Trauma, Manuela Thame

The name says it all in this exhibit, an expansive group show featuring expressive contemporary work by women artists who choose women, or women’s issues, as their central subjects. Members include gallery regulars and newer names, and the emphasis leans toward sculpture, with figurative work from the studios of Nancy Kubale, Sara Morales-Morgan, and Kirsten Stingle and the sensual botanical-influenced ceramics of Alice R. Ballard. Rich contemporary work in mixed media is presented by Akiko Sugiyama (paper collage/paint), Joanne Arnett (fiber with mugshots), and Tamie Beldue (graphite, watercolor, pastel, and cold wax). Jan Kransberger shows luminous glass sculpture and Manuela Thames is the featured photographer.

Rabbit Under Full Moon, Akiko Sugiyama

Thames shows a compelling series of self portraits that explores themes of brokenness, particularly painful intergenerational trauma, mental-health struggles — and the path out to healing and wholeness. She notes in her artist’s statement that she was raised in Germany by older parents who experienced significant trauma in their youth during World War II. 

“The atmosphere in my home [was] a dark cloud that was always present, a cloud that included fear, sadness, and depression, as well as control, manipulation, and suppression,” she writes. “Understanding the connections between my parents’ upbringing, the stories of their parents, and the effects of that on my life and my personality has taken years of research, therapy, and perhaps above all the sort of processing and reconciliation that comes through artistic expression.”

Elephant, Nancy Kubale

Thames, who now lives in St. Paul, Minnesota, with her husband and two children, tells Asheville Made that she’s excited to be featured in the local show. “As in most professions, there is still quite a bit of a gap between female and male photographers,” she says. “Any time there is a place for women to show their work and tell their stories, I am happy and proud to be a part of it.”

Lower Level Gallery: SHE

Blue Spiral 1

38 Biltmore Ave., Asheville. www.bluespiral1.com828-251-0202.

Sept. 4-Oct. 30

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