One hundred thirty-five artists were chosen for Artist Row at this year’s Artisphere, which will be held May 10-12 in downtown Greenville. Sixteen of them will be local.
Kent Ambler’s earliest memories are of him drawing. He discovered he had an innate feel for the process of making woodcuts while a student at Ball State University in Indiana.
He lives on 12 acres on Paris Mountain, an endless source of subject matter. Mark making is the main focus in Ambler’s woodcut prints, while surface and paint application are the main focus in his paintings.
Taylor Adams works primarily with thread and ink as her media to create abstractions reminiscent of landscapes and moments found in nature. Adams credits her interest in thread to her mother teaching her to sew at a young age. Having lived along lakes and oceans, Adams is largely influenced by bodies of water and reflects that movement and form throughout her work.
Alice Allen has a bachelor’s degree in sculpture, studied iron and metalsmithing at the Penland School of Crafts, and earned a second degree in interior design. Since 2017, Allen has focused exclusively on fine art jewelry. Her designs feature rich color palettes, nontraditional materials, and bold geometric motifs.
Growing up, Kiah Bellows invested much of her time swimming competitively, but she knew she wanted to do something in the arts. While she was at Gardner-Webb University on a swimming scholarship, she majored in art with a concentration in printmaking and painting. Her work largely focuses on abstract landscape paintings, inspired by trips to visit family out west and along the East Coast.
Joseph Bradley’s career as an artist had a bit of an unusual impetus – he was held up in a bank robbery. The experience forced an evaluation of what energized him. Bradley is a nationally award-winning artist whose recent work is process-oriented employing oil paint, washes, and metal leaf.
Cuban-born Rey D’Alfonso was drafted into Castro’s army at age 16 and served for several months before he set out for the United States in a rustic boat he built himself from found or traded materials. D’Alfonso utilizes his knowledge of pigments and fire in his paintings on Baltic birch.
Janina Ellis is the third generation in a family of artists. Her grandmother was an oil painter and her mother is one of the top U.S. scrimshanders, or maritime engravers. Ellis is a painter who now concentrates on figurative work. In her work, Ellis says she tries to seize a seemingly mundane, everyday moment and illuminate it in a manner that reveals its beauty and poignancy.
Growing up, Kate Furman was exposed to the outdoors. She even spent five years as a whitewater rafting guide. Her passion for nature is evident in almost all of her jewelry. Her designs are made from an array of materials, including found wood, sterling silver, bronze, and steel.
As a potter, Darin Gehrke wants his pieces to be both striking and functional. Since Gehrke returned from living in China, his work has focused on making ceramics that combine Chinese and Japanese aesthetics. Prior to moving to Greenville, he worked in a garment district studio in New York City and taught adult ceramics classes.
Mixed-media artist Keith Grace begins each painting with a sketch, often inspired by photographs he’s taken of friends and objects. After enlarging the sketch and drawing it on canvas, Grace collages individual pieces of typography and other visuals such as maps and elements of pop culture onto the surface. Then, he blocks in color with layers of acrylics before adding details with oil using a drybrush technique.
Black-and-white fine art photography has always been one of Marie Gruber’s favorite forms of artistic expression. Gruber studied fine art at the University of Georgia and Clemson University. Her images are from her local surroundings and from her travels in the United States, British Columbia, France, Spain, China, Costa Rica, and Italy.
Using multiple materials, Glory Day Loflin creates paintings, drawings, and sculptures that reflect on her upbringing in the American South. Loflin was educated as a dancer before the visual arts. Strong lines are an important part of her work.
Jerry Maxey has always worked with wood, starting with building things and refinishing furniture at his father’s upholstery shop. When he found himself without access to a workshop, he started making baskets at the urging of a friend. Now he combines both in his art.
Sunny Mullarkey McGowan
Sunny Mullarkey McGowan’s primary media are painting and printmaking. She said she has always found a keen pleasure in creating prints; in moving from paper to linoleum, from carving to printing. McGowan said she finds joy in the labor and unique results of hand-pulled prints.
Before moving to Greenville, Meredith Piper managed and taught painting classes at an art studio in Shreveport, Louisiana. She also taught art in the public school system. Her work is composed of mixed-media paintings on wooden panels, as well as woven textile pieces encased in wood.
At first, Llyn Strong thought she would be a painter or a graphic designer. She made her first piece of jewelry in 1972. Now, she’s the owner of a downtown store that features her own original jewelry designs as well as those of more than 30 jewelry and glass artists.