Posts Tagged ‘Fabulon’

I Took a Trip to West Ashley to See Some Art – It’s an Area of Charleston, SC, but It’s Like a Step-Child

Sunday, July 23rd, 2017

Summers are not supposed to be this busy. Yet, I seem to be as busy as I ever have been. There’s this publication that expects to be finished by deadline every month. Then there is my new hobby of protesting the current Government, so scratch Tuesdays off the calendar, And, then there is the Grandboys who want – no, make that demand their Grandpa’s time (they don’t care about the arts or the government – yet). Not to mention a wife, who I see in passing, a yard that is out of control, and the dog – which I swore I wasn’t going to be taking care of but gives me that look of – you’re the only responsible person in the house that will give me snacks and take me out. And above all, I promised myself I was going to see the movie “Dunkirk” when it came out, but here I am writing this blog about an art exhibit I went to see last week.

Now, as busy as I have been, it should tell you something that I took time to drive to Charleston on a Saturday afternoon, when the heat index was 105 degrees to go see art on a wall. I’ve seen lots of art on a wall many times before and I’m sure to see more art on a wall in the future. But here I was headed to the reception for “The Quench Project and the mire of desire,” an exhibition of works by Robert Maniscalco, on view at Fabulon, a Center for Art and Education, located at 1017 Wappoo Road in the West Ashley area of Charleston, SC. The exhibit will be on view through Aug. 10, 2017.

I went for several reasons. First, I suggested to Maniscalco that Fabulon was perhaps a good match for the type of work he was doing to line up an exhibit of his works when we were working on his profile and it turned out they were a good match. And, second, because I wanted to support the artist and the gallery for producing and showing respectively, art with a message. Or art that supports a cause.

Don’t get me wrong, I like art that is just beautiful, art that is abstract, and art that makes me feel good when I look at it. I have plenty of it in my personal collection. But, as of late, I’ve been drawn to art that has a message for some reason. I wonder why that is? And, I’m not saying that all art doesn’t have a message of some sort. After all you can project a message into any art you look at.

When I look at one of John Moore’s abstract photographs of rust, I can see beauty in the colors of the rust, but I can also see man’s neglect of the things he has put on this earth. When I see a landscape by Betty Anglin Smith, I don’t see any marsh scene I have every seen, but I see the Lowcountry through rose colored glasses the way visitors do when they first come to the Lowcountry and fall in love with it. It’s not reality, but it’s the way we see it in our mind, and we want to live there in all those colors. It’s like pluff mud – it smells better than it is to be in it with the noseems biting away at you. Art can help you escape from reality but it can also bring you back to reality.

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“The Next Big Thing” by Robert Maniscalco

While some artists make their pilgrimages to Provence, France or Santa Fe, New Mexico, Maniscalco chose to go to Haiti (after the earthquake) and Flint, Michigan, when it was dangerous to drink the water.

Why do that? Well, the best way I can explain that is to say that Maniscalco is a Christian in the mold of a Jimmy Carter Christian, where deeds are more important than words. I’m not an overly religious guy, but I admire those who show their faith in deeds – not words. That’s all I’m going to say about that.

We offered a sort of profile on Robert Maniscalco in our May 2017 issue on pages 12 and 14 (http://www.carolinaarts.com/517/517carolinaarts-pg12.pdf) or (http://www.carolinaarts.com/517/517carolinaarts-pg14.pdf). Check that out for more info on him and what he’s been up to in the last couple of years.

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This portrait is of Louise Noel, mother of Pastor Medit, Maniscalco’s host at the Bread of Life Orphanage in Jacmel, Haiti.

So, getting back to the exhibit, it was nice to finally see some of the works, up close and personal that we promoted in our May 2017 issue of “Carolina Arts”. I always tell people if you like the images you see in our publication, you’ll love them in person, as they are always much more alive when you’re standing in front of them. Maniscalco agreed with that concept in thinking there is a spark in the originals that no copy could show. And, I also feel that every artists puts a little of their soul in many of their works. Although, some works seem lifeless, but not in this exhibit.

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Children at the Bread of Life Orphanage learning to read and teaching each other to read.

Most of Maniscalco’s works are portraits of individuals or groups of people. What I liked about most of them is that he captures the joy and hope in people who should be feeling pretty hopeless after what’s happened to them. And I’m sure there was plenty of hopelessness to go around, but he chose to capture something else – the spirit of people doing the best they can with the situation that was handed to them. Along side each painting is a fairly long description of what you’re looking at to give you plenty of background. Maniscalco has a story to tell and a message to deliver to the viewer – you might say a call to action.

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“Overcome” a portrait of Quinn Tyler of Flint Michigan

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Maniscaloc offered a choice of water – didn’t see anyone taking the water from Flint.

I have some images of Maniscalco’s works on view, a few I had on file and a few from his website (www.maniscalcogallery.com), not from the exhibit, as they were too hard to get a decent photo of with reflections, but I do have images from the reception.

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Maniscalo is explaining a work to one of the folks at the reception. That’s one of the benefits of going to receptions – you get to talk with the artist.

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Here, Maniscalco is talking with some folks about the courtroom sketches he did for the recent Dylan Roof Trial.

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There was a nice spread of food offered.

Now, as always, I don’t want you to just read this and think – well I have a good idea of what’s there and skip it. I want you to go see this exhibit and to check out Fabulon if you have never been there. It’s easy to get to and there is plenty of free parking – something that is in short supply in Charleston.

Now, like any time I’m at an exhibit reception or visiting a gallery – I look at everything and talk to people. And, not to take away from Maniscalco’s exhibit, but there were other works on view at the gallery and I just happen to take a few images of what caught my eye. Guess what? – they were abstract works. One by Michael C. Hayes that reminded me of work I’d seen before and I verified with gallery owner Susan Irish, that Hayes had work in the recent “Piccolo Spoleto Juried Show” at Charleston’s City Gallery at Waterfront Park. I mentioned his work in a blog I did about that show. Hey, if anything I’m consistent. And there were a couple of works by Vicki Hickman that I liked and I found out she was the Visual Arts Coordinator for the Berkeley County School System – from my own backyard. When are we going to have a gallery in Berkeley County to show the talents of Berkeley County artists?

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Work by Michael C. Hayes

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Work by Vicki Hickman

And, of course I did a bit of talking with Irish and Maniscalco, but like all conversations between me and folks in the arts – it stays between us. That way people can tell me how they really feel about things.

Unfortunately I didn’t get to stay too long at the reception as I had an errand I had to do before heading home. I always have to make the best use of gas and time on these trips. But, I’m sure I’ll be back to Fabulon sometime. They’re not your typical Charleston art gallery and they don’t present typical Charleston exhibits. So if you’re looking for something different – check them out.

Fabulon is open, Tue.-Sat., 10am-6pm. For further info about the exhibit call 843/566-3383 or visit (www.fabulonart.com).

A Visit to the Ever Changing Charleston, SC, 3/11/17

Sunday, March 12th, 2017

I needed some postcards to send to someone in Washington, DC, that I hoped would be soon taking an extended vacation from politics, and what better place to get postcards but the tourist city of Charleston, SC. The city that seems to add a new construction crane every time I visit. So I figured to also make that trip a short business trip and visit a few galleries.

I’ve been wanting to visit Fabulon, A Center for Art and Education, located at 1017 Wappoo Road, in the West Ashley area of Charleston – between Hwy. 61 and Hwy. 17. They had just opened a new exhibit, “We The People”, an exhibit of artwork that makes you think, something not seen that often in Charleston. They had the opening a day before, but I don’t like seeing art in a crowd, so the day after was good for me.

This was a great show with art from local artists and many from outside the area. As usual I took a few images with my iPhone (I guess that’s less health insurance for me), but these works are best seen up close and personal. And as always works I include are not always the best or ones I want to talk about – they are the works I can get a decent image of. But I also like the ones I’m including.

First up is a photograph by Winston-Salem, NC, artist, Owens Daniels, who offered some images poking fun at the NC House Bill (HB2). This image titled “Citizen” was created in the style of American Gothic.

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Next is “Life is A OK” by local artist, Caroline Self, who was/is Artist-in-Residence for The City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department. Loved this work for it’s color and texture. I just can’t pass by a well executed abstract work.

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Kelly Burke, from the Baltimore, MD, area offered a couple of works from her ‘Reimagined American Flags” series. This work is titled “Don’t Lives Matter?” highlighting lives lost due to gun violence.

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Susan Irish, owner and manager of Fabulon, also had an interesting work in the exhibit that made a statement about Charleston, that only an outsider would understand – which I got right away, but I couldn’t get a good shot of it without my shadow all over it.

There are lots of interesting works in this exhibit, which will give you lots of reasons to think, but don’t miss the artistic skill in thinking of the message offered.

This last work wasn’t part of the “We The People” exhibit, but it caught my attention and of course it’s an abstract. It’s a work by Laura McRae-Hitchcock , who has recently moved from Charlotte, NC, to our community. So, besides the works in the show, there are also good works to see – and buy, on view by resident artists.

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Fabulon may not be one of those high-end Charleston galleries, but it’s an example of all things good don’t always come in shiny packages, it’s also a working studio, classroom, and gathering center – there was a group of fiber artists on hand working away while I viewed the exhibit.

Well it was time to get my postcards which I found at Brittlebank Park on the Ashley River – not your usual place to get postcards, but I’m hoping you’ll be reading about and hearing about these special postcards on about March 16 or 17.

Next I stopped by Surface Craft Gallery, located at 49 John Street in downtown Charleston, my old stomping grounds when Linda (my better half) and I operated a custom photo processing lab on John Street and a short lived photography gallery – many years ago. I wanted to talk with Liv Antonecchia, owner, and get caught up on how the new group, Lowcountry Ceramic Artists, was coming along and see what new things they had in the shop.

Here are some works by Margaret K. Weinberg, who is part of the Cone 10 Studios in Charleston, which may be closing soon.

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Next are works by Batton Clayworks in Asheville, NC. They are the works with the carved texture. I love these unusual shapes.

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Here are a couple of fused glass works by Tanya Craig. These are incense holders, but I don’t remember seeing any that were so colorful – back in my days of burning incense. The last time I bought incense was about ten years ago just outside of Disney World in Florida, but when we got home – I couldn’t find them and to this day never have.

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This last shot is of a jar by Fred Prudhomme, another Cone 10 Studios artist. I shared a Facebook post that Surface Craft had made earlier in the week which attracted a lot of remarks about how beautiful the jar was but it would be much better if it was full of cookies and then milk got involved and than more comments about food were added, but when I saw this piece in person, it was much smaller than we all thought. It was about half the size of a cookie jar. I still like the jar, but man I was really disappointed that you wouldn’t be able to fit many cookies in it. Again – here was a case where art had effected my life once more – beauty and disappointment offered in the same object. Darn you artists.

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Surface Craft Gallery had become one of my favorite spots to see fine art crafts in Charleston. If you haven’t been there check it out.

Surface Craft Gallery will be opening a new exhibit, “Spring!”, a ceramics renewal show featuring local and national clay artisans in both functional and sculptural work, with an opening reception on Mar. 23, from 5-8pm. The show continues through Apr. 13, 2017. Work by Kelly Thiel will be featured in the show. She left us to live in Bend, OR, but now her work is returning to Charleston.

Well, it was time to head back home to Bonneau and as I drove out of Charleston down Meeting Street I just couldn’t believe how they are changing the skyline of Charleston – pretty soon you won’t be able to see the sky. So sad. I still love you Charleston, but now I know how the old timers felt and talked of their “lost” Charleston when I first got here in the mid 70s.