Raleigh art galleries, Durham art galleries, and Chapel Hill art galleries all make up an amazing Arts Destination - Triangle, NC.

Photo Credit: www.megapixl.com

Photo Credit: www.megapixl.com

Nestled in the heart of North Carolina, the three cities encompassing the Triangle: Raleigh, Chapel Hill, and Durham, each uniquely and cumulatively creates an amazing assortment of art galleries, art museums, and an incredible amount of quality artists.  An Art Destination with large market quality, in a midsize Southern town.

Each of the Triangle cities are perfect walking destinations. In Downtown Raleigh there are a handful of great galleries including The Mahler Fine Art.  Stroll over to the Warehouse District, which might as well be called the Art District with it’s row of galleries such as 311 Gallery and a contemporary art museum.  Lee Hansley Gallery, located north of the Warehouse District on Glenwood Ave is a must visit with exhibits showcasing regional and national artists in a variety of mediums.

Durham is a beautifully quaint historic city with remnants of it’s rich Tobacco history.   There, you’re bound to be amazed by the variety of art galleries and art exhibitions.   Pleiades Gallery is an exquisite gallery that contains some of the top regional artists.  Through This Lens is an unassuming art gallery focusing on photography with exhibitions and artist talks by both nationally and world-renowned photographers.  A short drive north of Duke University and you can visit Craven Allen Gallery.  This frameshop with a gallery in the basement exhibits works by artists who are collected in major markets throughout the nation.

Chapel Hill is centered around UNC Chapel Hill.  This center of graduate and post-graduate education brings with it a wide array of visual arts.  FRANK Gallery, located in the center of downtown Chapel Hill carries a wide variety of high-end work from many local and regional artists. Monthly exhibits and events make this gallery a must visit.

Definately one of artGuide’s favorite Art Destinations, the Triangle is a perfect day visit or long weekend visit for all art patrons.  In the following pages we’ve featured some of our top choices.  Check out more features about the Triangle on

Elizabeth Matheson,  Valdadero Beach, Cuba , photograph

Elizabeth Matheson, Valdadero Beach, Cuba, photograph

1. Craven Allen Gallery, gallery.
Durham, NC
1106 ½ Broad St, Durham, NC

Craven Allen Gallery in Durham features rotating exhibitions as well as a selection of artworks by local artists working in a variety of media including photography,  painting, sculpture, ceramics, and prints.  The gallery began as a labor of love as part of the picture framing business House of Frames, in 1968.  

Some of the nationally known artists represented include Damian Stamer, whose evocative landscapes are currently featured in Altered Land at the NC Museum of Art; the photographer and architect Phil Freelon; and Beverly McIver, subject of the HBO Documentary Raising Renee. 

McIver is widely acknowledged as a significant presence in contemporary American art and has charted a new direction as an African American woman artist; she was named as one of the “Top Ten in Painting” in Art in America.  Opening on October 1st is Cuba Now, photography by Elizabeth Matheson, recipient of the North Carolina Award for Excellence in the Arts—the state’s highest civilian honor.  Matheson’s enigmatic new photographs explore the country she finds  “...deeply and soulfully beautiful, filled with both melancholy and irrepressible delight.”  Gallery favorite Sue Sneddon follows in November with Life Size, featuring paintings of the NC coast.

Claude Howell,  Three Men on a Shrimper , serigraph

Claude Howell, Three Men on a Shrimper, serigraph

2. Lee Hansley Gallery, gallery. 
Raleigh, NC
225 Glenwood Ave, Raleigh, NC

Claude Howell and his printmaker, Carson Tredgett of Charlotte, are reunited this month in an exhibition at Lee Hansley Gallery.  It is the last exhibition in the Glenwood South space.  The gallery is moving in the fall to 1053 East Whitaker Mill Road.  

Claude and Carson began their collaborative venture in 1978 and produced a total of ten serigraphs together.  The images were all based on Howell paintings.  Producing the serigraphs required close collaboration between artist and printer.  Each print has between 38-46 colors, meaning a silkscreen film was made for each color.  A single pass of ink was made per color as it was transferred to paper. Howell was allowed final say before prints could be signed and released for sale.  Tredgett’s set of master prints are numbered 1/1 printer’s proof.  Tredgett is a native of Leicester, England.  At age 16 he went to work for a master printer and by age 20 he was shop manager at a major commercial printing house.  He moved to Charlotte in 1977 and set up his own business in 1979 which he ran for 35 years.  Tredgett will discuss his relationship with Howell and explain the printing process at a gallery talk on Sept. 11 at 3 p.m.    

Daniel Johnston, Kiln Firing 2016

Daniel Johnston, Kiln Firing 2016

3. The Mahler Fine Art, gallery.  
Raleigh, NC
228 Fayetteville St, Raleigh, NC

This October The Mahler Fine Art is proud to present a large pot installation by Daniel Johnston.  Johnson’s large pot installations marry the art of pottery with the worldly gratification of senses by creating differing light and composition environments.  “After several years spent producing and selling large jars, I challenged myself to make a series of 100 human-scale vessels which I displayed in a single line spanning a quarter mile. Upon completion, I saw the vessels accompanied by multitudes of patrons in a harmonious line with their shadows cast perfectly parallel upon the ground.  At that moment I saw the project in a context spanning the distance between the traditional object and the ephemeral experience.  It struck me that I had found the place for my work to live conceptually in this culture - as installations.”

Johnson’s site-specific conceptual installation houses his large pots (as many as 30 large vessels) in a structure evoking a rural shrine, teahouse or the shell of a massive kiln.  The plank and board structure allows light to softly illuminate the glaze of the pots while creating shadow and line across the surroundings.  The experience is one of beauty, peace, and reverence.  

Opening Sept 14, with a First Friday Reception on Oct 7, the exhibit run through Oct 20.

Don Mertz  Rise and Shine , acrylic, 48” x 48”

Don Mertz Rise and Shine, acrylic, 48” x 48”

4. Don Mertz, artist.  
Cary, NC

Don Mertz’s path to becoming an artist was a slow one.  From The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, to the Marines, to 25 years of Corporate America.  Living in New York City, he spent many hours in galleries and museums.  Becoming increasingly inspired by Abstract Expressionism, his desire to create art was reawakened, and he began classes at The Art Students’ League of NY. He decided to leave corporate life, move to North Carolina, and finally become what he always knew he was--an Artist. 

Represented in Raleigh by ArtSource, and in Morehead City by Vision Gallery, his award-winning abstract art has been in many juried and solo-shows. 

Mertz’s way of creating art is an appealing one.  In his current work, The Wonder Series, he approaches a canvas the way a child approaches a sandbox; eager to explore possibilities, and experience the wonder and joy of discovery when playing. It is a time of creative spontaneity--free of rules and goals.  Yet he is always guided by his adult-sense of aesthetics. 

Canvases in The Wonder Series have layers upon layers of brush strokes and watery drips.  The colors collide, complement, blend, and are often punctuated by marks and squiggles. Some palettes are delicate pastels.  Others are lush with bright colors. There are always quiet spaces that create shapes of composition.

While painting is indeed fun for him, he also adds, “Painting is a challenging and satisfying passion--and a perfect opportunity to smoke a good cigar, sip a great single malt scotch, and listen to Willie Nelson.”  

Nate Sheaffer,  I Am , neon, LED, and salvaged metal, 36” x 24”

Nate Sheaffer, I Am, neon, LED, and salvaged metal, 36” x 24”

5. Pleiades Gallery, gallery
Durham, NC
109 East Chapel Hill St, Durham, NC

Pleiades Gallery promises exceptional contemporary art, interesting exhibits, and a friendly attitude whether you are an established art collector or this is your first time in an art gallery. 

Pleiades creates a haven from the heat 

with a late summer-early fall exhibit, Sea Life (through September 25th with a reception on Friday, September 16th from 6-9 pm).  In a gorgeous array of blues and greens, tidal pools, currents, fish and turtles, Sea Life tells the stories of the vast, complex and beautiful ocean. 

September’s featured artist is sculptor Nate Sheaffer.  His solo show, Copy That, will be a collection of 50-100 neon/LED/incandescent letters of all different type faces.

Pleiades is an artist driven, community focused gallery located in the heart of downtown Durham at Five Points Plaza.  By juried invitation, Pleiades represents talented Triangle-based artists in diverse media who are participating members of the gallery.  Original artwork includes metal and wood sculpture, ceramics, wood furniture, neon, fused glass, painting, and mixed media in a range of styles and prices.

We look forward to meeting you.  Pleiades Gallery is open Wednesday through Sunday, and the public is invited to meet the artists at a reception every Third Friday from 6-9 pm.

Jerry Uelsmann,  Untitled , 1982

Jerry Uelsmann, Untitled, 1982

6. Through This Lens, gallery.  
Durham, NC
303 E Chapel Hill St, Durham, NC

Jerry Uelsmann has long been a legend in the photographic world.  His well-known work began in the late 1950s.  Today he continues to produce new work in his darkroom.  Even today Mr. Uelsmann’s work is strictly analog, but hardly old school. Through This Lens is proud to show 25+ prints provided by the artist and by local collector(s) for this special exhibition.  Most work will be available for purchase and all will be remarkable examples of the highest level of imagination and skill.

Mr. Uelsmann received his BFA from Rochester Institute of Technology in fine art photography as a member of the golden class of 1957.  He later received advanced degrees from Indiana University. His teaching career began at the University of Florida in Gainesville in 1960 and taught there until his retirement.  He continues to live and make art in Gainesville. Uelsmann has more than 20 publications to his credit and has exhibited his photographs in more than 100 US and international venues. His photographs can be found in the permanent collections of Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Chicago Art Institute, the Bibliotheque National in Paris, and too many others to list.

Jerry Uelsmann’s work will be on display from Friday, September 16, 6-9 PM through Saturday, October 15, 2016.  The artist will speak at the Nasher Museum in Durham at 3PM on Sunday, October 2 – with a reception following at Through This Lens.


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