Cultures collide in the clay works of Ellen Kong, who received a B.A. from Taiwan Normal University before moving to North Carolina in 1961 to earn an M.F.A. from UNC-Greensboro. Last year, she was selected as the featured artist in the 10th Anniversary Art Exhibition in Toyama, Japan, and she was a co-director of Ancient Inspiration/Contemporary Interpretation, a juried theme exhibit of Asian influenced art at the Durham Art Guild. In her smoke-fired clay pieces, Kong takes advantage of her Taiwanese roots and her background as a painter to create ceramic media that, she says, "reflect my own passage." The exhibit features Kong's richly decorated kimonos, and clay wall pieces embellished with gold leaves and intricate textural designs. "These large raku pieces were delivered to Tyndall Galleries with gloved hands from a 1,900 degree flaming kiln," Kong says. There will be an opening reception for the artist Saturday, May 12, from 6 to 9 p.m. The show runs through June 9. Call 683-8489 for details.
The Lee Hansley Gallery will be featuring paintings by Washington, D.C., artist Michael Smallwood, beginning with an opening reception Sunday, May 13, from 2 to 5 p.m. Smallwood, who has been showing with the gallery since it opened in 1993, currently has work in the Smithsonian Collection. Although the artist works on paper, gallery director Lee Hansley says that Smallwood treats paper like a canvas, layering paint and collage onto it. "You can start visually excavating layers in his work," Hansley says. "Michael has a particular affinity for paper because he worked for 10 years as a studio assistant for Jacob Kanen," he adds, referring to the renowned Washington Color School artist. Smallwood's work usually features symbols and deals with conflict resolution ("Announcement" is pictured). He will be exhibited alongside Greenville artists Hanna Jubran and Catherine Walker, through June 16. Call 828-7557 for details.