Upstairs Artspace opening March 18

Published 10:00 pm Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Upstairs Artspace is pleased to present “Landscapes Abstracted: Artists Redefine Landscape” and “Shedding Light: Art Lamps by Clark Ellefson” March 18 through April 28. On Saturday, March 18 there will be a walk and talk by the artists at 5 p.m. with the opening reception beginning at 6 p.m.

Noted painter and sculptor Dale McEntire will curate his own and the work of five additional artists whose varied style create intriguing perspectives and interpretation of the landscape.

Dale McEntire’s own painting style has become quite abstract but still rooted in the imagery and his connection to nature. He sees the natural world as a vibrant and important part of what it means to be human, and the work explores new ways of interpreting this relationship.

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Eric Benjamin’s work is based on the landscape and is a loose representation of nature both real and imagined. With nature as a jump-off point, his goal is to make a good painting that is intimate, strong, emotional and positive.

He earned his BFA from Clemson University and his certification in education from Converse College. His work has been exhibited in shows at the Art Bomb, Open Studios with the Metropolitan Arts Council, the Greenville County Museum of Art, the Pickens County Museum Juried Professional Show, the Anderson Art Show, Center Stage Gallery, Upstairs Gallery and the Artist Guild of Atlanta’s Juried Show.

William Henry Price grew up exploring the creeks and fields near Bethlehem, Pa. He received an MFA from Rutgers, Mason Gross School of Art, and a BFA from Boston University (BU). BU provided a classical training in figurative painting, but while there William was also greatly influenced by Phillip Guston. William’s paintings, often intricately detailed, express his lifelong enthusiasm for nature and mythology.

“I’m painting inside the visible world, where everything is vibrant and alive,” he says.

Keith Spencer believes that an artist’s style emerges from doing the work itself, rather than trying to “think” it up and then execute it. Because he works “fast and focused,” a certain energy is apparent in the finished piece. The work in the exhibit “Landscapes Abstracted” is a continuation of exploring the landscape, in that method and through those eyes. While these works are abstracted from nature, they are still subjective at heart. His landscapes are frequently done in the alla prima tradition (one sitting) and will often include the mountainous area where he now lives, as well as the low country surrounding Charleston.

Keith is an oil painter currently living in Tryon. He grew up in Louisville, Ky. and received degrees in art and biology from Berry College in Rome, Ga.

Lynne Tanner of Rutherfordton, N.C. describes two of the series of paintings in the show as specific landscapes she has in her mind — a meadow above a house that she owned in upstate New York. She has been painting this scene for two or three years and the image has become more and more abstracted.

“I look for and expand shapes and lines within the scene, going back into the painting over and over until an imaginary landscape has evolved,” she says.

Cindy Walton captures action, energy and quiet musings of nature in her paintings. Through writings and bold marks traveling in and out of the layers of oil and cold wax, the Asheville artist layers surfaces with paint to create depth and texture. As the layers are built Cindy incises the surface with sharp-edged tools and large sticks of oil paint.

The warmth and effervescence of the Florida coast and the quiet energy of mountainous western North Carolina are both strongly evident in her work, in imagery as well as in coloration. As a result, her paintings are transformative interpretations rather than literal renderings.

Cindy, a committed artist from childhood, is a native of St. Petersburg, Fla. She moved to Asheville in 1988, earned a BA in art from Salem College, and returned to UNCA for her BFA.

Lamps by Clark Ellefson

In 1974, Clark Ellefson received his degree from the University of South Carolina with emphasis in sculpture, ceramics and film. Through his study of several diverse mediums, Ellefson’s fascination and skill with the functional as well as the artistic eventually converged into one-of-a-kind furniture design. His lighting reflects a sensual mix of primitive and modern influences. These lamps, made by hand of paper, steel, glass and wood, are at once unique, exotic and modern.

Upstairs Artspace is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is located at 49 S. Trade Street in Tryon. For more information, call 828-859-2828 or visit

– article submitted by Michelle Deudne