Upstairs Artspace to showcase photos by celebrated NC artist

Published 8:53 am Wednesday, October 11, 2023

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Uncommon: Elizabeth Matheson Photographs 1970-2018, opens Oct. 21

TRYON—Upstairs Artspace will host an extensive art exhibition showcasing photographer Elizabeth Matheson beginning this month.

Uncommon: Elizabeth Matheson Photographs 1970-2018 will be on exhibit from October 21 through December 2, giving the local community a look at the work of one of North Carolina’s most celebrated photographers. Matheson received the North Carolina Award for Excellence in the Arts, the state’s highest civilian honor, in 2004.

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This exhibit is a survey of more than 70 images drawn from Matheson’s 50-year career, ranging from her early vintage gelatin silver prints to her stunning (and mostly unseen) self-portraits and her contemporary large-scale color work. 

For the Upstairs Artspace exhibition, photography loans have been secured from the artist and 13 individual private collectors. It is the largest and most comprehensive retrospective of Matheson’s work to date.

“This is an ambitious exhibition of an extraordinarily talented artist with an exceptional eye,” Upstairs Artspace curator Sarah Schroth, Ph.D. said. “I first encountered Elizabeth’s work when I was the Director of the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University in Durham. I was enchanted with the work’s poetic quality, its elegance and superb compositional sense.”

Matheson will be present at the opening on October 21 for a Walk & Talk from 5 to 5:30 p.m., followed by a reception until 7 p.m. Also on hand will be organizer Frank Konhaus and the curators of the exhibit. The event is free and open to the public. During the exhibition, prints by Elizabeth Matheson will be available for purchase.

“I photograph what delights me and asks for my attention,” Matheson said recently. “I know that at any moment light can beautify the most ordinary corner of the most ordinary yard and that these small jolts of elation can be captured.”

Matheson earned her bachelor’s degree in English history in 1964 from Sweet Briar College and later studied at the Penland School of Crafts with John Menapace, a master fine art photographer.

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