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Asheville Sees Its First Post-Shutdown Art Show—Sort Of

Matt Peiken | BPR News

Like every other gallery and arts center, Revolve in Asheville has been closed to the public throughout the quarantine. And like many artists in these times, Molly Sawyer has holed up in her River Arts District studio, thinking, creating, creating without thinking.

A couple weeks ago, Sawyer asked Revolve director Colby Caldwell if she could use his space for a little while.

“My studio is very small and dark and, really, I was just moving things in here to photograph and work things out and finish things,” Sawyer said.

Sawyer ended up with an unplanned pop-up exhibition, the region’s first since everything shut down for the pandemic. It runs for a week and is open to the public—just three mask-wearing people at a time, by appointment, over limited gallery hours.

The centerpiece is a large wall-panel sculpture of rusted roof shingles bursting at the edges and seams with twine. There are also two series of smaller works—one of rice paper and melted honeycomb created entirely during the pandemic, the other still in progress, of wall-hangings of fragile fabric and thread.

“When you’re working with things this large, it’s an installation, you have to work it out on site,” Sawyer said. “It’s very immediate and if it doesn’t work, it’s like, it didn’t work.”

Sawyer blanches at the notion that this is an exhibition, treating it more as an informal residency to work out some ideas she couldn’t in her studio. Appointments to see the show can be made by contacting Sawyer directly through her social media outlets.

“I didn’t create this to say anything or with any intent,” she said. “If it’s a non-show, it doesn’t have to be finished.”


Matt Peiken, BPR’s first full-time arts journalist, has spent his entire career covering arts and culture.
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