The Things We Know: Seven conceptual artists at Upstairs Artspace

Published 10:42 pm Thursday, October 3, 2013

“Our Daily Bread” (top, right) mixed media sculpture by Severn Eaton. (photos submitted)

“Our Daily Bread” (top, right) mixed media sculpture by Severn Eaton. (photos submitted)

In 1978, a local artist named Craig Pleasants founded a non-profit art gallery in Tryon.

“Pavement” (left) a steel sculpture by Sean Pace.

“Pavement” (left) a steel sculpture by Sean Pace.

It was a space for the kind of art that requires participation from the viewer as well as the artist.

Now celebrating its 35th anniversary, the Upstairs Artspace is marking the occasion with an exhibit – The Things We Know – offering a fresh exploration of these same, idea-based art forms, such as installation and performance art, which were born in the 1960s and 1970s out of Conceptualism.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The exhibit was curated by Asheville artist Connie Bostic, and features the artwork of seven regional artists – Brenda Coates, Severn Eaton, Heather Lewis, Jimmy O’Neil, Sean Pace, Melissa Terrezza and Amanda Wiles. The work will be on display in the street-level gallery beginning Friday, Oct. 4, with an opening reception Saturday, Oct. 5, from 5-8 p.m.

The participating artists have created exciting and sometimes bewildering works of art utilizing diverse materials, from ashes to pharmaceuticals, and different formats such as sound and light installation.

“Folded Lace” mixed media by Heather Lewis.

“Folded Lace” mixed media by Heather Lewis.

All pieces invite the viewer to contemplate the diverse and tangled meanings of the objects before them, and to bring their own experiences and associations to bear.

“The work in this show is rich and varied: humorous, political, irreverent and full of pathos. It reminds me of something Sol Lewitt, a pioneer of Conceptualism, once said: ‘The idea becomes a machine that makes the art,’” explained Margaret Curtis, chair of the Upstairs exhibits committee.

Concurrently, the downstairs gallery will feature work by 11 participants in the art program at CooperRiis Healing Community, a 2013 sponsor of the Upstairs Artspace.

The exhibit, Ab Intra: Reflections From Within, presents a variety of work in sculpture, drawing, painting, prints, fiber art and pottery.

The Things We Know and Ab Intra will remain on display through Friday, Nov. 15.

For more information, visit the Upstairs’ website,, call 828-859-0135 or drop by the gallery, at 49 S. Trade St., Tryon, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday.

– article submitted by Tom Madison