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.
| August 5 – September 18
Opening Reception | First Friday, August 7, 5-7pm
al·che·my | \ˈalkəmē\ | noun
1. the medieval forerunner of chemistry, based on the supposed transformation of matter. It was concerned particularly with attempts to convert base metals into gold or to find a universal elixir.
2. a seemingly magical process of transformation, creation or combination.
In contemporary society, technology and media have a profound effect on our daily lives. At their best, they can amplify the influence of individuals through connections, disperse information and inspire communities to take action. At their worst, they overwhelm, distract and isolate the audience they are meant to serve. The artists of Beautiful Alchemy explore this dichotomy in their collage and mixed media works. Brandon Cordrey and Melinda Fine use the layering of various media to represent the metamorphic and transformative power of technology over people.
The colorful and somewhat whimsical appearance of Brandon Cordrey’s mixed media collages camouflages the underlying dialogue of each work. Such is the case in Exhibition, where the off-centered character, knowing that perception is everything in the world of social media, is presenting an “Ideal” self to display while concealing and protecting the “Real” self from the persistent assault of the birds and planes. Cordrey often represents information by the use of multiples and the suggestion of movement within the collage. The background is a grid-like series of topographical maps, possibly alluding to the difficulty of navigating through the barrage of information we are confronted with or perhaps making the suggestion to remain grounded while plotting a course on the information highway. Cordrey explains, “The work exhibited in Beautiful Alchemy looks particularly at how we receive information from the media—how that information can be manipulated, how rhetoric can be changed, and how easily truth can become opinion. A large portion of the content is focused on political campaigns and the media’s coverage of politics.”
Just as the title of this exhibition suggests, the public is exposed to real physiological and psychological changes by the constant onslaught of information. As Melinda Fine states, “With black and white imagery, I visualize the energetic impact of the volume of electronic data to which we are exposed. I layer letters and words in explosive to lyrical compositions expressing the type, the source and perception of visual and virtual information. In short, the overwhelm.” This is abundantly realized in the work Hush-a-boom. The linear strips of type and newsprint quite literally explode off of the canvas with a fragmented mouth expressing the turmoil of the captured moment, all while hovering insects focus in on the carnage. We are left with the emptiness, chaos and confusion encircled within the blast zone.
Brandon Cordrey and Melinda Fine have differing approaches and aesthetics, but both explore the benefits and shortfalls of living in a networked society.
Images above (l to r):
Melinda Fine, Quiet, Please, 2012, mixed media on canvas, 24”x 24”
Brandon Cordrey, Exhibition, 2014, mixed media on maps, 66” x 80”
Melinda Fine, Hush-a-boom, 2013, mixed media on canvas, 24”x 24”
Brandon Cordrey, Lie to Me, 2015, mixed media on panel, 24” x 18”
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)