Posts Tagged ‘College of Charleston’

Finally a Trip to See Aggie Zed’s Exhibit at The Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art in Charleston, SC

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

One of the cruelest things in life is that we don’t get to do everything we want and sometimes even when we do get to do something – it’s too late.

In this instance, I’m lucky I got a chance to see this exhibit at all, but it was too late to do so and encourage others to do so, as the exhibit ends on Saturday, Mar. 10, 2012. Of course we did feature this exhibit on our Jan. 2012 cover of Carolina Arts. I guess that’s something.

But, if you can, I’d advise anyone who likes what they see here in this posting, to try and go to The Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art at the College of Charleston School of the Arts in Charleston, SC, to see Aggie Zed: Keeper’s Keep, featuring new works by Virginia-based artist Aggie Zed. I’m sorry about the short notice, but I think this exhibit may be coming to a facility in North Carolina, but I have no details at this time.

Aggie Zed was born in Charleston and raised on Sullivan’s Island, SC. So, like Jasper Johns who was once from Edisto Beach, SC, we can claim her as one of ours. But, for anyone who has been a regular visitor to Nina Liu & Friends Gallery in Charleston, Zed’s paintings and sculptures are old familiar friends. Some of her human/animal creatures have been featured in one of the gallery’s windows for 20 years or more. Of course not the same figures – they never lasted that long before someone was taking them home and they would be replaced by others – stranger than the last.


Once a Little Church, 2006


Who Will Keep the Keepers Themselves?, 2009

I hate to admit it but I have never been a real fan of Zed’s paintings. That’s just me, but it’s why I’ve concentrated on the sculptures and installations of the sculptural figures I could photograph – some were under Plexiglas. I know there are tons of folks who love her paintings as much as her figures/creatures. Some probably love them even more than the sculptures. People have different likes. I fell for the creatures – the weirder the better. Again, that’s just me.


Elephants Observer, (installation), 2009


Elephants Observer, (detail)


Elephants Observer, (detail)

I haven’t seen anything like Zed’s installations since the Sticks and Stones exhibit offered at the Old Slave Mart building during a Piccolo Spoleto Festival – way back when, put on by LOCUS Contemporary Arts Center. If anyone remembers that exhibit, they’ll know what I’m talking about.


Study for Debris Field, 2011


Brainchild, 2009


Feathers or ‘The Early Clone Gets the Contract’, 2005


Red in Fashion, 2009

There’s no time to go on about Zed’s works at this point, so I’ll let the images do the talking. You can see more images and a video about Zed at this link (http://halsey.cofc.edu/exhibitions/aggie-zed-keepers-keep/).

The exhibit will be on view Friday, Mar, 9 and Saturday, Mar. 10, from 11am-4pm. There’s plenty of parking by the gallery as the College of Charleston is on Spring break.

For further info call 843/953-4422 or visit (www.halsey.cofc.edu).

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A Look at a Couple More Spoleto/Piccolo Festival Exhibits

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

Both the Spoleto and Piccolo Spoleto Festivals are over, but as usual with the art community, while most of the performing arts groups have packed up their seasonal offerings – the visual arts are still here and you can still see both of these exhibits I’ll be talking about.

While the festivals were still going on I found a nice parking space very close to the front door of the Marion and Wayland H. Cato Jr. Center for the Arts at the College of Charleston School of the Arts in downtown Charleston. Lucky me! I wanted to see what Mark Sloan, curator at the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art was offering festival viewers this year. It’s always something funky and very interesting. I liked what I had already seen of publicity images.

This year it was the exhibit, Call and Response: African to America/The Art of Nick Cave and Phyllis Galembo, on view through July 16, 2010. Sloan’s exhibitions are so popular that both Spoleto and Piccolo were claiming it as one of their offerings, but I think Spoleto would win that tug of war.

(We just received new info this afternoon. Mark Sloan has told me that they changed the ending date of this exhibit to June 26, 2010. That’s unfortunate for us and a lot of folks who won’t get to see this exhibit. Our July issue of Carolina Arts will still carry the July 16 ending date. We’re sorry to bring you this news. We now have an answer why this exhibit is being closed early – Sloan says the College has decided to tear up the concrete floors of the Cato Center and replace them with blue tile during July.  They had no choice.)

I wasn’t disappointed and I doubt anyone else who saw this exhibit was either. Nick Cave’s “sound suits” were spectacular as were the photographs of Phyllis Galembo of African costumes. Right off, walking in the gallery I was blown away by the lineup of several of Cave’s colorful costumes. That’s what you want in an exhibit – a knock out visual as people enter the gallery space.

After a quick look around I sat and watched a video of Cave’s “sound suits” in action. The first part was set to music and the repeated phrase, “This is a journey into sound”. The second part was just the sound the suits made on their own as a dancer moved around. I liked the second part better, but sat there in the cool viewing room imagining what an event it would have been to have live dancers in each of Cave’s suits – coming to life – off and on, as viewers jumped when the dancer began to move. Now that would have been a heck of a performance art event, but I wouldn’t want to be the person inside one of those suits – for very long. But, the video gave us enough idea of what we would see – when the suits are in motion.

You would think that photos hanging on the wall wouldn’t stand a chance next to Cave’s “sound suits”, but Phyllis Galembo served up striking images of real African costumes which hold their own next to an “Americanized” version. In fact, I tended to appreciate these costumes more as they were made by people reflecting their natural surroundings and local customs. Actually, I think I felt that way as Cave’s suits reflected America’s culture – which isn’t always the prettiest picture. And, at that moment I felt a little embarrassed of what Africans would be thinking about us if this exhibit was shown there. Which is what I expect Sloan wanted us to see in this exhibit – the contrast of cultures. Maybe not, but then you have to go see this exhibit and come up with your own ideas.

I ran into Sloan while I was at the exhibit and he said that a few gallery spaces in Japan were interested in this exhibit. That was no surprise to me as the new generations in Japan have developed a pretty funky culture themselves – funkier than ours.

You can read a press release we posted at Carolina Arts about this exhibit at this link.

After viewing this exhibit I looked at the art on display in the Hill Exhibition Gallery just outside the Halsey Institute. I’ve got to find a way to get the folks at the College to inform me of these exhibits – how long they will be up, so I can inform readers about them. Upon viewing what was there, my favorite was a print by Samantha Theall entitled Rachel in nice Lighting.

Next, I went to the City of Charleston’s City Gallery at Waterfront Park to see the exhibit, Contemporary Charleston 2010, on view through July 3, 2010. This show has a shorter life than the Halsey Institute show, so you better go see it – if you’re going.

This exhibit is a production of the City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs, curated by Erin Glaze, (City Gallery at Waterfront Park) coordinator and artist Max Miller.

The premise of this exhibit was to have 10 local visual artists create works specifically for the exhibit that have been inspired by the work of 10 local poets. So ten artists were matched up with ten poets.

My first impression was that this year’s show was not as strong as last year’s offering. (See my entry on the 2009 exhibit at this link. I guess since I hadn’t the time to attend the poetry readings by the poets matched up with the visual artists – I was missing the connections or inspiration that was supposed to have inspired these works. I tend to like my visual art – straight up – stand alone. That’s me, but I wasn’t seeing a lot of connections, but I also don’t have the inclination to work too hard to find connections. It’s like having to read an artist’s statement (several pages long) telling you what a certain work means. If I’m looking at the work and I don’t get the message – I usually don’t see it after reading the statement either. It’s either there or it isn’t. Anyway – I wasn’t feeling the connections. The closest I came is when painter Sarah Haynes painted a portrait of Dennis Ward Stiles, the poet she was matched with, entitled Denny.

I don’t think that’s what the curators had in mind, but the good thing is – I really enjoyed Haynes’ works – whether it had a connection to Stiles poetry or not. To me, her paintings were one of the high points of the exhibit. Of course I would have liked to see the Waterfront space filled with her work over a group show any day.

There were other works I liked there too. I liked the (sort of bleached out looking photos) by Timothy Pakron. Having spent almost 20 years working in a darkroom, I’m still thinking about his process, but I’m not concerned if I ever figure it out completely – I liked the technique. Why get hung up on the process?

I also liked the pop art style works by Juilo Cotto. Perhaps I’m showing my age, but I’m not a conservative when it comes to art. I like works that make other people cringe too.

Maybe I wasn’t falling in love with a lot that I saw, but it’s worth the visit and you’ll probably think I’m nuts or at least find things that speak to you. Frankly, if I see a show that I really don’t like – you probably won’t see anything written about it from me, and there was enough of that to go around this year, but I didn’t see everything. There is never enough time to see everything. So, don’t just assume that all the shows I haven’t mentioned were unmentionable.

Hopefully the powers that be will step out of the formula they are using to select Piccolo Spoleto exhibits next year. The formula is worn out and the results are showing. At least that’s how I felt when looking at the lineup of offerings, but then again – this whole festival thing is nothing new to me – like others.

You can read a press release we posted at Carolina Arts about this exhibit at this link.

Now, lets see what wonders the dog days of summer bring. I mean as far as the visual arts goes – as most of the performing arts community will be taking the summer off.

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Visiting The Marion and Wayland H. Cato Jr. Center for the Arts in Charleston, SC

Friday, January 15th, 2010

The title of this entry could be – Old School Photography at the College of Charleston’s School of the Arts, but I don’t know how to do a subtitle or if you can do a subtitle in WordPress.

It was a cold day to drive down to Charleston to attend an open house for a new arts center (the high for the day was 36), but after reading a story in The Post & Courier about a reception for the Cato family on Friday – it was the first time I had read details about the center and what we would find there – what I read sealed the deal. So we (Linda and I) went despite the cold. I mean it’s been cold – too cold for sunny South Carolina – even for this old Yankee.

We first had lunch with our goddaughter, Zelda Ravenel, previously known as Emma Ravenel in this blog, but I have granted her an unofficial name change by request – so will from now on refer to her as Zelda. She’s a recent graduate of the Savannah School of Art and Design in Savannah, GA, in Sequential Arts (animation), and much like our son Andrew – a recent graduate of the College of Charleston in Geology, has yet to find a job in her field.. If anyone knows of any opportunities – contact us – please.

Anyway, I was happy to learn that Zelda’s plans had changed and she could go to the art center opening with us after all. It’s always nice to have her young perspective on the arts. Our eyes and minds (Linda and mine) are a little generationally challenged. I’d say more grounded in reality, but young folks would say – so old-school or outdated. Whatever – I think there is room for both views when tackling today’s challenges for the arts world.

So, after a lunch – West of the Ashely – we headed to downtown Charleston. That’s right folks, West Ashley, as some call it, is not another town – it’s a part of the City of Charleston. And, as usual, it took some time driving around the College of Charleston before we found a parking space. As cold as it was there seemed to be a lot of folks walking around Charleston. I hope they were buying something – buying art would’ve been great.

On the first floor of the five story building we revisited the exhibit, Aldwyth: Work V. / Work N. Collage and Assemblage, 1991-2009, on its last day in Charleston. I’ve stated my feeling on this exhibit in previous entries and Zelda gave it a thumbs up. There we ran into Michael Haga, Assistant Dean at the School of the Arts, who teaches there and is a long-time friend. He also taught our son Art History. Haga gave us his must see highlights and as a true supporter of the School of the Arts when asked if he knew when the new science center at the College would open – he said sometime, but today was the real important opening. What a party-line player.

Well, after some hot chocolate and a chocolate-chip cookie on the first floor reception area, we headed up to the third floor – represented by the Theatre and Dance Departments to see if John Olbrych would be there. We found his new office space, but no sign of him. Olbrych was the first person featured on the cover of our July 1987 issue of Charleston Arts – our first arts newspaper. Not our first newspaper as Linda and I did a stint producing the Congaree Chronicle, a monthly newspaper for SC’s Sierra Club – way back when, and I had co-authored the Glass Onion, an underground newspaper, back in high school with longtime and still friend – James M Wichlacz – brother Jim. And, now we both do Carolina Arts.

Volume 1, Issue 1 of Charleston Arts opened with an interview with Olbrych – South Carolina’s Man Behind the Scenes. At that time, Olbrych had been the Resident Designer and Professor at the College since 1979 – that’s 31 years now. How time flies.

We checked everything out on all floors and all was impressive – there’s just something about a brand new facility. Most of the rooms seemed fairly sparse – yet to have that moved in character – which will come much later I’m sure. If anything a few faculty offices looked well moved in. And, we already talked about the new art gallery.

We checked out the views of Charleston’s skyline on the fourth floor in the painting studios, a huge cavernous space – with windows that started five feet up from the floor? I explained to Zelda why the windows had to be placed so high up – unstable artists – some have been known to cut their ears off in frustration. That got me a punch in the arm.

What surprised me the most about The Marion and Wayland H. Cato Jr. Center for the Arts was found on the fifth floor, the home of the new photography facilities at the School of the Arts. Yes, the digital photography room was impressive with wall to wall Apple computers with extremely large monitors, large digital printers and scanners, but it was the “old school” darkroom facilities that got our attention. Zelda’s into old school photography too. This was totally unexpected. It wasn’t just a token darkroom – this was a blast from the past. This could have been a facility at the Eastman School of Photography – back in 1970. The only thing I missed was the smell of an old darkroom – this facility had state-of-the-art ventilation. Be assured moms and dads of photography students at the College of Charleston – your children won’t be losing too many brain cells to toxic chemicals. Well, not as much as it would have been in the old days. But you need to get some of those chemicals in your blood to be a really good photographer.

Standing in these rooms I felt like mixing up some D-76 developer, fixer and stop bath and running a few rolls of black and white film.

Linda and I have quite a photography history in Charleston. When I first came to Charleston in 1974 one of my first jobs was selling 35mm cameras at Sam Solomon’s, then I went to work at Howard R. Jacobs, a full service camera store, photo supply, and photo processing lab – that’s where Linda and I first met. Later, she went to work in the photo lab at the Medical University in Charleston and I went to work for Pro Foto, a custom B&W and color photo lab with photo supplies. We did the first color Cibachromes in Charleston at Pro Foto. After that, Linda and I opened our own custom B&W photo lab called IF Labs which we ran for 16 years. We even opened one of the first fine art photography galleries in Charleston with a few friends – Photogallery. At one time I ran the South Carolina Photographer’s Guild. So, old school photography was in our blood.

Linda was a master custom black and white printer, who could do spotting on prints like a master art restorer, and I was a wizard at B&W film processing. I could process a 5-reel and 4-reel stainless steel tank – both at the same time. Good old days.

I’ve been in the old darkroom, a converted bathroom, at the Simons Center for the Arts and this will be a major step up for students.

We ran into Michelle Van Parys who teaches Photography at the School of the Arts in the darkroom area and I expressed how impressed I was and surprised to see this much emphasis on the old ways of processing prints and film. I told her a story of one day sitting in one of our old galleries, when a graduate from the Savannah School of Art and Design came in to show me her photography portfolio. She had some pretty nice images, but all were printed on Xerox paper. I asked if she ever printed on “real” photographic papers and she explained that her professors were not into the old ways of photo processing. I told her what a shame that was in that some of these images would look so much better on photo paper – not just paper.

Of course today, with new technologies and materials – the quality of digital cameras, inkjet printers, printing papers and inks are so much better – digital photography is great. It’s no longer debatable that the old ways are better – even though some still want to fight that fight. I’ve seen digital prints that could never have looked so good made the old way, but like William Halsey (the man the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art is named after) once told me – in arts education, it’s best to learn the old ways before you start to break away from them – not start out that way. And, I believe that too.

So, its amazing to see the School of the Arts put so much into these new darkroom facilities, but even then there were shortfalls. Some of the accessory equipment is “cheap” – all they could afford or find. Plastic and bamboo where stainless steel and glass was the norm. The good stuff – even if you could find a supplier these days would be cost prohibitive and might soon disappear – for future darkrooms – off campus.  It’s too bad.

Unfortunately our state of the art darkroom equipment was lost in a fire shortly after we retired from photo processing and insurance didn’t cover much of it. We also lost most of our collection of personal photography in that fire too – insurance covered none of it. It’s not a subject I like to talk about – emotions run high when I even think about it.

A few years back I found some of our old equipment that survived and made a donation to the darkroom at the Redux Center for Contemporary Art. If I find any more I might take it over to the new facilities at the College of Charleston.

Here’s a suggestion to any old school photographers (or their spouses who would like to clean up) who no longer use any of their old darkroom equipment – you could get it out of the closet and give it to the College – they don’t need enlargers – they have plenty of new ones, but they could use stainless steel film processing tanks and film reels, stainless steel tonges, film clips and weights, etc. You might want to give them a call (Michelle Van Parys at 843/953-7653 or e-mail at vanparysm@cofc.edu) to see if they need or want anything you have first, but it would be a better use for it than collecting dust – that’s if you’ve gone digital. If you’re still using it – march on, but if not – think about giving a new photographer a chance to hold some of the real stuff – from way back when.

Another observation – the lighting or portrait studio was too small and the backdrops were hung too low and I didn’t see any electronic lighting equipment – just old – very old school, light bulbs and lighting cones. I hope they will eventually have better equipment than that. What they have will teach students about lighting, but that’s a heck of a way to learn – and someone’s gonna get burned eventually – I know I did many a time. They might want to think about moving that studio down to the fourth floor where there are what looks like 20 ft. ceilings.

After all, they are competing with the Art Institute of Charleston and the Charleston Center for Photography for photography education these days.

I also got dripped on from a leak in the ceiling outside that lighting studio on the fifth floor – not good for a brand new building. Hopefully it’s just a small leak in the sprinkler system – not the roof. But I’m sure someone was on that early Monday morning – if not sooner.

It will be interesting to see the next student photography exhibit at the College to see if these new facilities produce improved results – not to say the results haven’t been good, but there won’t be room for excuses about lame facilities anymore.

The new Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art has already seen the rewards of new digs as the Spoleto Festival USA has now taken them under their wing as a visual art venue for the big festival. A step in the right direction, but still short of making the visual arts a full fledged partner in the arts festival. Maybe one day Spoleto will be back in the visual arts biz. Anything’s possible.

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Jan. 9, 2010 is the last day to see exhibit by Aldwyth and Grand Opening for C of C’s new Art Center in Charleston, SC

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

On Jan. 9, 2010, from 1-4pm, the College of Charleston’s School of the Arts will celebrate the grand opening of its new building The Marion and Wayland H. Cato Jr. Center for the Arts, 161 Calhoun Street (Calhoun at St. Philip Street) in Charleston, SC. The School of the Arts will also be celebrating its 20th Anniversary.

The community is invited to explore all five floors of the $27.2 million building while enjoying sweets and mini-presentations of music, theatre, dance and other events. Guests will also enjoy the final day of an exhibition of works by Aldwyth, Aldwyth: Work V. / Work N. Collage and Assemblage, 1991-2009, in the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art. This esteemed artist will give a lecture at 2pm in the Recital Hall of the Simons Center for the Arts, adjacent to the new building.

This will be your last chance to see this exhibit in Charleston, but I’m sure it’s not the last time we’ll see works by Aldwyth in Charleston – at least I hope it’s not the last time. And, I hope we don’t have to wait that long to see more works.

You can read my posting about this exhibit at this link. You can see more images of the exhibit in the gallery space at this link. And, you can read an article presented in Carolina Arts at this link.

So, go see this exhibit again or for the first time and check out The Marion and Wayland H. Cato Jr. Center for the Arts. I’m going, and I’m hoping to run into the first person we featured in our first issue of Charleston Arts back in July 1987 in the Theatre section of the new arts center. Now there’s a trivia question for you – who was that person featured on the cover of the first arts newspaper we produced in Charleston – way back when we covered all the arts in Charleston?

If you know the answer – you’ve been around Charleston a long time, you have a good memory, and you know who’s been in the Theatre Department at the College of Charleston that long – and you may work at a library reference desk in Charleston. Not fair.

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Shepard Fairey – Hopes – His Cover-up Attempt Doesn’t Cost Him Millions

Saturday, October 31st, 2009

Here’s a trick or treat for you.

It seems that Shepard Fairey, the creator of the Barack Obama “Hope” poster, says he was mistaken about which Associated Press photograph he used to create the image in a statement submitted in his “fair use” court case.

Fairey submitted this new statement to the court: “In an attempt to conceal my mistake, I submitted false images and deleted other images,” he said. “I sincerely apologize for my lapse in judgment, and I take full responsibility for my actions, which were mine alone.”

Fairey is being seen in a different light as to how much work he really did to transform the AP photo into his Obama poster.

I just hope we don’t see Fairey glorified in an exhibit anytime soon at the Gibbes Museum of Art or the Halsey Institute at the College of Charleston in Charleston, SC. Wishful thinking on some people’s part, but Fairey’s artwork is headed to much larger venues – as the art world’s current bad boy. But, before that ever happens, if it ever does, I’d like to see the artist clean up Charleston’s graffiti mess – which he is directly and indirectly responsible for.

Fairey placed graphic stickers all over the Charleston area and then he and his followers proceeded to place them everywhere making him a cult figure as a creative artist making a name for himself. He was finally arrested for doing the same thing in Boston, MA, earlier this year.

But the genie is out of the bottle. Young artists unfortunately now see Fairey as a role model – a road map to quick fame and success. Fairey’s past and present is catching up with him and in the future he might not be remembered – the way he had hoped. I’ll always think of him as a vandal first – artist second.

It is said that, “Bad men do what good men dream.” Maybe so, but the good men keep it in their dreams and the bad men take it to the streets. I’m not saying Fairey is a bad man, but in these, “I’m sorry I got caught doing what I knew was wrong” times – I don’t see him as someone Charleston should feel proud of – at least not at this time.

Hey, I’m sure that’s the same thought that Fairey’s fans think about me, as well as many others, but such is life – I’m not waiting for any accolades – those bridges were burned the day I decided to express my opinions in public.

So, do – bad men say what good men think? – maybe so.

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Another Funky Exhibit By Mark Sloan At The College Of Charleston For Piccolo Spoleto

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

Last year it was the exhibit, Richard McMahan’s Mini Museum, on view in the Sanders Rotunda at the Addlestone Library at the College of Charleston. McMahan has been creating his own personal museum collection featuring miniature replicas of the world’s greatest works of art. This was an unbelievable display of one person’s effort to recreate all the art treasures of the world which fit into a 20 foot square space. It was really unusual.

This year, it’s the exhibit, Hair on Fire, featuring works by Caryl Burtner, Sonya Clark, Talia Greene, Ruth Marten, Althea Murphy-Price, and Loren Schwerd, on view at the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art at the College of Charleston’s School of the Arts. This exhibit will still be up through June 15, 2009 – so hurry and go see it if you haven’t.

I was lucky the gallery was open when I was delivering our June issue of Carolina Arts at the Simons Center for the Arts at the College of Charleston. As I walked in the door Mark Sloan was there and he quickly pointed out the exhibit by Caryl Burtner, of Richmond, VA, which consisted of a hair cutting station with many small baggies of people’s hair in them. He asked if I would make a contribution. My first reaction was – hey, my hair is in short supply. I’ve been losing it since I was a senior in high school, but Sloan told me it doesn’t have to be hair off the side of my head and he pointed to his contribution of beard hair. That was a different matter all together – that hair grows like my lawn – so I made a deposit to Burtner’s collection. Her entire contribution to this exhibit was the hair cutting station and the bags of hair contributed by people coming to this exhibit. Pretty funky – right. It’s just the beginning.

But, if it wasn’t for Sloan, the first thing that would have grabbed my attention was a fairly large miniature house – made of hair in the middle of the downstairs part of the gallery made by Loren Schwerd, a former professor at the College of Charleston who now lives and works in Baton Rouge, LA. This house, the largest of her works in the exhibit was made of synthetic hair extensions rescued from the debris of a flooded hair salon from Hurricane Katrina. The rest of Schwerd’s works (upstairs) make up a series of portraits of dilapidated post-Katrina houses in New Orleans. Except for the large house, she included small photos of the original houses the works are modeled after. Some also used real human hair.

Downstairs were also works by Sonya Clark, also of Richmond, VA. Her works were various sculptures made from using her own hair and that of friends and family. Some looked like they could be jewelry pieces. The strangest work was a very small hair hand with a small hair ball in it. That was a little creepy. It reminded me of the story of the Monkey’s Paw.

Also, downstairs was a display of items from the collection of the Charleston Museum showing items made using hair – like watches with wristbands made of hair. This showed that making items out of hair was nothing new.

In the gallery’s upstairs space I found prints and drawings, with hair as a featured item, by Ruth Marten of New York City. These works were the most normal items in the exhibit – sort of. They were normal in so far as the medium goes, but the subjects were a little weird.

Althea Murphy-Price of Bloomington, IN, demonstrated the formal possibilities inherent in synthetic hair as wall reliefs, sculpture, and throw rugs. Just another medium for construction of art like handmade paper or plaster.

The final artist contributing to the exhibit was Talia Greene of Philadelphia, PA. She digitally modifies 19th century photographic cabinet cards featuring portraits of individuals with unusual hair styles – hair made of flies. Greene would show four identical portraits of a person, each showing various hairdos – starting from flies in controlled formation to flies out of control. You can just about imagine the portrait setting. The subject gathering the flies in the proper formation, the photographer snapping the first image, the flash scaring the flies – they scatter into different formations around the head and face and then the following photos are taken in rapid succession.

I don’t have any photos of this exhibit to offer, which is best, as you should really make an effort to see this exhibit. But, if you’re in a position where you just won’t be able to make it – check the gallery’s website. The exhibit is on view Mon.-Sat., from 11am-4pm.

It’s exciting to wonder what Sloan will be doing with the much larger exhibition space which will be opening later this year in the new expansion of the art department facilities at the College of Charleston.

While there at the Simons Center I always check out their men’s restroom, which always brings me to the section where student exhibits are always posted. I have never received notice of these exhibitions – you have to accept that they are offered by chance, but it would be nice if they had regular beginning and ending dates and we were notified so we could tell our readers about them. Someone – probably students, go to a lot of time and trouble mounting these exhibits, it would be great if they were treated like real exhibitions. There is always something interesting offered in these exhibit.

I’ll give a shout-out to a few of the students whose works captured my interest. Excuse me if I get any of the names wrong – sometimes I can’t read my own notes.

Jesse Wallace had an interesting work called, Wet Beast, made of various fabric materials and I suspect wire. Wingsin Yuki Tong had a photographic sculpture entitled, Memory. This was a series of photos (memories) attached to strings receding away from the viewer up to the ceiling. It was rather clever. The guys at Kodak would have been proud. This work reminded me how memories can fade away, but with photos you can keep them alive.

There were two etchings I liked. One was by Samantha Theall, which was “untitled” and the other was by Jessica Vande Werken entitled, Man on Wire. Both were nicely done and made me want to see more.

Oh, by the way – the men’s restroom at the Simons Center was as usual, in tip top condition. Which brings up the point that in all my travels throughout all these years I have never seen a messy restroom at a college or university in the Carolinas which makes me think students don’t use them. That’s OK with me.

Go see this exhibit and the student work.

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