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Flood Bessac et al 2020

DIVERSE, THE CONTEMPORARY FEMALE GAZE — Works by Angela Cunningham, Anne Bessac & Melisa Cadell

The Female Gaze is a distinctive, but not a preordained schema, based on a single perspective of the female gender. The rich diversity of the contemporary female gaze is shown by works of Melisa Cadell, Angela Cunningham and Anne Bessac, using distinctively different visual strategies to engage the human figure. Through this process, they have been opened to the interaction among themselves and their various working strategies. Although this process has been limited by Covid-19, all three artists valued the cross pollination of ideas that occurred, and their individual commitment to their own working process, and feeling energized by the exchange that this exhibit made possible.

A year ago, Anne Bessac researched figurative artists in the Asheville area looking for diverse approaches by women artists who worked with the human figure. She contacted Melisa Cadell and Angela Cunningham to join her in this exhibit at the Flood Gallery. The dialogue between the artists has been rich. Melisa, Andrea and Anne look forward to you viewing their exhibit.

Opening reception at Flood Gallery Fine Art Center in Black Mountain, next to Veteran’s Park, with Live Music by Ash Devine! This event also takes place in conjunction with the opening for the 15th Annual “Anything Goes…Everything Shows!” Mail Art Exhibit.

Social distancing will be observed, with spaced browsing & outdoor refreshments. Please wear a mask.

Exhibit runs through January 31, 2021.

About the artists:

Angela Cunningham works both two and three dimensionally within the contemporary resurgence of classicism and its figurative atelier tradition. Her canvases are lush with a mastery of oil paint’s possibilities. She has pursued her passion for the classical techniques of drawing and painting under the mentorship of Jacob Collins at the Grand Central Academy of Art in New York City and graduated in 2010. Angela is from the Bay Area of California and studied at various art colleges. She eventually earned her BFA in Drawing and Painting From Laguna College of Art and Design. Angela now teaches privately at her own studio in Asheville, North Carolina and teaches workshops at various studios nationwide. She is a recipient of various awards including the Morris and Alma Schapiro Achievement Award, Art Renewal Center First Place Scholarship Award and the Alfred Ross Achievement Award.

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“Jazmine” by Angela Cunningham                                                                             “Yellow Rose” by Angela Cunningham


Anne Bessac’s work is grounded in the process of drawing from observation. Drawing is an act through which she comes to her world and herself. The heart of her work is the power of form, light and space to evoke an intimate presence. The residue of observed patterns and the conceptualization of memory merge into psychological and experiential spaces. The act of observation is transformed from mimicry into the poetry of seeing. Anne taught drawing and life drawing for 26 years on the university level. As an Assistant Professor of Art she was the first Director of the RC Moore Gallery at the University of North Georgia’s Gainesville campus for seven years, and the Head of the fledging Art Department for the following 7 years. Anne then moved to teach drawing and design at Savannah College of Art and Design’s Foundation Department for ten years. On graduating with her MFA from the University of NC at Greensboro, Anne was awarded the Chancellor’s Award for her drawing which currently is part of the Weatherspoon Art Museum Collection. In 2014 Anne received The Faculty Sabbatical Grant to draw in Rome and its surroundings, for 10 weeks. Her works were shown at a three person exhibit in Rome. For the past five years, Anne has investigated making art from the mindset of a full time artist. The challenge of making an image, engaging materials and process has stimulated her into her life’s new segment as an emerging artist.

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 “Female & the Duck” by Anne Bessac                                                                  “Roma” by Anne Bessac


Melisa Cadell is a ceramic sculptor who works with conceptual strategies to draw the viewer into visceral, emotional experiences. In some circles her work is considered provocative. She builds images to read like a well developed novel, giving the viewer layers of information needed to construct an inner dialogue that questions social structures. Her mind is sharp and always pushes the boundaries of her ideas and medium. Currently, she is exploring more site specific spaces and settings that allow for the ephemeral elements in her work. Melisa has taught the figure at Appalachian State University and East Tennessee State University, as well as workshops across the Eastern United States. Her sculptural work has been published in Ceramics Monthly, de Klein K, 500 Figures and American Style.


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“All things being equal” by Melisa Cadell


“Is it really just about different perspectives?” by Melisa Cadell



About the performer:

Ash Devine is an award-winning songwriter, accomplished guitar and ukulele player, humanitarian performance artist and teacher once based in Asheville, NC for over 15 years. Devine’s music is influenced by her upbringing in the Blue Ridge Mountains of VA, world music studies, immersion in traditional Appalachian music, and her international travels with M.D. and activist Patch Adams.

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Flood Gallery Fine Art Center                                            Flood gallery logo sq sm

850 Blue Ridge Road, Black Mountain, NC 28711

Phone: 828-273-3332

Email: [email protected]



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