The Block Gallery
Office of Raleigh Arts
Located on the first and second floors of the Raleigh Municipal Building, The Block Gallery offers five to six exhibitions each year featuring works by artists who live or work in Chatham, Durham, Johnston, Orange or Wake County. Exhibitions are scheduled through a call for artists, juried by a selection panel of visual arts professionals, Raleigh Arts Commissioners and City staff.
EXCAVATIONS FROM NOTHINGNESS | February 3 – March 18
HARRIET HOOVER and WENDY COLLIN SORIN
Artists Reception: First Friday, March 4, 5-7pm
Curated by Stacy Bloom Rexrode, Curator of Exhibitions and Collections
As implied by the title of this exhibition, works by Harriet Hoover and Wendy Collin Sorin are compiled of elements that, once unearthed, reveal small treasures that might otherwise go unnoticed. Ordinary materials of everyday life are used to explore language and personal narratives of space. A sense of discovery is triggered in the viewer by these process-generated works, with their visual references to fine woven textiles with densely overlapped materials creating the illusion of being woven together. Each artist utilizes a grid-like pattern in numerous works, revealing slight disruptions that demonstrate the presence of the human hand.
Harriet Hoover is a natural assembler, gathering her source materials from such unlikely inspired spaces as her studio floor and highly traveled sidewalks. Her creative process often begins with walking and being in a space and studying the history, current events or culture of a particular place. She gathers remnants of personal accounts left by others and herself and investigates the patterns of individual geography, real and imagined. These three-dimensional paintings are tied to the histories of the collected materials and to the idea of mark making as language. Such is the case in Letters to Ruby and Friends, 2014. Presented like an antiquated codex containing hand-inscribed messages with its repetition of marks, one can imagine the patterned lines as an ancient code waiting to be deciphered. Each work is a compilation of laborious collections brought together in masterful constructions by Hoover, who sources materials with the enthusiasm of an archeologist on a dig.
There is an energy that reverberates in the works by Wendy Collin Sorin. Colorful patterns are created by slicing and dicing office supply labels, quite literally breaking apart language and creating these text-based mosaics. The original intention of the materials is lost and translated into these labor-intense constructions, as seen in Functional Shift #12, 2015, with its pulsating colors and densely woven line formations. Sorin’s work focuses on a meditation on the grid, the passing of time, and the deconstruction of language, all while addressing the more formal concerns of each work.
The works in this exhibition challenge the viewer to really see the extraordinary in the ordinary. Each artist tempts us to question the trace materials we leave behind when we exit a space, or to be seduced by the unique qualities in everyday objects.
Images above (left
Wendy Collin Sorin, Functional Shift #13, 2015, collage/labels, 22” x 30”
Harriet Hoover, Searching the Carpet for Little Devil, 2014, paper collage,
18.25” x 17.5”
Harriet Hoover, Happiness is a Choice, 2015, paper collage, 45” x 38” x 2”
Wendy Collin Sorin, Functional Shift #46, 2015, collage/labels, 15” x 22”
Gallery is scheduled through July 2017.
Eligibility requirements for the Block Gallery are as follows:
- Applicants must be eighteen years of age or older and residing or working in Chatham, Durham, Johnston, Orange or Wake County for at least one year by the application due date.
- Artists applying to the Block Gallery must have participated in two juried or invitational shows in the past five years.
- Commercial gallery representatives are not eligible to apply on behalf of artists or as curators, although artists represented by a commercial gallery are eligible to apply individually.
- Curators may propose an exhibit for the Block Gallery or for the Block Gallery's second-floor cases. All artists included in the curator's proposal must meet the eligibility requirements for artists who apply individually.
The Block Gallery was designed to serve as one of the city's premier exhibition spaces. Managed by the Office of Raleigh Arts, the gallery has introduced close to 200 artists to area residents and visitors since its inception in 1984. Dedicated in 2006 to honor community leader Miriam Preston Block, its marble walls and impressive staircase provide an ideal setting for art.
In accordance with the mission "to connect local artists to community through ongoing exhibitions and public outreach," the Block Gallery fosters great artists and great art.
BLOCK GALLERY EXHIBITED ARTISTS
Luke Miller Buchanan
Mary Kay Kennedy
Georges Le Chevallier
BLOCK2 EXHIBITED ARTISTS
Kia Mercedes Carscallen
David Colagiovanni and Melissa Haviland
Location and Hours
222 West Hargett Street
M-F, 8:30am - 5:15pm (open until 7pm on opening reception nights)