Amanda McLenon + Michael Cox, Opening January 3

Soul Mirror, Amanda McLenon

River Arts District painter Amanda McLenon loves large wading birds. Great blue herons, snowy egrets, stone curlews, roseate spoonbills — all of these avians have, at some point or another, swooped down and stolen a little piece of her heart. This adoration for waterfowl is why McLenon quit her job as a high school science teacher in 2006 and moved from her native Michigan to Charleston, S.C. She spent the next five years pursuing an advanced degree in marine biology, even traveling as far as Antarctica to conduct research. But fate works in funny ways. Though McLenon had every intention of becoming a scientist, graduate school led her to another passion: art. “I literally started painting on a whim, creating a gift for someone,” says McLenon, who relocated to Asheville in 2021. “I enjoyed the process and kept painting, and then people started asking if they could buy my work.” This January, you can see her work at Woolworth Walk during a joint exhibition with Michael Cox, a hospice nurse-turned-woodworker who creates memorial urns and small boxes. According to a gallery statement, Cox “seeks out contrasting woods and wood grains that mimic movement.” He also “uses reclaimed and distressed wood that would otherwise be thrown away.”

Amanda McLenon + Michael Cox: January 3-30; Opening Reception: Friday, Jan. 5, 4-6pm 

FW Gallery at Woolworth Walk / 25 Haywood St., Asheville

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