Victoria Pinney Studio and Gallery Grand Opening Reception

A city develops like a painting, one layer on top of the next. The southern portion of the River Arts District received new paint this summer — literally and figuratively — as artists and businesses moved in along Riverside Drive and Old Lyman Street. Artist Victoria Pinney relocated to this corner of the district, along with businesses like Wedge Brewery, 12 Bones Smokehouse, Gallery Mugen and Cafe Yuzu. Pinney celebrates the grand opening of her gallery space in Riverview Station on Wednesday, Oct. 25, from 5-7 p.m. with a reception at 191 Lyman Street, Studio 101.Pinney is uniquely interested in the textures of history that big and small changes create. As a painter, she layers oil paints and other media to create abstract compositions that feel like artifacts. She creates a visual path through each painting, building up some layers and stripping away others to provide a sense that time has passed over the surface. Each canvas is ripe for exploration, and she invites viewers to journey through the large works.“Some viewers tell stories and visualize shapes from the colors and textures, and although I’m always interested in those responses, they’re never my intention,” Pinney said. “I’m more interested in creating a meditative surface, something inviting in which people discover emotional meaning, not necessarily a narrative.”It’s appropriate, then, that Pinney’s gallery space bears the marks of former tenants, some scrawled around the three-story-high rafters, others apparent in the industrial architecture. Since it was built in 1902, the building has been a tannery, a textile mill and a candle factory. Today, dozens of artists create paintings, ceramics, baskets and more in Riverview Station.“The neighbors are one of this building’s greatest assets,” Pinney said. “My opening on October 25 is a good time to see my work, but it’s also an opportunity to explore the historic building and this area. Come take a look and see who moved in this summer.”Pinney’s studio also houses engaging portraiture and landscapes by artist Constance Vlahoulis and furniture from Old Mountain Rd., in which the natural colors and textures of the woods glow. The artists offer small original works and giclees as well as large, original paintings.“The goal is to put art in everyone’s hands,” Vlahoulis said.ABOUT VICTORIA PINNEYVictoria Pinney moved from Chicago to Asheville nine years ago and found her place in the emerging River Arts District, first in the Wedge building, then Cotton Mill Studios and now Riverview Station. She’s part of a community of abstract painters creating large-scale works. Her lyrical compositions warm and activate space, creating an experience that’s embracing and meditative, a quiet place for thought in a loud world. At her Riverview Station studio, she sells small originals as well as large canvases.ABOUT CONSTANCE VLAHOULISConstance Vlahoulis calls her paintings “fine folk art,” meaning they combine technique and whimsy to create an evocative composition. She paints familiar scenes augmented with joy and fun. Her painting of the River Arts District’s beloved Wedge building, for example, includes a musical railway and a sky full of local iconography. Her work is on view at Victoria Pinney Studio & Gallery and the Adler Gallery at Posana Restaurant, a space she curates.ABOUT OLD MOUNTAIN RD.Woodworker Mollie McClure is inspired by the colors and textures of nature. Her handcrafted furniture celebrates the grain and live edges of the wood she uses. She combines modern designs with ancient techniques to create furniture and picture frames that are fresh and functional. Furniture by Old Mountain Rd. is available at Victoria Pinney Studio & Gallery.Note: All photos courtesy of Victoria Pinney.