Feature Articles

February 2014

Asheville Art Museum in Asheville, NC, Features Works by Susan Weil and José Betancourt

The Asheville Art Museum in Asheville, NC, will present Blueprints: A Collaboration, which celebrates the collaboration of two important contemporary artists, Susan Weil and José Betancourt, on view from Feb. 7 through May 25, 2014. A reception and gallery talk will be held on Feb. 7, beginning at 5pm.

Alongside these evocative works, the Museum is pleased to show a selection of Susan Weil’s Livres d’Artistes, which are also spirited collaborations.

Weil, who was a student at Black Mountain College, and photographer Betancourt began collaborating in 1996, eventually creating a dynamic series of blueprint photographs, or cyanotypes. From the Greek meaning dark blue impression, cyanotype is a simple photographic process involving a lightsensitive solution that is coated on a paper or cloth support onto which the image is then printed by exposure to ultraviolet radiation.

The cyanotype photographic printing process has been used since the mid-19th century. In fact, Weil’s own grandmother produced a self-portrait as a child in 1870. Betancourt as well has a personal history with the cyanotype - the last photograph he took of his own grandmother he printed as a cyanotype. As collaborators, Weil and Betancourt use leaves, trees, birds and other elements of the natural world as inspiration. They have pushed the boundaries of the traditional cyanotype, constructing large-scale collages and inserting three-dimensional objects, and printing on both paper and fabric.

The lush, Prussian blue, Betancourt remarks, makes the cyanotype “the most seductive of photographic processes because of the…color that seems to be so deep that you can’t help but stare.” Additionally, Weil has collaborated with various calligraphers, bookbinders and handmade paper-makers to produce her series of limited-edition artist’s books, Livres d’Artistes, published by Vincent FitzGerald & Co. In her Livres, Weil’s etchings, drawings, paintings, paper cuts and gold leaf accompany stories and poems by Rumi, Gertrude Stein and James Joyce, among others.

Founded by artists in 1948 in Asheville, the Asheville Art Museum annually presents an exciting, inviting and active schedule of exhibitions and public programs based on its permanent collection of 20th and 21st century American art. Any visit will also include experiences with works of significance to Western North Carolina’s cultural heritage including Studio Craft, Black Mountain College and Cherokee artists. Special exhibitions feature renowned regional and national artists and explore issues of enduring interest. The Museum also offers a wide array of innovative, inspiring and entertaining educational programs for people of all ages.

For further information check our NC Institutional Gallery listings, call 828/253-3227 or visit (www.ashevilleart.org).

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