Sporn: Variety is the spice of life

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Article Published: Jun. 21, 2012 | Modified: Jun. 21, 2012
Sporn: Variety is the spice of life

Alta Vista Gallery is showcasing new works by Linville artist Joan Sporn.



Linville artist Joan Sporn has done it again: stepped outside the box, changed it up – whichever cliché fits a person who is constantly evolving.

For her opening reception this Saturday, June 23, at Alta Vista Gallery in Valle Crucis, Sporn has created 25 new paintings – and half of them are new subjects, new media, new techniques – departures from the impressionist oil landscapes for which she is known. This is why she titled her new show “Variety: The Spice of Life.”

Sporn is the best-selling artist of more than 100 featured in Alta Vista Gallery and is one of the bestsellers in the High Country region, so the question is “Why would a best-seller change her work?”
When asked that question, Sporn laughs, loudly, as she does often during her day. “I hate doing the same things all the time,” she said. “Change is good for you. By changing, whether it’s the subjects of the paintings or trying new mediums or new techniques, this keeps me interested and excited about my work – energized, refreshed – and I feel the paintings are more interesting because of it.

There is an excitement in trying something new. It gives you a new vantage point. It is all very exciting to me. I really do believe that variety is the spice of life.”

Sporn’s need for variety is also met in her learning be a gourmet cook and also in her travels worldwide with husband Max Sporn.

“I like a challenge, so I’m always looking to do something different,” she said. “I don’t want to become bored, and heaven forbid that my customers become bored.”

Customers becoming bored with Sporn’s work has never been a problem, said Alta Vista Gallery owner Maria Santomasso-Hyde.

“Sporn’s oil paintings have always energized customers, largely because of her bold color palette and defiant brushstrokes and textures,” Santomasso-Hyde said. “However, we have mostly shown her landscapes, because my gallery is known for offering a huge selection of local mountain landscape paintings. However, this new show features a large variety of subjects. There are several figurative paintings: men playing chess, Tuscan farmers, Shanghai ladies eating with chopsticks, a fly-fisherman. There are oils that feature wildflowers close-up. There is a painting of cows. There are acrylic landscapes created entirely with a palette-knife and no brushes.

“There is an oil mixed with powdered kyanite that is really an abstract rather than impressionist painting. She really took her show’s title seriously and created a huge variety. And all 25 of these new paintings are like her personality: strong, energetic, lively and colorful.”

The variety also includes collages that are mixed-media, as they include some original oil-painting by Sporn, layered along with papers she made and photos.

“These are really fun,” Sporn said, “but they take a long time to create, and they are a lot more difficult to create than people realize. There are many layers, and you really have to think it through, how you’re going to design it and how the various elements will work together and what each medium will say.”

The show also features some of Sporn’s impressionist landscapes of High Country scenes, such as Grandfather Mountain, the Blue Ridge Parkway, Bass Lake, trout streams, and local barns and country cottages with profuse flower gardens.

Alta Vista Gallery’s reception for Sporn this Saturday is from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For directions, call the gallery at (828) 963-5247 or visit http://www.altavistagallery.com. Refreshments include tastes from Shelton Vineyards.

The gallery is located at 2839 Broadstone Road in Valle Crucis, between Mast Farm Inn and Mast Store Annex. The two-story gallery is located in a National Register of Historic Places farmhouse and is also showing new works by about 100 other artists in watercolors, oils, pastels and limited edition prints, as well as stained glass, handmade jewelry and Mangum pottery.

The June 23 artist reception is a part of the “Tour de Art” gallery crawl, which is held on every fourth Saturday, June through November. Maps for this tour are available at Alta Vista Gallery and at the other 13 sites on the tour.



Gallery Times

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

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

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