Jerald Melberg Gallery presents Dennis Lee Mitchell and Steven Spazuk

Steven Spazuk , LES MÉSANGES ET LA CYMBALE , 2015, Fumage on Panel, 20 x 16 inches

Steven Spazuk, LES MÉSANGES ET LA CYMBALE, 2015, Fumage on Panel, 20 x 16 inches

Steven Spazuk , NEST EGG , 2017, Soot on Panel, 36 x 36 inches

Steven Spazuk, NEST EGG, 2017, Soot on Panel, 36 x 36 inches

Jerald Melberg Gallery is pleased to present SMOKE, a two-person invitational exhibition of work by Dennis Lee Mitchell and Steven Spazuk. Both artists create works on paper and panel purely with smoke from a burning flame. This exhibition marks both Mitchell and Spazuk’s first in the state of North Carolina.

Dennis Lee Mitchell lives and works in Washington, D.C. and is a 2016-2017 recipient of a Pollock/Krasner Foundation Grant. His recent works are smoke drawings on paper, beautiful mandalas that resemble organic forms like large-petaled flowers and spiral shells. Mitchell’s work is in the permanent collection of the Illinois State Art Museum, Chicago, the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Salt Lake City and the Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, Rotterdam.

I draw with smoke as a way to render images of our mutability.  The result is a symbolic condensation of beginning and end: apotheosizing the smoke.

Dennis Lee Mitchell , UNTITLED (21.5) , 2018, Smoke on Paper, 34 1/4 x 34 inches

Dennis Lee Mitchell, UNTITLED (21.5), 2018, Smoke on Paper, 34 1/4 x 34 inches

Smoke is one of the most ephemeral of all materials.  Even when it resides on a sheet of paper, it seems to do so momentarily as if it is in a transformational act.
Dennis Lee Mitchell

Steven Spazuk lives and works in Montreal, Quebec and has been working in fumage (smoke painting) since 2002. His work is well received, exhibited internationally and has been covered in multiple print and online journals. Spazuk applies smoke from a live flame to thick paper and panels, then employs tools like brushes, feathers or metal scrapers to carve and craft the soot into the final image. His artwork depicts scenes that have a particular poignant relevancy to the issues of our time.

My paintbrush is an open candle flame that leaves a fine deposit of carbon black on paper, creating images with trails of smoke. Using feathers and brushes, I intuitively sculpt the plumes of soot to render shapes and light. The transparency, fluidity, unpredictability and plasticity of the soot all affect the images I create.  The association of this medium with fire as both a constructive and destructive force is a constant factor in my creations.
Steven Spazuk

Jerald Melberg Gallery will host a free and public lecture by both artists on Saturday, July 29 at 11 a.m.

Jerald Melberg Gallery is located at 625 South Sharon Amity Road near the intersection with Providence Road. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 10am to 6pm and Saturday from 10am to 4pm. For more information about the exhibition, please contact the gallery at 704.365.3000. To view selected paintings from the exhibition online, visit the gallery’s web site at