Ceramics by Birdie Boone
August 24, 2012 – December 23, 2012
United Company Contemporary Regional Gallery


The ceramic work of Birdie Boone transcends the functionality associated with cups and saucers, dishes and bowls, teapots and vases. Boone carefully considers the form, texture, and character of her pieces so that they begin to communicate and take on an identity of their own.  Carefully displayed or assembled in large-scale installations, Boone’s concepts regarding femininity, body image, and domesticity emerge. The multiplicity of her forms also engages notions regarding consumption, indulgence, and dissonance.

At times, Birdie Boone has called southwest Virginia home. She was an Abingdon High School graduate.  She went to college at William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, and received her MFA in Ceramics from the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. She taught Ceramics, Sculpture and Appalachian Crafts at Emory & Henry College, in Emory, Virginia. Boone recently left the area to become Studio Director at Santa Fe Clay in New Mexico.



Dali Illustrates the Divine Comedy: From the University of Tennessee’s Ewing Gallery
September 28, 2012 – February 17, 2013
United-Legard Galleries


Art and literary enthusiasts will have the opportunity to see a literary masterpiece come to life through the work of the late world-renowned artist Salvador Dali (1904-1989) in Dali Illustrates Dante’s Divine Comedy. The exhibition represents Dali’s visual interpretation chronicling Dante Alighieri’s symbolic journey through Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven. Salvador Dali was one of the most well known of the surrealist artists who concentrated on depicting the unconscious and subconscious mind. Dali labored for nine years to produce a series of 100 watercolors as illustrations to Dante’s classic epic with each print depicting a verse from the poem. The prints on view were translated from Dalí’s watercolors into printed plates, a process in which two artists worked for five years hand-carving 3,500 blocks.




Fantastic Mechanics Sean Pace and Robert Sulkin
January 11 – May 19, 2013
United Company Contemporary Regional Gallery

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Sean Pace of Asheville, North Carolina, and Robert Sulkin of Roanoke, Virginia, are imaginative engineers in the studio. Sean Pace creates mixed-media sculptures that often have a complex network of motors and gears. With human intervention they can be set into motion and facilitate surprising activities such painting an abstract picture or shooting a rubber chicken. Robert Sulkin concocts elaborate readymade sculptures then photographs them as still lifes in black and white, some with mathematic formulas and other notations superimposed on the final image. These document the musings of a fictional inventor trying to devise solutions for the world’s complex problems. To different ends, the fantastical machines of Pace and Sulkin invoke absurdity and conjure magic.



The Virginia Dulcimer: 200 Years of Bowing, Strumming, & Picking
On Loan from the Blue Ridge Institute and Museum
January 18 – August 11, 2013
Price-Strongwell Galleries


The dulcimer is one of the most popular symbols of mountain music. This exhibition explores the dulcimer’s long journey from northern Europe, to the mountains of Appalachia, and eventually into the hands of folk musicians across the nation. The Old World dulcimer underwent a dramatic change in Virginia. In The Virginia Dulcimer, the story unfolds with over 50 examples of the instrument dating from the 1700s to the present—including an 1832 Floyd County dulcimer, the oldest known signed-and-dated example in the nation.




Quilt National: The Dairy Barn Arts Center Biennial
March 8 – June 30, 2013
United-Legard Galleries

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For more than three decades, the biennial Quilt National exhibit at the Dairy Barn Arts Center in Athens, Ohio, has showcased the best and most exciting contemporary art quilts being created around the world. More than 1,000 works were submitted by artists from 46 states and 22 foreign countries. The mission remains the same for this 17th biennial installment: to select works that honor the quilting tradition while embracing new forms of expression through innovative uses of new techniques and materials.




UNShelved: Nick DeFord, Daniel Essig, Travis Head, and Robyn Raines
June 7 – September 29, 2013
United Company Contemporary Regional Gallery

unshelved card

From all corners of the region, the artists selected for this exhibition together reveal an interest in text-based images, seeing books as art objects, and working with paper in both traditional and alternative ways. In many ways these artists are also astute collectors -of images, publications, stories, and things – which also serve to inform their work. Nick DeFord (Knoxville, Tennessee) collects maps, mixes art supplies with office supplies, and often references art history, popular culture and places known for mysterious events. DeFord explores how information is mediated through society, and how this can relate to what is known and unknown about our universe.

Daniel Essig (Asheville, North Carolina) sees books as prized possessions and creates original books using found objects and ancient binding techniques. At times, his books become sculptural, so much so that a large scale sculpture might serve as a reliquary for a miniature book tucked away in the most unlikely place. Travis Head (Blacksburg, Virginia) uses his sketchbooks as a journal and documents events from his life through notes and drawings. Often meticulously crafted, his drawings demonstrate a desire to capture memories on paper and pay tribute to these memories through each intricate detail. Robyn Raines (Cedar Bluff, Virginia) collects vintage books and magazines as well as makes books on her own. In her projects, paper will be sewn like fabric, books can be carved like sculpture, and pages torn from a book might support a clever statement regarding one’s domestic versus professional life.

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