Blue Spiral 1 (Showcase Gallery)
The Hill family from Birmingham, Alabama, have a deep history of working in varying creative endeavors, says Bethanne Hill, who met her husband, Darius, when they both attended the Alabama School of Fine Arts at just 14 years old.
Fast forward a few decades and they are currently celebrating 31 years of marriage, with children grown and enjoying their own creative experiences including visual art, theater, and creative writing.
“The kids would come into my studio where I always kept construction paper, paints, crayons, and a variety of things on the lower shelves for them, and they would work parallel to me doing their own thing,” Bethanne recalls.
Darius was appointed Chairman of the Art Department at Alabama School of Fine Arts in 1998, and his studio is across town, while Bethanne’s is located in the carriage house of their backyard. “Darius has always been excellent at supporting other people in getting their work to where it needs to be for both his students and his family,” she says.“He frames my work and builds the panels I paint on, and he taught Olivia to build the stretchers she uses in her work.”
Bethanne’s work addresses life in the Deep South with a jaunty, folkloric appeal. Jewel tones swirl around stylized animals, flora, and fauna, presenting an almost mythological picture of light and joy. Olivia, their daughter, echoes that love of narrative with amazingly detailed, tapestry-like punch-needle work, using the same palette found in her mother’s paintings — and many of the same creatures.
By contrast, the serious collagraphs of Darius Hill — whose semi-abstract work in 2- and 3D is widely exhibited and collected — are expressed in moody, thought-provoking tonal combinations. Hill uses cultural symbolism to delve into memories, meaning, and African American experience.
The family is especially pleased to show their work in this new year, since it’s the twentieth anniversary of Bethanne’s first exhibit at Blue Spiral 1.
— Jolene Mechanic
Through Feb. 23. Blue Spiral 1, 38 Biltmore Ave., Asheville. www.bluespiral1.com. 828-251-0202.