What’s Happening at Pleiades in April

We are so excited for two shows that are running concurrently at Pleiades Gallery in April: “Darius Quarles Unorthodox!!” and “Kind of Blue.”

Darius Quarles is our featured artist for the month of April and the upstairs gallery space is filled with his vibrant and dynamic work. The title of his show is “Unorthodox!!” which speaks to Darius’ distinctive painting style. His show runs from April 2-30 with an artists’ reception on Friday, April 17th from 6-9 pm. You are warmly invited to attend the reception and meet Darius.


The show in our front gallery for April is “Kind of Blue,” an exhibit about the intersection of visual arts and jazz, which runs April 2 – May 9, and overlaps with Durham’s Art of Cool (AoC) Jazz Festival the weekend of April 24-26, 2015.

Inspired by the album “Kind of Blue” by Miles Davis, as well as the line-up of contemporary jazz and R&B musicians who will perform during the Art of Cool Festival, Pleiades resident artists and invited guest artists evoke the energy of jazz in metal sculpture, neon, mixed media, collage, and paint. In addition to works by eight Pleiades member artists, the gallery also features work by Raleigh artist Eric McRay and Brooklyn-based artist Rachel Abrams (Soundpapered). Also on display are vintage 1920s trombones (on loan from Robert L. Trowers, Assistant Professor of Music, North Carolina Central University).

Pleiades Gallery artists will host a Third Friday Reception on April 17th from 6-9 pm, and a special Art of Cool Welcome Reception on April 24th from 4-6 pm. The event on the 24th will have live music provided by Art of Cool from 4-5 pm. Please meet us at the gallery before you head to the Friday night AoC shows.


A Glimpse of the Artwork

For “Kind of Blue,” neon sculptor Nate Sheaffer created a powerful portrait of AoC headliner, Anthony Hamilton that captures the artist in closed-eye repose. The photographic inspiration is a photo by Rudy Archuleta. The neon portrait is rendered in deep cobalt blue, clear blue, and accented with off whites similar to the original image. The whole piece will float on a cushion of deep blue light with gold accents.

Mixed media artist Gray Griffin says of her urban-feel 4’ x 4’ painting in shades of blue, “I am trying to portray movement through music. Music is one of the things that motivates me while I’m painting and gives me a sense of freedom and in return, intensity from my soul.”

Oil painter Kim Wheaton explores the melodies, harmonies, and rhythms of jazz improv sessions in a series of 24” x 30” paintings reminiscent of city lights at night. These paintings were made while listening to playlists filled with the music of The Kenny Garrett Quintet, Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, Snarky Puppy, and Roy Ayers, as well as jazz legends Miles Davis, Dave Brubeck, Charles Mingus, and John Coltrane.

Darius Quarles portrays Louis Armstrong (“Satchmo II”, approx. 28” x 44”) in vibrant colors and bold, rhythmic lines of acrylic paint.

Renee Leverty’s abstract metal sculpture captures what it is like to be the listener of music – how music can stir your soul, and connect a room to a single beat.

Sculptor TJ Christiansen presents a trumpet-playing jazz musician made from shaped and welded washers and heavy chain.

Pleiades Gallery is pleased to also exhibit works by two guest artists, Eric McRay and Rachel Abrams. Eric’s mixed media work, “Boomtown by Night” (30” x 40”) is the piece selected for the 2015 AoC commemorative poster. Musicians, dancing figures, and city buildings reaching up to the night sky bring the feeling of the jazz festival to the viewer.

Boomtown by Night_EricMcRay

Specially for the Art of Cool Festival, Pleiades will display prints and original artwork by Rachel Abrams. The prints will be from the sketches she made at last year’s AoC Festival.  During this year’s festival, the gallery will have a live event where Rachel will post her new sketches as she makes them.