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Courtesy of BanG Studios
"Phantom," by Genesis Chapman. India ink on yupo paper.
The Roanoke Times | File 2012
Genesis Chapman is a Roanoke County native who has gained a reputation for making fascinating wooden animal-figure puzzles. He makes dragons, eagles, lions and a whole menagerie of creatures.
Courtesy of Roanoke College
Travis Head’s “Reading List Yeah!” is the winner of the 2013 Juried Biennial Exhibition.
Sunday, March 24, 2013
A slightly out-of-the-way downtown Roanoke studio is providing a showcase for a Southern art superstar.
BanG Studios, run by Roanoke artists Gerry and Betsy Hale Bannan, has opened a show by former Floyd County resident Genesis Chapman.
Chapman, who now lives in Richmond, sculpts wooden puzzles shaped like fantasy creatures that can sell for more than $1,000.
But BanG Studios has a different strand of Chapman’s art on display. “I’d call it ink painting,” said Gerry Bannan.
The show, which opened Friday, gathers finely detailed drawings made in ink of rivers and streams that appear abstract at first glance but are in fact hyper-realistic renditions of the surface texture of running water. It’s these drawing that earned him recognition from literary magazine Oxford American last year as one of the top 100 “New Superstars of Southern Art.”
Many of his images record places around Bent Mountain, where he grew up and still visits. His father, Peter Chapman, also makes handcrafted wooden puzzles, which have also received national attention through Better Homes & Gardens, Southern Living and other glossy magazines.
Genesis Chapman was active in the Roanoke art scene, co-organizing the yearly “Stick To Your Guns” art shows with Roanoke artist, dancer and promoter Beth Deel in the early 2000s. The Bannans also helped out with later shows.
The couple moved to Roanoke from Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1992, and have been fixtures in the art scene themselves. Betsy Bannan’s paintings were the centerpieces of the “Roanoke on the Road” performance art project in 2010, in which a group of regional artists and musicians traveled to New York and staged surprise street performances.
The name “BanG Studios” incorporates the couple’s initials, as in “B. and G.” They started renting the building at 425 Fourth St. S.W. a year ago. After much clean-up, they held their first show, an exhibit of their own work, last summer.
Located between Church Avenue and Luck Avenue, near the Red Cross building , BanG Studios isn’t in a high foot traffic spot. “The space is primarily a work space,” he said.
Bannan and his wife were interested in a working studio closer to downtown , and the 1,600-square foot space proved most reasonable for the rent price of what they could find. “Studio space like this is just really hard to come by,” he said.
Gerry Bannan teaches art for Patrick Henry Community College in Collinsville, and Betsy Hale Bannan is part of the School of Visual Arts faculty at Virginia Tech. Because the couple isn’t dependent on art sales to pay the studio rent , they have the freedom to share offbeat art that they consider important, Gerry said.
The art they display can be bought, however. He noted that they sold a painting from their previous show in November, by Pennsylvania artist Russell Rogers.
Genesis Chapman’s work at BanG Studios can be viewed by appointment. For more information, call 354-1462 or visit BanG Studios on Facebook.
New at universities
New art shows have opened in galleries at Hollins University, Roanoke College and Virginia Tech. All shows are free.
Roanoke College’s Olin Hall Galleries has 66 works of art on display by 44 artists with regional connections in the 2013 Juried Biennial Exhibition.
Held every two years, the Biennial serves as the Roanoke Valley’s principal juried art exhibit. The Biennial is open to artists who live within a 150-mile radius of Roanoke College.
Margot Norton, curatorial associate at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, judged this year’s show. First place went to Blacksburg artist Travis Head for his drawing “Reading List Yeah!” Head received $500 and will have a solo exhibition in the college’s Smoyer Gallery during the 2013-2014 exhibition season. The $300 second prize went to Roanoke artist Brett LaGue’s “Parting on Cordial Terms” and the $100 third prize went to Roanoke artist Melissa Humphrey’s “Iceblink.” Roanoke artist Deborah Dreyer and Christiansburg artist Jeffrey Rowland received $50 honorable mentions.
The show, which takes up both the Olin and Smoyer galleries, will remain up until April 5. Gallery hours are 1 to 4 p.m. daily, excluding holidays. For more information, call 375-2332 or visit roanoke.edu/olingallery.
The Eleanor D. Wilson Museum at Hollins University has opened two new exhibitions that will be displayed through April 20.
One is a sampling of playful, mysterious and sometimes risque works by New York artist Dan Estabrook , the 2013 Frances Niederer Artist-in-Residence. An expert on Victorian-era photography techniques, Estabook combines those processes with painting to create surreal images with a 19th-century flavor.
“Tanja Softic: Migrant Universe” organizes a series of large mixed media panels by the Richmond artist , an immigrant from the former Yugoslavia.
The panels, which look like collages of biological and man-made forms, often shown in silhouette, together form what Softic calls a “visual poem about the identity and the world view of an immigrant.”
The museum’s hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday. For more information, call 362-6532 or visit hollins.edu/museum/index.shtml.
“Diametric,” by Blacksburg artist and School of Visual Arts faculty member Simone Paterson, will be on display in Virginia Tech’s Perspective Gallery through May 11.
Paterson’s digital art has been exhibited at the Taubman Museum of Art and in avant garde Roanoke events such as the Marginal Arts Festival and PROject proJECT. “Diametric” is a collection of sculpture and digital media artwork that compares and contrasts the quality of light in her native Australia to that of the Appalachian Mountains. Perspective Gallery is on the second floor of the Squires Student Center on the Virginia Tech campus. Gallery hours are noon to 9 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays.
The Armory Art Gallery at Virginia Tech is hosting “Dean Carter: Figurative Landscapes” until April 5. Carter is a professor emeritus of the university, where he helped co-found the art department and taught sculpture, drawing, and art history from 1950 to 1992. The first of a series of exhibitions showcasing the work of retired School of Visual Arts faculty, the show presents a cross section of Carter’s art across his long career. For more information visit www.gallery.vt.edu.
Piano ensemble celebrates 40th
Piano ensemble Carole Edwards and Friends will celebrate its 40th anniversary this year in performances at 2 p.m. April 6 and 4 p.m. April 7 at The Glebe in Daleville as part of the retirement community’s Music in the Mountains festival.
Edwards founded the ensemble in New York in 1974. After 20 years she moved to Virginia and continued to perform at Smith Mountain Lake. She moved to The Glebe in 2005 along with fellow musician Jackie Werb , and concerts have continued at The Glebe since.
The ensemble’s current lineup also includes another Glebe resident, Joy McNabb , and Roanoke resident Deanne Vance. The ensemble uses two grand pianos, and sometimes all four play them at once.
The anniversary concerts include works by Brahms, Prokofiev and Gershwin as well as selections from movie soundtracks.
Admission is free, but reservations are required. For more information, call Edwards at 591-2465 or email her at email@example.com, or call The Glebe at 591-2100 or visit theglebe.org.
On the Arts blog
A new art exhibition, “Circus Pony,” curated by Susan Jamison, opens Thursday at Liminal: Alternative Artspace as the official launch Marginal Arts Festival launch. Learn more about the show’s who, what and why at blogs.roanoke.com/arts.
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