Countless generations have traversed the trails and paths of the Blue Ridge in awe of the hills
that roll for miles, the evergreens that sprout from every stone and the cool fresh water that seeps
from unseen crevices. Whether an artist is simply passing through or they choose to call this area
home, these mountains are bursting at the seams with inspiration.
The Art Cellar Gallery is celebrating its 30th season of being an arts destination in beautiful
Banner Elk. With no shortage of creativity in the area, the gallery focuses on regional artists that
have roots in the surrounding Appalachian communities. Kicking off the 2022 summer season,
the gallery has prepared an exciting line-up of artists beginning with an exhibition for Scott
Boyle and Sedberry Pottery.
Scott Boyle specializes in capturing the unique luminescence of the Blue Ridge through plein air
painting. First popularized by impressionists in the late 17th century, plein air painting became
an important technique that allowed artists to represent the most natural state of the environment
they aimed to depict. Impressionism focuses on the fleeting quality of light on a landscape. The
best way to reproduce these subtleties is to work on-site while looking directly at the subject,
instead of working from memory or a photograph. “Being there in person in the face of nature
has a way of keeping me honest and growing as a representational artist,” Scott says. While his
ideas are born outdoors in the form of studies, he often will return to his studio to achieve a level
of finish through fine-tuned detail and layering of glazes and paint.
At the early age of seven, Scott Boyle’s parents recognized his unusual ability to draw and they
seized the opportunity by providing private art lessons for him. By the time he was sixteen, he
had won over four-dozen awards and sold sixty-five oil paintings. Scott went on to graduate from
Indiana University in 1984 and became an airline pilot. With one eye always in the sky, he
continues to spend enough time on the ground to create his signature soft landscapes of familiar
high country vistas.
Sedberry Pottery is a team made up of father and son, Ken and Galen Sedberry. The pair live and
work along the Toe River in Burnsville, North Carolina to create unique wood-fired pottery. The
two artists design their own forms individually but share a trademark pallet and rustic quality
through their wood-fired approach. Wood-firing is an ancient technique born out of necessity.
The process is labor-intensive and requires constant attention, leading many contemporary artists
to opt for gas and electric kilns instead. However, certain aesthetic qualities can only be
produced through traditional wood firing because of the interaction of the clay with wood ash
and an open flame.
Ken graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1977 before migrating to the North
Carolina Mountains in 1981. Galen joined the operation after taking a year off from college
before returning to receive a degree in Appropriate Technology. He spent several years in the
solar industry but his hands found their way back to clay.
Their work is inspired by the vast nature surrounding their home and studio as well as a
backpacking trip the family took through Central America. “The colors and imagery of the
rainforests, the tropical flowers and the coral reefs of the Caribbean have greatly influenced my
work,” Ken says. “My goal…has been to achieve color in wood firing – colors which combine
with the conventional wood firing hues to create surfaces not unlike those found in nature’s
wildest fauna, flora and oceans.”
Scott Boyle and Sedberry Pottery’s exhibition will be on display at the Art Cellar Gallery from
May 4 – May 21. An open house will be held on Saturday, May 14 from 3-5pm where collectors
have the chance to meet the featured artists and enjoy complimentary refreshments. To view the
Art Cellar Gallery’s full season schedule, visit www.artcellargallery.com