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‘Cold War Family’

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Article Published: Jul. 25, 2013 | Modified: Jul. 25, 2013
‘Cold War Family’

High Country artist Irmaly Brackin has switched gears and gone from bright three-dimensional paintings to more somber works based on family photographs.

Irmaly Brackin, a well-known High Country artist, has a new body of work at Art & Artifacts and Blowing Rock Gallery of Homes and Land, two businesses under one roof, in downtown Blowing Rock.

In her show, “Cold War Family,” Brackin explores how it felt to grow up in a World War II family, the child of a doctrinaire German mother and a progressive American father, who she said was an early developer of Miami Beach, Fla., turning it from a backwater to a national destination.

In the exhibit, she revisits her childhood through studying photos from an old family album. Brackin paints herself and her sister dressed in dirndls hand-sewn by her mother. Her brother appears in lederhosen — all against the backdrop of Miami Beach.

Brackin said the juxtaposition of the two worlds has informed her psyche throughout her life. As a child, she said, she visited shattered post-war Germany and entered the bucolic fairy tale world of her grandparents, contrasted against a society rebuilding from the ruins.

In “Cold War Family,” Brackin departs from the multi-colored, three-dimensional works that are her hallmark. In this new body of work, Brackin finds what she calls “her adult voice.”

She paints in oil a series of family portraits that, as she said, gaze into the viewer and magnetize the viewer to gaze back.

According to Art & Artifacts’ Lynn Hill, “Each compelling, haunting and evocative painting pulls the viewer into their own inner journey. Brackin has plumbed the depths, and we can’t help but to go with her.”

Brackin said she has art in her DNA, being the granddaughter of the famous German expressionist artist, Hans Grohs. She also holds a BFA in studio painting from Appalachian State University and a MFA from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. She has studied at the Paris Art Academy, as well as numerous other institutions worldwide. She has exhibited in numerous galleries and museums throughout the United States. Her works are in museum, public and private collections.

The recipient of numerous awards, Brackin lives with her dog, Cookie, in Deep Gap.

Art & Artifacts, which presents the works of more than 30 professional, regional artists, is located at 159 Sunset Drive in Blowing Rock, along with Blowing Rock Gallery of Homes and Land, a real estate agency serving the four counties of the High Country. Both are open seven days a week, with the exceptions of a few holidays. For more information, call (828) 414-9400.

Gallery Times

Gallery Times is a weekly news feature of The Mountain Times, featuring news items submitted by local galleries.

For more information or to make a submission, contact editor Frank Ruggiero at or (828) 264-6397.

Additional Images

High Country artist Irmaly Brackin has switched gears and gone from bright three-dimensional paintings to more somber works based on family photographs.

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