The Art of Giving

 Each holiday season the members of the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts transform the gallery to showcase original ornaments and hand-made gifts. The gallery’s 22 members work in a variety of media, providing a wide array of art and fine craft for holiday shoppers. The glass art includes hand-blown vessels, ornaments, solar lights, paperweights, and jewelry. Fiber art on display includes framed collage quilts and hand dyed stitched cloth. The jewelry in the show covers a variety of styles and techniques, from copper and bronze to sterling and fine silver necklaces, earrings, bracelets and rings, some with gold accents and stones. Visitors will also find metal sculpture, handmade art dolls, pottery, turned wood, and carved ironwood with turquoise and silver inlay. Fine art photography, oil and acrylic painting, scratchboard, and mixed media work festively surround the three dimensional pieces on pedestals.

Come explore the wonderful art exhibited at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts; you will find exactly the right gift for that special person.

Opening Reception

Friday Nov 24

6-9

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Let the River Answer

Arianna Bara

 

A table top made of a glimmering 6ft slice of petrified tree trunk. A single quartz crystal taller than I am (and I’m tall). Geodes you can step into. These are some of the amazing things I saw during my first trip to the Tucson Gem, Mineral and Fossil Show in Arizona last February.

My friend, jeweler Melissa Booth, had been urging me to go for several years. For her it is an annual pilgrimage, and it is indeed a mecca in the world of gem and mineral buying, collecting and trading. The gem show is actually more than 40 shows sprawled throughout the city, the premier show being that of the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA). Located inside the plush convention center is a United Nations of buyers and sellers: diamond sellers from India in impeccable suits, German stone-cutters with sapphires and topaz, South Africans with pietersite (a rare form of tiger eye), the Russian “mafia” selling, well, whatever you want.

And Australian boulder opals, which completely entranced me with their irregular shapes and variety of colors: flecks of red, bright green, cobalt blue, yellows, black, pinks, creams and purples. Definitely not your grandmother’s opals (well maybe yours but not mine).

Some opal was being sold in large chunks of the rock it formed in, clearly showing its origins. Opal begins as liquid silica and flows into open cavities in the stone. When it is mined the top is cut off revealing a shimmering river of every color imaginable. Because of the liquid nature of silica, in rare instances, fossils can become “opalized”, turned into opal. In even rarer cases the internal details of the fossil are opalized as well. Opalized dinosaur teeth, bones and entire skeletons have been excavated.

The Australian boulder opal I brought back from Tucson has really inspired me. I hope you will come the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts and see my new work and let me know what you think.

Let the River Answer

march-postcard-rgbArianna Bara describes the inspiration for each of her new one-of-kind creations in sterling silver: “My pieces for this show are about questions. The ones we all have about why we are here and what we are here to do. Believing as I do that we are spiritual beings having a human experience and that nature is our partner and guide in that experience, the search for answers leads me to look to what is right beneath my feet, to what is right beside me as I walk in the woods or along the river. I believe the answers surround us and are there for us to discover.”

Wood turner, Michael Salemi writes, “Normally, rivers contain the flow of water within their banks. But when water is too powerful to be contained, the river answers by changing. My work for this show displays the same tension. Some pieces are controlled shapings of wood to classic and expected forms, but others reflect the power of the wood itself—the work becomes what the wood would have it be.”

Of his new work for the show, Eduardo Lapetina states, “My paintings are a way for me to enter the world, not an escape from it. A painting opens a door into a space in which a play may be staged– where conflict, climax, and resolution all come together. In the process of creation, a painting becomes a battlefield for my struggles about what is, what is not, what ought to be, what I like, what I love, what I hate, frustrations, disenchantment, embarrassments. My art exposes to the world my most private thoughts and feelings, forming a spatial connection between what lives within me and what is alive in everyone else. I want my spaces to be painted without intention, without conscious technique, without anything that might interfere with the connections I seek to create. I do not want to keep a tradition. I am not looking for beauty, but the viewer might find it in my art. My paintings are not about any particular theme or motif, they are attempts to convey the immaterial through materiality. My aim is to project energy, visual vibrations, light, voices, excitement, and enthusiasm, and to capture them in a physical form that you can take home with you.”

Opening Reception

Friday March 31st

6-9

 

 

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Luminous

 

Arianna Bara Lapis and Azurite photo by artist

Arianna Bara

In designing the focal pieces for this show I was inspired by a cold and windy trip to the Acoma Pueblo, which lies on top of a 365 foot mesa in New Mexico.  The harshness of the land, the history of the native peoples and the stories of their indomitable spirits and resilience made a deep impression.

The site is the oldest continually inhabited settlement in North America at about 1000 years old.  On top of the mesa, two and three level homes are still made of adobe, with outside ladders leading to the upper stories where people live.  There is no running water, no electricity and no sewage disposal.  For centuries the only access was an almost vertical set of stairs cut into the rock face.

Arianna Bara Tiger's Eye, Plume Agate, Baltic Amber and Garnet, photo by artistThe day I was there was the second of a two-day festival of dancing and ceremony honoring the dedication of the newly-elected leaders.  Native people returned in large number to their ancestral homes on the mesa to participate and there were only a handful of non-native visitors there.  I felt completely immersed within a culture that was foreign to me and honored to be able to observe these dances and ceremonies performed for the Zuni people, not tourists.

The sounds of drums, rattles, chanting, the colors and patterns of traditional clothing and pottery, all stood out brightly against the surrounding brown of the desert and unceasing wind and sand. There was a palpable sense of a living, breathing ancient culture that uplifted me and inspired my work.

My major pieces for “Luminous” are female figures crafted of sterling silver and semi-precious stones like turquoise, carnelian, chrysoprase and lapis lazuli.  The silver is heavily textured and darkened with a liver of sulfur patina making them appear ancient.  They are being buffeted by the wind, perhaps a storm is raging around them, but they are not only still standing, they are strongly rooted.

Arianna Bara Turquoise, Chrysocolla, Carnelian, Amethyst and Lapis

It’s all about the story

Story postcard RGB

It’s All About The Story at The Hillsborough Gallery of Arts

In the three novellas that make up “Local Souls,” Allan Gurganus brings to life the complicated relationships of people who are as dark and colorful as the North Carolina town they inhabit. The artists of the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts depict these stories of survival, betrayal, love, longing, and liberation through visual imagery in paintings, photography, metal, fiber, glass, ceramics, and wood. It is a show for all those who appreciate Southern fiction and local art.

About the author:
Allan Gurganus is an American short story writer, essayist, and novelist best known for his ground breaking debut novel, “Oldest Confederate Widow Tells All,” which has sold over four million copies. Educated at Sarah Lawrence and The University of Iowa, he has taught at Sarah Lawrence, The Iowa Writer’s Workshop, and both Stanford and Duke Universities. Among his prizes are an Ingram Merrill Award and a 2006 Guggenheim fellowship. He lives in Hillsborough, NC.

Opening Reception

February 26

6-9

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What I came here for

OpalRingGroupingWEB-72ppi

Arianna Bara

Before I made jewelry, I tried a lot of different things. I drew, painted, sculpted, took pottery classes. None of them felt like “what I came here for”. I kept asking myself in which direction I was supposed to go and no way became clearly “the” way.

In the 90’s I read a book on lucid dreaming, which is a way to awaken within your dream state so you can ask your subconscious questions about your life: little questions like how to solve a problem, or the bigger ones like “Why Am I Here?” questions. I practiced the techniques and, amazingly, was able, several times, to become aware or “lucid” when I was dreaming.

As you can imagine, this is tricky on several levels. The key is to realize you are dreaming without waking up. One of the ways you can do that is throughout the day and as you fall asleep at night, you ask yourself the same two questions and listen for the answer. You ask “Am I dreaming”? “Can I fly”? As you ask yourself throughout the day, the answer is, of course, no. I’m not dreaming, I’m writing this on the computer. Can I fly? Nope, my feet are firmly on the carpet.

As you ask yourself these questions as you fall asleep, there will be a time when you ask yourself if you are dreaming, and you will be uncertain. You will ask yourself if you can fly and you will. You will fly!

flight

Dream flying is the most exhilarating thing. You just want to fly forever. So the next tricky part is to stop flying and ask your question. One time my question was “What will my art look like”? I saw myself in a gallery and my work was on the wall. It was far away and I kept trying to move in closer to see it but I couldn’t get a clear view. It was small and seemed metallic, but it was hanging on the wall and so was not clearly jewelry.

I had fun with lucid dreaming and had some fabulous flights, but never found exact answers to the questions I asked. It took constant practice and I was unable to keep up with it as the demands of my life took precedence.

I discovered jewelry-making about 10 years later, when a friend invited me to join her in a class. I had recently lost my husband and was stunned and grieving. I had no idea what metalsmithing entailed and next to no interest, but I wanted to spend time with her so I signed up for it. The minute I picked up a pair of round-nosed pliers and wire I began making spirals. Over and over. I was hooked. Then came the hammer and the forging and the torch and there was no going back. All the therapy I needed was in those motions and the creative process.

So, what did I come here for? I believe we are spiritual beings having a human experience. We are here to remember, in the face of love and loss, that we are radiant eternal beings. We are here to “arise and illuminate”, as poet John O’Donohue says. That is what my jewelry is about.

 

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Art All Around

artallaroundEach year the members of the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts has a group show. We decide on a title at our end of year retreat and slip the show in before we begin our monthly Featured Artists shows.  This year Ali thought of the title Art All Around and it’s a lucky thing because we are doing some reconstruction where the work was supposed to hang so now it is literally Art All Around…the gallery. Each one is labeled and easy to find.

Please come join us for our opening reception  the last Friday in January.

 

Opening Reception

January 30

6-9

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