Feature Articles

March 2011

South Carolina State Museum in Columbia, SC, Features Exhibition of Abstract Works

The new art exhibit on view at the South Carolina State Museum in Columbia, SC, examines a topic not always quickly associated with the traditions of the Palmetto State – abstract art. The exhibit, Abstract Art in South Carolina: 1949-2012, on view through Aug. 26, 2012, in the Lipscomb Art Gallery is the first inclusive look at the evolution and influences of abstract painting and sculpture in South Carolina.

The exhibit will include work by pioneering artists such as William Halsey, Corrie McCallum, J. Bardin, Carl Blair and Merton Simpson, and contemporary artists currently working in communities across South Carolina today, such as Brian Rutenberg, James Busby, Shaun Cassidy, Enid Williams, Paul Yanko, Katie Walker and Tom Stanley, among many others.

In all, work by more than 40 artists will be included in the exhibition, which focuses on one of the most important aspects of South Carolina’s visual culture.

“South Carolina has a rich history in visual art, and abstract painting and sculpture have played a huge role in this history beginning in the mid-20th century,” said Curator of Art Paul Matheny.

“Following World War II, the appreciation of art and culture began to expand across the state. Local artists began exploring new ideas and pursued artistic opportunities in and out of the state, and South Carolina college and university art departments began - and continue - to bring in artists from across the United States, to teach and exhibit their work.”

This practice brought in new ideas about how to approach the making of art. In other instances, South Carolina natives, influenced by other artists and exploring their own ideas, pursued artistic opportunities outside of the state. Their influences, such as the Southern landscape, tidal creeks and marshes, plus a variety of cultural experiences, remained influential in their work.

“Many influences worked together to bring South Carolina art to the point it is today,” Matheny said. “This exhibition reflects the journeys made by these individuals, the art they created, and their influences along the way.”

“The exhibit includes many large scale works of art on canvas, as well as mixed media work that pushed the boundaries, and our perceptions, of how abstract art is perceived,” said the curator. “Museum guests will be surprised and inspired by the work of these important artists.”

The art includes paint media from acrylic and oil on canvas, wood panel and paper to three-dimensional works made of cast aluminum, other metal and stone, said Matheny.

The project is funded in part by the Cultural Council of Richland and Lexington Counties and the South Carolina Arts Commission, which receives support from the National Endowment of the Arts and the John and Susan Bennett Memorial Arts Fund of the Coastal Community Foundation of SC.

For further information check our SC Institutional Gallery listings, contact Paul Matheny at 803/898-4921 or visit (www.southcarolinastatemuseum.org).

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