— gallery column —


on the main exhibition wall . . .

Photo-based Storytelling by
Lori Vrba & Dawn Surratt
October 11 – Dec 20
Receptions: Thursday, Oct. 17; 6–8pm and Saturday, Nov. 16; 5–7pm
5 minute performance piece at 7pm by Lori, Dawn, and special guest Tama Hochbaum.

It is our individual and collective memories of life experiences that shape who we are and define our path. Focusing on the notion of a guiding inner compass, Lori Vrba and Dawn Surratt’s installation of imagery and objects speaks to the metaphors of memory and direction. Using the camera, assemblage, and bookmaking, Vrba and Surratt present a show of storytelling that is evocative, sensitive, and feminine, and features over 70 new works.

Lori Vrba is a self-taught, photo-based artist working in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Her imagery and assemblage is rooted in themes of memory, illusion, loss, and revival with the southern sensibilities of storytelling.  Her work is held in permanent and private collections through out the world. Vrba has curated several exhibitions including Tribe for the Fox Talbot Museum in 2018. Her first monograph The Moth Wing Diaries was named one of the top ten photo books of 2015 by American Photo Magazine. Lori is co-founder of Pigs Fly Retreats.

Dawn Surratt was born in Rhode Island and graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a B.A. in Studio Art. She combines photographs with photography-based book structures, assemblages and installations. Her work has been widely published for book covers and publications and she has exhibited in galleries across the U.S. including The Center for Fine Art Photography, Southeast Center for Photography, A Smith Gallery, Photoplace Gallery, and Power Plant Gallery. She was a 2016 Critical Mass Finalist and her work is in collections across the United States including the Rubinstein Library at Duke University, Archive of Documentary Arts. Dawn is a 2018 nominee for the Royal Photography Society’s 100 Heroines.

Novel of Our Acquaintance  by Lori Vrba.

Novel of Our Acquaintance by Lori Vrba.

Sacred.Curious . By Dawn Surratt.

Sacred.Curious. By Dawn Surratt.


Jan & Feb 2020
Remembering the Life and Work of 
Anne Hill
Against all the pressures for sameness and conformity, Anne managed to foster her individuality and live a spirited life as a true original.”—Mackey Bane (former friend and fellow artist)

March & April 2020
New Works by Revere La Noue (painting, printmaking, film)

Summer 2020
Collages and Prints by Margaret Sartor

Mother & Son: Paintings and Mixed Media work
by Kathleen and Andrew Reider

New Paintings and Engravings by Henryk Fantazos

Oct & Nov 2020
As part of the Click! Triangle Photography Festival (which we help organize and produce) we present . . .
Tintypes and Photography by Lisa Elmaleh

Unless noted otherwise, all receptions are doubleheaders with Craven Allen Gallery, which is located just down the block.

*please know we always have work by over 30 established craftspersons and artists in a wide range of media throughout the gallery as well as a curated book stall featuring artist monographs and museum catalogues and other books not often found in bookstores. We carry a large amount of unframed works in print bins and flat file drawers and Craven Allen Gallery & House of Frame extends a 10% discount on framing any work purchased here.

Click on links below to read past newsletters which contain news about studio projects and gallery happenings.

—  studio column  —



The Harpsichord Diaries is a lush and adventurous 44 page hardcover children’s book that will also enchant adults; especially music lovers. Durham-based and world renowned harpsichordist Elaine Funaro wrote the haiku and the story involves 20 eccentric characters, four harpsichords, and numerous events in history taking place over five centuries. Elaine’s daughter, the amazing stop motion animator Andrea Love made the watercolor illustrations, and the book is accompanied by a 50 minute audio play narrated and created by Andrea’s twin brother Eric Love (who is a Broadway actor and theater director).

The book sells for $20, and due to Elaine’s generous spirit, is accompanied for free by a digipak CD—which we also designed—while supplies last (the play is available for free as an audio download on the book’s website).

Visitors to the gallery are welcome to sit at the gallery table to read this (and any of our other books).


The Father Box
Words by John Lane | Photographs by Rob McDonald

Award-winning writer John Lane kept a box for many years of what was left from his father’s life up until he committed suicide in 1959 when John was five years old. In the box are letters, photos, objects, and papers comprising nearly everything John knows about his father. The pieces suggest a man’s origins in rural North Carolin; they also document his service in a World War on another continent and trace his return home. Two years ago, John loaned the box to Rob McDonald and asked him to contemplate its contents through the lens of his camera. These are the photographs that Rob made and the poems and short essays John wrote.

This is a project about artifacts and memories. It is about what remains of lives that came before us, lives which set the path for our own.


This fine press book was published at the end of 2018 in a limited edition of 300 signed and numbered copies. Covers were a mix of Indigo and letterpress printing, the interior 36 pages were printed on heavyweight 100lb Mohawk Superfine eggshell paper, and the books were hand-sewn with linen thread. 8 x 10 inches. $30. (plus $5 s&h)

To order a copy simply email dave@horseandbuggypress.com or call 919.949.4847. Or visit Rob’s website for online ordering. Or email John at johnedwardlane@gmail.com.



Goat Light: Home in Words and Pictures
Tom Rankin and Jill McCorkle

This Horse & Buggy Press fine press book will be published in the Fall of 2019. Goat Light will provide focused reflections by Rankin & McCorkle upon their home and farm north of Hillsborough in Orange County, an oasis of beauty quietly tucked away from the increasingly frenetic pace of the Triangle region. The large trim size, 96 page book will weave together many layers; including black and white images made by Tom with large and medium format view cameras and lovingly brought to life in his wet darkroom on their land; digital color cell phone pictures taken on the move by Tom over the past eight years; and stories and writing by both Jill and Tom about life with their collection of animals that populate their land along the Eno River. The beauty of the Piedmont landscape is the underlying constant as times and lives and light change through the seasons and over the years.

For full details, please see the book announcement here which also has ordering information.


2017 Award

The John McWilliams monograph “Sons and Father” that we produced to accompany his exhibit at the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art in Charleston, SC was awarded the Fine Art Press category of the 33rd annual Mary Ellen LoPresti Publication Award Competition by The Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA). It also received Honorable Mention in the category of Exhibition Catalogues from the 2017 American Alliance of Museums’ Museum Publications Design Competition. The books are for sale at the Halsey and here in the gallery, where we also curate a lil bookstore which includes a nice array of other titles published by the Halsey.


Two 2017 Book Projects


Paul’s Hill: Homage to Whitman is a 96 page poetry title by the current NC poet laureate, Shelby Stephenson, that also features drawings by his son Jake. The covers are letterpress printed by hand on 100lb Colorplan stock with cover flaps, and the interior was printed in two colors on heavier weight paper, but the book sells for just $16. Shelby grew up, and still lives, on a farm in Johnston County and the writing deals with some of the changes the area has endured. This title was published by Sir Walter Press and we do have copies for sale here in the gallery.

“With ‘Song of Myself’ as his touchstone, assuming the bardic persona, Shelby Stephenson revisits Whitman’s ecstatic aria and checks it against that which Whitman could only guess. Realist to Walt’s romantic, Stephenson celebrates what remains authentic in our contemporary South even as he realizes what’s drawn “close, between myself and the world” will not hold. Part blues, part hymn, part barbaric yawp of great, old country classics, this collection lives in the understanding that “history changes one chord at a time.”—John Hoppenthaler, author of Domestic Garden (Carnegie Mellon University Press), winner of the 2016 Brockman-Campbell Award.

Shelby is the third NC poet laureate I've had the honor of working with. (Kay Byer’s Southern Fictions and Joseph Bathanti’s The Sonnets of the Cross were books I designed and produced for Jacar Press and there are a few copies of each remaining).

The book was reviewed here by Grace Calieveri.

The Fabric of Raleigh/The Fabric of Durham is a hardcover book of portraiture by Christer Berg whose approach combines the spontaneity of street photography with the formal qualities of studio photography. The dual direction 120 page book essentially has two front covers, with the Raleigh and Durham content starting from opposite ends and meeting in the middle. The layered book also features writings by the subjects themselves discussing the find pride and challenges they find in their work,  activities, and community; behind the scenes images of where and how the portraits were made; and an illuminating scholarly essay by Roger Manley, the current director of the Gregg Museum, that contextualizes Christer’s approach within the history of art photography. The book retails for $45 and is available for sale here in the gallery, at Christer's website, and select bookstores in the Triangle. 

Additionally, we created a limited edition of giclee/letterpress art prints that integrates three images with a text excerpt. These broadsides are 17 x 22 inches and you can see them in their full framed glory here at the gallery. Digital pictures don’t do them justice. The giclee images are noteworthy for their amazing depth and the toothy texture of the printmaking grade paper beautifully shows off the letterpress impression.