InsBEARation, Opening July 6

Ode to Kusama, Melanie Christian

The anthropomorphizing of ursines is nothing new. Baloo began crooning about the bear necessities” way back in 1894, and Winnie-the-Pooh started musing on the meaning of life in the Hundred Acre Wood about 100 years ago. A few decades later, Smokey Bear burst onto the scene wearing cuffed jeans and his signature mountie hat, determined to teach us the importance of snuffing out matches. Painter Melanie Christian jumped on the bandwagon a bit later in the game, around 2021, when she moved from Savannah, Georgia, to Arden. Recognizing the area’s deep reverence for black bears, she painted a cuddly couple in the style of Grant Wood’s American Gothic.” It was so well-received that she hasn’t quite stopped. Today, her portfolio includes cheeky pieces like Mona Bear” and Starry Lake Bear,” as well as tributes to contemporary Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, Norwegian painter Edvard Munch, and Austrian painter Gustav Klimt. According to Christian, the goal of each piece is to capture ursines’ unique spirits and personalities, mainly in their eyes and facial expressions, just like people.” This July, the painter will bring her woodland works to Mountain Made Gallery during a solo showcase titled InsBEARation. The exhibition runs through the end of the month.

InsBEARation: July 6-31; Opening Reception: Saturday, July 6, 12-4pm

Mountain Made Gallery1 Page Ave., Suite 123, Asheville

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