Posts Tagged ‘Corrigan Gallery’

A Trip to Charleston, SC, to See an Exhibit by an Old Photography Friend – Mar. 4, 2016

Sunday, March 6th, 2016

Back in our photography days, back when Linda and I ran a custom black & white photo processing business, a photography gallery, and a photography guild – we were in touch with the Charleston art photography community. It was a very talented and vibrant community. It was old school. Then came the digital age. Now we hardly know anyone calling themselves an art photographer today. We’re way out of the loop, except to what comes across our radar in doing Carolina Arts.

Like a lot of our old photography friends, we thought this would be the end of good photography, and soon we gave up the photo processing business for the desk top publishing business. Many of those photographers fought tooth and nail to hold on to the old ways of doing photography. Years later we find ourselves smack dab in the middle of the digital age wondering why we resisted so long and trying to keep up with the constant changes and innovation.

Change is always hard, but change is good and in this case – change has been great.

So, when I got the notice that John Moore, one of those old photography friends was having an exhibit at Corrigan Gallery, located at 62 Queen Street in downtown Charleston, SC, I marked the date for the reception, Mar. 4, down on my calendar. That was also the day of the new Charleston Gallery Association’s Art Walk. My hopes were that I would be able to attend.

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Work by John Moore

As things turned out something always happens which becomes a conflict with my plans, Linda had to work and that afternoon we had to have contact with our health insurance folks – never a good thing. The timing was not good as it would put me in Charleston after 5pm when the reception starts and because it was also Art Walk night – finding parking was going to be a challenge, which is an everyday challenge in Charleston. But I’m an old pro at finding space in Charleston to park and I had my lucky spots.

As I’m heading to Charleston I notice I’m almost out of gas and I determined that I would need to stop for gas before I got to Charleston or I would risk being able to get out of Charleston – another delay. So picture pulling into a gas station on Friday afternoon when most people got paid and would fill up their tanks for the weekend. The picture is of more delays.

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Work by John Moore

When I finally got onto I-26, the traffic coming out of Charleston was a solid mass, from Charleston to Goose Creek and probably all the way to Summerville. I was glad I was heading into Charleston not out and it should be all cleared away by the time I was returning home. Traffic in downtown Charleston was busy with the Art Walk already going on and the search for parking was in full mode, but my first choice on an old reliable spot was empty.

When I die, I’m leaving a guide on how to find parking in Charleston to the highest bidder. The proceeds will go to the Carolina Arts Foundation, which will mean one of the grandsons had taken over the publication or it will go to the owner of any art photography gallery in Charleston.

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Work by John Moore

I had come to Charleston to just see John Moore’s show, but anywhere you park in downtown Charleston you are going to pass several galleries getting to another – they’re everywhere. So I would stick my head in any I passed. The first I came across was Anglin-Smith Fine Art. It was packed – I mean wall to wall, so I moved toward Corrigan Gallery thinking things will clear out later on my way back to the car. I passed a new pottery gallery that was also packed. The streets were packed with people going and coming from galleries. I know this as that’s what they were talking about. That’s one of the interesting things about the Art Walks is listening to what people are talking about as you’re walking about from one gallery to the next.

When I got to Corrigan Gallery, which is not a big space, it was really packed and it took about 15 minutes once I got in to actually talk with John Moore. It was a little hard to see the work up close on the walls, but like hockey, you just have to be patient in muscling your way into position – eventually you get to the net. It was a little hard to take photos though.

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That John Moore in the blue shirt.

It was a good thing that Moore’s show was my main objective for the evening as I could hardly turn around without bumping into an old friend from the old photography community, old and new art community friends, or the old Sierra Club group. It was good catching up with these folks as to what we’re all doing these days and how many grandchildren we all have. And, there’s nothing more I like than looking at art, but talking about art.

As far a photographers go, I just missed TR Richardson, but did talk with John Moore, Tom Blagden, Luke Platt, and Alan Jackson, who is doing more drawing these days than photography. In the non-photographer art group (oh yeah, these photographers are artists too) there was Linda Fantuzzo, Jenny Summerall (who is moving back to Charleston), Keller Lee, and Kris Westerson. Representing the old Sierra Club was Virginia Beach and Hayes Patterson.

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The exhibit, John Moore: 24 photographs, will be on view through Mar. 31, 2016. This display of abstract images is presented both individually and as a portfolio set in book form.

Some folks were saying that this exhibit was the best Moore has had and I guess I would agree with that, except for the fact that it’s been so long since his last one and way long after early exhibits, that it would be hard to judge, but the fact was – this was a great exhibit of new works and good to see his work being exhibited again in Charleston. I’ve always liked Moore’s art making.

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Moore is known as a nature photographer. I think of him as Mr. Tree and Mr. Rust. He seems to focus on trees in his landscapes, and the photographs of rust are also nature images – showing what nature does to metal. This show could be taken for a group of abstract paintings, which in the overall art world is the best thing that could happen for a photographer. The public and some in the art community have a bias against photography thinking it’s too easy and something that can be reproduced again and again. The cameras in phones didn’t help this thinking as everyone is a photographer now (as I’m taking my photos with my phone). So any photograph that doesn’t look like a photograph is good – unfortunately.

The funny thing is that some of the images of rusting metal are actually presented on metal, which is a not so new thing in the photography world. And, for Moore this exhibit gets away from one of an artist’s biggest hurdles in exhibiting their works – framing. The works on metal look great and are lighter than being in wooden frames. Having works offered in book form also avoids framing. Sorry framers – you are an added cost for artists presenting their works and most people buying art would prefer to have more control over how the artworks they buy will be framed.

Go see this show and see how photography and nature can compete with the best abstract painters. By all the red dots that were showing up on Moore’s works – others were in agreement with me.

Several times while I was at Corrigan Gallery I went outside to get a breath of fresh air and watch the crowd coming and going. I noticed across the street over at Atrium Art Gallery that an abstract painting was hanging in the window, so when I finally left Corrigan Gallery I strolled across the street to check out the painting in the window which lead me inside. They were featuring the paintings of Jim Pittman that could have gone along side Moore’s photographs.

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Work by Jim Pittman

A card I picked up stated that Pittman was a landscape painter based out of Colorado and coastal Virginia. I really liked his works. Not all abstracts cut the muster with me, but I could tell these were being made by a seasoned painter. As they say in The Fiddler – “if I was a rich man” – I would have loved to take a few of his paintings home with me. They wouldn’t fit into my collection of Carolina artists, but they would have fit in great with my abstract works.

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While you’re going to see John Moore’s exhibit, don’t forget to go see Pittman’s works just across the street. I don’t know how long his works will be featured so don’t wait too long.

On the way back to the car as I got close to Anglin-Smith Fine Arts again it was still packed, but I squeezed in this time. The Smith clan of painters always presents an excellent display of works by Betty Anglin Smith and her triplets, Jennifer, Shannon, and Trip. I fully expect to see a third generation of painters from this clan.

I have many times admitted that I’m most often drawn to works by Shannon Smith Hughes, but this night it was Jennifer Smith Rogers who won the prize for gaining my attention. Her painting, Birds Eye View showed signs of a little loosening of her painting style toward abstraction. It was a slight change but enough to catch my eye. It’s not a competition and I don’t mean to cause any friction, but that painting was my favorite of this night.

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“Birds Eye View” by Jennifer Smith Rogers, oil on linen, 30″ x 60″

I talked with Betty a bit and she confirmed that they had been packed all night and with 10 minutes of official time left on the Art Walk there was no sign of the crowd letting up. She thought it was one of the best in the last few years.

I wouldn’t know about that as my best Art Walk days are long behind me. Over the years I’ve been on so many, but now it’s not my main interest. Back in the day when we had a printed publication that I had to deliver, I would deliver a stack of papers to every gallery during the day and then go to the Art Walk that evening and hit as least a dozen galleries. I was a much younger man back then.

I don’t know how the crowd was at all ends of the greater Charleston Gallery Association community, as it is a much larger area to cover from South of Broad to North of Calhoun Street, but in the old French Quarter core – it was packed.

But just remember folks, these galleries are open all week long and you’ll probably get a better look at the art when you’re not having to elbow your way into position. After all, hockey is a sport – not an art.

A Trip to Charleston, SC, to See Some Rare Art by Bill Buggel at Corrigan Gallery, on View Through Nov. 30, 2015

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015

Last Friday, Nov. 13, 2015, I decided to go see an exhibit at Corrigan Gallery in Charleston, SC, featuring works by Bill Buggel, on view through Nov. 30, 2015. This was his first solo exhibit in 16 years and before that not many more during his 50 year career in the visual arts in South Carolina. That’s how rare this exhibition is. It had to be something good to get me to drive into Charleston on Friday the 13th.

In full disclosure, Buggel was one of the first artists whom I met in Charleston. And, he gave me a job working in a photography business he started with two other partners on John Street in Charleston in the late 1970’s. That job eventually led to Linda (my better half) and I having our own photo processing business for 16 years. Buggel also had a T-shirt business next to the photo shop. And above the photography shop he shared a studio space with Manning Williams and Linda Fantuzzo.

That photo business dealt with a lot of people in the arts in Charleston, due to Buggel’s connections. At some point I came across a copy of a book published during SC’s 1970 Tricentennial celebration – a survey of contemporary artists in SC at the time. Inside, it featured William Lee Buggel as one of the most up and coming artists in SC. Was this the same guy I was working for and now made T-shirts? It was.

One day in the T-shirt shop I asked Buggel what happened? He told me he made more money making T-shirts in a year than he had ever made creating art – it was a matter of money and making a living. I thought – what a shame. But there was a time when I thought I wanted to be a fine art photographer, but I learned there was more money to be made processing film and making prints for other photographers and that business eventually would get us into the art world, not by making art, but by reporting on it. And, that’s the sad case for many artists – many just can’t make a living at it – no matter how talented they are.

So here we both are, many years later, I’m the editor and publisher of an arts publication and Buggel is having an art exhibit of his latest works. Both are about as strange a thing that I can think of.

I remember the show Buggel had at the old Charleston City Gallery in the Dock Street Theatre. It was actually the first time I had seen any of his art, other than his photography. It was apparently the same type of work he did back in the day when he was still trying to make it as a full time artist. I liked it – it was abstract. And I like the work he is still doing today. It’s very tactile, without having to touch, and I didn’t touch. It’s colorful and full of patterns. And, he doesn’t offer a lot of art speak explaining what it means.

What’s really amazing about it is that I haven’t seen anything like it in all of my years covering the visual arts. There are a few other artists using sand to give texture to their work, but I haven’t run into anything else like what Buggel is doing and that’s saying something in a world of look alike art.

It’s really hard to understand why he didn’t get very far in SC with this art, except that the Bill Buggel I know is not one who plays by the rules and makes nice with people you might have to in order to the climb the art ladder in SC. I always heard that in SC, it’s not how good the art you create is, it’s who you know in SC that can get you to the top. I don’t believe that crappy art can stay on top too long, but I know it does help to have friends in high places in SC. Buggel is too much of a straight talker to stay out of trouble with those kind of folks.

It was hard getting good images of individual works and still be able to show off the vivid colors, so I decided to shoot only a couple of full images, then some very up close detail shots. I also took a few wide view shots of the gallery, but like all exhibits, you have to see the works up close, in person to really enjoy the works.

1115corrigan-buggle-passing-gravePassing a Small Country Grave Yard, by Bill Buggel, 17″ x 14″. Just a small country graveyard with a plowed field and wild flowers. Sometimes experiences come together in small ways.

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Gray and Brick Red-Large, by Bill Buggel, 42″ x 60″. This painting is larger because of the scope of the construction at the building site.

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Gray and Brick Red-Large (detail), by Bill Buggel.

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A set of images I tagged as the Three Bears – Baby Bear on top, Mama Bear in the middle and Papa Bear on the bottom including: Summer Wild Flowers (top), by Bill Buggel, 18″ x 12 1/2″; Passing Verticals (middle), by Bill Buggel, 27″ x 17″; and Passing Yellow (bottom), by Bill Buggel, 36″ x 28″.

1115corrigan-buggle-passing-yellow-detailPassing Yellow (detail bottom of the Three Bears), by Bill Buggel, 36″ x 28″. Another experience of seeing static objects while moving. Along the roadside wild flowers mass into many different colors and shapes. I try not to know or identify the flowers. Knowing too much tends to take the mystery of the experience away from me.

1115corrigan-buggle-gallery-view1Gallery view 1

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Gallery view 2

Go see this exhibit – you might not get a chance to do so again – which is a shame, but Buggel is out of the art loop in SC. And, these days the “inner circle” in South Carolina’s visual art community is full and unable to feed its own – in fact I think they are feeding on each other.

Corrigan Gallery is located at 62 Queen Street in historic downtown Charleston. Hours are: Mon.-Sat., 10am-5pm or by chance & appt.

For further information call the gallery at 843/722-9868 or visit (www.corrigangallery.com).

Before I left Charleston, I extended my luck on this unlucky day by dropping in on a drop in for Pernille Ægidius Dake at Nina Liu and Friends.  Dake was one of my favorite Charleston artists who left us to become a real Yankee living in Upstate New York. Yes, you heard that right – Nina Liu is still in Charleston and her gallery space and home is still for sale and full of wonderful art objects for sale. Not as full as it has been, but there is plenty there for all you who have been missing their Nina Liu and Friends fix. It’s hard to keep up with her these days, but I think you’ll find her there at 24 State Street though the holidays, but then back again in the Spring. Call ahead to see if she is open at 843/722-2724.

It was good to see Pernille after all these years. We get postcards from her from time to time – for no reason at all or from no special destination, but they are always welcomed. Her painting that hangs in our home always draws attention. It’s sort of a self-portrait – more like a body print. The grandboys seem to like it.

I finally made it home without incident.

A Drive Into Charleston, SC, On a Cold Day to See a New Craft Gallery and the Exhibition by Our Cover Artist for Our Feb. 2015 Issue of “Carolina Arts”, Tyrone Geter

Saturday, February 21st, 2015

I was long overdue for a visit to downtown Charleston, SC, to see the new Surface Craft Gallery, located at 49 John Street, on the same street where Linda and I once operated IF Labs, at 39-A John Street and opened the Photogallery next door (with the help of a few friends), an exclusive fine art photography gallery. But this was in the mid 1980’s, long before the Charleston Visitor Center was built. Once construction started we were moved out fast.

This winter has brought me a new ailment that I have been adjusting to since before Thanksgiving until very recently. One that made it difficult to go out in public without somebody asking – do you need me to call 911. A bad cough that was keeping me from steady sleep – something I was very used to. Linda will tell you that I could set records in how fast I could be asleep by the time my head hit the pillow. Finally a combination of meds and adjusted habits has been found.

I also wanted to see the exhibition at the City Gallery at Waterfront Park before it was over. They are presenting an exhibition of works by Tyrone Geter of Columbia, SC, who we featured on the cover of our Feb. 2015 issue of Carolina Arts. From the few images I saw that were on the cover I really wanted to see this exhibit before it left Charleston.

I had planned to go sometime on the weekend of Feb. 13-15, but then I realized that was SEWE weekend and no one in their right mind would try to go to Charleston that weekend unless you were going to the Southeastern Wildlife Expo. So I finally set my sights on Wed., Feb. 18, 2015. Everything and everyone connected with SEWE would be gone by then or at least not taking up every parking space in the city.

It turned out to be a typical cold day in the Lowcounty. When I left the house I was bundled up for frozen tundra, once in the car the sun coming through the front windshield was baking me to death. It turned out not to be as cold as expected and I think by the afternoon the temps were in the 50’s making it pretty nice in downtown Charleston – as long as you stayed in the sun.

First stop was John Street next to the Visitor Center Complex. I was lucky, very lucky, to find a metered parking space on John Street at the intersection of Meeting Street, a short walk from the gallery.

When I opened the door and walked in I could see that look on Liv Antonecchia’s face that meant I finally made it. She is the artist/gallery owner of Surface Craft Gallery. Not that she expected me, but she knew I had been trying to get there. I’ve been supporting the gallery as much as I can on social media, but this was my first look inside the gallery. And, it looks much better when you’re seeing it as a whole and not just in the background of Facebook photos of specific items she carries in her shop. The one room gallery is laid out very nicely – nicer than some craft shops that have been open a few years. Eventually gallery owners seem to find a way to use every inch of a space to display one more work of art.

I first met Antonecchia during an arts festival art walk in North Charleston, SC, and at other crafts sales in the area. I remember us talking at one of the art sales taking place in the Earth Fare parking lot in the South Windermere Shopping Center in Charleston. We talked some about organizing potters in SC, a pet goal of mine and her desire to open a craft gallery in Charleston. And, last year she opened Surface Craft Gallery.

Just like you might have a hard time finding a gallery in Asheville, NC, that features paintings, a gallery featuring fine crafts in Charleston is a rare item. Charleston is a painter’s town.

Antonecchia was currently offering her first exhibition featuring sculptural works by Christine Kosiba, from Brevard, NC. This exhibit was an extra incentive to get to the gallery. Kosiba builds organically from coils of clay to create ravens, owls and horses to name a few. Some are free standing while others are perched as totems, wall hangings or on her clay built spheres. The exhibit will be on view through Mar. 1, 2015. You can read all about the exhibit on Page 20 of our Feb. 2015 issue of Carolina Arts found at (www.carolinaarts.com).

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Totem by Christine Kosiba

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Another work by Christine Kosiba

I took a few photos to kind of show the space, but you really have to be there a while to discover all that is on display. Items in ceramics, handblown & fused glass, book arts, paper, printmaking, jewelry and wood are offered. There’s more there than you would think at first glance. And, as usual I asked a lot of questions about how things are going, what kind of street traffic she got, what kind of items people were buying – all that shop talk stuff. It’s kind of boring if you’ve never run a gallery, but it’s the stuff gallery owners want to talk about. If you go there she’ll be more interested in telling you about her gifted artists.

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On this cold day after the big SEWE weekend there were not a lot of shoppers on the street coming in while I was there – except for a group of ladies who came in and wondered if the gallery owner might be willing to offers some items for an art auction fundraiser. They had a list of galleries they were going to hit up. Too bad they didn’t spend any time looking to see what the shop offered. This is a subject that would take many blog posts to cover and the right people who would need to read it would never see it. They are deaf, dumb, and blind to the needs of the visual art community.

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Here’s one close up of a couple of works by Luba Sharapan of Darn Pottery in Tennessee

If you are suffering due to the closure of Nina Liu & Friends, you might want to check out this relatively new craft gallery on John Street. The gallery offers some items that haven’t been seen in Charleston before – and that’s always a good thing.

My next goal was finding a parking space not too far from the City Gallery at Waterfront Park, located at 34 Prioleau Street, across from the Pineapple Fountain in Waterfront Park overlooking Charleston Harbor. My luck came in the small parking lot next to the Old Exchange Building & Provost Dungeon at the corner of East Bay and Broad Streets – which also was right next to another building which was the last location we had in downtown Charleston – 132 East Bay Street. The newspaper’s office was there, people could drop off film for processing there and pick it up, and we ran a gallery there too – years ago.

I’ll tell you this, I know Charleston pretty well, but it’s changing fast and parts of it are shocking to me on how it has been over-developed. I first stepped foot in downtown Charleston in 1974 and you wouldn’t believe how the “most preserved city in America” has changed. Back then, locals cried about how much the city had changed and now I kind of feel that way too. Those old locals must be rolling over in their graves turning their backs on the city it is becoming. I wouldn’t be surprised if some have had their graves moved for further development.

It was less than a half a block from my parking space to the City Gallery at Waterfront Park. I walked in and used the facilities right away. You’ll find one of the nicest, cleanest restrooms in the city there. That’s important info to know when visiting Charleston – where the public restrooms are.

Drawing from the Lifeline, featuring mixed media work by Tyrone Geter, is on exhibit here through Mar. 1, 2015. That’s not very long from now so hurry and make plans to see this exhibition. The exhibit assembles a selection of new and recent work by Tyrone Geter curated by Frank McCauley, Chief Curator at the Sumter County Gallery of Art, in Sumter, SC. So, I guess now the City of Charleston’s Office of Cultural Affairs is letting out of town curators organize exhibits for them. Well, that can’t be right – I don’t think anyone really knows how they select exhibits for this gallery space. I know I’ve never seen a public notice calling for proposals.

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I guess this might be the first work of the exhibit. You can read about Geter and the exhibit on the text panels

Geter has forged a unique artistic practice spanning multiple media platforms including drawing, painting, and sculpture. His ongoing series entitled “Purgatory Ain’t Nothin’ but the Blues” is most often executed with the most basic and humble of mediums, charcoal on paper. You can read all about the exhibit and Geter on Page 16 of our Feb. 2015 issue of Carolina Arts found at (www.carolinaarts.com).

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Two larger than life works.

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Many of the works are very large and they fill up a large wall very fast.

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I added this image to show that on either side of the cube wall the lights were not on and I mentioned it to one of the people running the gallery, but nothing was done to turn them on while I was there.

I’ve seen a lot of exhibits at this gallery and I think, in fact I’m sure, this is the best single person exhibition I’ve seen here. There have been some great group shows, but this has to be the best one I’ve seen. Maybe I missed something better – my loss, but I’m glad I got to see this one.

Geter is very skilled at drawing but the title of the exhibit might fool you, a lot of the works have much more to them in making the final piece, but it’s his abilities at drawing that pulls each piece together. Some works are down right 3-Dimentional and a few are almost mini installations. But it’s the strong drawing that will always be the main focus.

And the people who are Geter’s subjects are some of the strongest characters where you know there is a heck of a story behind each one – sometimes suggested by the title – some with stories a lot of us hope we never have to tell, stories of hard work and hardships – stories of going without for the sake of others. And, stories of injustice.

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“So Many Gone” from the series “Living in the Light of Hell’s Shadow”.
Grandmother speak to me of wisdom.
Talk to me of courage and struggle.
Tell me the tales of freedom
and the quest for emancipation.
Tell me the stories of my people.

As a white person, you might begin to feel a little guilty – in fact I hope you do. I know I was and when I came across the only image of a white person or at least not a black person in the exhibit titled, I Saw Nothing, Heard Nothing, and Said Even Less, I was hoping I wasn’t looking at a portrait of me. I didn’t take a photo of it so you could see if it looked like you when you saw it.

In fact, it was nearly impossible to take decent photos of the exhibit as a whole. Most of all the works are behind plexiglass or glass and the way the lights are positioned and the fact and one whole wall of the gallery is all windows and doors – it’s a photographic nightmare. But I did manage a few shots.

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This image shows the terrible glare from the gallery lights and light coming in from the windows.

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Mayor Riley asked for one whole wall of the gallery to be glass so people at receptions could gaze out over Charleston’s Harbor view. Who cares what it does to the art on view in the gallery.

Between the time I saw this exhibit and while I was writing this blog entry, Tyrone Geter posted one of the works in the exhibit on his Facebook page titled, Black Face White Face. It’s a charcoal/pastel on torn paper work he did in 2015 in response to events taking place in Ferguson, MO. It was one of the images that I wondered if he had taken any photos of before the works were put behind glass or plexiglas so I could show them here. There was no way I was going to get a good shot of them in the gallery. And, he did have good photos of the works I requested – as all the images were that he sent us. That’s another reason his works ended up on the cover of our Feb. 2015 issue – because he had good high res images to send – on request. But, I’m getting distracted. I shared the photo he had posted on Facebook and commented that it was nice to see work being done by a SC artist that related to a current topic and made a statement that couldn’t be missed by anyone.

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“Black Face White Face”

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Detail of “Black Face White Face”

Geter makes beautiful, intense images that speak volumes to some people, make others think, and unfortunately leave some at a loss for what it’s all about. I’m not saying I could relate to 10 percent of what some of these images were saying and I’m glad I never had to, but it also makes me wish they didn’t have to either. And, today that gap between the haves and have nots is bigger than ever. And I feel that my family and I are slipping further down that trickle down economic pole. We’re still better off than many who are way down that pole below us.

We’ve shown mostly black and white images, but there was an interesting group of works done in charcoal/pastel (color) on black paper. It was amazing how the color bounced off that black paper – subtle and powerful at the same time.

I did manage to get acceptable photos of two works that seemed like mini installations to me. The drawings were enhanced with torn strips of paper giving a real 3-D effect and the two works were placed in deep enclosures which had drawings on the outside of what I’ll refer to as boxes. At the bottom the boxes where collected items of all sorts and the boxes had what looked like feet to me. One interesting item at the bottom of one of the boxes was an empty plastic bottle with the word “Hungry” on it. I guess there is nothing like being served from a bottle of Hungry, but I wouldn’t know – I’ve never known hunger. How about you – would you know what that tastes like?

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Here are the two boxed works

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A view of the drawings on the sides and some of the items at the bottom.

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Check out the jug or bottle of “Hungry” and the feet holding up the work.

This was a hard exhibit to digest, but I’m oh, so glad I got to see it, and I hope a lot more folks go see it. I hope this exhibition will be shown in other places in South Carolina or North Carolina.

Time is running out on this Charleston exhibition. Unfortunately we didn’t receive details about it until several weeks after it started. Run and don’t stop until you see it.

Oh, before I left Charleston I stopped by the Corrigan Gallery, at 62 Queen Street and chatted a bit with Lese Corrigan about the changing face of Charleston’s visual art community. There was a lot of good works of art to look at there too.

She has an exhibit coming up next month entitled, Female Cuts, on view from Mar. 5 – 30, 2015, featuring a showcase of primarily woodcuts by artists from then and now. A reception will be held on Mar. 6, from 5-8pm. The then will be represented by Charleston Renaissance artists Elizabeth O’Neill Verner, Alice Ravenel Huger Smith, Anna Heyward Taylor and now – Mary Walker, Kristi Ryba, Lese Corrigan with Corrie McCallum whose work is the bridge between the two time periods.

That title comes from a remark a SC State Representative recently said about women – “They are a lesser cut of meat”. I’m sure our Governor liked that statement coming from a member of her own party, or, does she just care about serving her party’s need for diversity?

A Trip to the Charleston Center for Photography in Charleston, SC, for Kevin Parent’s Lecture on Pinhole Photography

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

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On Monday, March 11, 2013, Linda and I went down the road to Charleston, SC, to attend a lecture on pinhole photography by Kevin Parent at the Charleston Center for Photography at 654 King Street for their 2nd Monday Lecture Series. It’s free and open to the public and unknown to us they hand out tickets and hold a raffle for photography swag after the lecture, but no one was there for the swag.

Wikipedia describes a pinhole camera as: A pinhole camera is a simple camera without a lens and with a single small aperture (a pin hole in the box) – effectively a light-proof box with a small hole in one side. Light from a scene passes through this single point and projects an inverted image on the opposite side of the box (w/film or photo paper inside). The human eye in bright light acts similarly, as do cameras using small apertures.

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They had a pretty big crowd there, bigger than I expected, bigger than most lectures I’ve attended at some bigger institutions. Photography by nature is a loner sport, but photographers are also very social when it comes to talking about photography.

Why were we there? Good question. Did Linda or I have interest in taking up pinhole photography? Was it because of our standing in the Charleston photography community? We came for support of the speaker.

I’ve known Parent since the days when I delivered our printed paper to Carolina Fine Paintings & Prints on King Street, where he had a job as a framer – back in the day. Our connection was that we were old schoolers – as far as photography goes. But at that time Linda and I were well out of photography. Not many people in Charleston today know our photography background – we have no standing. I’ve run into Parent at photography exhibits and shared photography related info on Facebook. He’s active – we’re not. We now have an arts newspaper or it has us.

I’m reminded of how removed we are from photography as I reach down to the bottom drawer of my desk and pull out a roll of Ilford FP4 120 film with an expiration date of June 1990 and I no longer have a camera that uses 120 film – haven’t for almost 30 years. In that drawer is also the last “real” camera I own – a Nikon Nikkormat EL – which has a good layer of dust on it. There is also a roll of Kodachrome 64 with a date of 1999 that I’m holding for singer Paul Simon. I also have a drawer of about a half dozen digital cameras – one that stores the images on a floppy disk.

But, way back in the day – before our lives as publishers of an arts newspaper, Linda and I ran a custom black and white photo processing lab – IF Labs – the best in Charleston at the time, if I say so myself. Linda was a master printer and I was a wiz with film developing. But today, there are no signs of chemical stains on our fingers.

So we went to this lecture to support a fellow old schooler who is still doing it – the real old fashioned way. And, I don’t just give credit to anyone who boast that they are “special” because they are using film and photo paper processed in a darkroom. I’ve got no problem with digital photography, but I still judge all photography by the final product. I really don’t care how the photographer gets there – the image is still the thing. And there are still a lot of bad photographer out there, along with a lot of skilled technicians who are making ho hum images. Parent isn’t one of them. I don’t like all his images, but after last night’s lecture I respect all those – so much more – that speak to me, after learning how much he’s flying by the seat of his pants in capturing his images. Hey, here’s a news flash – this isn’t just a problem for photography. The art world is full of artists who are not yet at the top of their game. Some might get there some day – some never will.

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Kevin Parent with some of his pinhole cameras

Throw in the fact that Parent makes his own cameras and you really wonder why someone still puts themselves through this old school process, but Parent explained all that in his presentation. It’s an emotional thing for him. And, you can’t beat the cost of the camera – which he makes out of just about anything.

He did say one thing that I had to differ with. It’s not that I disagree with what he said, I just see it differently. At one point he said that pinhole photography is the only way to stop nature and capture it in an image. You can’t do it with a shutter speed of 1/500th of a second, but I think he was referring to the fact that pinhole photography slows the photographer down, due to the nature that you have only a few shots and without a viewfinder to actually see what you are trying to capture – you really have to slow down and think about what you’re doing or trying to do. Where with today’s digital cameras you can just shoot away hoping you get something from volume – as you’re not burning up expensive film anymore. And, you can just delete what you don’t want – on the spot and shoot again and again or slip another memory disk into the camera. That might work in sports photography.

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I think the technology of stop-action and high speed photography has really stopped nature – giving us a chance to see the unseeable with our human eyes. Think tiny tree frog in the Amazon jumping from one leaf to another and the camera catching it in mid-jump. Now that’s stopping nature. I prefer to think that what he meant was that pinhole photography stops nature – in motion – due to the long exposures (time the pinhole is uncovered). And, it’s a good thing that it slows the photographer down and makes them think about what they are doing. Slowing our lives down gives us a better view of nature or something like that. Let’s all break into small groups and discuss that.

Of course I had the advantage of a hour and a half ride home to come up with that and I wasn’t standing in front of an audience. It’s a point the two of us could talk about for hours and I could be wrong. It wouldn’t be the first time I missed the point – as Linda tells me often enough.

But, that’s the value of going to an artist’s lecture. You get to hear what they are trying to do, what’s in their head and how they feel about the work they produce. It’s a lot better than standing in front of an image and just trying to figure things out or reading a page or two about what the artist meant to do in presenting their image. Or, the artist who says it’s all up to the individual viewer – it’s what it means to the viewer – that’s all they care about. That’s true, but that’s just as bad as the people trying to figure out what the Beatles meant by every word they wrote – even playing songs backwards to find the “true” meaning of their songs. I prefer William Halsey’s (one of Charleston’s best artists) answer when asked by viewers what he meant by his paintings – “What does it mean?” – “it means I finished!” But, it’s not that simple either. A lecture gets you a little closer to your understanding if the artists was successful in their goals – if they had any to begin with. It’s one more step in the process of understanding. Or you could just go with the process of deciding if you just like something or not. Oh my head is beginning to hurt. Art speak will get you every time.

The Charleston Center for Photography will have a small exhibit of Parent’s works up on view through the end of the month. You can also see his work at the Corrigan Gallery on Queen Street in downtown Charleston and on his website at (www.kevinbruceparent.com).

Parent will also conduct a workshop on pinhole photography later this month. For info call the Charleston Center for Photography at 843/720-3105.

The next 2nd Monday Lecture Series will take place at 7pm on April 8, 2013, and be presented by Stephanie Coakley. Check the Center for details.

Timing Is Everything In The Life Of An Art Viewer – A Trip To Charleston, SC

Saturday, December 8th, 2012

A week or so ago, Linda, my better half, asked me at the end of a totally unrelated conversation, “Are we going Friday?”. I asked in return if she wanted to go to some Pearl Harbor memorial, being the smart-aleck that I am – knowing she was talking about Friday Dec. 7th – which would also be the first Friday in December. That would also be the date of the mega art walk in downtown Charleston, SC, with both the First Friday on Broad and the French Quarter Gallery Association’s art walks taking place. The December art walk in Charleston is the best as it is actually dark during the walk and a good bit of the area would be in full Christmas decor. You see, that Friday would be the rare occasion when Linda would not be working and it was a first Friday. The fact that she could just ask, “Are we going Friday” and I knew exactly what she was asking is the sign of a old married couple and that I spend most of my time each month working on our calendar listings and I was fully aware that it was going to be one of those special first Friday opportunities.

In the course of working on those gallery listings I knew there were going to be some interesting shows to see that Friday. Karin Olah, one of our favorite abstract artist was returning to Charleston, from wintery Colorado, for an exhibit at Corrigan Gallery. That was a must see. Karen Vournakis, a mixed media/photographer was having an exhibit at a new gallery in town, the Atrium Art Gallery, across the street from Corrigan Gallery on Queen Street. We have not seen her work in a gallery in some time. Mickey Williams was having an exhibit at Ella Walton Richardson Fine Art Galleryand there was always Nina Liu & Friends (843/722-2724). As things turned out – the day before the art walk we learned that Smith Killian Fine Art would be showing an exhibit of works by Trip Smith – the photographer in the talented Smith Family clan of artists. And, as usual, as the days wound down to that Friday, other tasks popped up making our trip to Charleston a narrow window of opportunity – making another quick in and out visit. And as usual we spent more time in the car coming and going than we did in galleries in Charleston. My apologies go out to those galleries that with more time and energy we would have liked to visit, but didn’t get to. The major victims here were the Mickey Williams’ show and Hamlet Fine Art Gallery – Stephanie we’ll have to talk (perhaps on the phone). Plus, I always end up talking too much at each place as we run into folks we haven’t seen in awhile. But we got to four galleries and one of them twice.

Our first stop as usual is always Nina Liu & Friends gallery as we never know when it will be the last time to go there and I seem to always be able to find a parking space on her street (State Street) if we can get downtown before 5pm. We arrived on State Street and found a spot at 4:59pm.

As I titled this blog entry – timing is everything. We were the first to arrive at Nina Liu & Friends gallery and as it turned out so had a shipment of Aggie Zed’s small animal/human figures – just that afternoon. So we were lucky to get Nina Liu to set one aside for us. I don’t know why it has taken us all these years to add a Zed to our collection, but we were very lucky. Liu said about a half-dozen had already sold between the time they had arrived and we walked in the door to folks who have been waiting for that shipment. They’re still priced right too. I’m not going into the saga of Liu trying to sell her gallery/home, but the prime location is for sale. But I’ve got to say, she had more work in the gallery for sale than I’ve seen in a while.

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Work by Jeri Burdick

The gallery is showing an exhibit of Lowcountry landscapes by Katrina Schmidt-Rinke through December. But, there are lots of other things to see there. I took a few photos of a great wall piece by Jeri Burdick, who is doing something different every time I see her work. She has to be the most creative artist I know in South Carolina – no moss is growing on her talent. I also took a few photos of a multi-media piece by Cynthia Tollefsrud – not a Carolina artist, but one of the few outsiders in our collection. Her work is that good.

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Front of work by Cynthia Tollefsrud

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Inside view.

While at her gallery Liu told me about a fundraiser using art that was a win win situation. She knows I’m no fan of the over used practice of non-profits raising fund by having art auctions. I hope to have more details on this issue soon. It sounded good, but from what I heard it wasn’t 100% good, but closer than most events come to being ideal.

Next we walked across the street to Smith Killian Fine Art to see that photography show by Trip Smith. Some of you know our history in photography in Charleston – running a custom photo processing lab for 16 years and a photography art gallery. We seem a million miles from it now, but photography played a big part in our lives, so as I walked into the gallery and ran into Betty Anglin Smith, I announced I was here to see the real art in this gallery. Which was a little joke everyone enjoyed as they know we are big fans of the talented Smith clan – including Betty and the other two-thirds of the triplets Jennifer Smith Rogers and Shannon Smith, but we never get to see much of Trip’s work. Tonight was his night – finally – another joke.

Of course we started, or should I say I started talking photography with a few photographers there and time was slipping away. Things have changed in Charleston – which still has a long way to go in giving fine art photography its due respect. Photography was being shown in all four galleries we visited that evening (highlighted in two) and it is on view all over Charleston when just a decade or so ago that was not the case. But photography is still a step-child in South Carolina – things are much better in North Carolina, but the buying public still just doesn’t seem to give it the respect it deserves. Go see this show.

Now, stepping down off the soapbox, I want to tell you of another rare observation at Smith Killian Fine Art. If you are a fan of the Smith clan’s work, but feel the works are normally priced out of your pocket-book range – the gallery was full of small works with small prices on them. In fact there was on group of works on paper that were priced at only $800. Here I am talking like my son when he says something he likes and wants is only $100 or $200 – as if all I have to do is go to the backyard and pick a few bills off our money tree, but in respects to these artist’s works which are always in high demand – $800 is an opportunity for someone to get an original Betty, Shannon or Jennifer piece. I’ve included an image of one of Betty’s works. Excuse the reflections from the glass – as always art looks so much better in person.

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Work by Betty Anglin Smith

Linda had to point out to me one of Betty’s abstracts – as if I wasn’t going to notice it – that just happened to be in her favorite colors – purple. In another corner of the gallery we found one that I liked ever better. I told her we’d stop and buy some lottery tickets on the way home. As someone introduced us on this evening as having Carolina Arts, I corrected them and said Carolina Arts has us. But we can still like things and dream – can’t we.

I’ve developed expensive tastes, but with nothing to back it up, but I’m not mad when others who can are able to and do purchase things I would – if I could. It just shows me I’d know what to do with money if I had it – in case anyone is listening. Remember that old TV show the Millionaire? Mr. Buffet if you’re reading this – just saying.

Next stop was down Queen Street to see the show at Corrigan Gallery. Here was another example of good timing. Since Karin Olah has left Charleston for the wilds of Colorado I’ve managed to be in Charleston at the same time and run into her twice. Once was an unexpected meeting during a Colin Quashie exhibit at Redux Contemporary Arts Center and the planets aligned for this show. I’ve always loved her work from the moment I first saw some and I’m never disappointed. Karin and I had many a good discussion about art when she was managing the Eva Carter Gallery. A lot of the works in this show were smaller than I’m used to seeing, but that’s a good thing as they were priced to match the size – another good opportunity for anyone looking to add an Olah to their collection or start a collection. I took a photo of my favorite.

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Work by Karin Olah

I got a chance to tell Olah to stop posting those outrageous photos on Facebook of the deplorable landscape in Colorado. If I hadn’t been there before I’d think most of them were Photoshoped. These people that go west have no right to shove those kind of images in our face on Facebook.  It’s just not the Lowcountry thing to do – showing off your environment. That goes for you too – Susan Mayfield (West).

There are lots of other great things to see and buy at Corrigan Gallery – including photography. Of course you better get there fast in case my ship comes in during the next lottery drawing.

Time was slipping by and we ran across the street to the new Atrium Art Gallery to see Karen Vournakis’ exhibit Working Charleston Plantations, on view through Feb. 28, 2013. Vournakis is another photographer who began old school, so our discussion soon moved to how fast digital photography has taken over. It wasn’t that long ago that she made her prints in a darkroom and hand-colored them and today she’s all digital – except for still making images on film. We old timers used to claim we’d never go to the dark side of the force, but you can’t hold back when the new kid on the block is better – much better and easier than the old ways. Believe me, from spending years in darkrooms – there’s nothing glamorous about it. It’s like working in a toxic landfill and it’s dark.

The gallery was a nice new addition to Charleston’s gallery scene and was full of local artists I did not know – except Vournakis. It was nice to see her work hanging in a gallery in Charleston again. Go check out this show and the gallery.

In the last week I’ve had conversations with a few gallery owners who were asking if I knew of anywhere art was selling. These folks were from different parts of the Carolinas and I had to tell them that I didn’t know for sure, but I had my own barometer on that subject. No big galleries in Charleston have closed and it seems new ones were popping up all over – some I hadn’t even seen yet. After visiting just four galleries during the art walk I think Charleston is selling art – they were that evening. There was a time when they were not and other areas were, but I think that trend has changed, but there are a lot of galleries in Charleston – more than anywhere else in the Carolinas, so four is not a great sample.

On the way back to the car we popped back into Smith Killian Fine Art – just to make sure we weren’t dreaming and they really did have photography featured – just kidding. The crowd seemed to be getting larger and as soon as we pulled out of our parking space someone was right there to take it.

On the drive back home when I tend to run the evening’s events over in my cluttered mind I realized that I didn’t take one photo of any of the photography on exhibit. I guess as an old photographer I just have a deep rooted thing about copying other photographer’s work. And when I think about it I don’t think I’ve ever taken photos of photography on view in a gallery. I’m not doing them any good by not showing their work, but I’m going to have to think about that some. I’m not really doing justice to the other art I take photos of either, so I’m going to work that out, but the main point of any of these blog postings is to get you to go see the art in the galleries. So go do that.

Oh, I almost forgot. Karin, I finally noticed that thing you do with your signature. Boy that took a while.

A Trip to Charleston, SC, to see Colin Quashie’s Exhibit at Redux and the French Quarter Art Walk

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

Some people say that 60 is the new 40. Maybe, but on this day I was feeling my 60 years in full force. Last week I spent three fast days taking in the arts. I was in Columbia, SC, for a few hours on Thursday doing an emergency gift trip to One Eared Cow Glass. I spent more time in the car than in the gallery, but it was worth it. On Friday, I went to Redux Contemporary Art Center in Charleston, SC, seeing the exhibit that helped set a record for viewers of Carolina Arts and doing a bit of the art walk in Charleston. By Saturday morning I was back in North Charleston, SC, doing the North Charleston Arts Festival I blogged about earlier. On Sunday, I was dead.

I did the blog about some of the North Charleston Arts Festival exhibits first as they will end on May 12, 2012. For info about other exhibits being offered visit (www.NorthCharlestonArtsFest.com).

So, Friday I went to see The Plantation (Plan-ta-shun) featuring works by Colin Quashie as it was going to end in a few days. I didn’t want to miss the exhibit that launched over 112,000 downloads of our paper. It was the first time I’ve been to Redux since their major renovation and the place looked great. Seeing Quashie’s works up close was a testament to the mission of our paper. We exist only to show you what you have an opportunity to go see every month. We don’t want to be your outlet to the visual arts in the Carolinas – we want you to go see art. No matter how good things look in the paper, they will never look as good as they do when you’re standing in front of them.

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Quashie’s works were even more powerful seeing them in their true scale – something we can’t duplicate in our paper. These works were much larger than I expected. I know we sometimes give the dimensions of works with some images we present, but they’re just numbers until you’re standing in front of the actual works. It works the same way for smaller works too.

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I love the works that poke fun at how “Madison Avenue” might market slavery today. They’re clever statements about the past and present, but I loved Quashie’s portraits more. I can’t write in “art speak” but I hope this exhibit finds other venues in the Carolinas and I hope Quashie continues the series. And, I sure wouldn’t mind featuring more works by him on our cover – someday down the road.

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While at Redux I discovered they have another gallery space, called the Conolly Studio Gallery which features current works by some of its studio artists every eight weeks. This was news to me and a slip by the folks at Redux by not informing us about it. It was a good thing I checked it out, as while there, I ran into one of my favorite artists, Karin Olah Knowlton, who left Charleston for a Rocky Mountain high to live in Colorado and got to meet her very new daughter Ali. Karin has some of her new floral works (fabric paintings) on exhibit at Robert Lange Studios in Charleston. That was an unexpected pleasant meeting.

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Go see her works at RLS soon – I bet they won’t last long before they are sold and off to new homes.

Next stop – Charleston’s French Quarter and my first stop there was Nina Liu & Friends, on State Street, as Liu was back in town for the Spoleto season. She finally moved to her new home in Mexico this winter, but is still looking to sell her “prime location” home in downtown Charleston. And, Spoleto visitors always bring a new crop of future Charlestonians – they come – they fall in love – they move to Charleston.

The gallery is presenting the wonderful black and white photographs of Michael Johnson through June during Spoleto. You would think that since she moved to Mexico the gallery would be a little sparse, but it was full of art. So all of you Nina Liu & Friends fans – the gallery is open and ready for business, but the building is also for sale.

You hear that greater visual art community out there? A gallery/home in the heart of Charleston’s French Quarter art district is available for anyone interested in opening a gallery or expanding their business to Charleston. Of course I’m not looking forward to the day when Liu is gone to Mexico for good – I’ll miss her and our conversations.

I got to Nina Liu & Friends well before the Art Walk officially opened and she was having some new lighting installed, so I slipped out to go over to Robert Lange Studios, just around the corner on Queen Street, to see those works by Karin Olah Knowlton, and then I walked over to Lowcountry Artists LTD on East Bay Street to see the exhibit,  Painting With Fire: Lowcountry Impressions in Clay, featuring works by Marty Biernbaum, on view through May 31, 2012.

That’s the beauty of the French Quarter – you can’t toss a stone in any direction without hitting an art gallery. If you run and just barely stick your head in each door you might be able to visit them all in one art walk, but you really have to narrow your visits to a few if you want to see some work and if you’re like me – there will be some talking going on too. I don’t get to the art walks that often, but I still know a lot of folks there.

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Biernbaum’s works looked great in our paper, but also much better in person. And in person you can get that tactile experience too. I’m not saying you can touch all art works, but it’s usually OK with pottery. Just remember – you drop it – you bought it. And you don’t always have to pick things up to get a little feel.

That exhibit was about 20 minutes from officially opening, yet they say they had already sold a third of the works. Better get down to see this exhibit fast. Of course they have lots of other art there too, so you won’t have to leave empty handed if the pottery is all sold out, but I bet Biernbaum has some backup works on hand.

I checked back in at Nina Liu & Friends, but Liu was busy with another art walk matter and it was just after 5pm so I headed across the street to see the exhibit, First Light by Shannon Smith, on view through May 18, 2012 at Smith-Killian Fine Art, on the corner of State and Queen Streets.

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I’ll never admit to having a favorite out of the Smith clan, but Linda claims I’m partial to Shannon’s work. I’ll invoke the 5th in any court, but she had some spectacular works on display, but I also saw a pretty fantastic view of Charleston from Mt. Pleasant by Jennifer that evening and it was just a year ago when Betty’s abstracts knocked my socks off. And, being an old black and white guy myself – Tripp holds his own in that clan of artists. So, how could anyone pick a favorite? That’s what I say and I’m sticking to it.

My next stop was going to be Corrigan Gallery, further down Queen Street, to see the exhibit, Landscape Reconfigured, featuring new works by Linda Fantuzzo on view through May 30, 2012. I don’t know if it was the heat and humidity, the week of work, or the fact that my age was catching up with me, but that walk seemed like a couple of miles instead of a few blocks, and I was feeling it all.

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The one disadvantage of the May art walk in Charleston is that at this time of year in Charleston, at 5pm the sun is still bearing down and well after the art walk is over the sun is still up. Because I’m an hour plus away, I can’t show up fashionably late like some when the temps are a little better and I still have to make that hour plus trip back home.

I finally made it there and I’m glad I did. I’ve known Linda Fantuzzo for a long time – way before Linda (my Linda) and I started doing an arts newspaper, and her works just keep getting better and better and they started out good. She was part of the old John Street art colony – back in the day with Manning Williams, Bill Buggle and Bobby Brown. If you know these folks – you’ve been around Charleston for a long time. We (Linda and I) were doing photo processing on John Street, but the City ran us all off when they built the Visitor Center causing high rents to settle in on John Street.

I got in a few words with Fantuzzo and Lese Corrigan, but this gallery was filling up fast and these folks needed to talk to some real customers. While I was checking out some of the other works in the gallery, I was offered some help by a young lady who I guessed was helping Corrigan out, she might have been an intern from the College of Charleston, I’m not sure, but she told me about Mary Walker, Kevin Parent, and John Moore’s work – which I was checking out. I never know what to do is a situation like that. I know these artists’ work well, but she didn’t know that and I didn’t see any reason to say anything – why should I, and what would I say that wouldn’t seem rude? She knew her stuff – much better than some I’ve encountered in a similar situation. I once had a gallery helper try to tell me Corrie McCallum was dead long before she passed and there was nothing I could say to change her mind.

Situations like that make me think of saying – “Look, I know Corrie McCallum, I’m a friend of Corrie McCallum – you don’t know diddily about Corrie McCallum,” and then storm out – but I don’t. What would be the use in that? I’m just an old dude who has forgotten more than some know, but a new generation is in control now. This wasn’t the case – this young lady knew her stuff and she was a real asset to the Corrigan Gallery. And, the next person might not know who these artists are.

I hate to admit it, but after Corrigan Gallery I was finished for the evening. I was going to be lucky to get back to my car and endure that hour plus drive home. Luckily, a good night’s rest made it possible to do the North Charleston Arts Festival’s Main Event the next day.

If people want to sell me on the notion that 60 is the new 40 – I know I felt a lot better when I was 40 and I’m not doing too badly now, but what else do you want to sell me – the Brooklyn Bridge?

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You can read more about these exhibits in the May 2012 issue of Carolina Arts. You can download a copy of the paper at this link (http://www.carolinaarts.com/512/512carolinaarts.pdf).

A Visit to Downtown Charleston, SC’s Art Walks – May 6, 2011

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

Even though I haven’t been to many art walks in Charleston lately, it’s still our backyard as far as art communities go. I don’t know everyone there now and many don’t know me, but for a lot of the folks who have been there more than a few years, it’s hard for Linda and I to just slip into a gallery and not be spotted. Gallery owners and artists seem to gravitate to us – one because we’re friends with a lot of these folks – at least we feel we are, and two, we haven’t seen most of these folks – face to face in a long time. So we’re like a blast for the past.

It would be nice to do an art walk and not be working, but the nature of these events is always social/working. I want to write the trip up for our blog and they hope I’ll write it up – everyone needs publicity. The problem in Charleston is we know and meet so many people we want to talk to that I end up doing more talking than taking photos. So, I have some images to not make this blog all words, but in no way all that I should have. I’m sorry for that. We got some from the galleries or their websites.

I’ll refresh people’s memory of the weather on May 6, 2011, in the Charleston area. A forecast called for scattered showers, but it seem to be raining most of the day up here in Bonneau, the headquarters of Shoestring Publishing Company on the shore of Lake Moultrie. And just as it was about time to leave, the rain came down hard, but the weather wizards said the system would clear out of the area by 6pm. This time I was hoping they were right. It rained pretty hard all the way to Charleston’s borders, but as we crossed that border the rain stopped and the sky opened up.

By the time we found the same parking space I used in visiting the April art walk, the sun was shinning. Thanks to whoever saved it for us. The rain had cleared the air and cooled it down to a very pleasant 75 degrees. We’ve had some great weather as far as temps go lately – although dangerous at times.  At least there weren’t any tornado warnings on May 6.

Our first stop, due to location, was Nina Liu and Friends, at 24 State Street. The gallery is celebrating its 25th Anniversary this year. The exhibit being presented that evening was Defining Moments, featuring works by Susie Miller Simon of Colorado, on view through June 30, 2011. Simon couldn’t be there for this opening, but will come in a few weeks.

Nina Liu’s gallery is spread throughout three levels in her home – which is still up for sale – if anyone is interested in living in the heart of Charleston’s French Quarter district and wants to also have a gallery – or not. She’ll sell – either way. Liu is hopping to retire one day to the home she has waiting in Mexico – someday. But, we’re not in any hurry to see her go.

We noticed something strange going on. People were coming into the gallery, saying hi as they passed by, heading upstairs. Liu noticed the strange look on our faces and explained that they were regulars to her openings and they know the food and drink is upstairs. I rolled my eyes, thinking to myself that they could have at least glanced at the works in the exhibit before – running upstairs, but it doesn’t seem to bother her as another group zoomed by. Her food is very popular.

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Work by Susie Miller Simon

Simon’s works give reference to imagery of the Southwestern United States – a million miles from Lowcountry art, which is refreshing at times and I’m sure a reason why her works are so popular here. I’ve included an image, that I’m sure wasn’t in this exhibit. I got it off the Internet just to give you an idea of what the work is like. But you’ll see some images like this and some very different, but you’ll be able to tell it came from Simon.

It was reassuring to see some of those folks who rushed upstairs eventually filtered down to see the exhibit, one even asking about the price of a work found upstairs. A good time for us to move on.

For the second month in a row, I was focused on going to Smith-Killian Fine Art, at 9 Queen Street, at the corner of Queen & State Streets. Last month it was to see an exhibit by Shannon Smith and this month to see “abstract” works by her mother, Betty Anglin Smith, as well as works by a very strong group of SC’s contemporary artists including: Carl Blair, Eva Carter, Matt Overend, Laura Spong, Leo Twiggs and Scott Upton. The exhibit, Contemporary Carolinas – an Invitational Exhibition, will be on view through June 12, 2011.

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Works by Laura Spong (L) and Leo Twiggs (R)

The week before we had talked with Laura Spong at Vista Studios in Columbia, SC, during Artista Vista (read about it at this link) and knew she would be there. And, I was hoping to see and talk with Carl Blair, whom I haven’t seen in a while. Blair, was the one and only member of the Commission of the SC Arts Commission who listened to my complaints and tried to do something about them. The one and only! A true arts leader in SC – a rare exception. Unfortunately he didn’t make the trip from Greenville, SC.

That’s OK – I’ll take the hugs from Betty, Eva, and Laura any day.

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Work by Eva Carter

In my opinion, the day William Halsey passed on, Eva Carter became Charleston’s top “abstract” artist, if not one of the best in SC. After closing up her gallery a few years ago, this was the first of her work in an exhibit in Charleston. Although she has now opened a studio just around the corner from her old gallery, at 16 Gillon Street, we haven’t been able to catch her there when we were in Charleston – so we were also looking forward to seeing and talking with her and seeing what she was painting these days.

But, the real kicker in this show was to see more “abstract” paintings by Betty Anglin Smith. I mentioned in my write up of the April 2011 art walk in Charleston that we saw an unexpected work – an abstract painting by Betty at Shannon Smith’s show. We loved the work and I wanted to see if it was a one hit wonder or if we have a new abstract artists in town. Folks – we weren’t disappointed.

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Work by Betty Anglin Smith

Of course as Betty put it – she’s not quitting her day job of painting landscapes – just yet. We all know there’s a smaller audience for “abstract” art in the Carolinas. But, every day we see more of it all the time – and that means more people are buying it. I tip my hat to Smith Killian Fine Art for taking the risk to present such a show – during the Spoleto Festival season in Charleston. I hope it pays off for them – so they can do it again. I know I could have spent a good bit of my lottery winnings there that evening. Now all I have to do is win one.

This was a great show of works from some of SC’s best artists, not painting what most people expect to see when they go to Charleston to see or buy art. But, I’ve always said there is a lot of this kind of art being made in Charleston – you just have to work a little to find it.

What a good time to transition over to Corrigan Gallery, located at 62 Queen Street – one of those places you won’t find what some people call “Charleston” art. But, you will find plenty of art made by Charleston artists. The exhibit, Egg Meditations, the continuation of a ten year exploration by Yvette Dede, was being presented. The exhibit will be on view through May 31, 2011. I swear it’s been that long – ten years since I’ve seen work by Dede on view in Charleston. At one time she ran Print Studio South, which eventually turned into the Redux Contemporary Arts Center (which hasn’t sent a press release about its May/June exhibit yet). But, that’s what happens when you become an adjunct college professor. You spend more time teaching than exhibiting.

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Works by Yvette Dede

For regular readers of my views on art – presentation is a big factor with me and this exhibit was a top notch example of how to present a cohesive group of works – in this case based on the egg shape. Dede made special frames for her small works and in the intimate space at Corrigan Gallery they looked fantastic. I’m talking about the presentation of the art. I really don’t care what the wall looks like or the floor – as long as they don’t distract the viewer from the art, and in that case – that’s a bigger problem for the artist. There’s nothing wrong with the wall or floors at Corrigan Gallery – I’m just saying well presented art can look good in someone’s cluttered basement.

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Works by Yvette Dede

After checking out all the variations Dede presented, we checked out some of the other works being displayed at the gallery and I came across a work which really fooled me at first in an alcove between the two main rooms of the gallery.  There was a large abstract work on one wall – blue and red. You know how I like abstracts. When I got close enough to see who the artist was,  I was, well not totally surprised, but embarrassed that it was by a good friend of ours –  John Moore. I’ve seen a lot of Moore’s abstract photographs, but for some reason this image didn’t click, I was seeing it from the side and I had just looked through some of his works in a stack and this just fooled me at first.

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Work by John Moore

The real joke here is that Moore and I have talked a million times about the fact that it’s too bad he presents his work as photographs – more people would buy them if they were presented as paintings. A sad fact but true. And, the real tragedy is that many people think they are Photoshopped, but these are the real deal. He finds these outrageous colors – in man-made materials touched by nature. And, to top it off – Moore is color blind. Figure that one out and you can help me pick lottery numbers.

Moore is a purest, he doesn’t manipulate his images and he doesn’t want to fool people into thinking these are not photos just for the sake of sales. He just has a good eye, takes his time before he clicks the shutter and knows how to get the best out of his equipment and when the light is right. That’s the real art of photography.

After Linda coaxed me off the soapbox, our next stop was Horton Hayes Fine Art, at 30 State Street. We wanted to see what Mark Horton was painting these days. The gallery also shows works by Nancy Hoerter, Shannon Runquist, Bjorn Runquist and Chris Groves – all skilled painters. Now, I guess these works don’t fit the classic description of “Charleston” art in that although they are landscapes of the Lowcountry and still lifes – I just think of them as master works. You just want to be in these places put on canvas. You can feel them – smell them. We didn’t talk to anyone here – it was too crowded.

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Work by Mark Horton

Seeing the works at Horton Hayes made me want to go check out Mickey Williams Studio-Gallery, the next street over at 132 E. Bay Street, at the corner of East Bay and Broad Street. This was our old hangout, once the office for IF Labs, then for Carolina Arts newspaper and Carolina Arts Gallery. I spent many a day and night in that space. It survived Hurricane Hugo as if it was just a thunder storm. This was also Eva Carter’s old gallery space.

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Work by Mickey Williams

Williams paints some incredible Lowcountry landscapes. I wanted to go by and see his works and talk to him about facebook. Sometimes I get on facebook by 7am and most days by then Williams has been on for several hours – talking about the birds in his back yard, his garden or the colors in the morning sky. He’s like the good morning guy in the Charleston facebook family – which is funny – as he, like me, is technology challenged. But, he’s got facebook down to a science. I called him and asked him to send me a photo – he had to check with his wife. Sound familiar? We’re two peas in an iPod. We embrace technology – we just don’t know how to make it work.

Our last stop was at Lowcountry Artists Ltd, at 148 E. Bay Street. Their next exhibit is The Power of Glass, featuring blown glass  by Robbie Clair and etched and fused glass by Steve Hazard which will be on view from May 28 through June 11, 2011. This gallery has almost doubled in size since the last time I was in it. As a co-op gallery it has also seen many changes in the group of artists currently showing on the walls.

Another space where we could slip in and get a good look at the art first. Of course we knew some of the artists by name or work and there were a few surprises – like seeing works by Patsy Tidwell on the wall. Her gallery was one of the mainstays of the Charleston art community, but she sold it a few years ago and now it’s closed. I’m sure she is enjoying life now creating artwork vs. trying to sell other artists’ works. It’s not easy running a gallery as an artist – even when you’re doing it as a co-op of artists.

Another surprise was seeing works by Jason Luck, a Seagrove potter who has moved to Charleston. Those Seagrove potters are everywhere. Well they’re not really – but their work seems to be getting everywhere. But, you really have to go to Seagrove, NC, for Seagrove pottery. The chamber of commerce pays me to say that.

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Work by Jackie Wukela

Because we didn’t have to answer a million questions as to how the paper is doing we finally got to eat some of the goodies being offered during the art walk. But, our anonymity could only last so long as I had questions I wanted to ask so we went up front and introduced ourselves to – who I felt sure was Jackie Wukela (due to facebook). She is typical of most of the folks we “know” through the paper. We’ve talked on the phone and e-mailed back and forth, but never met – face to face.

The minute we did this, Carolyn Epperly, who I’ve talked to many times at Tidwell’s Art Gallery, but not in a while, said “I thought you looked familiar.” Jackie Wukela and Lynda English, who are members of Lowcountry Artists Ltd. are also part of the visual art community in Florence, SC, where they live and have a gallery. So this was a twofer – we got to talk about Charleston and Florence’s art communities.

Before long the end of the art walk was on us and it was time to head back to Bonneau. On the ride home a few things struck me. We’ve been to two art walks in two months in Charleston and the art walks have changed – as have the galleries and artists who fill them with works since the days when we went to every one of them.

Charleston’s visual art community is moving away from what many people have tagged it as being for years, a city of artists who are in love with the city, a bad rap in my opinion. Sure there is lots of “tourist” art here to be had – it’s what most tourists want and Charleston is a tourist town, but the artists have moved on to creating what they want – hoping that the more discriminating visitors will want to take that art home. And, a good number of the artworks are being made by artists who live elsewhere – all over the US. The so called “Charleston” art is no longer a novelty – it’s now moved into the realm of novelties – souvenirs.

And, the art walks as I knew them have also changed. There was a time when an art walk in the French Quarter was a near festival – one big party event. I used to equate them to going to the Mall during Christmas – you’d run into everyone you haven’t seen since the last one there, but not so these days. There is an art walk every month in Charleston and most galleries stay open whether they’re in the group hosting it or not. So, it’s not such a special occasion any more. Still, lots of people go to them and enjoy them, but if it rains a little it’s easy to say – I’ll just go to the next one.

Of course my memories are from the 1990′s – what I call the golden age of the visual arts in the Carolinas. It might not be fair to make comparisons to current times – an age where many people are attacking the arts to gain political points and the economy has suffered one blow after another.

I for one am glad to be able to go to them again, but it might be some time before I go to the next one. We’re a little exhausted at this point and there’s so much going on all over the Carolinas. If you don’t believe me – just check our paper out at (www.carolinaarts.com). See how long it takes you to get through it all – end to end.

A March Through SC’s Pee Dee Area – Viewing Exhibits Here, There, and Everywhere – Part One

Monday, March 21st, 2011

Linda, my better half, and I planned a grand trek to see numerous exhibits on Friday, March 18, 2011, with the end stop being the reception for thePhotofabulous exhibit, the largest collection of photography on display in SC, at the Art Trail Gallery in Florence, SC, which started at 5:30pm.

The master plan was to leave Bonneau, SC, the headquarters of Carolina Arts, and head toward Sumter, SC, to see the exhibits at the Sumter County Gallery of Art, which opened at 11am. So we left at 9am to make sure we were there on time.

From Sumter it would be a mad dash to Hartsville, SC, to squeeze in the door of the Black Creek Arts Center which closed at 1pm. That meant we had to leave Sumter before noon and hope we didn’t get stuck behind a farmer on his tractor on a winding two-lane road. While in Hartsville we would also take in the exhibit at Coker College.

From Hartsville, we would move on to Darlington, SC, to check out a couple of commercial galleries and then move on to Florence for the BIG show.

That was the plan.

To Linda’s credit, who worked a 12 hour shift on Thursday, we were driving away from our headquarters by 8:58am – a good sign. And as it turned out we arrived in Sumter a lot earlier than I expected. It’s been a few years since Sumter was on our delivery route and I expect to travel slower during the day than at night. So we had bonus time in Sumter.

No problem – we headed over to USC-Sumter to the University Gallery, located in the Anderson Library, to see Doni Jordan’s exhibit, doni jordan: tomes, on view through April 12, 2011.

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When you see one image that is sent to you to represent an exhibit, it can really taint your expectations of what you will see. The written words in a press release can fill in some of the blanks, but not much. I had the impression that the exhibit would be different combinations of old printer type in window boxes – not so. There was plenty of that but much more.

I took a few photos, but the gallery space has museum lighting – which is good for getting up close to works but not good for photography and when works are behind glass or Plexiglas – flash photography is just another problem.

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Part of the exhibit was a display of old typewriters – which could be considered museum pieces now, since most people under 25 probably haven’t seen many around. It won’t be long before computer keyboards are in the same boat.

 

In fact, many things in this exhibit will age the person who recognizes the items included. A lot of the items assembled are no longer used – replaced by new technology or soon will be – including the books which may have been made using these old tools of typography. But, Jordan makes creative use of them in making statements in her assembled works – including wood and metal type, tin type photos, binding thread, spools, and small books – with an occasional message spelled out in the mix.

You can read more in our March 2011 issue of Caroli311usc-sum-doni-jordan3na Arts. Tick-Tock – time to move on.

We’re standing at the door of the Sumter County Gallery of Art at the Sumter County Cultural Center, at 11am, but the door is locked. Five minutes later the door is still locked. We can see through the door and people are working down a long hallway in the Patriot Hall part of the building. When we arrived I saw people unloading something at a side door so I go around, go in and find someone in the Gallery shop and ask if they are open. They are and I tell them the gallery door is still locked. I wish I had a nickel  for every time that has happened over the years.

The Sumter County Gallery of Art may still have a name connected to the past, but their gallery space rivals any at art museums in the Carolinas. It’s why they can attract top tier artists to exhibit in Sumter. That’s not a slap at Sumter – more at top tier artists. You’ll be able to see that in the photos I was able to take.

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I came to see the exhibits: Joe Walters: A Mid-career Retrospective, featuring a major exhibition of sculpture and works on paper by Charleston, SC-based artist Joe Walters and Anne Lemanski: Touch and Go, featuring a selection of her highly crafted sculptural works that utilize familiar forms to explore the inconsistencies and contradictions she sees in the world, from our culture’s treatment of women to its exploitation of both domesticated and wild animals. Both exhibits are on view through April 22, 2011.

If you can’t get to Sumter and you’re closer to Charleston, the Corrigan Gallery in Charleston is showing, A Riff on Nests, featuring sculptures and works on paper by Joe Walters, his first show in Charleston in many years – showing works in the same style as those being shown in Sumter. This exhibit is up through March 31, 2011.

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This is a detail shot of a larger work.

I’ve always liked Walters’ animal installations and this is a little different – more flora than fauna, but in the same style where the sculptural works have the look of years of built up rust – in brown or gray.

The works on paper have the same rusty brown color and a rough surface – also implying age.

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The works cry out to be touched, but please don’t. Like all things in nature – they are better off viewed from a distance than having humans touch them in our often rough and destructive ways.

Anne Lemanski: Touch and Go, is a good match for Walters’ exhibit as her works also show man’s “destructive” effects on animals.

Her work 21st Century Super Species: Jack-dor, dominates the display of animals who, in the form Lemanski presents, show how they might have adapted under man’s reign on this planet. This rabbit creature stands 8 feet tall,  has a 10 foot wingspan and is composed of many parts from other animals. The creature brings up the thought – Is this what man will have to deal with in the future if he doesn’t clean up his act and clean up the environment of this planet? According to Darwin – the animals will adapt. Of course we will too as we are just another animal.

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All of these creatures, that may seem like familiar animals, have adapted bright colors or a sort of camouflage and all give off the message – man beware – even the look on a giant golden frog’s head is menacing.

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Lemanski also offers a display of hairstyles of women from different decades – a commentary on how women were perceived.

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One hairstyle was titled, 1960 Occupation: Housewife, was pink and resembled the logo for the movie Hairspray. You might see women wearing these dos on the popular TV show Madmen. Another, titled 1940 For The Boys, may have represented the style women wore in the war factories while their men were off fighting WWII. There were two badges or buttons on the piece which showed 40′s style pinup gals.

 

We have more about these exhibits in our March 2011 issue of Carolina Arts.

Before we left the Sumter County Gallery 311scga-anne-lemanski4of Art we walked down the hallway where we could see people working through the door when we couldn’t get in, and they were hanging a quilt show that was going to be at the Patriot Hall Galleries – just for that weekend.

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Quilt #143 – “Hanging Gardens of Bobbi Ann” by Barbara Fitzsimmons

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Detail of Quilt #178 – “Fish of Another Color” by Thomasyne Martin

This was going to be the 3rd Swan Lake Quilt Guild Quilt Extravaganza. The guild has 85 members and is growing. I took a few quick photos, but the lighting was not as good there, and we were on the run. Carolina Artsis making a lot of contacts with quilt guilds it seems, but most seem to be a little shy in dealing with us – as if they are not sure we would be interested. One of our favorite works of art in our collection is an art quilt from a friend who unfortunately lives in Virginia or you’d be seeing lots of her works in our paper. Tick-Tock!

The race is on to Hartsville – a town I haven’t been to in a least a decade if not longer. Fortunately, we run into no tractors on the road – a few old geezers in pickup trucks, but no big delays and we get there in time. As we are walking through the doors of the Black Creek Arts Center I see that they are now open until 2pm on Fridays. Of course that may have been their hours for some time now, but we had 1pm in our records. It’s corrected now.

No harm, no foul, except there were a couple of interesting places we would have stopped at as we passed through Bishopville on the way. I guess that will have to wait for another trek.

The Black Creek Arts Center is showing The Pate Family Art Exhibit, featuring works by 14 members of this family spanning four generations. It began with Wilhelmina Stucky Pate, and the exhibit is on view in the Jean & James Fort Gallery through April 29, 2011.

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Pate Family Tree

That’s a big family of artists and they do everything, paintings – big and small, photography, stained glass, jewelry, and architectural models. And, it seems they all work in various mediums. Makes you wonder if there is something like an art gene.

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“On the Way to St. Simons” by Charles Pate Jr.

Most of the Pate family works are pretty straight forward – there’s not many hidden meanings or messages here. That was a good thing as viewing this exhibit was sandwiched in between two exhibits where you had to put your thinking cap on.

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“Quiet Power” by Martin Pate

It has to be nice to come from an art family, having access to all that experience and knowledge. I guess it could be a problem if you didn’t really want to be an artist, but who doesn’t – right. Well, I might want to a little, but I’ve seen enough to know it’s no cake walk.

We have more info about this exhibit in our March 2011 issue of Carolina Arts.

We went upstairs at the Arts Center and found a lot more art on display and I guess a photography exhibit, but there wasn’t any formal info – these works may always be on display. I can hear people say – “Why didn’t you ask?” And, I don’t ask, as I expect things to be clearly marked or explained – I know lots of people won’t bother to ask so I want to see how each exhibit space handles such things.

It’s like unpriced art. If I have to ask, I’m not interested – even if I can afford it. I don’t have to worry about that these days – I’m in the selling mode more than buying.

It was upstairs where I saw a new form of photography. Our background is in photography, but photography is one of the few art mediums that seems to be ever changing. There were a couple of “photographs” by Suzanne Muldrow on the wall that when I looked at them my first question is – “How is this a photograph?” But, I was to learn about that later at the BIG photography exhibit. These images looked like drawings and I didn’t see anything that would have looked like photography. I couldn’t take a photo as the lighting was bad and the work was behind glass. It was the first of many new things I was going to learn about photography this day.

The Black Creek Arts Centers seems to be set up to do all things in the arts – exhibits, performances, and education – with lots of classroom spaces. It’s probably quite a beehive of activity for the Hartsville area.

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When we left the building I snapped a photo of the outside and later learned that the artwork out front was a sculpture display of old saw blades by Mike Fowle, who we had featured when I was last in Florence to see exhibits. Of course Hartsville is his and Patz Fowle’s hometown.

We drove over to Coker College, just a few blocks away from the Arts Center, parked and ate the lunch we brought with us – what a nice day – spring was in bloom and the weather was great.

The exhibit, Heather Freeman: Digital and Traditional Media, is on view through March 25, 2011, at the Cecelia Coker Bell Gallery in the Gladys Coker Fort Art Building.

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In the literature offered in the gallery it says that Freeman has been interested in science since she was a child. She is particularly interested in the language and symbolic forms of science and where these intersect with mythic, religious and popular iconography.

This was an exhibit where you were going to have to read a lot of offered materials to get the message the artist was hoping to get across to the viewer or not. Freeman might be just as happy with whatever you came up with – which I’m sure is different with every viewer.

The written materials also stated that Freeman was an assistant professor of digital media at the University of North Carolina, but finding the digital media was a trick in many of the images offered.

The tags on the works listed the media as digital print on watercolor paper, with added ink, graphite and watercolor. To me, digital print would mean some sort of photographed image was involved – whether it be a straight photograph or a copied or captured image from another photograph. But in Freeman’s images I would say the digital image represented at best 20 – 30% of the image and the rest was drawn in with the other media. In some it was maybe 50-50.

Freeman says, “I believe science has merged with popular culture to become a covertly ‘universal’ religion.”

The titles of some of the works helped somewhat, but to me these kinds of images are not as strong without the written materials. That’s just me.

One image was titled, Grandma teach me to sleep. From that I assumed that these are images of dreams and nightmares – products of restless sleep. I’m glad my life is a lot simpler.

Later that night at the BIG photography show when someone heard that we had just seen this exhibit they asked if the gallery director gave us the “tour” – explaining what each image meant. I hope that’s not where we are headed, where everyone has to be spoon-fed the meaning of art.

Don’t get me wrong, I liked a lot of the imagery, received some strong vibes from some and was disturbed by others – which should make any artist happy. She made me think and I’ll forever blame her for that.

We have more info about this exhibit in our March 2011 issue of Carolina Arts.

Before we left Coker College I snapped a few photos of the Pearl Fryar topiary garden on the Coker campus.

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Next up was Darlington, SC, to check out a couple of commercial galleries – The Chameleon Art Gallery and the Birds of a Feather Arts Gallery.

I’ve been to The Chameleon Art Gallery back when they first opened, but not since – again, during the old model for Carolina Arts, we could only afford to distribute the paper in areas we received income from – so we were not going to the Pee Dee much at all – even though I rode through the area each month on my way home from delivering in NC.

Since that time the gallery space had changed – with the times, or should I say economy? What was once a fully exhibition space was now part display, part service with a framing station and the rest was set up for teaching art classes. It was the first thing promoted to us when we entered.

A long, long time ago when we first started, I would walk into a gallery and if they had some new artsy knickknack items up for sale the gallery owner would apologize, and I would tell them, “don’t”. You have to do whatever it takes to bring in money to keep the doors open. After all, art galleries are not meant to be museums – where you just show art. If the doors are closed no artworks are on the walls, no artworks are seen and no artworks are ever purchased.

We had two art galleries that didn’t make the rent on their own in our past lives. We know how hard it is to keep the doors open and we started this paper to help galleries. Darlington is lucky to have art galleries.

We located the Birds of a Feather Gallery on our way out of the downtown area – with the help of Linda’s iPhone, but the gallery was closed at 2:25pm on Friday, even though the sign on the door said it should have been open. But, we don’t know what was going on so it was just another missed opportunity on both our parts. I could see that this gallery was also into art classes.

Hey, most of the press releases we get from the non-profit art centers and arts councils are about the classes they are offering. It’s what brings in the money.

There’s a lot of visual arts going on out there of all levels and you don’t have to go to the big city to have your brain challenged. Everything we saw could have just as well been on view in any of those big cities. So getting off the beaten path sometimes can bring rewards and discovery.

Next stop Florence – in Part Two.