When visitors walk into the new exhibition at the Penland Gallery, they may feel a bit overshadowed. The six large steel sculptures by Hoss Haley are almost out of scale with the room, and their complex forms seem precariously balanced—as though they might tumble, roll, or shift at any moment. Titled Correction Line, the show runs through September 15.
The exhibition’s title refers to a land-surveyor’s technique that Haley was familiar with from his childhood on a Kansas farm. Beginning in the late 18th century, Midwestern land was divided into 640-acre squares that did not take into account the curvature of the earth. The solution was to periodically shift the placement of the squares, introducing what was called a “correction line.” Haley remembers this as a feeling that the orderly geometry of his family’s fields did not quite reflect the shape of the earth. “I had a sense as a child that I was on an orb even though everything around me was flat,” he says. The forms in this show are characterized by planes and straight corners that resolve into sections of spheres, possibly evoking the geometric and geographic tension that was addressed by the correction lines.
Haley’s farm roots also connect directly to his choice of material. Steel is ubiquitous on a farm, and farm steel is constantly rusting and being repaired. Early in life, Haley developed a facility for working with the material, and he has retained a lifelong love for the aesthetic of rust. This aesthetic and a remarkable level of skill are both evident in the pieces in this show, all of which Haley and his assistant fabricated in his Mitchell County studio.
Although these pieces are large for a gallery exhibition, they are not the largest that Haley has executed during his more than 20 years working in North Carolina. He designed and built the beautiful fountain in Asheville’s Pack Square, and he has created large public works for Mecklenburg County, the Charlotte Area Transit System, and the Charlotte Douglas International Airport. His work is also in the collections of the Asheville Art Museum, the Mint Museum, and North Carolina State University. He has had a long relationship with Penland School of Craft as a resident artist and instructor.
Also currently on view at the Penland Gallery is a show of contemporary jewelry made from a variety of materials. Around the building are outdoor sculptures by ceramic artist Catherine White and steel sculptor Daniel T. Beck and an interactive mixed media installation by Jeff Goodman.
Stop by to see it all with your own eyes the next time you’re at Penland! The gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 AM-5:00 PM and Sunday, noon-5:00 PM (closed on Mondays). For more information call 828-765-6211 or visit penland.org/gallery.