In Between

January 4-27, 2024

Opening Reception on Friday, January 5th; 5p-8p

Artist talks: TBA

All artworks are for sale in person or online. See the online gallery to purchase through the Bells Gallery website.

In Between is a group exhibition of monochromatic black-and-white artworks by artists Ryan Akers, Pinky Bass, Aaron Sanders Head, Anne Herbert, Hayley Meyers, and Kim Whaley on view at Bells Gallery on January 4-27, 2024. From fiber to photography and works on paper to canvas, In Between asks the viewer to enjoy the richness and simplicity of black and white while discovering the depth and diversity within its confines.

Curatorial Statement – Holly Roberts Meyers, “In a world often defined by stark dichotomies, I am drawn to the nuances and flexibility found between the starkness of black and white. I find that space, the gray or the middle, to be a reflective, ethereal place where ideologies become soft, abstract, or even fluid.”


Ryan Akers

Pinky Bass

Returning to college for an MFA in painting and drawing at age 50, Bass discovered her true voice in photography through installation, mixed media, and performance figure prominently in her current work.

She has had over 40 one and two-person shows and participated in numerous group exhibitions throughout the US as well as in Mexico, Italy, Germany, Macedonia, and Canada.

Her work can be found in publications including The Polaroid Book, the Pinhole Journal, and Book of Alternative Photographic Processes. She is featured in Coat of Many Colors produced by Alabama Public Television.

Bass is a recipient of the Alabama State Arts Council Fellowship, an SAF/NEA Grant, and a Regional Artist Project Interdisciplinary Grant. She has had artist residencies in Oregon, California, New York, North Carolina, Mexico, Macedonia, and Italy.

Her work is included in numerous collections, including the High Museum (Atlanta), The Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Polaroid Collection.

“My work in photography has always aimed at revealing the edges of the mystery of life: incarnation, regeneration, aging, death. The human figure occupies the center of my visual imagery. While I have expanded into multimedia work, performance, sculpture, and installations, the photographic image remains as my point of departure.”

Aaron Sanders Head

Aaron Sanders Head is a Southern, Alabama-based textile artist. Aaron was raised in rural Grady, AL, and Hope Hull, AL, as the youngest of three children from an artist mother and an agricultural worker father. His grandparents were both rural mail carriers, and the times Aaron spent accompanying them on those trips cemented early on a fondness for rural areas and the importance of connection. However, it can be found. That learned sense of observation combined with inherited family traditions of textile and agriculture inform the unique visual language Aaron works in today that exists in the worlds of quiltmaking, handwork, and natural dyes. Aaron creates quilts and hand-stitched, naturally dyed textiles that explore the lived experiences of rural Alabamians.

“I create textile works, often in the form of hand-stitched panels and quilts, that explore the diverse and conflicting experiences of living in contemporary rural Alabama. My artistic practice utilizes the agricultural, artistic, and storytelling traditions of my family to depict the realities of overlooked communities while also celebrating and memorializing the bonding traditions that hold communities together and investigating the reasons why people remain.

The compelling action behind my artistic practice is the desire to create work that feels truly endemic, directly rooted in, enhanced by, and in conversation with the place the work was created. One of my primary goals is for the work to look like the place from which it comes. One avenue of creating work in this manner has been using solely natural dyes—primarily indigo, black walnut, sumac, osage wood, and goldenrod, among others. I grow or forage all of the dye materials used in my work here in Greensboro, AL, located in Hale County. These materials have complex regional histories, invoking both the powerful, healing traditions of Indigenous, African American, and rural medicine practitioners and the abject horrors of forced labor and enslavement. I use traditional methods of coaxing color from these materials, forging a direct connection between the work, the history of the land, and the material itself. The slyly radical framework of quiltmaking and textiles enables my work to embrace the tension between a recognized traditional craft and something less contained.

My works are a testimony to the generous, fierce natural beauty of Alabama and a result of the deep but ever-adaptable roots that radical people have fostered in the Black Belt for generations. My ongoing practice explores the unifying and reclaiming abilities of textiles and natural dyes and uses the familiarity of textiles and quilts as a mode of storytelling.

Anne Herbert

Anne Herbert received her M.F.A. in studio art in 2013 from the University of Alabama and her B.F.A. in painting from the University of Montevallo in 2007. In between her undergraduate and graduate education, she worked as the Outreach Coordinator for the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts. At UA and UM, Anne has taught a variety of classes, including painting, water media, drawing, design, color theory, art awareness, and a professional practices class. In addition to her teaching experience, she has co-owned and operated a studio and event space. She has also worked as a gallery coordinator for one of the University of Alabama’s galleries.

Anne maintains a strong creative practice and exhibits regularly; most recently, she has had solo exhibitions at the Hoover Public Library and the Gadsden Museum of Art and has had work included in the South Eastern College Art Conference exhibition. In her paintings, material, image, and conceptual research are bolstered by contemporary methodologies but grounded in historical painting philosophies. Sincere dedication to her personal research is matched by an enthusiasm for teaching and staying engaged with contemporary art issues.

“Painting has the capacity to present a duality, a moment that simultaneously exists outside of oneself, but which finds resonance within. My work acknowledges the presence of many dualities: external and internal, seen and unseen, awareness and obscurity, recognition and uncertainty. The paintings reveal these ideas through the din of simultaneous gestures, layering, and interrupting painted shapes and fuzzy afterimages. The imagery within my paintings derives from an experiential reference point, one which includes the perceptual world of observation, as well as memory and emotion. The resulting image is not recognizable as a specific place or thing, but rather reminds the viewer of the fullness and complexity of experience.

Hayley Meyers

Hayley Meyers is a self-taught artist based in Dothan, Alabama, working primarily in watercolor and mixed media. She is a member artist at The Untrained Edit, and has exhibited at Bells Gallery. Her work is in private collections all over the U.S.

I create from a personal space drawing from my memory and childhood experiences. My work is nostalgic and vernacular as I am sentimental by nature, so creating is almost compulsive. Painting and drawing the familiar allows me to connect with others, reminding them of the past (or present) and resonating with them viscerally. While making art is a playful and joyful experience for me, it’s also profoundly sentimental and reminiscent of the connecting fibers we have in the Southeast.

Kim Whaley

Kim Whaley is an award-winning artist whose work has been shown throughout the Southeast. Her art focuses on pausing to take in the present moment and the detail that it holds, often using damaged flowers to emphasize that the present is fleeting and imperfect. 

Kim is a Troy native and a Troy University Alumni, currently living and working in Wicksburg, Alabama.

The mental load women carry as caretakers, wives, mothers, and even in the corporate world can leave us worn. With the constant influx of staged images perfected with filters, it is easy to compare our perceived imperfections with unrealistic fantasies. Celebrating our strength under adversity and finding the beauty in the details of the present moment can counteract these negative comparisons, so we are ready to face the future with empathy and kindness.”