The Arts Council of Wilmington/NHC shares our storefront gallery at 221 North Front Street in downtown Wilmington with New Hanover County-based artists, groups, and independent curators. Exhibitions run for approximately one month, with openings coinciding with Wilmington’s Fourth Friday Gallery Nights, which are coordinated by the Arts Council.
“i to eye”
Opening Reception: Friday, January 27, 2017
About the Artist
Billy Cone is recognized for his expressive, large-scale portraits of the quintessential Femme.
Traveling extensively between the U. S. and Europe—from his native North Carolina to New York, Los Angeles and Miami; Paris, Venice and London—Cone finds depth of character in the faces of the women he encounters in everyday places.
Mapping the landscape of human emotion, Cone captures range and depth in subtle nuances—variations in the arrangement of facial features and hands. Rooted in the juxtaposition of ideals espoused by the Abstract Realism Movement, his artistic journey, making the transition from photographic prints to drawings on paper and paintings on canvas one decade ago, has been an organic transcendence.
The grand nephew of Etta and Claribel Cone who famously collected the work of Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso and other modern painters with whom they socialized before giving their collection to the Baltimore Museum of Art, Cone had painted on and off since the 1980’s, seriously pursued an art career in 2000.
Studies in portraiture and the nude at SPEOS Paris Ecole de Photographie in 2002 led to the creation of a body of work inspired by Parisian statuary. Billy found the stone faces filled with emotion, and his contrasty grainy black and white images contributed a timeless quality to his catalogue, a hardbound folio, “Living Statues Photographies.” His work was featured in a solo photography exhibition at Mark Hachem Gallery, Paris, in Spring 2004.
What followed until 2009 was an obsession with capturing human expression and was eventually compiled into the 2014 release of “Femme,” a collection of black and white portraits of women of different cultures and nationalities: Native American, Russian, Cameroonian, Vietnamese, Thai women all found in Paris and here in America.
Cone turned his attention full time to fine art after 2007. His portraits or FACETURES, of known and unknown personalities, mostly women, allow him more control over his subject. In the Half & Half series, he combines iconic black and white photographs with line drawings to mint hybrids like Albrecht Durer, The Mona Lisa and Josephine Baker for a varied audience.
Billy Cone has been a volunteer art supervisor for at-risk kids and supporter of DREAMS Center for Art Education in Wilmington, NC and was appointed by former Governor Mike Easley to serve on the North Carolina State Art Society board of the North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC, 2007-2010.