ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Robert Llewellyn

POSTED ON 1.26.2016


On view through January 29, 2016, “Sustainability” showcases work from seven regional artists whose work expresses complementary environmental themes. We’re glad to share this short interview with one of the artists, Robert Llewellyn.

How would you describe your work?

I had been given three series of book projects on plants. Trees, Flowers and Seeds. I would think of each project as a voyage to another planet, and my mission was to bring back images of what I found. I worked outdoors for a while and then found I liked bringing bits into the studio to study in great detail. I looked for the "wow" moments. Some part that would call out to me, “over here.” Really call out. Something that would actually hurt to leave unexplored. There were of course shapes and colors and textures. What was most amazing to me was they were alive, and they had a mission. A plan. I notice myself and other humans only say "wow" only when they experience something new.

Can you describe your process of making work?
I have been making extreme close up images of the plant world. I use a white light table and by using camera motors and software I make infinitely sharp images. Although some images, like larkspur seeds, are as small as the period at the end of this sentence, most of what I photograph is really "hiding in plain sight".

How does the natural world inform what you make?
I do not think of our planet as having a natural world and an un-natural world. Even things made my humans are natural to me, just as nests made by birds are natural.

What are you currently working on?
A new book in the Seeing series called Seeing the Forest. So I am out of the studio and into the forest. The forest is yet again another new planet. Here is an interdependent civilization with its own unique mission. This is really a new experience for me, especially being face to face with the animal world.

Where can we see more of your work?
In my books, Seeing Trees, Seeing Flowers, and Seeing Seeds, available from Amazon. Also on my website

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POSTED ON 1.21.2016


“Sustainability” Artist Spotlight: MOLLY SAWYER

On view through January 29 2016, “Sustainability” showcases work from seven regional artists whose work expresses complementary environmental themes. We’re glad to share this short interview with one of the artists, Molly Sawyer.

How would you describe your work?
The work is about balance: balance of natural forces, balance of materials, balance of emotions, balance of opposites: the light and the darkness, positives and negatives, joy and grief, strength and weakness, bravery and fear, tension and relaxation, what is nurturing and what is dangerous.
The irony of life is that this balance may be achieved but only momentarily. It quickly tips in the opposite direction. It cannot be held for long and therefore it is the nature of the human condition to forever be in pursuit. I feel that my life is a never-ending excursion in the attempt to obtain balance. The ephemerality of the work adds focus to it’s visual definition of these continuous and universal struggles in which we all take part.

Can you describe your process of making work?
A single log cannot burn on its own. But when placed side by side, the energy exchanged produces the effect of flame. When an object or material stands alone it may be inert but when placed next to another, a new idea is created. I call this ‘the conversation of things’ and this is what guides my work. The conversation is created by materials placed side-by-side. The direction is determined by the choice of materials; primarily objects carved by and found in the natural world.
The entire process is an evolutionary one and the key is for me to allow that process to unfold. In one sense, I’m at its mercy as I attempt to remain open to instinct and intuition. In another sense, I am acting as a conduit for the energy created by these conversations. My role as the artist is as director of these conversations. The ideas that are crystallized through the chat are of universal truths in our everyday human experience.

How does the natural world inform what you make? 
I am particularly attracted to the secondary forces of nature. For example, shadows cast on a riverbed made by the sun as it passes through ripples in a current, the carving of sand on the beach by tide steered water, the tracing of forms ice sheets as they melt from the heat of the sunlight.

I generously give great credit of creativity to the natural world and to my role within it. I feel it is my responsibility as an artist to act as an interpreter of natural elements and one who documents materials and impressions that we may one-day be without.

What are you currently working on?
1- I am returning to my studio in Asheville, NC after spending time at Jentel Artists Residency in northern Wyoming. This has been an intense experience in experiment and investigation of my own methods of art-making. Currently, I am organizing these sculptures, photos and ideas gathered from this time of advancement into a presentable body of works.
2- I am honing works for the installation of a solo exhibit at the Weizenblatt Gallery on the Mars Hill University campus Mars Hill, North Carolina which opens February 10, 2016. The work in this upcoming exhibit reference the movement of each of our uniquely contained lives.

Where can we see more of your work?

- On Instagram @msawyerart
- The Weizenblatt Gallery at Mars Hill University, opening February 10, 2016.
-‘Strong Ties” (working title) at the Asheville Area Arts Council, opening October 7, 2016.
- in Atlanta, GA, this spring

Please come by to see Sawyer’s work with six other artists in “Sustainability,” on view through January 29 at Second Street Gallery. Thank you.

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Art on demand: Rally ’round at Second Street Gallery: Cville Weekly

POSTED ON 12.8.2015

An Evening of Short Films: Trials of Spring and El Khateeb Friday, November 13, 6:30 PM

POSTED ON 11.4.2015

Second Street Gallery is screening shorts from Trials of Spring and El Khateeb in collaboration with Afrikana Film Festival November 13. Doors Open at 6:30 PM, Film Screening at 7 PM. U.Va. Associate Professor of Arabic Literature, Hanadi Al-Samman will be present for a discussion following the films.

Trials of Spring are short documentaries about nine women who played central roles in the Arab Spring uprisings and their aftermaths in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Syria, Bahrain, and Yemen.

From belly dancers to crimes of passion, El Khateeb is a short music film, directed by Wesam Nassar, which pays homage to the golden age of Egyptian cinema.

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