Perfectly in Tune
It’s the day after the annual Wayne Henderson Festival in Virginia’s Grayson Highlands State Park, and outside the home of the eponymous artist, there’s still a kind of afterglow in the air. A tour bus is parked in the driveway, and several people have set up camp chairs around the yard, strumming familiar bluegrass tunes. Some wander in and out of Henderson’s guitar shop, where the world-famous luthier and fingerstyle guitarist is picking with a few friends. Around 2,000 people attended the festival, some traveling thousands of miles to this rural community that’s 45 minutes from the nearest interstate.
Wayne, 71, casts a long shadow in the guitar world. But his daughter, Jayne, is stepping out from under it with her own acclaimed custom guitar business. It’s an outcome that neither could have predicted years ago. But now that their life’s work is in harmony, this father and daughter are hitting the high notes together. Read more here.
North Carolina Design
There’s a hard-to-pin-down quality about the work of Shelter Collective, the Asheville, North Carolina–based husband-and-wife design team of Rob Maddox and Karie Reinertson. An echo of the ’70s back-to-the-land movement. A touch of minimalism. A suggestion of Danish Modern. Implicitly, that effect is the result of a process aimed not so much at the application of an aesthetic but an alignment of the way something looks and feels, the way it’s made, the people who make it, and the place it will hold in the world. Read more here.
Decades before the term “going viral” came into parlance, Mel Chin used the concept of the virus to describe the way many of his projects were intended to both alter and be altered by the system into which they were injected. That’s just one example of how the Burnsville conceptual artist began his career—and has remained—ahead of his time. It’s why earlier this year, Chin was the subject of a major retrospective at the New Orleans Museum of Art, Mel Chin: Rematch.
Born in Houston in 1951, Chin started to gain national attention shortly after graduating from Peabody College in Nashville in 1975. His participatory See-Saw sculpture, commissioned for the Houston Main Street Monumental Sculpture Festival in 1976, showed the influence of the Land Art movement, and hinted at Chin’s interest in the intersection of art and science. His work continually evolved from there, with increasingly high-profile shows and accolades, including a number of National Endowment for the Arts fellowships and awards, a Pollock-Krasner Foundation fellowship, several honorary doctorates, and solo exhibitions at some of the nation’s top museums. In the early ’90s, he purchased a building in Burnsville to use as a studio and permanently relocated there from New York a few years later. Read more here.
ALONG THE SHATTER ZONE
As long as there have been settlers there, Madison County has been a place of “refuge and resistance,” says photographer Rob Amberg. The Civil War was not welcome there, but those opposing it were. More than a century later, back-to-the-landers started arriving, finding it an ideal place to retreat from mainstream culture. Amberg was among that wave of newcomers, arriving in 1973 to find a different life than the one he’d grown up with in suburban Maryland. He’s spent the last 40 years photographing the county’s people as what he calls a “participant observer,” an embedded photographer with the kind of access that results in pictures that are tender but unsentimental, respectful yet unflinching.
Amberg’s photos have been collected in two books: Sodom Laurel Album, a chronicle of two decades in a small mountain community, and The New Road, a visual record of the construction of Interstate 26 that also includes oral histories and narrative essays. Amberg’s most recent images are part of a work-in-progress he calls ShatterZone. A geological term used to describe a fissure, the word has been adopted to reference borderlands where refugees go to escape political or economic pressures. Read more here.
UNRAVELING THE PAST
There’s a place in family history that’s rarely discussed: the place behind the smiling photos in scrapboks where life’s less celebrated moments happen. Atlanta artist Whiteny Stansell explores this territory in mixed-media works based on stories from her mother’s past, finding it a landscape full of loss and longing, but ultimately redemtion.
Stansell, a native of Greenville, South Carolina, grew up hearing about her mother’s childhood in a big Irish Catholic family in Pittsburgh. Her grandfather passed away before she was born, but from family pictures and her mother’s stories, Stansell says, “he was the grandfather you always wished you knew: jovial, singing and dancing with our grandmother. Read more here.