Exhibition Previews
November 2011

BIRDS OF A FEATHER: Click HERE to view PDF of this article.

1 November 2011

By Chelsea Kellner

A pair of four-eyed beauties in Japanese robes float across blue sky on the backs of two white cranes in flight. It's a stylized painting, surreal, like something seen in a dream.

On another wall, there's a black-capped chickadee on a painted abstract perch, so lifelike it looks ready to chirp and fly away.

Two artists offer their vision of birds at this month's First Friday event at Adam Cave Fine Art downtown. Raleigh-based Tisha Weddington paints symbolic canvases of birds and women designed to be interpreted by the viewer. Byron Gin's birds are so detailed they look like photographs, set against playful splashes of abstract color.

"Byron is playing off of documentation," Cave said. "Tisha is playing off of the mythological element birds bring. But they're both always exploring in their paintings."

In Weddington's art, animals are often used to bring masculine energy to her paintings, Cave said, which often center around a female figure.

Her birds can also serve that purpose, but just as often they are light, flitting or perched gently on an outstretched hand.

"I love for people to come up with their own stories, to narrate my images as they wish," Weddington said.

Weddington is inspired by Japanese prints, bullfighting posters, old circus prints. She doesn't have her own stories for the paintings. She works intuitively, with layers of drawing and paint.

"We all bring baggage to everything we see," Cave said. "When a painter works in a simpler, more stylized style as Tisha's doing, we're able to read more into it."

Gin, who is based in Chicago, has degrees in both art and environmental science and says he gathers inspiration from day-to-day life - like the birds on his backyard feeder.

Viewers have a strong response to paintings that incorporate birds, Cave said. There's precedent for that in art history. From Renaissance art to the peace movement, doves and other birds have strong symbolic meaning.

There's also a spiritual element - the Bible features doves, ravens and other birds playing key roles in important events from the Great Flood to the blessing of Jesus. In Native American tradition, an eagle or other bird can serve as one's spirit animal.

Plus there's the frenetic energy associated with birds that brings a sense of movement to any painting, Cave said.

"It gives the viewer the sense that, if the artist has frozen the moment, it's only for a fraction of a second, because birds don't stand still," Cave said. "That brings a sense of life to the canvas."

Kellner: 919-829-4802

Visual Art
16 March 2011

By Chris Vitiello

After a bitter winter, spring has graced the Triangle, which means daffodils, forsythia and new art in Raleigh's galleries. Before the blossoms and fresh air lure you out into the sun, take in some of the beautiful, obsessive artwork currently on display.

Adam Cave Fine Art is showing a pair of image-makers, Diana Bloomfield and Donald Furst, whose processes inform their works with mysterious qualities that will move you to want to become an initiate.

Diana Bloomfield's pinhole and alternative-process photography endows her subjects with a hyperrealism. Many of the images are the result of a multicolor gum bichromate process that dates to the 1850s and produces a unique print. This process—which can take days—is similar to offset printing. She brushes an emulsion containing watercolor pigment onto paper, exposes it with a separation negative, develops it and then does it again, layering a different color.

Bloomfield reveals this process in a stunning quartet of portraits of pinned moths and flies. The insects appear neatly within a white square, around which Bloomfield's emulsion brushstrokes are left visible. This chaotic rainbow perimeter plays foil to the calm images of the perfectly spread luna moth and damselfly, transforming them into kept secrets. A slight imprecision in registration of the colors lends an animate blur to the nocturnal moth, which must vibrate its wings to heat up its flight muscles in the absence of radiant sunlight.

Bloomfield also uses a complicated "platinum over pigment" process, which is explained on a lengthy gallery sheet. But the technical information isn't necessary to admire the work. It's her compositional eye in "Winter Kudzu" that recognizes a fascinating undulation in the leafless mesh of vines on bare trees. The platinum gives a radiant Polaroid darkness to the print, which plays up the threatening nature of the viral, ubiquitous plant.

Donald Furst's engravings and lithography glow with dreamlike potential but resist surrealism. The perspective of his interiors is located in a darkened room that includes an open door to a lighted hallway. Or the image vanishes into a darkening passageway that dimly reveals a corner at its depth. Every doorway permits a swath of light in, which allows Furst to show his virtuosic skill at achieving gradations of gray.

Neither claustrophobic nor creepy, these empty rooms and disappearing corridors are more like being locked in an M.C. Escher office building overnight than stuck in a cyclical David Lynch set. Upon scrutiny, an elaborate mirror trick is perceptible in "Echolalia," giving the sense of infinite iteration. But in a vitreograph titled "Strive? II," steps terminate in blind walls, and suspended disintegrating ladders lead nowhere. The meditative precision of Furst's process becomes slightly anxious in several miniature mezzotints only a couple of inches wide.

Currently the chair of the departments of art and art history at UNC-Wilmington, where he has taught since 1985, Furst possesses an astounding intaglio repertoire. His 13 images include woodcuts, mezzotints, lithographs and etchings. The woodcut "Higher Than" merits a visit all by itself. Put your nose an inch from its surface and scrutinize the detail in an area of treetops from which hewn ladders protrude. Then pick your lower jaw up from the floor.

Art Smart
January / February 2011

By Adam Cave

Here at the beginning of a new century, one of the most important art forms of the last millennium is also one of the most misunderstood. Printmaking, despite its long history, confuses modern collectors more than any other medium. The complexity and variety of fine art printing techniques, combined with the advances in reproduction and commercial printing, have all contributed to this confusion. However, with some clear explanations and a little history, art collectors should have the tools to understand the prints that they see and more fully appreciate this fascinating art form.

Confusion starts with the word “print”

The word “print” these days can refer to anything printed in any manner; however, most fine art printmakers make works defined as original prints. The term “original” indicates that the artwork was conceived, from the start, to be a print. It is not a reproduction of a previously created artwork such as a painting. “Original” also reflects the fact that hand-made prints, although often multiples of a single image, are made one at a time, and no two are exactly the same. By contrast, reproduction prints are mechanically made copies in which a scan or photograph of any type of completed artwork is used by computers and commercial printing presses to produce facsimiles. Examples include limited-edition giclées, offset lithographs and posters.

Printing dates back over 1000 years to early Asian block prints, but fine art printmaking as we know it did not fully develop until the invention of the printing press in 1440. The press allowed artists to spend more time refining images and printing them with much greater consistency. Woodcuts and engravings by Albrecht Durer in the 16th century were some of the first works to demonstrate printmaking’s potential. In the 17th century, Rembrandt became as famous for his emotionally charged etchings as his paintings. This period also saw the growth of a new, educated middle class that wanted to collect art. Only royalty and the church could afford large paintings, but prints, by the very same artists, were affordable and highly collected. Increasingly, many now-famous artists subsidized their careers with print sales; Goya (18th century); Manet and Degas (19th century); Picasso, Dali, Wood, Benton, Hopper and Warhol (20th century). The good news for collectors is that while paintings by these artists are all but priceless, their original prints (and those of countless others) are far more affordable and are actively collected and enjoyed.

What is an “original print”

An original print is most often an image created with ink on paper where the ink has been transferred to the paper from another surface instead of drawn directly by hand. An artist inscribes marks on a primary surface called a matrix (a metal plate for example). These marks hold ink and, with pressure, can transfer, or “print” that ink onto a piece of paper. The resulting print is a mirror image of the matrix. Most of us have done rudimentary printmaking when we made potato stamps in elementary school. Stamping, woodblock printing, linoleum block printing, and wood engraving are examples of one of the three major categories of printmaking: relief printing. To make a relief print, an artist uses knives and chisels to carve patterns into a flat, smooth surface such as a block of wood. Ink is rolled on the uncarved surface and then paper is pressed down on the block with enough pressure to transfer the ink to the paper. Since no ink touched the carved out areas (below the surface) they form the negative space in the image and appear white in the resulting print.

Artists who prefer their carved marks to print black instead of white choose intaglio printmaking, which includes engraving, dry point, mezzotint, and etching. In the first three techniques the artist uses sharp tools to scratch directly into a metal plate, usually copper or zinc. Ink is rolled on the plate and pushed into all the scratched grooves below the plate surface. The smooth surface of the plate is subsequently wiped clean leaving ink only in the grooves. The artist covers the plate with a dampened sheet of paper and puts both under a press, the pressure of which pushes the ink out of the grooves and onto the paper to create the print.

Since scratching delicate marks directly into metal is difficult, etching was developed, and is the most widely practiced intaglio technique. In etching, the metal plate is first covered with a thin layer of clay-like substance called a ground. With a stylus, the artist can easily and fluidly draw in the ground, exposing the underlying metal with each mark. The plate is then put into a bath of acid that etches grooves into the exposed areas of the metal. After taking the plate out of the acid bath, the ground is removed, and the plate is inked, wiped and printed using the same methods of the other intaglio processes.

The third type of original printmaking is planographic and includes lithography and silkscreen printing. Planographic techniques create images on the surface of a matrix without any carving or etching. Lithography is based on the principle that oil and water don’t mix. The matrix is traditionally smooth limestone on which the artist draws with a greasy crayon. These marks are then chemically treated to attract oil and repel water. The stone is dampened with water and when ink is rolled on the surface it only sticks to the treated areas. The inked stone is covered with a sheet of paper and sent through a printing press to print the image.

In silkscreen printing, an invention in the early 20th century, the artist designs a stencil that is glued down on a fine screen. The screen is laid over a piece of paper and ink is forced through it. Since the ink can only get through the areas not covered by the stencil, the resulting image corresponds to the stencil design.

Proofs and editions

There are far too many types of original printmaking to mention in this article. However, almost all techniques fall under relief, intaglio or planographic printmaking and most allow for the repeated printing of an image multiple times. The resulting set of images is called an edition and each individual piece is a proof. Although no two hand- made prints are ever exactly the same, great consistency between the proofs in an edition is a sign of a printmaker’s skill. Some artists have no interest in creating editions at all and instead make singular prints called monotypes that cannot be repeated. Modern printmakers who do create editions will pencil sign and number each piece so that collectors know how many have been made.

Printmaking today does seem to be enjoying a renaissance, and collectors who understand the medium are in for an exciting time. Artists have more access than ever to the tools they need and they are creating deeply personal works in an endless variety of styles and techniques. Just as in earlier centuries, high quality printmaking by well-known artists continues to be affordable and can be a very wise investment. Collect today’s contemporary printmakers and you may well be buying tomorrow’s Rembrandts.

November / December 2010

By Chris Vitiello

And what is the predicament of the painter, a decade into the 21st century? After Modernists and Postmodernists have fought wars over abstraction and representation across canvasses now quietly hung in museums, what weapons, bandages, and tools remain for the contemporary studio painter to deploy?

Will Goodyear would answer, “All of them.”

Goodyear’s recent paintings can be read as an archive of the last 150 years of art, from the painterly gesture and the early days of photography, through improvisational elements of Abstract Expressionist non-objectivity, into a digital era in which images flutter through contexts like phantoms. On wooden panels layered with paint, beeswax, charcoal, oil pastel, and even tobacco juice, screen-printed buildings and historical scenes crouch beneath and jut into resonant skies. Upon eye contact, one is drawn into their atmospheric multiplicity, moving physically closer to them in order to see details open up.

Goodyear resolves these disparate aesthetics within uncomplicated compositions, the classical structure of which may be buried beneath literally ten or more layers. Balanced and simultaneous, these paintings stand as examples of why a trapeze artist is still called an artist.

Usually, at the beginning of an artist’s profile, their location is given with the word “based” after it, but even location is multiple right now for the 31-year-old Goodyear. He commutes several times a week between Greenville, where he is completing an MFA at East Carolina University and opening his thesis show November 5 at Emerge Gallery, and Raleigh, where he lives with his wife Debra and their young daughter Ainsley and shows work at Adam Cave Fine Art.

This commute leaves a visible, even filmic, impression on Goodyear’s paintings. The repetitive rushing-past of loblolly pines; the omnipresent sky, both exhilarating and ominous; the music blaring from the car’s stereo, ambivalent to the hurtling landscape—all of this informs a calm simultaneity in Goodyear’s work. If you’ve driven an eastern North Carolina interstate, you know this comfortable disorientation. It might not look like you’re getting anywhere regardless of your speedometer’s readout, but the landscape you’re speeding through is rich and varied, and eventually you arrive at your destination.

Goodyear himself is always both arriving and leaving. On the verge of finishing his studies, he’s living in both the present and the future, culminating his three years of school while seeking studio space and a new community of artists in the state capital. The key to his balancing it all is in those resonant skies.

Ralph Waldo Emerson’s journal entry that “The sky is the daily bread of the eyes” rings true in Goodyear’s work. Color fields, whether hovering above overlapping skylines of contemporary Raleigh and Seattle or above turn-of-the-century rioters in Wilmington, occupy the majority of the paintings’ areas. They contrast the congested, urban areas constructed at the bottom of the picture. “It gives your eye a definite place to rest,” Goodyear explains. “You can look at all of this stuff down here and try to take it all in. And you can always retreat to this large area of a more peaceful aesthetic. I could describe that as my own little retreat.”

There’s nothing simple, however, about these skies. The intensely worked and layered surfaces change as one walks toward or away from them and the different materials at different layers of the mix emerge.

Gallery owner Adam Cave, who showed Goodyear’s work along with that of Annemarie Gugelmann in the “Metropolitans” show this past October, carries a painting from room to room to display its optical complexities: “I have never had an artist whose work changes color so dramatically from daylight to electric lights. Because he puts a lot of very strong color underneath, and covers it up, different kinds of lights pull it out.”

Cave points to Seattle Study, which appears to be a nightscape. “This painting goes from the very dark, somber, umber quality you see here in daylight to, when it’s all electric light, completely green. Its brightness is so strong that it doesn’t seem that much darker than this painting here.” Cave points to Large Building, Larger Sky, a diptych on hollow-core doors featuring Raleigh’s Wachovia building beneath an unmistakable Carolina noon.

“I work really quickly and really up close while the materials are wet, to build up layers without thinking too much about the composition or formal characteristics,” Goodyear says of his process. “Everything is done with a sense of immediacy.”

Although outlining and tracing finds its way into the work in small ways, Goodyear employs neither drawing nor collage in any way. His literal images come solely from screen printing, polymer lift, and Xerox transfer techniques.

“A lot of unpredictable things happen in the transfer process,” he explains. “You lose a lot of the image and then you can pull it back. Once I put that imagery down, drawing helps to fill in some of the gaps, and to bridge the two worlds: the photo imagery with the gestural paint and texture.”

The unpredictability and disrupted imagery is as much for the mind as for the eye. When Goodyear fragments or complicates a historical image, he is representing its social complexity as well, while avoiding painting from a soapbox.

This fall, he is hanging his thesis show, which explores the idea of the public monument, focusing specifically on how Charles Aycock—North Carolina’s governor from 1901 to 1905—has been memorialized and misremembered. In ten pieces, some inset within a large wall engraved with Aycock’s words, Goodyear deals with both Aycock’s legacy as an advocate of public education, and his uncelebrated white supremacist platform and involvement in the 1898 Wilmington race riots. “There’s very little out there in the form of public monument that tells anything else about his public legacy,” he points out.

In a work entitled A Champion of Public Education, Amongst Other Things, Goodyear’s layered sky around a bronze statue of Aycock can be read as being stained with either the blood of rioters or legislative ink, or simply as a weathered parchment in a public square.

Goodyear also gathers images that document or refer to the rest of the story. His research is not so much aimed at truth-telling as it is at complicating the idea of a one-to-one correspondence between memorial and man, and more generally, image and meaning. Multiple historical moments dwell in one painting, proximate and interpenetrated, because their politics are irresolvable. In the end, a monument really only stares back.

Occasionally, Goodyear’s research literally determines the materiality of the paintings—some of the Aycock-related work contains layers of tobacco stains, emphasizing the link between the political machinery of eastern North Carolina and the economic fuel that powers it. “Aesthetics are wonderful, but I hope to be able to add some depth and deal with some actual issues,” Goodyear says.

He has already placed a few paintings in corporate or work environments around the Triangle, and done commissions “dealing with the visuals of that particular place, dealing with what the people see who live there, work there.” Expressing his aspirations for a painting in an office building lobby, he says “It’s basically fancy wallpaper, but hopefully a handful of people are forming some kind of connections with it. Whatever I have to say is pretty much useless if I’m the only one looking at it.”

Cave sees big things in his future: “Will has demonstrated over and over again that he has the chops, the staying power, the focus, the professionalism—and he was doing it prior to going back to school.”

Goodyear’s paintings reward multiple viewings over time, and provoke considerations of one’s place and its history. Regardless of how his personal transitions affect the imagery and ideas on the panels, his work will exemplify Ezra Pound’s assertion that great art is “news that stays news.”

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

By Chelsea Kellner - Staff Writer

In Portugal, Joseph Cave painted bright light falling on red earth and tiled roofs, casting crisp shadows, unfiltered by the ever-present humidity of his boyhood home in the South. On the California coast, he captured grand vistas backed by mountains, with more of that pure, clear light. But when he moved back to the Carolinas 20 years ago, his work changed. "Here, the light is much softer," Cave said. "Painting becomes much more intimate."

A show of Cave's work capturing the cafes and cotton fields of North and South Carolina will open this weekend at the Adam Cave Fine Art gallery on East Hargett Street as part of the First Friday event downtown. With the galleries and restaurants of downtown Raleigh open late at the once-a-month event, Cave is one of many artists whose work art lovers can peruse by strolling the streets and watching for the First Friday flags to identify participating venues.

At Cave's show, locals may recognize the Berkeley Cafe, painted under a blue sky with the skyscrapers of downtown in the background, or Logan's flower market from Seaboard Station, said Adam Cave, gallery owner and the artist's son. He also specializes in coastal scenes and floral paintings.

"It's subject matter that people love and understand and respond to," Adam Cave said. "It doesn't require a master's degree in art history to understand it."

Cave's style has undergone a dramatic revolution since his days as an art student at the University of Georgia in 1954. Cave started out as an abstract expressionist, working in an isolated cubicle facing a blank wall with his inner life as the only material from which to draw inspiration.

"Doing something that had never been done before was the preoccupation, but it was almost like all the doors had been opened and closed by the time I came along," Cave said. "You were always seen to be parroting somebody who was already established."

After a stint in the Army, Cave enrolled in the San Francisco Art Institute to learn from a group called the Bay Area Figurative Painters who were gaining renown for their return to using subjects in their artwork.

"It had dawned on me that you could have more stimulation if you reverted to nature, because it's always different and challenging," Cave said.

Being able to paint from life was more fun, he said, especially because his abstract training had taught him how to work with only color and lines to design a compelling canvas.

Cave's work in the Carolinas has been praised as "splendor without sentimentality" by Jim Fitch, director of the Rice Museum in Georgetown, S.C. The phrase appears in an essay Fitch penned for the first book of Cave's paintings just published by his son's gallery.

Cave's work has been much collected locally in his two decades painting North Carolina. His work has hung in local restaurants and sports stadiums, as well as in private homes. Greensboro real estate developer Alex Gold owns six of Cave's canvases. He can't quite pinpoint what it is he loves about their depiction of scenes around Hillsborough and Apex, but in 20 years, he hasn't tired of them.

"Picasso is out of my price range, but Joe Cave is the next best thing, as far as I'm concerned," Gold said. "They have a depth to them I really enjoy."

Visual Art
27 January 2010

Prints for the people
By Dave Delcambre

American Realism from the WPA Era
Adam Cave Fine Art
Through Feb. 16

More than 200,000 works of art were produced under the auspices of the famed Depression-era Works Progress Administration. The WPA's Federal Art Project (FAP) was founded in 1935 as an important plank of Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal and remained in existence until 1943. Several works produced under this regime can be seen this month in a print show on view at Adam Cave Fine Art.

By government mandate, the WPA bore the challenge of establishing a conceptual framework for art that suited American culture. In other words, it needed to be democratic and accessible, rather than theoretical or elitist. Accordingly, the FAP program is especially known for the myriad public art projects it supported, such as murals and posters placed in post offices, schools, libraries, hospitals and other public settings .

Less well known, however, is the large number of printmakers who participated in the program. Printmaking in the 1930s was an established popular form, and many viewers were already accustomed to handcrafted visual artwork. With this built-in audience in mind, the FAP began providing access to materials, presses, print workshop support and even educational assistance when needed. Printmaking is demanding, process-oriented and often a team effort; its resemblance to traditional guilds only aided the artists' identification with their working-class subjects.

The printmakers found a kinship with workers who were struggling through the Depression. In this show, you can find images of a construction worker signaling a crane operator, steel workers riding a beam high above a New York skyline, a potter turning a bowl in the studio and farmers tending the rolling hills of their farmland. Well-known artists like Grant Wood, John Marin, Rockwell Kent and Thomas Hart Benton are represented, as well as less familiar names, such as Herschel Levit, Lawrence Kupferman and Reynold Weidenaar—whose image of a locomotive factory is jaw-dropping in its intricacy and line work and is, in fact, worth a visit by itself.

The show is timely with its overtones of WPA optimism situated within perilous economic times that echo our own—although today's audiences might wonder where the optimism is now. Still, Raleigh is working to broaden the presence of art in the community, notably through its belated half-percent for public art initiative, which is already facing criticism in its association with the proposed $205 million Clarence E. Lightner Public Safety Center. Now is a time to consider what a show of Depression-era art has to tell us about the relationship between artists and their communities.

Back in the day, the FAP got it right. Would that today's crisis were met with a similar largeness of spirit and purpose. Artists working today deserve the same assistance and opportunities provided in the Great Depression. The fact that we still celebrate the work of the WPA era shows what a worthwhile investment it was.

Life, etc.
Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

By Luciana Chavez, Staff Writer

RALEIGH - Shadows of the past will creep up on the present if an upcoming art exhibit, depicting America after the Great Depression, accomplishes its goal.

Adam Cave Fine Art will display and sell 25 prints depicting "American Realism from the WPA era" starting Jan. 22. The pieces capture America at a time of great economic turmoil, when the U.S. government created agencies such as the Works Progress Administration to put people back to work.

Gallery owner Adam Cave thinks the themes in the show will resonate with Americans wrestling with the current recession.

"In the fine art world, it's not always easy to put on an exhibit that is timely from a social or political perspective," Cave says. "We're excited to be doing that, too."

A third of the pieces, all owned by a single collector, were made under the auspices of the WPA. The others are similar in theme, content and time period to the WPA works.

The artistic legacy of the WPA era can be seen in murals created for government buildings, in the way the art was shared in schools and libraries, thus making it more democratic and accessible, and through the growth of the American Realism and Regionalism movements.

"The idea that metro areas or institutions like New York City, which had become the major art center of that time, and Wall Street were on the wrong track goes with the idea that an Iowa farmer or Missouri cattle raiser, who represent other parts of America, should be represented in art as well," says Timothy Riggs, curator of collections at the Ackland Art Museum at UNC-Chapel Hill.

The exhibit features works by Thomas Hart Benton and Grant Wood, the man behind the iconic piece "American Gothic." Both are considered experts of Regionalism.

"What regionalists benefitted from to some extent was a general disillusion in the 1930s with the way things were going," Riggs says.

A worker's plight

At a time when workers had been knocked back, the art showed their plight and the heroism behind their simple lives. Wood's piece "In the Spring" shows a smiling farmer posing in front of his farm land.

One of the Benton pieces shows people harvesting wheat, clouds racing across the sky and grain stalks rustling in the breeze. Samuel Margolies' piece "Builders of Babylon" shows two men atop steel beams high above the New York skyline.

Cave and his wife, Cindy, who own the gallery, are, for the first time, presenting a historical show. The Caves represent local artists and have a specific interest in contemporary North Carolina printmaking. They've been fans of printmaking - lithographs, woodcuts, aquatints - for years. The WPA-era prints were a good fit.

"I think as a medium printmaking has been misunderstood by the public," Cave says, referring to reproduced posters people buy in museum or poster shops. "If you dig a little deeper, it's a wonderful medium used for hundreds of years but it's been overshadowed for the last 75 to 100 years. If we can provide a context for the work of contemporary printmakers, it would be great."

Triad Arts Up Close
June 25, 2009

Hosted by David Ford

A round table discussion with three of the curators and gallery owners behind Gallery Nomads, a collaborative exhibit in Greensboro involving six Raleigh galleries.


Visual Art
13 MAY 2009

Story Time
By Dave Delcambre

Fables and Fantasy
Adam Cave Fine Art
Through May 26

The prints of John D. Gall on view at Adam Cave Fine Art through May 26 conversely are so visually cohesive as to seem inseparable. This is despite the fact that the artist has deployed a variety of media including intaglio, pen and ink, watercolor, and woodcut. In fact it is Gall's aim to pursue a profound sense of storytelling in his work, and his overarching narrative qualities are inescapable.

Rendered in golden hues that evoke the feeling of aged prints and antique parchments, the works explore such left-brain concepts as mathematics, engineering and alphabetic letters. Gall's prints are populated by a cast of characters (usually bald and mustachioed middle-aged men bearing more than a little family resemblance to one another) engaged in all sorts of construction and investigative busy-work activities. Simple machines like levers, pulleys and scales are put to use along with a variety of scaffolding and rigging devices. Notably, the words "seeker" and "knowledge" recur frequently, attached to all but a handful of works. Mythical places such as Babel are presented (although most of the settings are more ambiguous) along with anatomical and scientific diagrams that appear like pages seemingly torn out of Leonardo's sketchbook.

The quirkiness of the bald characters and their metaphorical pursuits of information and understanding convey an animated feeling of challenging concepts. Much like the graphic symbols of mathematics and language he employs in his work, Gall's prints tackle some heavy subjects while nimbly navigating a sense of timelessness within our humanity.

Visual Art
July 30, 2008

The Image Endures
By Dave Delcambre

The camera lens is often understood as a mechanism for capturing exacting, unforgiving and unemotional views of our surroundings. "The camera doesn't lie," the saying goes.

But the Four Photographers exhibit on view at Adam Cave Fine Art dispels this notion and demonstrates the tremendous varieties of emotive image-making that photography actually encompasses. Recent years have brought dramatic change to the medium: Digital cameras and printing techniques have fundamentally altered the way photography is done. With a foot in both the 19th and 21st centuries, this show succeeds by showing the contrast between digital techniques with more traditional methods and affording us a thumbnail glimpse of photography's past and present. Examples of time-honored, laborious photographic processes such as platinum printing and cyanotypes co-exist alongside C-prints and the latest digital technologies

The four artists included in the show explore the time-honored subjects—landscape, still life and the human figure—but in often unconventional ways. DIANA BLOOMFIELD, for example, works with the lensless pinhole cameras, and she also utilizes antique methods of printing such as platinum prints and cyanotype. Her choice of subject matter echoes Romanticism, particularly the moody, emotive landscapes in works such as "Middle Island" and "Lake Ellis Simon at Dusk."

ANDREW ROSS is also involved with landscape imagery, but he's preoccupied by the individual's place within it. His urban scenes typically depict one or very few figures moving about among streetscapes or along building facades. Isolation and solitude come to mind. Due to his shot selection, exquisite timing and the softly focused edges in his prints, his photographs have the distinct qualities of architectural models—they play tricks with scale and depth of field. One can't help but feel empathy with his figures and implicated in their plight.

The work of STEPHEN AUBUCHON is ethereal in essence in the sense that he is studying the fleeting body in motion. His dancer photos, such as "Supplication" and "Etude," have a whirling feel, while a pair of beach landscapes rounds out his works in the show: In their dusky twilight, there's a chromatic unification of beach, sea and sky.

The 21st century comes most explicitly into view with the work of KIM ELLEN KAUFFMAN, who pushes the boundaries of photography by eliminating the camera itself. Rather, she uses a scanner as a type of camera and captures images of leaves, plant stems, seeds and other flora. A work like "Frabrication" exhibits how, once scanned, the image has then been imported into photo manipulation software such as Photoshop to create a richly textured and lush final digital printed image.

The exhibit at Adam Cave Gallery makes us consider where the fixing of images is heading. Will there always be room for the handcrafted work of art in the digital age? This show gives cause for optimism.

Sunday, May 25th, 2008

By J. Peder Zane, Staff Writer

RALEIGH - Nathaniel Hester says he wants to create art full of "mystery and wonder." On that score the Raleigh native's new exhibit is a great success.
The 30 kaleidoscopic silkscreen prints that make up "Animal Farm" bear straightforward titles, including "Beaver," "Buck," "Snake" and "Zebra." The mystery is locating those familiar figures amidst the colorful abstract shapes. You crane your head from side to side, step close then way back, wondering, huhn?

Eventually you realize you're playing a fool's game. Sure, "Flamingo" has plenty of pink, and "Goose" does look like a bird. But Hester's prints are not a jigsaw-puzzle test, challenging viewers to find the familiar in a whir of playful abstraction. They invite us to look beyond feathers, beaks and snouts and consider how we think and feel about these members of his menagerie.

"I made a list of about 35 favorites, animals that I have a particular relationship with," he said in a recent interview.

"Crab" was inspired by a visit to Manteo 25 years ago when he dipped chicken necks into a marsh to lure crabs. "Cow" includes a big black rectangle because when Hester looks at a field of cows they appear rectangular.

His connection to nature runs deep. In 2005 he began living on the remote, 500-acre farm in Person County his family has owned for nine generations. Before the buyout, they grew tobacco; now they lease much of the land for cattle and wheat.

Hester, 31, and his wife, Saralynn, 25, keep bees and grow fruits and vegetables on the land he visited often while growing up in the Cameron Park section of Raleigh. After graduating from Broughton High School, Hester went to Rice University in hopes of becoming an agronomist.

His life took a different path thanks to an unlikely source. The Rotary Club sent him on a trip to Raleigh's sister city in France, Compiègne, where he fell in love with the Louvre Museum during visits to Paris.

He switched his major to art history and French studies. After graduation, he earned a fellowship from Rice that landed him back in Paris.

Through the next six years he studied various art forms -- animation, bookmaking, oil painting, printmaking, woodblocking -- in France; New York; San Francisco; Kyoto, Japan; and Boston University.

While embracing the notion of avant-garde, he concluded that it had been sidetracked. "The safest thing you can do today is to try to shock somebody," Hester said. "I didn't want to live in that ironic disposition, what the critic Hilton Kramer calls the 'free-floating hostility to life itself.' I wanted to make felt, earnest work about what I saw and experienced but that wasn't autobiographical."

His art has been showcased at 11 shows across the country and is part of the permanent collection at Harvard's Fogg Art Museum.

In 2006 he completed a series of 100 paintings titled "Ship of Fools," which was inspired by Shelby Foote's novels about the Civil War. They encompassed identifiable events, such as the Siege of Vicksburg and the sinking of the Merrimac and "more abstract motifs like what maritime battle might have felt like."

Last year he executed another 100-painting project, "Garden Delights," inspired by the history of NASA. "Space travel is part of our blood-thirst to know and control everything, to map the known world," he said.

After those challenging projects, Hester said he wanted to do something "joyous and fun." The result was the lobster, loons and bunny rabbits of "Animal Farm."

"Some of them are mysterious, some of them are silly," he said. "But all them are honest."

May 30, 2008

Click on the link above to watch archived video of this report.

Reporter: Dan Bowens
Photographer: Greg Hutchinson

Visual Art
May 21, 2008

Beauty and the bestiary
By Dave Delcambre

...Nathaniel Hester channels Henri Matisse from the studio on his farm in Person County. From the available evidence, the artist's relocation to the countryside—complete with a few farm animals—has had a direct, beneficial impact on his art.

His latest show is an exploration of abstract composition, in the context of a colorful animal portrait series. An accomplished printmaker and painter, Hester uses the serigraph (a type of screen print) as his chosen medium for this series, and he has employed a collage-like technique of layering blocks and swaths of color—much as Matisse did in his late collage cutouts. Because serigraphs demand that each color be laid on with individual screen passes, there are strong similarities to collage in the printing process. Just as the French artist's use of scissors and colored paper freed up his method of creating form, Hester lets his serigraphs liberate compositional elements so that they interact with their background and—most effectively—each other in lively and compelling ways.

With these prints, Hester experiments with expectations of what any given animal's portrait might look like (or not) while at the same time exploring its distinctive natural qualities. His abstractions are sometimes extreme enough that the viewer is challenged to find a visual connection between animal and picture. Some images in the series, such as "Flamingo," reference the namesake in color with only the slightest anatomical hints. Works like "Chicken" and "Moth" are even more minimal and utilize hovering Rothko-esque planes of color. To Hester's credit, he avoids taking on clichés of animal caricature and instead makes intelligent use of various oddities in his subjects, such as unexpected greens in his "Giraffe" and a very human-like visage in "Owl." When looking at these pictures, it's useful to keep in mind some aspect of the animal's fundamental nature: perhaps writhing and curving for "Snake" and brilliant coloration and segmentation for "Caterpillar." This is an effective starting point in engaging the work on its own terms. These images are not about unerring representation; ultimately, it is Hester's keen sense of composition and knowing when to say when that keep the work accessible and under control.


Art in the American Outback
May 13, 2008

Matt Lively - Recent Works at Adam Cave Fine Art
By Dave Delcambre

Matt Lively creates paintings that live up to his surname. His works are never dull but instead are about the fanciful flights of everyday objects that foray off in unexpected directions. The Richmond based artist has developed a style imbued with a tremendous dose of whimsy and often a good bit of surrealism thrown into the mix for good measure. His paintings recently on view at Adam Cave Fine Art in Raleigh depicted stage set-like tableaux of domesticity: sitting parlors with groupings of striped and patterned chairs, living or bedroom like spaces with large windows and wind blown curtains, ironing boards fraternizing with high chairs, and staircases that curl around small tables like your grandma's that held the family telephone. Ordinary household items, often of the old-timey, made-in-USA era variety, are a common thread that reappear in the canvases and visually tie this series of works together. These items are central in the paintings and are typically actual objects the artist owns- an antique film projector for instance, an old circulating fan, a rotary dial telephone- and they simultaneously lend an air of nostalgic familiarity coupled with an unsettled air of mysterious tranquility.

The paintings share much with the fundamentals of still life painting in that the main subject matter consists of carefully composed objects, attentively painted, within a supporting background. Yet in Lively's paintings these objects are always strongly metaphorical and seem to be stand-ins for the missing occupants of these spaces. This in turn gives rise to all sorts of associations that your mind begins to draw. Has the occupant of the room just left for a second and we're catching the precise moment when they are absent? Or are they ever really coming back? Why are their belongings blowing all around in the drafty breeze like that? Who really owns that many chairs and how can their house have so many little rooms?

Indeed for all the tendency of your mind to have a traditional Westerner's point of view (i.e. focusing on the objects rather than the space around them) it is a more intangible element that recurs throughout that gives these works their chutzpah: namely the continual breeze that appears to be blowing across the scene. It is a constant presence whether blowing the papers out of an antique typewriter in the painting titled "Turgid Type"or loosing the dots right off the pattern of a hanging dress in "Fall in Place" leaving them tumbling down onto the floor. It is a tough task this; the painting of the wind, yet this abstruse breeze seems to me to be the true inhabitant of these spaces. It flutters and flows about, making its way around and between the objects in the rooms as handily as we viewers survey the painted subjects themselves.

A few live elements do occur to bring a sense of the living into the fray: a bird just flown out of a birdcage, a comical swarm of bees in flight mounted on curious little miniature unicycles. But one particular inanimate item that caught my attention is the recurring old fashioned plug-in electrical cord that is generally present with each painted appliance. This cord curls out and away from the fans, clothes irons, and movie projectors towards a wall socket as if to seek out some broader harmony for the objects within their surroundings. It is a tangible element of connection -a literal power source- that suffuses Lively's work with a sense of tactile linkage. In our accelerated present, a time of wireless and unplugged everything, sometimes it takes an honest time-worn item like this to connect us back to fundamental notions of inhabitance and spaces we might call our own.

a postscript...

The painter, I learned from his recent interview on WUNC radio's "The State of Things," also has an intriguing alter ego- Matthew Lively- who is more the brooding type, preferring to work with darker, more menacing themes. Matthew is more prone to show his work in bars and pubs - his own art underworld if you will- whereas Matt's work is more content in hanging (no pun intended) with the traditional gallery crowd. The work done under each guise rarely crosses over into the realm of the other and Lively (who I have to imagine must have to constantly refer to himself as the Artist formerly known as the other M) is perfectly ok with that. Indeed it is a modus operandi that serves him well as it has many other creative types through history from Duchamp / Rose Selavy to the multi-heteronymical Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa. The overall benefit is that Lively is able to cleverly pursue multiple, simultaneous streams of thought in his work in a fruitful way. He in fact becomes his own multi-tasking editor as this working method allows him to let varying ideas and concepts be utilized (or not) in a pluralistic variety of working styles. In doing so he is able to tinge his works with various subtle shades of meaning that have the benefit of broad resonance with viewers...whatever sort of art venue they tend to frequent. The artist noted in this same interview that practically none of Matthew's fans are likely to cross over to see the paintings done by Matt and vice versa due to the differences in venue and the type of crowd each attracts. But do yourself a favor if you get a chance; break this trend and check out what's going on in both places. It's well worth the trip to see what's coming out of the flip side of this artist's palette.

The State of Things
April 22, 2008

Interview with Frank Stasio

Matt Lively is a painter from Richmond. His work is iconic and whimsical, full of things like bumblebees riding bicycles and brightly colored dresses swaying in the breeze.Then there’s Matthew Lively. He's also a painter, but his work is darker, cynical and slightly creepy. But this isn’t a segment about two artists with eerily similar names. Matt and Matthew occupy the same person… and the same mind. Although some might think this signals some sort of personality disorder, Matt disagrees--this is just his way of making a living. Matt (and Matthew's) work is on display at Adam Cave Fine Art in Raleigh until April 29th.


Art and Living
Sunday, March 9th, 2008

By Michele Natale, Correspondent

RALEIGH - Climbing up the stairs of the Heilig-Levine building at 115 E. Hargett St., I am accessing Adam Cave's cherished dream: his own gallery.

After 10 years as gallery director at Raleigh's Gallery C, Cave, 38, with his wife, Cindy, has taken the leap this leap year.

Of his time at Gallery C, Cave has nothing but good things to say. "I had a great time there," he says. "I got to work for my father for the first time, and that was very gratifying for me."

Cave's father, Joseph Cave, has become one of the area's most popular artists, known for his bold impasto style. Represented at Gallery C for years, the elder Cave, 72, now is represented in Raleigh exclusively by his son's new gallery.

"After hitting the 10-year mark," Adam Cave says, "there was a certain status quo at that point and I was ready for some changes."

Those changes include a new model for his business, which he says will not be based on retail.

"I am interested in being of service to my artists and collectors," he says. "It's more a question of us all growing together." He plans to limit the gallery's stable to about 25 artists.

Cave also plans to distinguish his gallery from others in the Triangle with a focus on fine art prints, which are stored in flat files in one room of the suite his gallery occupies.

Opening the files for a hands-on look, he takes out a selection of limited edition mezzotints (40 to 50 prints) by Donald Furst. Doors open into rooms that open doors into other rooms, hinting of hidden spaces in these mysterious, delicate unframed prints, which range in price from $175 to $250.

He pulls out some of his father's copperplate landscape etchings, reminiscent of similar works by 19th-century impressionists. These, too, sell in the $200 range, providing an affordable opportunity for collectors to own work by an artist whose canvases now fetch several thousands.

Cave's new space is unconventionally configured, a suite of two rooms straddling either side of a stairwell. He has secured the landing for purposes of showing art, and Stephen Aubuchon's gauzy dance photographs, which recently graced the walls of Through This Lens Gallery, animate the space.

The gallery features turn-of-the-century chair rails and beadboard wainscoting painted putty tan, and plaster walls with molding from which all the works of art are suspended. Venerable wide-planked floors roll over century-old floor joists. Generous street-front windows flood the gallery with bright light.

In the 1960s, Cave says, the room where we're sitting served as prominent African-American attorney Fred Carnage's office. On this unseasonably warm March Saturday, the gallery is enlivened by the banter of clients of the barbershop below.

The walls are covered with art by names familiar to the Triangle art scene -- abstract expressionist paintings by Wayne Trapp, geometric abstractions by Wayne Taylor, a Joseph Cave landscape and a still life, and a painting by Matt Lively.

There are new names, too. Cave is introducing Pinehurst artist David Hewson to the area. According to Cave, Hewson studied in the classical atelier system in Italy, then studied the art of gilding in Switzerland. He makes use of these two disciplines in figural work set in carved and gilded backgrounds. His work ranges in feeling from Italian Renaissance to art nouveau.

Cave also plans to specialize in art glass, and several of California artist Lee Miltier's vividly striated "Energy Bottles" line the deep windowsills, glowing in the light.

Lee Hansley, who began his gallery in a downtown Raleigh space 15 years ago before moving to his present Glenwood Avenue location, says he's impressed with what Cave is doing.

"I like the idea of having a gallery like that on the second floor," he says. "Only people who want to buy art will go there. It's a gallery of destination. ... The more of us that are trying to sell quality art the better off we all are -- especially downtown."

February 2008

Artist-at-Large, Louis St. Lewis

Fools walk in where angels fear to tread.” I personally think this statement was created to describe people who are crazy enough to open art galleries. I’ve seen more than a few open and close in the past couple of decades, but lucky for us there seems to be a constant stream of brave souls willing to step up to the challenge of selling art to the art lovers in our midst. Not only is the venture extremely risky from a financial point of view, but the poor souls must deal with the whims of the buying public and the fragile egos of the artists they represent, as well. I don’t know how they do it, but God bless ’em! It therefore gives me great pleasure to announce the opening of Adam Cave Fine Art (, located at 115 ½ E. Hargett St. in downtown Raleigh, just a hop from Moore Square. Many of you will know Adam as the gallery director of Gallery C for the past 10 years, but he obviously has decided that it was time to spread his wings and perhaps feather his own nest for a change. It doesn’t hurt that Adam is taking with him his father, artist Joseph Cave, one of Gallery C’s most popular and creative landscape painters, to become part of his artistic stable. This stable includes area favorites including photographer Stephen Aubuchon, as well as artists Wayne Taylor, Donald Furst, Jennifer O’Connell and others. The idea is to keep the number of artists to a minimum, allowing Cave to concentrate on the development and promotion of each artist’s career, as opposed to crowding the space with every artist in the phone book and just hoping that someone walks in. I wish there were more gallery directors with this approach. Unfortunately, many galleries are satisfied exhibiting the most inane art imaginable, and when it inevitably sells to tasteless rabble, the gallery director looks smug, and the artist is only too happy to crank out the same painting ad nauseum. That doesn’t make a gallery or an artist, ladies and gentlemen — that makes a shop and a product producer. With Adam’s family history and his years of experience working for one of the more successful galleries in our area, I have great hopes that his new foray into the world of artistic representation brings great rewards for us all. Do the right thing and go check out his new space. You may just find the treasure you have been looking for. ...

What's Up
February 1, 2008

By Michele Natale, Correspondent

Raleigh's First Friday walk announces the opening of another downtown gallery, a second floor space on Hargett Street run by Adam Cave, who, as former gallery director of Ridgewood's Gallery C, is a familiar face on the Raleigh art scene. His grand opening announces a slate of gallery stable artists: Stephen Aubuchon, David Hewson, Wayne Taylor, Donald Furst, Wayne Trapp, Matt Lively and Jennifer O'Connell, and includes exclusive Raleigh representation of his father, accomplished painter Joseph Cave. The new space is a light-filled suite of rooms in a turn-of-the-century building. Along with the reincarnation of the former Glance space on Martin Street as a mix of galleries and art studios, and the anticipated opening of Rory Parnell's new gallery on Fayetteville Street, the downtown Raleigh art scene abounds with impressive signs of new life. 1151/2 E. Hargett St., 2nd Floor, Raleigh 838-6692

New Raleigh on
February 2, 2008

The First Friday Agenda: February 2008
Finally after what could be called the Raleigh Art Scene’s winter (with the death of two staples of exhibit space, Glance and Bickett), we have Spring. Two new galleries are opening their doors this Friday-- Adam Cave Fine Art and The Body Center. Whether or not they will fill the void left by Glance and Bickett is yet to be determined, but ACFA has a beautiful space in the old Heilig-Levine Building and The Body Center’s hybrid of meditation and progressive art may just be weird enough to work.

The Hargett Street Crawl
The Hargett Street art crawl (a conveniently walkable section of the night’s activities) starts at The Longview Gallery (corner of Hargett and Blount), presenting Artists Make Altars. Longview’s exhibits of spiritual work are usually a bit more subtle than this one: in their collective statement, the artists “hope these altars make explicit what is frequently left implicit - that making art is a spiritual practice.” Next up is newcomer Adam Cave Fine Art (second floor of 115 E. Hargett, above the Landmark). Adam comes from Gallery C and brings with him a more conservative style to Hargett Street. Featured artists this month include an amazing line up: Steven Aubuchon, Joseph Cave, Donald Furst, David Hewson, Matt Lively, Jennifer O’Connell, and Wayne Taylor...

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