Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Spotlight on Asheville Artist Mitchell Lonas

Asheville is well known for being a cultural and artistic mecca. The plethora of galleries, studio strolls, and art & craft fairs that occur throughout the year are a testament to the size of the artistic community in Western North Carolina. Many artists take up residency in this vibrant mountain community including Mitchell Lonas.

The following is an excerpt from Mitchell's bio on his website.

The Tennessee native, who studied art history at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, was for many years a respected portrait painter before transitioning to his current style. A portraitist’s sense of focus, line, and beauty continues to inform his latest work, showcased in exhibitions such as The Wrench Series at Gallery Bienvenu in New Orleans.

Lonas, who now lives and maintains a studio practice in Asheville, North Carolina, personally developed many of the processes that imbue his work with its unique sense of materiality. “The challenge,” he observes, “is to create something original using unconventional materials and methods.” To that end, beginning in 2005, he evolved a method of applying paint to metal panels and incising them with iconic imagery. Working from sketches, he uses customized cutting tools to create rapturous stylizations of trees, feathers, birds’ nests, and other subject matter culled from the plant and animal kingdoms. As viewers behold the completed works from different vantage points, the myriad beveled lines in each composition glint and shimmer in the light.

Mitchell Lonas’ work has been widely exhibited and is featured in notable private, public, institutional, and corporate collections, among them a series of large-scale commissions for Nordstrom department stores.

Mithcell's Metal Nest series is currently on exhibit at the Hilton Asheville Biltmore Park, a hotel that adorns all of it's walls with the work of local artists.


—Bio excerpted from “Mitchell Lonas: The Wrench Series” by Richard Speer. Speer is contributing critic at ARTNews and Art Ltd. magazines. His essays have appeared in The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Huffington Post, Newsweek, Salon, and Opera News.

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