What do you get when you ask over sixty Asheville-area artists to respond through their art to a Van Gogh painting? A lively art conversation in the form of an exhibit titled, Waking Up With Van Gogh, which opens this spring. Guest curator and artist Moni Hill invited her fellow artists to respond to Van Gogh’s iconic Bedroom in Arles, 1889. The result is an exhibit which allows the public a glimpse into the creative process of working artists, as well as the chance to delve into one of Van Gogh’s most revealing and intimate paintings.
Waking Up with Van Gogh showcases the diverse talent of Asheville-area artists, including a light and shadow installation; paintings ranging from minimal abstract expressionism to contemporary visionary and folk art; paper collage; encaustic; sculpture; pottery; printmaking; and film.
In the painting of Van Gogh’s bedroom, the sunlit windows hint of a bright sunrise. “Waking up” has two meanings for this exhibit. First, the literal act of waking up implies an intimate and personal time of the day. By painting his bedroom, Van Gogh, invites the public into the space where he sleeps and awakens, thereby allowing us a bit of intimacy with him. Second, “waking up” involves opening the eyes. This exhibit is intended to open the participating artists’ and audience’s eyes to aspects of Van Gogh’s life and work that they may not have previously considered.
Asheville is known for its great art and as a thriving community of artists. The artists involved in Waking Up With Van Gogh have exhibited their work in galleries and museums nationally and internationally, including New York, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Atlanta, Santa Fe, San Francisco, Chicago, Toronto, Tokyo and Hong Kong. Waking Up With Van Gogh artists responded eagerly to the invitation to participate in this exhibition. Not only did it give them a chance to contemplate one of the most innovative and influential artists in history, but it also allows them to engage with other regional artists in a meaningful and interesting way.