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May 2011

Waterworks Visual Arts Center in Salisbury, NC, Offers Summer Exhibits

The Waterworks Visual Arts Center in Salisbury, NC, will host its 2011 Summer Exhibition titled In The Details. Using famed writer and curator Dave Hickey’s notion of a “quarter-inch artist” (one for whom every quarter of an inch is critically important), our summer exhibition explores how five artists’ meticulous approaches create worlds in their artwork. These exhibits include: North Carolina Birds In Hand, featuring works by woodcarver Dan Abernathy of Sparta, NC; Seed Stitches, featuring works by fiber artist Nancy Cook of Charlotte, NC; Slogans, featuring works by artist Michelle Heinz of New York City; New Growth, featuring works by Holden McCurry of Asheville, NC; and Transparent Imagery, featuring works by Trena McNabb of Bethania, NC. All will be on view from May 21 through Aug. 13, 2011. A reception will be held on May 27, from 6-8pm.

Dan Abernathy has been a woodcarver for the past 18 years. He studied under Helen Gibson, resident wood carver at John C. Campbell Folk School, and Ernie Muehlmatt, and Floyd Scholz, both master carvers. His exhibition, North Carolina Birds In Hand, features carved and painted life-scale birds from a variety of woods. The lush woods and pasture lands in the mountains of North Carolina offer a feast of different birds to observe and study. Much of the observation and research activity occurs on his 21 acre farm in Alleghany County, NC. Abernathy carved a Downey Woodpecker for the 2002 White House Christmas tree. As an instructor at the John C. Campbell Folk School, his passion for carving birds is now being passed on to other students.

Charlotte artist Nancy Cook’s fiber work integrates nature, sculpture, color work and women’s work as art. The hand-guided machine quilt stitches create a bas relief sculptural effect of line and texture and hand embroidery stitches add further depth and detail. Her current work Seed Stitches, focuses on tree and plant buds, seeds, and fruit as metaphors for the importance of diversity as a species survival tool. Working directly with collected specimens, Cook’s designs are based on research and sketching what is structurally unique for each species.

Cook received her BA from Queen’s College and her MA from Vanderbilt University. Retiring from work in the industrial/organizational psychology field, she began working in art full time in 2001. She has exhibited throughout the United States and in Europe, winning numerous awards. Her art textiles have been widely published and reside in private and public collections.

Michelle Heinz, from New York City, exhibits a fresh series of thickly painted phrases on pre-made canvases titled, Slogans. Social media platforms such as Facebook & Twitter have become arenas of free exchange where “Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” meets the age of “Digital Reproduction.” The short phrase or poetic utterance has become visible. Born of a methodology within which text, like paint, is inherently abstract, the meanings of these words like that of paintings transform with each viewer. Drawing from a broad range of influences such as art history, philosophy, pop culture, and social networking, these works are experiments in freeing painting from certain stylistic restrictions and taking it somewhere closer to drawing. In this series, medium and support are reduced to their most immediate and available attributes in order to give inspiration the screen.

Heinz was born in Chicago and earned her BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She completed her MFA at the University of South Dakota and was a professor at South Dakota State University. She began a PhD in Philosophy, Aesthetics, Criticism, and Theory from The Institute of Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts. Heinz now lives and works in New York City.

Asheville artist Holden McCurry studied art at Birmingham Southern College, architecture at Auburn University, and ceramics at The Penland School of Crafts. His works are sold in various galleries, fine gift shops and art expositions throughout the US. He combines both terra-stone and white clays with custom tinted glazes to achieve rich color and textural surfaces.

McCurry’s current work, New Growth, is focused on organic imagery, the young life of a plant while realizing the older decaying plant can be just as beautiful. It is constructed from a variety of clay hand building techniques and each is finished with a variety of glazing techniques. McCurry states, “The new and the old and the many stages in between give an artist a lifetime of limitless possibilities.”

Storytelling is a significant aspect of Trena McNabb’s work. “Each painting is actually a connected series of smaller paintings telling a story that deepens the longer one studies the piece.” Her work, Transparent Imagery can be described as a transparent, painted collage with the overlays forming a kaleidoscope of colors as images overlap one another and depict the multitude of flora, fauna, foods and landscapes which are all aspects of our earth.

Both private and public clients throughout the US, Europe and Asia have seen their goals, themes, and histories successfully captured and expressed by McNabb’s artwork.

In addition to the professional exhibitions, Waterworks will feature a selection of work in a solo exhibition from this year’s Dare to Imagine award winner, R. Dean Crouch. Now in its eighth year, Dare to Imagine award is given in recognition of the importance of art in the life of our community and to a graduating senior whose work most exemplifies the creative potential of the human spirit, heart, and hand. This $1,000 award is made possible by a gift from Susan and Edward Norvell.

Waterworks Visual Arts Center is located on East Liberty Street in the East Square Cultural Arts District of historic downtown Salisbury. We are located one block from the Amtrak Train Station.

For further information check our NC Institutional Gallery listings, call the Center at 704/636-1882 or visit (


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