Feature Articles

December 2011

Greenville County Museum of Art in Greenville, SC, Offers Works by Matt Baumgardner and Much More

The Greenville County Museum of Art in Greenville, SC, is presenting the exhibit, Matt Baumgardner: Made for Another World, featuring a survey of work by a South Carolina artist whose bold abstract paintings and unique polychromed cube sculptures convey richly expressive visual statements, on view through Jan. 22, 2012.

Based in Travelers Rest, SC, Baumgardner has created bold abstract paintings and painted sculpture for more than twenty-five years. This survey exhibition will be accompanied by a full-color catalogue.

Born in Ohio in 1955, Baumgardner studied art in Upstate New York and in South Carolina, then completed his masters in studio art at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. From there, it was on to New York, where he embraced the vibrant, neo-expressionist art scene, working at a commercial gallery in the daytime and painting into the night. The survey includes large, multi-paneled paintings created during those early years, then proceeds into Baumgardner’s adaptation of a new medium - a mixture of powdered acrylic and ordinary gypsum that the artist trowels, layers, shapes and sands. He has used these gypsum “paints” on large canvases that feature marks drawn with a graphite pencil and heavily textured surfaces.

Most of the works in Made for Another World were created in New York between 1983 and 2001, through the years when Baumgardner was home-schooling his daughters in an urban townhouse while renovating the living space, and painting when the girls were working on their lessons. His later abstractions are composed around a grid, which he called “an armature on which to hang subconscious fractal thoughts and glyphs.” These paintings were not about the grid, said the artist, but about light. In paintings such as Windows in the Sky and the Scientific Prayer Series, the squares themselves become objects that the artist intuitively seeks to relate to the field on which they’re created.

The grid went 3-D after Baumgardner’s career was interrupted for several years by the 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and some personal upheaval that followed. He returned to South Carolina and built a new sanctuary for himself in rural Travelers Rest. He began to apply the gypsum mixture onto twelve-by-twelve-inch blocks of wood - his cubes - layered with color, etched, sanded, and texturized with heat.

There are nine cubes included in the exhibition, and this 21st century “cubism” will be the focus of the special Art Adventure on Sunday, Jan. 8, 2012, at 2pm. In this free program, Baumgardner will invite children to use cubes as a surface for drawing and experimenting with color. The event is free and open to the public, but space will be limited.

The Greenville County Museum of Art is also presenting several other exhibitions.

The exhibit, Helen DuPré Moseley, is on view through May 27, 2012. A native of Spartanburg, SC, who attended Converse College, Moseley (1887–1984) was Spartanburg’s postmaster. Self-taught, she began to paint in earnest when she was sixty, creating a fantastical crew of characters that some thought were a satirical view of local society. Moseley demurred on that point, saying “So far as I know they exist only in my imagination.”

The exhibit, Golden Legacy: Original Art from 65 Years of Golden Books, is on view through Dec. 31, 2011. This annual exhibition on children’s book illustration offers original works from some of America’s most treasured story books, from The Three Bears to Little Red Riding Hood and beyond. Organized by the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature, this experience is enhanced with gallery games that help families plan their own tours.

A selection from the Museum’s extensive collection of works by Jasper Johns, the internationally-acclaimed artist who is also a South Carolinian. Imagery from every phase of Johns’ career is both challenging and inspirational. This exhibit is on view through April 15, 2012.

The exhibit, Luis Jaramillo: Latin Dances, is on view through Jan. 11, 2012. Greenville printmaker Luis Jaramillo creates colorful and rhythmic abstractions in these recent monotypes. A 1980 graduate of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Jaramillo was born in Colombia, South America, and has lived in South Carolina since the late 1980s.

The exhibit, Historic Highlights: Selected Antiques Show Acquisitions, is on view through mid-2012. In its 26 year history, the Museum Antiques Show has supported the acquisition of seventy-three works of art for its Southern Collection, which traces the history of American art using Southern-related examples. This selection features historic works from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, with works by artists such as John James Audubon, Gari Melchers, Alfred Hutty, and Joshua Shaw, among others.

Note: The Greenville Museum’s collection of works by Andrew Wyeth will be closed until March 14, 2012.

The Greenville County Museum of Art is located on Heritage Green in downtown Greenville.

For further information check our SC Institutional Gallery listings, call 864/271-7570 or visit (http://greenvillemuseum.org).

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