Feature Articles
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November Issue 2003

The Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, SC, Features Exhibit Celebrating Lowcountry Vistas

On Nov. 18, 2003, the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, SC, opens the exhibition, In Love with the Lowcountry: Photographs by Tom Blagden, Jr. and Michael Johnson. On view in the Museum's Charleston Renaissance Gallery through June 20, 2004, this exhibition presents for the first time a dynamic, visual comparison of work by two celebrated landscape photographers.

In Love with the Lowcountry features fourteen large-format black and white and color photographs that celebrate the majestic natural beauty in the South Carolina Lowcountry. Including panoramic and intimate views created by contemporary photographers Tom Blagden, Jr. and Michael Johnson, this exhibition offers new perspectives on the lure and character of a region unique to South Carolina and beloved by all who visit.

As professional artists working in the medium of photography, Tom Blagden, Jr. and Michael Johnson are opposites. While Blagden works exclusively in color, Johnson creates in black and white. A Charleston resident for 23 years, Blagden has focused his attentions and talent on the East coast. A Midwesterner, Johnson has spent most of his career photographing the American heartland and the Southwest. Blagden prefers to promote his photographs through publications. Johnson, by comparison, works closely with art galleries. The artists' careers collide, however, with their common love of the Lowcountry as realized in the exhibition In Love with the Lowcountry.

"This is a landmark exhibition," states Gibbes' Executive Director Betsy Fleming. "Tom Blagden and Michael Johnson play vital roles in the artistic representation and preservation of the South Carolina Lowcountry. Our role as the leading fine art institution is to share the wealth of such artistic talent and vision with the Charleston community and visitors to this region."

Tom Blagden, Jr. has lived in South Carolina since 1977. His photography has appeared in Sierra Club, National Audubon Society and National Geographic Society calendars, as well as numerous magazines. A professional photographer since 1975, Balgden concentrates his photography on South Carolina and Costa Rica. He is an active environmentalist and serves on the boards of The Nature Conservancy of South Carolina and the Lowcountry Open Land Trust.

Michael Johnson

A Northwestern Illinois native, Michael Johnson uses a large format camera to create images in the tradition of such nineteenth-century landscape photographers as Eadweard Muybridge, Carleton Watkins, and William H. Jackson. The monumental size of his prints, some as large as 24 by 34 inches, provides an intense dramatic impression. At work in Charleston for the past twelve years, Johnson has created a rich visual catalogue of natural and architectural compositions, both detailed and abstract in origin, in the region.

For more information check our SC Institutional Gallery listings, call the museum at 843/722-2706, or on the web at (www.gibbesmusuem.com).

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