Feature Articles

April 2013

Artspace in Raleigh, NC, Offers Several New Exhibits

Artspace in Raleigh, NC, will be presenting several new exhibits including: Works in Cloth, featuring works by Alice Engel Levinson, on view in the Upfront Gallery, from Apr. 5 - 27, 2013; Strong Man, featuring works by Ira Upin, on view in Gallery 2, from Apr. 5 - May 25, 2013; and In Essence, featuring works by Nancy VanNoppen, on view in the Lobby Gallery, from Apr. 7-27, 2013, who will give a lecture on Apr. 18, from 6-7:30pm. A reception will be held for all these exhibit on Apr. 5, from 6-10pm and a second reception will be held for Ira Upin on May 3, from 6-10pm.

Alice Engel Levinson is a primarily self-taught artist who, after 25 years as a clinical psychologist, left her career to pursue work with textiles. In her cloth constructions, natural forms and patterns are prominent motifs. Levinson explores feelings, memories, and myths, with inspiration including biblical text and Modern Hebrew poetry. She uses a broad range of processes to emphasize layering of color and texture.

The works in the Upfront Gallery are wall-hung, sewn cloth constructions that have been hand-dyed, silk-screened, and/or painted. Her designs introduce movement and the intuitive process. Her work has been exhibited in exhibitions throughout the United States and in Israel, including at the Beth El Synagogue in Durham, NC, The Durham Arts Council, and the American Guild of Judaic Artists.

Ira Upin’s Strong Man series consists of a series of oil on self-portraits done in a compelling narrative realist style. The artist puts himself in imagined situations that are at once fanciful and provocative, including a cigar-smoking kingpin in Fat Cat (2010) and a weight lifter in a surreal, hybrid stage set in Impossible Burden (2009). In addition to self portraits, Upin includes portraits of his wife and granddaughters in these explorations of vulnerability, the insecurity that often accompanies aging, strength, and family dynamics.

Upin was born in Chicago, IL, and has lived in Philadelphia, PA, since earning his MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, MD. He began his artistic training at the University of Illinois in Medical Illustration, but it didn’t sufficiently capture his imagination. He turned to fine art and has not looked back since. When he was not painting, Upin designed and renovated abandoned buildings in his neighborhood in Philadelphia. After exploring various subject matter and processes, this current body of work brings Upin back to the realistic imagery and oil paint that he used when he first came into his own as a visual artist.

Nancy VanNoppen’s recent works further her use of an experimental process that involves staining smooth surfaces with layers of water-based solutions containing mixed media. The effects produced by this technique create illusions of depth or volume that aim to evoke a sense of ethereal presence.

VanNoppen was raised in Morganton, NC, and graduated from Hollins University in Roanoke, VA, with a BA in Studio Art in May 2012. Her work was recently exhibited in Roanoke at a solo show at Liminal Alternative Artspace, as well as in group exhibitions at Exchange 81 at Liminal, the Senior Majors Exhibition at the Eleanor D. Wilson Museum, and Explorations of a Space Age at the Unicorn Stables Project. VanNoppen was the 2011 recipient of the Frances Niederer Scholar Award in studio art at Hollins and was Artspace’s Regional Emerging Artist-in-Residence from July 2012 – January 2013.

Artspace is a nonprofit visual art center dedicated to providing arts education and community outreach programs, creating an environment of more than 100 professional artists and presenting nationally acclaimed exhibitions. Located in downtown Raleigh in the historic Sanders Ford building, Artspace has been providing the community with the opportunity to interact with working artists and to participate in hands-on arts education since 1986.

For further information check our NC Institutional Gallery listings, call Artspace 919/821-2787 or visit (www.artspacenc.org).

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