Mining the Personal: New Paintings by Annie Nashold and New Ceramics by Mimi Logothetis | Through June 19

Artist in Attendance Days: Saturday, May 15 & Saturday, June 5;      3—5 p.m.

The Broad Street location of Horse & Buggy Press is tastefully crammed with handcrafted ephemera—poetry and photography books, paintings and ceramics, earrings and textiles—and anchored by printing equipment and a shelf of faded antique beer cans.

At the fore of the space, currently, this swarm of visuals focuses with the works of the painter Annie Nashold and ceramicis Mimi Logothetis, which are currently on display in an exhibit titled Mining the Personal.

There are some similarities between the two artists: both use figures, packing their surfaces with narrative imagery and what Logothetis calls a “stream of conscious[ness] deep dive” that poured out during the pandemic. Obvious overlap ends there—Nashold paints canvases; Logothetis primarily makes porcelain works—but, side by side, the pair’s work sits in deep, inevitable conversation. And that’s what makes exhibits of independent local artists like this so fun.

The first thing you’ll notice when viewing Nashold’s work is its color: her dream-like surfaces pop with warm mustards, wild azalea pinks, and deep, plentiful turquoise. Nashold is attracted, she says, to the “physical and musical qualities of color” and the kind of “vibrational qualities” they emit. In the works featured in Mining the Personal, long, severe faces and long, lopey bodies are her muses, overlapping each other in colorful pastiches, almost as if eager to crowd each other out of the frames.

Nashold, a Durham chef-turned-master-gardener, quit her job at 58, to pursue art full-time. The works featured in the exhibit were painted during the pandemic. Last summer, she says, she found herself turning to her sketchbooks every evening, eventually filling two with the works that became the paintings in this exhibit. During those hours of sketching, the mistakes and imagery flowed freely, and the subconscious was put to paper.

Looking at her surreal paintings—a couple perched beneath a beach umbrella; a figure playing a blue guitar; a large rabbit lurking near a man in a top hat—I had the feeling I’ve had when looking at David Hockney or Alice Neel paintings: that of having the curtain pulled back and glimpsing the secret lives of colors.

Meanwhile, all of Logothetis’s works—razor-thin porcelains that take the shape of lights, vases, and other objects—are all rendered in a black-and-white so stark and gripping you remember how transforming a lack of color can be.

Some, like a candlestick holder that also functions as a vase, are absent of imagery altogether; while others, like a face mask with an image of a punk-looking Jesus gazing upwards, are printed with evocative images.

Like Nashold, Logothetis says that she created most of the work in Mining the Personal during the pandemic, adding that she identifies with the titular use of “mining” because it implies that the work was dark and extracted from the subconscious, with isolation as a core theme. All of her featured work feels a little uncategorizable, superimposed with narrative and with forms that cut beyond the usual definition of function.

“From the first cup of coffee in the morning to a cocktail at night use handmade, beautiful, thoughtful objects to hold on your hands and really look and think about process and materials,” advises Logothetis, who lives in Cedar Grove.“ It’s a wonderful way to live and connect with other artists and the world around you. It doesn’t feel consumer-based; it feels alive.”

Mining the Personal is a fun return for Horse & Buggy, which, like other galleries, has weathered a slow pandemic year. The gallery also has plenty of other thoughtful work on display to check out while you’re browsing. (My favorites: dark wood engravings by John McWilliams, intense black-and-white photos by Rob McDonald, and Noah Saterstrom’s Faces paintings, especially a striking one of Emily Dickinson.)

Horse & Buggy Press owner Dave Wofford also opened up a secondary gallery space, PS 118 at 118 Parrish Street, which is also worth popping by; a Mother’s Day exhibit featuring seven guest artists—and a mix of jewelry, fibers and clothing, and pottery—runs through May 29.

This sense of heightened aliveness that Logothetis references—maybe not one of the everyday, but of the dream world and the subconscious that seeps in when we’re alone and most receptive—holds true in both artists’ works. I won’t forget either anytime soon.

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