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.
SEEING BEYOND THE STRUCTURES [PORTRAITS OF THE LANDSCAPE]
Adam Bellefeuil, Rachel Campbell, Caitlin Cary
August 3 – September 16, 2016
Curated by Stacy Bloom Rexrode, Curator of Exhibitions and Collections
“Memory is the fourth dimension to any landscape.” ~ Janet Fitch, author
Landscape artists of the past endeavored to capture the majestic scenery that was often far removed from most people’s lives. By contrast, the artists of Seeing Beyond the Structures [Portraits of the Landscape] have chosen to memorialize the modest structures we interact with in our daily environment. We stroll through residential streets, drive past fading buildings and visit neighborhood businesses without really considering their sense of place and what they might mean to the communities and individuals occupying them. The works in this exhibition challenge us to stop and take notice. As viewers, we find commonality in these images—urban landscapes that go beyond what is captured on the surface to delve into stories of the lives and livelihoods behind them.
Framing the quiet moments of his Raleigh neighborhood, Adam Bellefeuil captures intimate images as he roams the streets after dark, armed with a tripod and a regular lens set for long exposure times. He states, “The photographs I find most interesting are deceptive in a way; on the surface they appear to be objective documents, but the good ones often leave the viewer with unanswered questions.”
Representing the overlooked and undervalued in a medium often associated with venerating society’s elite offers a bit of a twist, which is exactly painter Rachel Campbell’s intention. Her use of saturated color, sometimes-quirky subject matter and a sense of humor is paired with the darker undertone of real stories and the grasping for a sense of belonging. Campbell explains, “No matter what an environment might be, it always is or has been home to someone, and part of a cycle of a life lived.” It is this story that Campbell wishes to honor.
It seems only suitable to render in various textiles the landmarks and buildings that serve as the fabric of Raleigh and its surrounding areas. Caitlin Cary’s “needle prints,” a form of fabric collage, provide the perfect rendered-materiality metaphor for her subject. She captures not only the texture and surface of the structures, but also the grit and soul often associated with their history. “[These crafted landscapes] engender feelings of fondness, remembrance, reverence, memorial,” says Cary.
Whether intentionally or not, each of these artists is preserving the urban history of these spaces, serving as a conduit of information.
Images above (left to right):
Caitlin Cary, Krispy Kreme, Raleigh, NC, 2015, fabric collage on paper
Adam Bellefeuil, East Jones Street, Raleigh, NC, 2014, archival pigment print
Rachel Campbell, Neighborhood Watch (detail), 2016, oil on polycotton
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)