Exhibit: April 26 - May 20, 2018

April 26: Opening reception, 5 - 7pm

May 5: Artist Talk, 3pm

The Gallery at Flat Rock is proud to present RetroForward, a retrospective exhibit of artwork by Marsha Hammel, a Hendersonville-based painter whose colorful canvases depicting musicians, singers and dancers have been exhibited nationally and internationally. The RetroForward exhibition, on view from April 26-May 20, will include pieces by Hammel dating over the 30-year period between 1987-2017.

At the heart of RetroForward are drawings Hammel created as a younger artist of musicians in nightclubs, bars and on the street. These early works from dozens of sketchbooks have injected new energy into Hammel’s current paintings.

“I find that my newest work is influenced by the looser, more spontaneous gesture of paintings from the seventies and eighties,” says Hammel. “A retrospective of my life’s work with RetroForward…has invigorated my approach to painting.”

RetroForward promises to engage the viewer to experience the various characters of the jazz performance scene that Hammel has sketched across the United States over the decades before her move to western North Carolina at the age of 50. “The memory of all of the people, the musicians, and the environments in which they worked evolved into a personal iconography,” says Hammel. “My intention was to create an ‘Everyman’ to honor those who never achieve fame and fortune but who devote their lives to music.”

Likewise, RetroForward is also a celebration of racial harmony—in that different races and cultures often find common ground in music. “I used to think, ‘What if we were all shades of blue—would people be more inclusive?’” Hammel says.  “Under stage lights sometimes people are blue, or purple or red.”

Suzanne Camarata Ball, owner of The Gallery at Flat Rock, appreciates the potential in the lively compositions of Hammel’s art. “In our current political climate of fear regarding cultural differences, Marsha’s work is so timely,” says Ball. “She embraces the realism of our melting pot and shows how we are at heart the same. We are just thrilled to represent her in the gallery.”

RetroForward will include an Artist Talk scheduled for 3 p.m. on May 5. An opening reception will take place April 26 from 5-7 p.m. The events are free and open to the public.