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October 2011

Phil Mechanic Studios in Asheville, NC, Offers Works Lisa Walraven, Cynthia Potter, and Carlos Steward

The Phil Mechanic Studios, located in the River Arts District in Asheville, NC, will present the exhibit, Birds, Beasts & Bodybones, featuring works by Lisa Walraven, Cynthia Potter, and Carlos Steward, on view in the Pump Gallery, from Oct. 1 - 29, 2011. A reception will take place on Oct. 1, from 7-10pm.

Lisa Walraven has always been a passionate environmentalist. Her interest in bird and other animal portraits began when she was banding birds and working in wildlife rehabilitation. Having them in hand allowed her to see them as individuals, each one unique. Her subject matter is almost always nature related, though lately a new style has emerged. Adding decorative elements to the portraits in the form of branches that curl, swirls, floral designs, berries... have added a bit more whimsy to her pieces. Walraven wants her work to convey a sense of joy, happiness, and most of all, an appreciation for the natural world around us.

When people see Cynthia Potter’s papier maché puppets, they will experience that instant connection to their own childhood, reminiscing when they got to play with papier maché in school. It’s like seeing an old friend. A variety of creatures painted in bright designs and sewn with fun fabrics, populate her studio, as well as masks and sculptures. The puppets and sculptures reflect experimentation in color, texture, symbolism and the childhood visions that have been lost or hidden behind adult rationalizations.

Carlos Steward’s experiences in a federal prison camp for war tax resistance have helped materialize the connection between intellect and art through ceramics. Integrating Taoist philosophy he explores not what you can see; but what is not there. The greatest uses come from what is not there; like empty space in a blacksmith’s bellows, space between the spokes of a wheel or the inside of a cup. A holey vase becomes as useless as wars perpetuated through corporate greed. Steward’s use of brightly colored glazes, skeletal figures and animated designs invites viewers to consider these transcendent Taoist principles.

For further information check our NC Institutional Gallery listings, call the Studios at 828/254-2166 or visit (

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