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September 2011

Black Mountain Center for the Arts in Black Mountain, NC, Features Works by Carolyn Capps and Steve Miller

The Black Mountain Center for the Arts in Black Mountain, NC, will present the exhibit, Twigs and Burls, features the nature-inspired paintings of University of Virginia professor Carolyn Capps, and the turned wood art of Black Mountain artist Steve Miller, on view from Sept. 9 through Oct. 7, 2011. A reception will be held on Sept. 9, from 6-8pm.

Steve Miller, who began working with wood while living in Miami, further explored his medium under the watchful eyes of members of he South Florida Woodturners Guild. He favors the warmth and tactile immediacy of wood for his creations and prefers to turn pieces with classic form using

highly figured domestic and imported woods.

Miller’s vessels are visual celebrations of color and form. He writes, “The majority of my pieces are meant to hold nothing more than your attention. My intent is to expose the figure in the wood to draw attention to what nature has created. The objective and challenge of my work is to discover and reveal the natural beauty and character which lies hidden beneath the bark.”

Miller specializes in revitalizing discarded wood, such as root balls, or pieces with knotholes, cracks or other “flaws,” of which “burls” are included. Wood destined for trash pick-up or the natural decaying process evolves into his most stimulating challenges.

Carolyn Capps, has degrees in art from East Carolina University and the University of Georgia, previously taught at Washington & Lee, James Madison, Salem Fine Arts Commission, and Roanoke College.

About her work, much of which features paintings of animals, she says, “The overarching goal of my current body of work entitled Twig is the creation of a small window to a more sympathetic world view, a connectivity of spirit. The show consists of animal drawings in which I have focused on bringing out the intrinsic emotional intelligence of the animals. I strive not to anthropomorphize but to consider that nonhuman thoughts and emotions have significance. Collectively the work acknowledges our ambiguous feelings about nature as a whole while allowing us, I hope, to see ourselves in others and others in ourselves.”

Capps stresses that the works are completed quickly in what she calls an “almost gestural approach, in order to give them a sense of life and immediacy.”

The natural world that calls to both these artists in different ways is celebrated and complemented in the Twigs and Burls exhibit. Capps works with twigs through its meaning as a small branch which can be seen as “a comfort object, a ritual object, an offering, a toy a home, an embellishment or sustenance.” Twigs suggest to us how things branch out, whether from the natural world, from the family tree in genealogy or the inner workings of the physiological system of humans and animals.

The Brits also use the word “twig” to mean to understand something. To understand requires us to pay attention, observe and interact. Burls are growths on a tree where the grain of the wood has grown in response to some form of stress or injury. Yet when turned into a wooden vessel, the hidden pattern rewards the turner and viewer with its spectacular beauty with patterns that are among the most sought after in nature.

For further info check our NC Institutional Gallery listings, call 828/669-0930 or visit (


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