August 19 - October 8, 2023
Walking Naked in the World: Connie Bostic Retrospective
Indian Relay: Photography by Steve Mann
Walking Naked in the World
Connie Bostic Retrospective
Bostic’s exhibition – Walking Naked In The World – is a retrospective of her life’s work and includes about 80 pieces of two-dimensional art. She is one of the most well known and influential artists of Western North Carolina. Her paintings often address subjects such as equality, justice, and inclusion.
Bostic was born in Spindale in 1936 and now lives in Fairview, N.C. Having started her art career late in life, she has a bachelor’s degree (1989) in studio art from the University of North Carolina at Asheville and a master’s degree (1990) in painting from Western Carolina University in Cullowhee.
She has exhibited her work since 1989 in solo, group, and juried shows. In addition to being a producing artist, Bostic has been a teacher, performer, and published writer. She also once owned the Asheville Music Hall and the “finest gay bar in the Southeast.”
“By the time I was 10 years old, I knew I wanted to be an artist,” Bostic said. “I grew up in a small cotton mill town where there was no art, but my fifth grade teacher, Miss Hill, one day showed us some reproductions of a few old master paintings. When I expressed my interest in becoming an artist, I was told that this was not possible: Artists were very rare and special people, not to be found among the ordinary, and, of course, they were men.
When I was 20, I did what was expected of young women of my generation: I got married and had children. I waited for many years for male permission to make paintings that were meaningful to me.
Still, today, if someone asks, ‘What do you do?’ I evade the issue by saying, ‘I’m a painter.’ Should I call myself an artist? The doubt lingers.”
Steve Mann is a native of Asheville. He received his bachelor’s degree in photography and art history from the University of Arizona (cum laude) in 1992. From 1985 to 1987, he majored in cultural geography and African studies at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. His work has been exhibited coast to coast, starting in 1983.
“Sometimes called America’s first extreme sport, Indian Relay is a highly competitive event at rodeos throughout the northern plains,” Mann said. “After the pistol fires into the air the riders jump on bareback to their horse and ride a lap around the outside of the arena and dismount the first horse which the mugger handles while the holders have the next horse ready.
"This exchange requires incredible skill, courage, and speed. The exchanges can appear to be organized chaos. The riders jump off the first horse often while still at a full gallop and mount the next one while still running. Sometimes they don’t even touch the ground. The level of athleticism and horsemanship is simply stunning.
"This event is not based on dominating an animal as in many other rodeo events but rather an intense cooperation and spiritual connection with the horses. I felt honored to witness this sacred tradition so closely. This was, in fact, my first rodeo. I can’t imagine a better introduction than what I experienced in Sheridan that week. "If this is your introduction to the amazing culture and tradition of Indian Relay I hope you find it as fascinating and exhilarating as I have.”