Feature Articles

April 2014

Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, SC, Presents Two Special Exhibitions

The Gibbes Museum of Art’s commitment to contemporary art is celebrated in the special exhibitions, John Westmark: Narratives and Beyond the Darkroom: Photography in the 21st Century, on view from Apr. 4 through June 29, 2014.

These exhibitions examine the creative process of photography and painting in contemporary, southern art. These will be the final special exhibitions on view before the museum closes for renovations in July 2014. “Since the museum opened its doors in 1905, supporting contemporary art has been central to the Gibbes’ mission. Our spring exhibitions further this mission by showcasing the great artistic talent of our region today,” says Pam Wall, Curator of Exhibitions.

John Westmark, winner of the 2012 Factor Prize for Southern Art, weaves imaginative narratives into his large-scale paintings. He explores the human figure in dynamic ways, through his innovative use of text and paper sewing patterns collaged on canvas. Westmark’s paintings depict strong courageous women, some portrayed as stoic martyrs and others as warriors engaged in conflicts of rebellion. The Narratives exhibition features a series of new work created specifically for the Gibbes installation.

“As a product of the American South, and its rich tradition of storytelling as a vehicle to impart a moral lesson or social enlightenment, I am interested in the role of stories and folklore in modern life,” says Westmark. “This work references stories from a broad spectrum of humanity, and translates them into a visual narrative structure guided by the schematics of the store-bought sewing pattern. Domestic garment making is often looked upon as an intimate affair passed from one generation to the next, but once the pattern is used, it is tucked away or discarded. These paintings repurpose the garment pattern and its nostalgic aura into a storytelling template.”

Beyond the Darkroom: Photography in the 21st Century, examines a variety of photography-based works acquired over the past ten years for the museum’s permanent collection. Since the invention of photography in 1839, the medium has constantly evolved with the development of new technologies. In the 21st century, photographic processes have shifted from the darkroom to the digital world, bringing new possibilities to the medium. Ranging from the text and photo-based works of Carrie Mae Weems to the digital montages of Stephen Marc, the 2009 Factor Prize winner, this exhibition showcases the great innovation in photography today.

A number of related programs, tours and special events will be offered during these exhibits. For full details visit (www.gibbesmuseum.org/events) or call 843/722-2706 x21.

For further information check our SC Institutional Gallery listings, call the Museum at 843/722-2706 or visit (www.gibbesmuseum.org).

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