Posts Tagged ‘Vista Studios’

A Trip to Visit Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, SC, and See Some Art Too

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

Our grandchild turned three at the end of February and after we finished the launch of the March 2013 issue of Carolina Arts, which can be downloaded at (http://www.carolinaarts.com/313/313carolinaarts.pdf), the family “packed” themselves into our car and headed to the Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, SC. I was also hoping to see a few exhibits there – if we finished the zoo in time to see anything. I was hopeful.

The zoo experience finished around 4pm and once we got “packed” back into the car, Linda checked her copy of Carolina Arts on her iPhone and we headed to 701 Center for Contemporary Art which was open on Saturdays until 5pm.

It’s not too far from the zoo over to Whaley Street so we arrived about 4:20pm, but when we got there the gallery was closed. The current exhibit, Stephen Hayes: Cash Crop, has been extended to Mar. 31, 2013, so there is still a chance we might see it. The good thing was that a good part of the entrance to the gallery is glass – so those in our party got to see a good bit of the exhibit and it might have been a good thing since we had a 3 year old with us that we couldn’t get closer. There’s a lot of stuff to touch in this exhibit and that could have been a disaster.

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detail of one of the works in Cash Crop

At the core of the exhibit are 15 life-size sculptures of shackled people placed in boat- or coffin-like structures, with diagrams of captive, warehoused humans in Trans-Atlantic slave ships carved in wood on the back. The sculptures represent, Hayes says, “the 15 million human beings kidnapped and transported by sea during the Trans-Atlantic slave trade.”

I’ve seen the exhibit before at Guilford College in Greensboro, NC, but each presentation of the exhibit is different depending on the venue it is being presented in, plus no matter where it is presented it’s a powerful and moving presentation of a slice of our country’s history that shouldn’t be forgotten.

We did get to see an exhibit of works by Jame Lathren, entitled the space between time, in the Hallway Gallery at 701. The exhibit of wax paintings will be up through Mar. 15. I’m not sure why we don’t get notice of these exhibits in this space from 701, but I hope they start coming to us so we can let people know what they might get to see there too.

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Work by Jame Lathren

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Work by Jame Lathren

So now what? Our check of Columbia galleries had told us most everywhere else we wanted to go was already closed. Except there might be a chance that someone was still over at Vista Studios keeping the doors open for the exhibit at Gallery 80808, New Work…The Natural Evolution of Six Artists and a Mountain Retreat, on view through Mar. 11, 2013. Exhibits that are presented by renters of the space are often manned longer than posted times.

It’s a good thing Vista Studios is not far from 701 Center for Contemporary Art. We got there just before 5pm. I saw the sandwich board still out front and lights were still on so we got inside and Jan Swanson, who was still on duty, was gracious enough to stay a little longer to give us a quick look at the exhibit.

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The exhibit is just one of the results of Eileen Blyth, Brucie Holler, Louanne LaRoche, Laurie McIntosh, Lynn Parrott and Jan Swanson, three artists from the Columbia area and three from the Hilton Head area, spending a week in the mountains of North Carolina creating and sharing their love of art. They’ve done this for eight years and are still talking to each other – just kidding.

Some of the works were created during those trips. I did a quick look around and snapped a few photos with my iPhone and the others in our party ran interference with the 3 year old. We didn’t stay long, I didn’t want to hold anyone up with their plans for a Saturday night, but it doesn’t take me long, after all these years, to see this was a fantastic show offering quite a variety of works in various media from a talented group of artists. I knew the work of some of the artists, but there were many surprises.

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Folks in the Columbia area need to get out and see this exhibit – it’s going to be up through Mar. 11, giving you another weekend opportunity and for folks in the Hilton Head area, the exhibit will soon be on view at Camellia Art gallery on Hilton Head Island, from Mar. 22 – Apr. 13, 2013.

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A sculpture by Eileen Blyth. I’ve seen her paintings but this was the first time I’ve seen her sculptures.

I can’t go into too much about individual works, but I have one last thing to say about our visit there. I was just about ready to leave as I knew everyone was ready to go home after a long day and still with two hours to go in the “packed” car, I saw my son chasing the wild boy down the entrance hallway to the gallery yelling Grandpa! Grandpa! When they reached me I asked the young man which piece of art he liked best.

After a few moments of registering what I was asking him – he ran around the corner from where we were standing and pointed to works by Jan Swanson. I was amazed and very pleased and thought – have I found my successor to the helm of Carolina Arts? Instead of just pointing to the art in front of him he returned to a place he had stood in front of a good 15 minutes ago and pointed out the work of the artist standing with us. Now that’s a future editor of an arts newspaper. It might of had something to do with the fact that 15 minutes earlier we had to haul him off from touching those same works, but we’ll never know. It was a special moment.

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Four works by Jan Swanson on the right – the favorite of a 3 year old on this day.

You can read all about this exhibit and the history of the group on Page 12 & 13 of our February 2013 issue of Carolina Arts, which you can download at this link (http://www.carolinaarts.com/213/213carolinaarts.pdf).

if ART Gallery Presents The International (Mural) Project at Gallery 80808 in Vista Studios in Columbia, SC – Oct. 5 – 16, 2012

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

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We just received this today – a little late for our Oct. issue, but an important event that readers should know about. The PR for such events should be handled better, but such is life in the art world – art first – worry about publicity later.

Here’s the press release:

if ART Gallery Presents The International (Mural) Project at Gallery 80808 in Vista Studios, located at 808 Lady Street in the Vista area of Columbia, SC, from Oct. 5 – 16, 2012.

The group exhibition and mural project features works by: Roland Albert, Stephen Chesley, Jeff Donovan, Ralph Gelbert, Mary Gilkerson, Tonya Gregg, Klaus Hartmann, Jorg Heieck, Peter Lenzo, Reiner Mahrlein, Janet Orselli, Anna Redwine, Silvia Rudolf, Laura Spong, H. Brown Thornton, Mike Williams, and David Yaghjian.

An artists’ reception will be held on Friday, Oct. 5, 2012, from 5- 9pm.

A panel discussion about the Columbia/Kaiserslautern Artists Exchange will be offered on Sunday, Oct. 7, beginning at 2pm.

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Sunday, September 30, afternoon: Kaiserslautern artist Klaus Hartmann contemplating his next move as his Columbia colleagues Mike Williams, Tonya Gregg and Mary Gilkerson work on the mural.

For more than a decade, Columbia, SC, artists and those of the Kunstlerwerkgemeinschaft (KWG) in Columbia’s German sister city of Kaiserslautern have been going back and forth across the Atlantic Ocean. Columbians Mike Williams, Stephen Chesley, Jeff Donovan, David Yaghjian, Tonya Gregg, Laura Spong and others went to Kaiserslautern to work and exhibit. KWG members Roland Albert, Ralph Gelbert, Klaus Hartmann, Reiner Mahrlein and Silvia Rudolf came to Columbia, and their work graces the walls and backyards of many a local home.

The informal artists exchange’s next installment is Columbia/Kaiserslautern: The International (Mural) Project, an if ART Gallery exhibition at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios, Columbia, SC. Seventeen artists – six German, nine from Columbia and two formerly of Columbia – will participate in the event, which will consist, first, of the creation of a collective mural and, second, the exhibition.

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Monday October 1, 2012, morning: Detail of the mural in progress.

Two Kaiserslautern and nine Columbia artists collectively will create a mural at Vista Studios between Sept. 29 – Oct. 5. The mural will be on a patchwork of canvas pieces mounted to a wall as one single work of art. The German mural participants are Klaus Hartmann and Silvia Rudolf; the Columbia artists will be Stephen Chesley, Jeff Donovan, Mary Gilkerson, Tonya Gregg, Peter Lenzo, Anna Redwine, Laura Spong, Mike Williams and David Yaghjian. The mural will be the centerpiece of the Columbia / Kaiserslautern exhibition.

“It’ll be interesting to see how the mural turns out,” said if ART owner Wim Roefs, who is organizing the event. “These are artists with often rather different approaches and styles. On the other hand, they all have great affinity for each other’s work and all are talented and assured in their own abilities, so I suspect they will work to compliment each others’ contributions rather than artistically fight each other. I wouldn’t be surprised we if we were to end up with a work of art in which the various styles are beautifully integrated.”

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October 1, 2012, Monday afternoon: Kaiserslautern artist Silvia Rudolf and Columbia’s Tonya Gregg in front of the mural.

All mural artists also will be showing individual works in the exhibition, which will run Oct. 5 – 16, 2012. Others participating in the exhibition are Kaiserslautern artists Roland Albert, Ralph Gelbert, Reiner Mahrlein and Jorg Heieck; Aiken, SC, artist H. Brown Thornton; and Columbus, NC, artist Janet Orselli, who is a Columbia native.

On Sunday, Oct. 7, starting at 2pm, during a panel discussion, participants in the Columbia-Kaiserslautern exchange will talk about their experiences. “Columbia artists typically come back highly energized from their trips to Kaiserslautern,” said Roefs, who has visited Kaiserslautern several times. “The KWG, which has it’s own collective studio, is a vibrant group of artists that also includes literary and performing artists. It’s a membership-by-invitation-only club and its members are highly respected, serious artists who have organizational talents to boot. It’s an inspiring combination.”

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Monday afternoon, October 1, 2012: Detail of the mural in progress.

The collective mural will be shipped to Kaiserslautern after the exhibition. In Kaiserslautern, the mural first will be exhibited in its original form. Next, KWG members will add to the mural, exhibit the new version and then ship it back to Columbia.

“It should be good week,” Roefs said of Hartmann’s and Rudolf’s visit. “Silvia and Klaus will be working here alongside their Columbia colleagues. Artists will be going in an out of Vista Studios, working on the mural, exchanging ideas, drinking coffee. We’ll have a series of luncheons and dinners, and I am sure everyone will come out of the week energized.”

You can see more images here (http://ifartgallery.blogspot.com/2011/12/columbiakaiserslautern-mural-project.html).

Gallery hours during this event at Gallery 80808 will be: Weekdays, 11am-7pm; Sat., 11am-5pm; Sun., 1-5pm; and by appointment.

For further information contact Wim Roefs at if ART by calling 803/238-2351 or e-mail to (wroefs@sc.rr.com).

An Editor’s Nightmare

Friday, September 14th, 2012

Yesterday I was working on processing articles for our Oct. 2012 issue ofCarolina Arts and I came to one which will show at the Vista Studios in Columbia, SC, and it struck me – I left an article out last month. I remember receiving the press release, I remember working on the press release because the artist was having a reception on two consecutive days – which is a little unusual.

I did a quick scan of the issue, on my working copy of the paper, and didn’t see the article there. Man alive – that is the worst thing to happen – someone sends you a press release about an exhibit and I lost it somewhere in the process. It’s an editor’s nightmare.

After 10 minutes of checking the e-mail files I found the original e-mail. It came in on Aug. 23, the day before our deadline and a day where we received over 75 e-mails. Maybe that’s why I lost track of it? Too much flow of info. But I remembered it.

Next, I checked our image file and there was nothing there for this show – unusual, but not uncommon. I even checked my “send” file to see if I requested a photo and there was nothing there on Aug. 23 – very unusual. So I go to the artist’s website and do a Google search to find a photo to use and get two nice images, which makes me even feel worse as the works look good. And, I also learn this artist used a Kickstarter project to do this exhibit – which made me feel even more bad. More bad – people had helped make this exhibit possible and I left it out of the paper.

So I copy the e-mail and start processing it to post on our blogs and announce my big screw up. The show ends on Oct. 2, but I was ready to include it in our Oct. issue – just for the record.

As I’m processing the article the feeling of déja vu hits me. I feel like I’ve worked on this press release before, so how did it not make it into the paper? I decided to open the PDF of the paper which I downloaded to my desktop at the first of the month like over 100,000 other folks had done this month. While going back over the section covering the Columbia, SC, area – there it was. I missed seeing it the first time in my working copy. Why didn’t I check the PDF in the first place? Why didn’t I check the Index?

The good thing is – I didn’t screw up.

So what made me uneasy about this article to begin with? Why did I have the feeling I failed somehow? Was it the feeling that Vista Studios is one of our longtime supporters and I let them down – they had three articles in the Sept. issue. Was it the feeling that I let the artist down by not requesting a photo? I don’t know. I just don’t know what happened, but this feeling took two hours out of my work day and I wanted to get something constructive out of those two hours so I’m posting this article here – with the images I found. And I hope people go see this exhibit by a native son returning home from Georgia to exhibit in the city of his origin. And, I hope I get some peace by doing this.

Here’s the article:

Vista Studios in Columbia, SC, Offers Works by Jonathan Callicutt

Vista Studios in Columbia, SC, will present the exhibit, Full Circle, featuring works by two dimensional mixed-media artist Jonathan Callicutt, on view in Gallery 80808, from Sept. 27 through Oct. 2, 2012. Receptions will be held on the evenings of Sept. 28 & 29.

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“My work is driven by a need to bring the iconic imagery of the past into the visual present. Inflected by both the Renaissance and Rauschenberg, pop culture and formal training, I look for a new translation of seemingly disparate styles in a modern dialect,” said Callicutt.

Full Circle has been conceived as a tying together of key thematic elements of Callicutt’s life. A native of Columbia and exhibitor in 2011’s Florence Biennale, the artist hopes to join his experience with the birthplace of the Renaissance to this show in the city of his origins as an artist. The past connects to the present connects to the past, Full Circle.

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Vista Studios in Columbia, SC, Features an Exhibit of Clay Sculptures

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Just another posting about an exhibit proving this blog’s feet are firmly placed in clay or something like that. Of course we have plenty more like this at Carolina Arts Online.

Here it goes:

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Vista Studios in Columbia, SC, will present the exhibit, Clay Works 2010, featuring clay sculptures by Sandra Carr, Rita Ruth Cockrell, and Richard Lund, on view in Gallery 80808 from Sept. 16 – 21, 2010.

The Carolinas have a long history and tradition of artists who work with clay. This exhibition features works by three contemporary artists who live and work in South Carolina.

Each of the artist use clay as a sculpting medium. Rather than make functional pieces, they use clay as a medium for personal expression. Each has a distinctive style. They create sculptures with conceptual meaning, taking the viewer past the decorative to a more emotional experience.

Sandra Carr has the following to say about her work, “Clay represents healing for me as an artist. It has been forgiving, stable and has the capacity to change when altered by outside influences. All characteristics I admire and strive for. Sculpting figurative pieces allows me to tell a story in my work or communicate a feeling. It speaks for me when I choose not to.”

Rita Ruth Cockrell offered this statement, “Born and raised in South Carolina, I love this place, every road side weed, every red clay road, leopard clay bank, shadow of white sand. After traumatic events with myself, my mother and authorities, I began working in any medium that came my way, always going toward the inside to go outside. Believing that if I can be good enough, some aspect of truth or beauty would help me understand that even if I can’t get there, the glimmering of the source comforts me”.

Richard Lund has this to say, “I moved to Columbia South Carolina two and a half years ago. Shortly after I arrived I joined the City of Columbia Arts Center studio which began my working with clay. I have been an artist many years creating paintings, photographs and sculptures but clay was a new exciting medium for me. Sculpting in clay offers me a seductive tactile experience that other mediums can not give. As I mold, move and pinch the clay with my hands it allows me to easily release my ever changing imagination and ideas realizing them in three dimensions.

For further information call the Studios at  803/252-6134 or visit (www.gallery80808vistastudios.com).

“Artista Vista 2009″ in Columbia, SC, Time Well Spent

Monday, April 27th, 2009

Even though the event takes place on a Thursday night, all the planets seemed to be in alignment – so Linda and I made a run for it. Columbia is a two hour drive from our front door and Artista Vista starts at 5pm. Linda had to start a three day work weekend of 12 hr. shifts on Friday and I was picking up our May 2009 issue from the printer on Friday, which takes two trips to North Charleston, but we wanted to do Artista Vista – this would be Linda’s first time. I had been to two previous Artista Vistas, two Vista Lights and one Congaree Arts Festival over the last 14 years. It would be a quick visit considering the two hour drive back home and the fact that Linda would be back in the car headed for work shortly after 6am the next morning. So we left early to get there early.

Our first stop was One Eared Cow Glass where they were getting things ready for the 5pm opening. We figured this would be a good opportunity to see the work without fighting the crowd and see what was being offered before anyone else. As usual, there were plenty of new items on the shelves. They are always up to something new. We got a good look and would come back when the show was going on – the magic of seeing molten glass being turned into art objects.

After that we headed to Lincoln Street to find a parking space – again before the crowd. We stuck our heads in the door at Blue Marlin which didn’t start serving until 5pm, but the bartender served us up a drink so we could sit outside and wait for the event to begin. It was nice sitting outside watching all the parking spaces fill up and people scrambling around – getting ready for the crowd.

You see, unlike art communities that have art walks every month or even quarterly, the Vista only does it twice a year and Artista Vista is the only totally art event. Vista Lights includes all businesses in the Vista. So, this is a pretty big event for Columbia and the surrounding area. We wouldn’t be able to see it all given our limited timeframe and knowledge of what was ahead of us (physically) for the next week, so we planned to do the best we could in a small area of the Vista.

At 5pm we walked over to City Art Gallery where they were presenting,Perceptual Painters: The Collective, on view through June 27, 2009. This exhibit featured the works of a group of painters who all had a connection with the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. And, you could see it in the works. There is something about the painters who go through that school. I’ve seen it in other painters’ works who went to school there – like Linda Fantuzzo in Charleston, SC. City Art always seems to bring in something different for Artista Vista – whether it be emerging artists from universities around the region or a seasoned group like this one. The artists being featured were: Dave Campbell, Matt Klos, John Lee, Aaron Lubrick, Scott Noel, Brian Rego, and Andrew Patterson-Tutschka.

While at City Art we ran into Mary Gilkerson, who at one time used to write reviews for Carolina Arts (www.carolinaarts.com) – way back when. She’s also written for The New Art Examiner, The State, and is currently writing for FreeTimes in Columbia. But the big news here was – she has started a blog which will give her much more opportunity to write about the art scene and other things in South Carolina called SCARTblog (http://scartblog.com/). Her first contribution is about an exhibit of works by Carl Blair, Flora and Fauna, on view at ifART Gallery in Columbia through May 9, 2009. Add Mary’s blog to your bookmark list.

It’s great that more people are starting blogs about the arts in the Carolinas – they need all the coverage they can get considering the cuts being made at daily newspapers. And, don’t forget about Jeffrey Day’s new blog, Carolina Culture (http://www.carolinaculturebyjeffreyday.blogspot.com/). Jean Bourque (http://artsails1.blogspot.com/) also gives out a lot of info about what’s going on at her blog.

Next we went over to ifArts. I was hoping to see Carl Blair there, but he wasn’t there. I wanted to let him know the reason we didn’t have anything in our April issue about his show was because no one sent us the info in time for our deadline. I’ve seen a lot of his paintings and sculptures in other galleries throughout the Carolinas before – this was the first showing of his animal sculptures in Columbia – so you readers in the Columbia area need to go by and see the show if you already haven’t before May 9. No excuses.

We then headed to Vista Studios to see View from the Studios, on view through May 12, 2009. Gallery 80808 was filled with art as was every inch of the place – including the studios of Susan Lenz, Stephen Chesley, Don Zurlo, Robert Kennedy, Laura Spong, Pat Gilmartin, Sharon Collings Licata, Pat Callahan, Ethel Brody, David Yaghjian, Michel McNinch, and Jeff Donovan. As usual, the studio door of Heidi Darr Hope was closed. I wonder why she is part of this facility. I don’t think she participates in many of their events. No problem – there’s plenty of art to feast your eyes on.

While there, I got to catch up with some artists I used to chat with on a monthly basis when I was delivering papers to Columbia during the day – Laura Spong and Ethel Brody – who always seemed to be working in their studios. I was hoping to talk with Susan Lenz (http://artbysusanlenz.blogspot.com/) – the Queen of blogging, but she was always tied up with someone and I hate to get in the way when customers might be buying art. In fact, this place was full of folks.

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OK, here’s something that I probably shouldn’t do, but you know me – what the heck. My favorite work of the evening was Pat Gilmartin’sBlooming Arms. You can see it here. I liked lots of other works I saw this evening, but this was my favorite – don’t shoot me.

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This is a testament of my taste in art. As we left Vista Studios I was thinking to myself – I didn’t even look to see how much that piece cost. I need more art like a hole in my head, but you can’t help but think of things you would love to have. And, after our trip to SEE pottery in Seagrove, NC, the week before – I was on a tight leash. Imagine that,Carolina Arts Unleashed on a tight leash. Believe it.

Anyway, I at least got a photo of the work to share with you all from Gilmartin. She let me know that the work had sold later that evening. At least I have the photo to remind me that recessions are hell, and the knowledge that someone else out there has good taste in art.

We got back to One Eared Cow Glass to see them at work. Someone was leaving as we arrived so we got a parking space. They were in the groove and we watched two works from beginning to – I’d say end, but that’s not possible. We got to see two works they finished working on, but because it will take them 15-16 hours to cool down in a slow cooler – we might never see what the finished piece looks like. The final colors wouldn’t show until they totally cooled. And, by that time – they will be sold. But, we can all imagine what they would look like to us. Hey, that’s multi-media art.

Our witching hour came at 8pm and we headed back to Bonneau – ETA 2 hours. We were tired, but it was worth it. We had a good time. You just can’t do and see everything.

Don’t Miss Susan Lenz’s Exhibit at Gallery 80808 in Columbia, SC

Thursday, January 8th, 2009

If you want to be amazed at what one person can do – don’t miss seeing or reading about the CYBER FYBER exhibition being presented, in every nook and cranny of Gallery 80808 at Vista Studios in Columbia, SC. Of course Susan Lenz got the help of hundreds of participating fiber artists from all over this planet, but she pulled everything together.

Lenz is one of the featured bloggers on this blog. She writes the blog Art In Stitches and several other blogs, but this exhibition is one of the results of putting her words and art, out there in cyber space, reaching other fiber artists on the Internet.

The exhibition which is on view from Jan. 8 – 20, 2009, includes works in three primary areas: over 150 Fiber ATCs (Artist Trading Cards); more than 225 fiber postcards; and the work of nineteen international artists, who were invited to participate. It’s up for a short time in Columbia, but I imagine the exhibit will live on – in video and still images on the officialCYBER FYBER blog site.

Keeping up with Lenz’s activities will make you think, we as a country, should hook her up to the power grid – she has so much energy.

If you can, go see this exhibit and while you’re in Columbia, visit some of the city’s other gallery spaces. If you can’t go – at least go visit the exhibit blog site and ask yourself if you could do all this work. I don’t think I could.

Photography Exhibitions Catching My Eye

Thursday, October 9th, 2008

On my recent delivery trip – what we now call – The Search For Gas In The Carolinas – I got to see two exhibitions by Columbia, SC, area photographers. One of the exhibits was in Columbia and the other was in North Charleston, SC. Both exhibits fell into what seems to be a developing trend in photography – as least in recent exhibits I’ve seen – a move toward abstraction or near abstraction in the imagery offered. Both artists demonstrated that the camera is but a tool in the creative process – not a machine that takes pictures. The artist using the camera is the creative force.

Don’t get me wrong, I love straight photography, whether it be nature photography, portrait photography, journalistic photography, architectural photography, etc. Good photography takes skill and creativity. Otherwise anyone could do it. And believe me – everyone can’t.

With the invention of digital cameras and computer programs like Photoshop – photographic imagery can be manipulated in numerous ways – even creatively in some people’s hands, but they are only tools.

You can put a paintbrush in my hands and it is the same tool an artist uses, but the results will never be the same.

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“Overflow” by Todd Oelze

While delivering papers in Columbia on a Sunday, I ran into an unexpected – open door – at Gallery 80808 at Vista Studios, at 808 Lady Street in the Vista. The exhibition was, Strokes of Light, featuring abstract photography by Todd Oelze (Blythewood, SC), on view from Sept. 26 – 30, 2008.

It’s not that I don’t read my own paper – I process a lot of information and usually by the time I’m delivering one paper, I’ve been working on the next month’s calendar of exhibitions. It’s hard to keep it all straight. What’s not a problem for me, but still seems to be for a lot of people in Columbia, is the fact that I know that Gallery 80808 is open when exhibits are taking place – even on the weekends. Not many galleries are open on Sunday in Columbia.

It was not too long ago that I did a review of another photography exhibit at the Saul Alexander Foundation Gallery at the main branch of the Charleston County Public Library in downtown Charleston, SC, It was abstract photography too. So here was another very interesting exhibit of more abstract photography.

1008toddoelze-atomicsneeze-450x337“Cosmic Sneeze” by Todd Oelze

When I later checked the Vista Studios/Gallery 80808 web blog (http://www.gallery80808.blogspot.com/) I found this statement offered by Oelze. “Strokes of Light is a result of my recent endeavor to produce digital photographs that convey movement, while accentuating color and displaying the illusion of depth. I achieve this look by employing uncommon camera and lighting techniques, while keeping post-production effects to a minimum. My ultimate goal is to establish a recognizable style that I believe is extremely difficult to accomplish in photography. This collection of photographs is my first step in achieving this vision.”

I believe Oelze was very successful in pulling off his stated goal and look forward to seeing where his work goes in the future. I got him to send us a couple of images (another post exhibit review) and you can see more work on his website at (www.toddophotos.com).

My drive on Sunday started Saturday night and lasted well into the afternoon, but the short break in viewing Oelze’s works stayed with me a long time.

 

1008nchas-jamescheatham-450x345James Cheatum

On Monday, I was roaming from Calabash, NC, through Myrtle Beach and the Grand Strand, eventually making my way down the coast to Mt. Pleasant and Charleston, SC. Some of my last stops were in North Charleston where I ran into the exhibition, Lens Paintings, Flower Photography by Jim Cheatham, from Columbia, at the North Charleston City Gallery at the Charleston Area Convention Center Complex, 5001 Coliseum Drive. This exhibit started on Oct. 1 (put up just hours before I arrived there) and will be up through Oct. 31, 2008.

In this exhibit, the images were sort of straight photographs, but taken so close in that they were abstracts of the real thing. They are images of objects, in this case flowers, that can’t be seen by normal vision – well maybe if you get real close and squint your eyes.

In a handout offered at the exhibit, Cheatham offered the following statement about his work. “My photography of flowers attempts to give expression to what might be called the spiritual dimension present in all living things – to the reality ‘behind’ the reality. In doing so, I am not concerned with presenting images that are photographically ‘correct’, but images that are ‘painterly’ as well as beautiful from a textural standpoint. I also strive for a strong graphic quality. Particularly in the collage mosaics.”

The results is a presentation of “sort of” straight photographs of flowers with the abstraction being offered by the closeness to the subject. In the photography world this might be considered “macro” photography – using lenses which are designed to take crisp images – real close in on subjects, but focus in not a goal here by Cheatham – delivering that “painterly” look – which is soft and sensuous.

You can see more images of Cheatham’s at (www.lenspaintings.com), but the exhibit will still be up through Oct. – so you can go see this one.

Both results seen in both of these exhibitions are nothing new in photography, the techniques have been seen before, but these two artists are taking the techniques to different levels – using their cameras and subjects as just tools to achieve abstracted imagery which reach beyond traditional photography.

I know some people in the art community don’t respect photography too much – they think it’s easy. Photography is an evolving fine art medium. If you’re not threatened by it, you might be able to see the possibilities and recognize that in the hands of the right people it can be as creative as any art medium.

Keep an eye out for further exhibits by Todd Oelze and Jim Cheatham – I know I will.