Feature Articles

January 2014

Art Books We Have Received

From time to time we received art books or art related books. I guess these publishers think I have time to read them and review them for our readers, but I don’t. I might glance through them, but read them - no. But, when I have received a few I’ll present the press releases sent with the books to you readers.

The Mary Whyte book is full of 200 images, some from her other books and some not seen before. I’ll spend some time glancing through this book wishing I was a rich man.

More Than a Likeness: The Enduring Art of Mary Whyte

Text by Martha R. Severens

Published by the University of South Carolina Press

(2013), 9” x 12”, 264 pages, 200 color illustrations
ISBN 978-1-61117-276-8
hardcover, $75.00t
eISBN 978-1-61117-324-6
ebook, $29.95t

More Than a Likeness: The Enduring Art of Mary Whyte is the first comprehensive book on the life and work of one of today’s most renowned watercolorists. From Whyte’s earliest paintings in rural Ohio and Pennsylvania to the riveting portraits of her Southern neighbors, art historian Martha R. Severens provides us with an intimate look into the artist’s private world.

With more than two hundred full-color images of Whyte’s paintings and sketches as well as comparison works by masters such as Winslow Homer, Andrew Wyeth, and John Singer Sargent, Severens clearly illustrates how Whyte’s art has been shaped and how the artist forged her own place in the world today.

Though Whyte’s academic training in Philadelphia was in oil painting, she learned the art of watercolor on her own - by studying masterworks in museums. Today Whyte’s style of watercolor painting is a unique blend of classical realism and contemporary vision, as seen in her intimate portraits of Southern blue-collar workers and elderly African American women in the South Carolina lowcountry.

“For me ideas are more plentiful than the hours to paint them, and I worry that I cannot get to all of my thoughts before they are forgotten or are pushed aside by more pressing concerns,” explains Whyte. “Some works take time to evolve. Like small seeds the paintings might not come to fruition until several years later, after there has been ample time for germination.”

Using broad sweeping washes as well as miniscule brushstrokes, Whyte directs the viewer’s attention to the areas in her paintings she deems most important. Murky passages of neutral colors often give way to areas of intense detail and color, giving the works a variety of edges and poetic focus. Several paintings included in the book are accompanied by enlarged areas of detail, showcasing Whyte’s technical mastery.

More Than a Likeness is replete with engaging artwork and inspiring text that mark the midpoint in Whyte’s artistry. Of what she will paint in the future, the artist says, “I have always believed that as artists we don’t choose our vocation, style, or subject matter. Art chooses us.”

Watercolor artist Mary Whyte is a teacher and author whose figurative paintings have earned national recognition. Her portraits are included in numerous corporate, private, and university collections as well as in the permanent collections of South Carolina’s Greenville County Museum of Art and the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston. Whyte’s work has been featured in International Artist, Artist, American Artist, Watercolor, American Art Collector, L’Art de l’Aquarelle, and many other publications. Whyte is the author of two books published by the University of South Carolina Press - Working South: Paintings and Sketches by Mary Whyte and Down Bohicket Road: An Artist’s Journey. She is also the author of Alfreda’s World, Painting Portraits and Figures in Watercolor, An Artist’s Way of Seeing, and Watercolor for the Serious Beginner. Whyte’s work can be found at Coleman Fine Art in Charleston. In 2013 Whyte was awarded the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Award, South Carolina’s highest award in the arts.

Martha R. Severens, an art historian, served as curator of the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, South Carolina, the Portland Museum of Art in Maine, and the Greenville County Museum of Art in South Carolina. She has published studies of Charles Fraser, Alice Ravenel Huger Smith, Andrew Wyeth, Greenville’s Southern Collection, and the Charleston Renaissance.

For more info contact the USC Press at (http://www.sc.edu/uscpress/). To order directly from the University of South Carolina Press, call toll-free at 800/768-2500 or, to order by mail or fax, download an order form at (http://www.sc.edu/uscpress/orderform.pdf).


Red, White, and Black Make Blue: Indigo in the Fabric of Colonial South Carolina Life

by Andrea Feeser

Published by the University of Georgia Press

(2013), 6” x 9”. 168pages, 10 color illustrations, 1 map
ISBN 978-0-8203-4553-6
paper, $24.95

Like cotton, indigo has defied its humble origins. Left alone it might have been a regional plant with minimal reach, a localized way of dyeing textiles, paper, and other goods with a bit of blue. But when blue became the most popular color for the textiles that Britain turned out in large quantities in the eighteenth century, the South Carolina indigo that colored most of this cloth became a major component in transatlantic commodity chains. In Red, White, and Black Make Blue, Andrea Feeser tells the stories of all the peoples who made indigo a key part of the colonial South Carolina experience as she explores indigo’s relationships to land use, slave labor, textile production and use, sartorial expression, and fortune building.

In the eighteenth century, indigo played a central role in the development of South Carolina. The popularity of the color blue among the upper and lower classes ensured a high demand for indigo, and the climate in the region proved sound for its cultivation. Cheap labor by slaves - both black and Native American - made commoditization of indigo possible. And due to land grabs by colonists from the enslaved or expelled indigenous peoples, the expansion into the backcountry made plenty of land available on which to cultivate the crop. Feeser recounts specific histories - uncovered for the first time during her research - of how the Native Americans and African slaves made the success of indigo in South Carolina possible. She also emphasizes the material culture around particular objects, including maps, prints, paintings, and clothing. Red, White, and Black Make Blue is a fraught and compelling history of both exploitation and empowerment, revealing the legacy of a modest plant with an outsized impact.

Andrea Feeser is an associate professor of art and architectural history at Clemson University. She is also the author of Waikiki: A History of Forgetting & Remembering.

For further information contact Amanda E. Sharp, Publicity Manager, University of Georgia Press, by calling 706/542-4145 or visit (www.ugapress.org). For info about purchasing the book visit (http://www.ugapress.org/index.php/books/red_white_and_black_make_blue).

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