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Carlton Gallery Hosts 30th Spring Opening, Michael Grady’s “Return to the Mountain” Exhibition May 26

May 21, 2012. Carlton Gallery, celebrating 30 years, is hosting its Spring Opening Reception on Saturday, May 26. The gallery is filled with beautiful new work in many mediums by the standing gallery artists: Warren Dennis, Debbie Arnold, Kevin Beck, Helen Farson, Ray Byram, Sharon Rusch Shaver, Freeman Beard, Phyllis Knight, Mike Ham, Marion Cloaninger, Holt McLean, Jane Desonier, Allan Hollar and Fred Mead.

Paintings in oil, acrylic, mixed media and watercolor as well as glass, sculpture; wood, clay, fibers and fine jewelry make this 30th Spring Opening visually stimulating and awe-inspiring.

The gallery features artist, Michael Grady, whose “Return to the Mountain” exhibition is a highlight of the Spring Exhibition. An Artist’s Reception on Saturday, May 26, 2-5 p.m. affords an opportunity to meet Michael Grady. He is an educator, writer and artist whose work examines the relationship between art, cultures, identity, health and spirituality.

The painting process for Grady is first, “stillness”. After becoming quiet, his first marks are generally made with a heavily loaded brush – ink or soupy acrylic. These marks start deep in the inner consciousness and find their way, through heart, brains and body onto the canvas or paper. Many colored layers of acrylic paint or ink are sometimes brushed, poured or dripped. The natural relationship of paint to water, air, heat and gravity does most of the work, as he intervenes to make the paintings easier to understand and more interesting. The formation of a title for the painting usually signifies that it is complete. Experience has taught him when the title comes to mind it’s probably time to move on to the next painting.

Michael Grady’s art work began to take shape in its mature form after his third trip to Huang Shan in Anhui Province, China. He is indebted to generations of landscape painters and calligraphers from China, Korea and Japan who also took their inspiration from the balance of natural forces of which all are a part. He also thinks himself as a part of the “Northern Romantic Tradition” of Europe and America who sought the dissolution of form into light and water. Grady states “I feel my work links me to contemporary artists around the world who are discovering connections between body, mind and spirit. We are all trying to reflect a new cross-cultural artistic identity and ways to think about art and meaning that really are global”.

Michael Grady states the basis for his “Return to the Mountain” exhibition is “I grew up in Columbia, SC. In my teen years and on through my second year of college at University of South Carolina, I spent many summer weekends camping and hiking at Linville Gorge and Mt. Pisgah not far from where I now exhibit my paintings. My artistic journey began with the Appalachian Mountains. Each of my great leaps forward as an artist has been associated with the mountains – hiking, camping, meditating, and just taking in the wondrous spectacle of a great mountain landscape. The Chinese say that art is a search for the mountain within. The influence of East Asian Art – and that inner mountain are important parts of my work. As my life has unfolded, I have visited many mountains – the American West, Europe, China, Tibet, New Zealand and South America. I have come to know my own inner mountain at last. Now as I reach the summit of my life and my artistic production, I have returned to the source of my artistic inspiration. After living in California for many years, I have returned home to the mountains I first came to know. Now each day is an inspiration; each view of the mountain vistas reminds me of the source of my own artwork and my direct connection to the link between heaven and earth. I have returned to the mountain and now share new discoveries about the connections between body, mind, spirit and culture”.

Michael Grady is a Tufts University in Medford, MA graduate, with diplomas from School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and a MFA from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY. His unique art is in numerous private and corporate collections and has exhibited in solo and selected group exhibitions in CA, TX, NY, Boston, SC, Germany and China. He is currently a professor of studio art at Appalachian State and enjoys teaching, painting, and writing in the High Country.

All are welcome to the 30th Spring Exhibition which runs through June 30th and to enjoy viewing the unique art of Michael Grady in his “Return to the Mountain” artist reception on Saturday, May 26th, 2-5 p.m. “Return to the Mountain” continues through June 17th. The gallery is located 10 miles south of Boone and 7 miles north of Linville on Hwy 105 in the Grandfather Mountain Community. For information on artists, exhibitions or workshops, call (828) 963-4288 or visit www.carltonartgallery.com.