Artwork by Deb Williams

The Asheville River Arts District’s Mark Bettis Studio & Gallery will present a solo exhibition of stunning, thought provoking glass art by local artist Deb Williams entitled Seen and Unseen: Guardians in Glass. Williams takes the highly subjective concept of who and what a “guardian” can be – in our relationships, in our dreams and spirits, and in our everyday lives and runs with it artistically.

The artist notes that in the many homes she has shared with her husband over the years, each one has had a symbolic guardian at its entrance, whether it’s a dragon, tree, or sculpture. A current home project led her to think even more deeply about the symbolism and varied meanings of guardians.

“In our current home, we’ve been working on a large sculpture to put at the entrance to the property. I started thinking about other people and their ideas of guardians or protectors. It seems we all have them, consciously or unconsciously,” she says.

A natural inquisitor, Williams posed the question “What does the word ‘guardian’ bring to mind?” as she and fellow artist Mark Bettis conceptualized this show. The works that inhabit the exhibition illustrate just how many types of guardians watch over us: those rooted in imagination, earthly, and heavenly. William’s take on translating these ideas into cast and fused glass offer up a wild and varied cast of characters, from gracefully grounded pink flamingos and ethereal angel’s wings to a dramatic life-sized horse head – and who knows what else!

Williams’ joy is evident in her fluency with a diverse array of glass techniques. These include Pate de Verre, a kiln-heated method that utilizes molds, an organically-inspired naturalistic cast glass process, and even a “deconstructed-reconstructed” glass approach in which she reinterprets and reassembles shattered glass. She also creates pieces using mixed media.

Though a good portion of her work is influenced by the world around her – the mystery of a mountain shrouded in mist, the brilliant sparkle of a moving stream, the delicate translucence of a fallen leaf – it also uses symbols and kaleidoscopic color to impart meaning, humor, and memory.

Seen and Unseen: Guardians in Glass will open with a reception on the evening of Sept. 21, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Mark Bettis Studio & Gallery, located at 123 Roberts St. in the historic WEDGE building, the heart of Asheville’s vibrant River Arts District. Visitors will be able to enjoy and purchase pieces from this evocative exhibition should they desire, from Sept. 21 through Oct. 5. Light hors d’ouevres and refreshments will be served.

Following the evening reception, guests can access the exhibition during the studio’s business hours, which are Monday through Saturday, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. For additional information on the show and the Mark Bettis Studio & Gallery, please visit https://www.markbettisgallery.com/ or contact Mark at 941-587-9502 or markdbettis@gmail.com.

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