Posted on

Sculpture and Sound at the Penland Gallery

view of the Penland Gallery filled with a display of modular cardboard sculptures
Installation view of Eleanor Annand’s sculptures in the new exhibition “Compose | Decompose”

“Compose | Decompose,” a new exhibition of mixed-media sculpture and sound installations, opens today at the Penland Gallery. The work has been created for this show by Penland resident artist Eleanor Annand and Make Noise, an Asheville collective that designs and builds electronic instruments and collaborates with musicians to create new worlds of sound. The exhibition runs through May 12 with an opening reception this Saturday, March 30 from 4:30 to 6:30 PM. The reception will include a musical performance by Make Noise artists Walker Farrell, Meg Mulhearn, and Jake Pugh.

Although the work has been carefully crafted, this exhibition is less about presenting collectable items and much more about creating a unique environment and experience for the viewer. The work Eleanor Annand made for the show is primarily constructed from laser-cut cardboard that has been intricately designed to allow her to hand-fold hundreds of pieces into different shapes; other pieces are made from cast paper elements. “This work plays with disruption, entropy, light, and shadow,” Annand says. “Embracing a lack of permanence, I worked primarily with cardboard and recycled paper scraps to create modular units that can be arranged in a myriad of ways. Compose, decompose, compose, decompose, is a cycle in my process that mimics cycles of life and which I am exploring further in the impermanence of my materials.”

Top-down view of a Make Noise synthesizer
Make Noise, “Shared System.” Visitors are invited to listen to a piece of music recorded on this synthesizer and to experiment with their own compositions on others.

Accompanying Annand’s work are sound installations that use Make Noise synthesizers to create a series of aural environments that visitors can experience through the use of headphones. Modular synthesizers, not unlike Annand’s sculptures, are comprised of multiple units that can be combined and adjusted in countless ways to create different sounds. The sounds in these installations were created by various artists using instruments designed by Tony Rolando.

Explaining their intent, Make Noise has said, “We want our instruments to be an experience, one that will require us to change our trajectories and thereby impact the way we understand and imagine sound. Also, we think what we do is fun and we hope you like it, too.”

Running concurrently with this exhibition is a smaller Focus Gallery show of functional pottery by Joseph Pintz, whose work is characterized by sturdy, earthenware forms and richly layered surfaces. In addition, the Visitors Center Gallery has an ongoing display of objects that illuminate the history of Penland School, and the Lucy Morgan Gallery presents a selection of work by dozens of Penland-affiliated artists. On display outside the Penland Gallery are large steel sculptures by Daniel T. Beck and Hoss Haley, plus a structure designed by artist Meredith Brickell that invites visitors to stop for a few minutes and observe the clouds.

cast paper sculptures installed against a black wall in the Penland Gallery
Detail of “Sequence,” a cast paper piece by Eleanor Annand.

Posted on

Photo of the Week: All The Chairs!

spring wood concentration students posing with a table full of mini chair models

This is what a week’s worth of ideas looks like. Annie Evelyn and her furniture students spent the whole first week of their concentration Chairish Every Moment making models. Zany, classic, ergonomic, experimental, sculptural—there was a mini chair for just about anyone at their group critique on Friday. And, now that they’ve gotten their ideas flowing and gathered feedback, her students are prepared to move into making human-sized furniture with energy and intention.

Expect to see some incredible chairs over the next seven weeks!

Posted on

Photo of the Week: The Final Touch

Those of you who spent time at Penland last spring and summer will surely remember all the activity around the Craft House. During our major restoration of this beloved building, we upgraded windows and doors, re-shingled the siding, worked on the roof, and—most notably—replaced about 20 percent of the logs that clad the exterior. Perhaps the most remarkable part of the process was how the new elements of the building were added so skillfully that they are already virtually indistinguishable from their older counterparts.

It was in this way—with great skill and care and craft—that the final piece of the restoration was completed at the beginning of the month. Blacksmith and artist Greg Gehner designed, fabricated, and installed these elegant panels to bring the iconic Craft House railing up to current building codes. Considering how many people know and love this porch, altering the railing was a project we approached with trepidation. We are thrilled with Greg’s solution—one that references the Craft House’s distinctive stone chinking, preserves the views we all cherish, and exemplifies the functionality and beauty of the craft we teach here at Penland.

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but it still doesn’t come close to an experience. Come visit us soon to enjoy this fine porch in person!

Posted on

Photo(s) of the Week: Open House

NOTE: This post contains a nice slideshow, which probably won’t look so good in the e-mail version. So if you are looking at this on e-mail, please click here to see the slideshow.

Every March, Penland hosts a community open house that brings about 700 visitors and 100 volunteers to the campus for an afternoon of fun in the Penland studios. Here’s a glimpse of this year’s event.

Clamp-resist indigo dyeing
Clamping cloth before dyeing
Casting a pewter ring
Filing a cast pewter ring
Forging steel hooks
Twisting an steel hook
Glassblowing demonstration
Making glass beads
Shaping wooden bookmarks
Shaping wooden bookmarks
Printing a poster on the letterpress
Assembling botanical photograms
Washing photograms in the darkroom
Using the potter's wheel
Making stuff from clay
Paste paper painting

Thanks to all of our wonderful volunteers, to Mitchell Transport for running shuttles, to The Pizza Shop for the tasty lunch, and to Dr. Taylor Townsend DDS, Burleson Plumbing, and Ledger Ace Hardware who generously donated in support of this event.