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.
SACRED SPACES | September 30 – November 13
Opening Reception | Friday, October 16, 5-7pm
What is a sacred space and what traits should be present to qualify such a space? The artists of Sacred Spaces examine this query by exploring concepts of real, perceived and invented spaces intersected by creative visual storytelling. Each artist reconsiders a space or event that has profound personal and/or spiritual meaning, either through established associations—as seen in Jon Kolkin’s images of Buddhist monastics—or the created connotations of Scott Hazard’s constructs and Shannon Johnstone’s landfill.
What wondrous worlds await us as we travel down the wormhole Scott Hazard crafts with his torn and layered gateways? He creates a space for the viewer to reflect and contemplate the work, but also to think about what lies beyond. The observer is asked to see the expected from a different viewpoint and to go beyond the surface to consider a depth that did not exist previously. Referring to his constructed sanctuaries, he explains, “In a world with a seemingly endless amount of stimulus, my work creates space for a sensory pause to remove or alter the viewer’s existing frame of reference and provide an opportunity for a different presence of mind, a distilled frame of reference.” Even if just for a brief moment, we are swept into a distant and peaceful refuge.
The scenic backdrop for Shannon Johnstone’s Landfill Dogs series is an idyllic setting for the seemingly exuberant subject matter. However, buried beneath the lush landscape and play structures of Landfill Park’s hallowed ground are more than 25,000 euthanized shelter dogs. The vivid and beautifully detailed imagery of canines frolicking in the great outdoors juxtaposed with the grim reality of their fate make for an unlikely combination. However, Johnstone states, "I want to present their spirits as alive, happy and running free. My goal is to offer an individual face to the souls that are lost because of animal overpopulation, and give these animals one last chance." Johnstone’s striking photographs exist to spark social change and call attention to a government structure and societal viewpoint that equates these animals with discarded waste. Just as Landfill Park has been transformed into a place of beauty, Johnstone hopes the viewer will recognize the wonder and possibilities of each of these creatures.
Space is only alluded to in Jon Kolkin’s Inner Harmony series. The focus is on the individuals and capturing the emotion of the moment rather than the surroundings. Kolkin’s monochromatic palladium printing process reveals a vast tonal range that creates a rich compositional chiaroscuro throughout this body of work. Viewers are drawn into the tightly cropped images and asked to act as witnesses to introspection. Voyeurs in this secluded world, we are given permission to enter quietly and serenely to occupy the same space as the subjects. Kolkin explains, “Intrinsic to human nature is the aspiration to achieve a sense of wellbeing or happiness in our lives. Inner Harmony strives to highlight the importance of looking inward in our quest to achieve this state of mind, rather than expecting it to come from external sources.”
The works in this exhibition challenge the viewer not only to discover the sacred space within our personal environments, but to recognize it in our daily rituals and encounters.
Images above (l to r):
Shannon Johnstone, Mistletoe, 2012, archival inkjet print
Scott Hazard, Cloud Chamber, 2011, wood, digital print and glass
Jon Kolkin, Nurtured, India 2015, palladium print, edition of 10
Gallery is scheduled through January 2016.
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)