/residency program started slowly, but is now in full swing with resident artists Luis Ardila, Leandro Manzo and Rosalia Torres-Weiner. Residencies last for 8-24 months, with artists participating in community programs as well as creating new work. And speaking of residencies, LACA will exhibit work by McColl Center for Art + Innovation artists-in-residence Vicente Hernandez (Nov. 5-Jan. 9) and Carlos Estevez (Jan. 14-March 12).
“¡NUEVOlution! Latinos and the New South” (Sept. 27, 2015-Oct. 30, 2016) is a major undertaking by the Levine Museum of the New South. Exploring the transformative power of the region’s burgeoning Latino population, it has a major visual arts component. The exhibition will include an interactive installation, painting, photography and more by Mario Petrirena, Pilar Martinez, Eduardo Noriega, Lila Quintero Weaver, Ricardo Levin Morales, Rodrigo Dorfman, Stanley Bermudez, Steve Terry and Charlotte artists Rosalia Torres-Weiner, Jose Vazquez, Edwin Gil and Rosa Murillo.
Other shows on my radar:
“Regina Jose Galindo: Bearing Witness,” Sept. 10-Oct. 25, Davidson College Art Galleries. This Guatemalan performance artist uses her body to address political atrocities.
“Anne Lemanski: Simulacra,” Sept. 18-Jan 2, McColl Center for Art + Innovation. Lemanski, of Spruce Pine, will exhibit animal sculptures created from vintage papers and artificial sinew, as well as the vivid digital prints she made while in residence at McColl.
“Last Fish on Earth,” by Jarod Charzewski and Colleen Ludwig, and “Man + Land + Water,” Winthrop University Art Galleries, Sept. 21-Nov. 13. These exhibitions examine global water issues, including plastic pollution.
“Amalgamation: The Mixed-Media Works of Albert Chong,” Sept 18-Dec 4, Projective Eye Gallery at UNC Charlotte Center City. Born in Jamaica and now teaching at the University of Colorado, Chong creates photo-based work that incorporates sculpture and installation.
From poet Paul Muldoon to Salman Rushdie to Charlotte’s Ton Hanchett, authors abound.