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May Issue 2005

Spoleto Festival USA/Piccolo Spoleto Festival Visual Arts

a view from the desk of Tom Starland - that's right, and some commentary too

The Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, SC, will present two exhibitions as special components of the 2005 Spoleto Festival USA. The exhibits are: An American Impressionist: The Art and Life of Alson Skinner Clark and Beyond Representation: Abstract Art in the South. Both exhibitions begin on May 27 and continue through Aug. 7 and the 14, 2005. Spoleto itself will be offering another component of the Evoking History Series as visual arts, but I don't call it that.

Over at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival (the "little" festival - hah!) we have what I call the Mark Sloan shows. Three of Piccolo's major exhibits were curated and organized by Sloan of the Institute of Contemporary Art at the College of Charleston.

That's how Ellen Dressler Moryl, director of the City of Charleston's Office of Cultural Affairs handles the visual arts - she delegates. The last couple of years it was Brad Collins' turn from USC and this year it seems to be the College of Charleston's turn.

Shimon Attie
Phil Moody

At the City Gallery at Waterfront Park we have Shimon Attie's, The History of Another, and Phil Moody's, Textile Towns. The exhibitions will be on display from May 23 through Aug. 12, 2005.

Over at the Halsey Gallery at the College of Charleston and at Redux Contemporary Arts Center we have the exhibit, Alive Inside: The Lure and Lore of the Sideshow, on view from May 13 through June 15, 2005. There will also be several window displays in conjunction with the exhibits at businesses on King Street at RTW, at 186 King St. and Magar Hatworks, at 557 King St.

This group exhibition features the work of contemporary artists who use the historic sideshow as muse or point of departure. This multi-media gathering of national artists boasts banner paintings advertising the talents inside the tent, clay puppets of sideshow characters, clothing and headgear worn by imaginary sideshow performers, cryptozoological creations, woodblock prints, pitch books, posters, and much, much more. Artists include Johnny Eck (in collaboration with Jeffrey Gordon), David Boatwright, Kevin House, Kurt Webb, Andrea Mai Lekberg, James Mundie, Leigh Magar, Joe Petro, Madame Talbot, Kreg Yingst, J.D. Wilkes, Max Rada Dada and Sarina Brewer.

On May 29, 2005, at 2pm in the Petite Performance Pavilion in Marion Square, performance artist Max Rada Dada will unveil his traveling sideshow extravaganza entitled Unexceptional Tricks. In the great tradition of dada masters Marcel Duchamp and Tristan Tzara, the performance re-imagines everyday objects as sources of visual pun and word play.

Hamed Mahmoodi

The City Gallery at the Dock Street Theatre will present the Hamed Mahmoodi Invitational Exhibition featuring works by Hamed Mahmoodi, the 2005 Spotlight Concert Series Poster Artist. Mahmoodi, an international artist living in Greenville, SC, has earned numerous juried awards, including Best-in-Show honors. In addition to being chosen for one of the 2005 Charleston Piccolo Spoleto poster awards, his paintings also won poster awards for five different years of the Greenville, SC, Coca-Cola RiverPlace Festival.

Oil, watercolor, markers, metals, wax, paper, furniture and camera work are some of the mediums that Mahmoodi has used to create his diverse works of art. His paintings vary from realism to abstract expressionism. His philosophy for creating art is that each idea and work deserves its own individual style and medium and therefore aligns himself with Robert Rauschenberg and Christo. Mahmoodi creates varied styles of paintings, portraits and sculptures, turns pieces of furniture into painted art, and recently won first place and honorable mention awards for his photography. Virtually everything in his surroundings has the potential to become a canvas for his craft.

Piccolo Spoleto's 21st Annual Juried Art Exhibition will take place again at the Charleston Visitor Center from May 27 through June 10, 2005. Organized by the Charleston Artist Guild, this annual exhibition showcases paintings, sculptures and photography by South Carolina artists. The exhibition will be juried by Margaret Hoybach (painting), Jack Alterman (photography) and Tom Durham (sculpture). The exhibition was coordinated by David Trickey.

Not too far from the Visitor Center over at Marion Square park, between Meeting and King and Calhoun Streets, we have the 2005 Piccolo Spoleto Outdoor Juried Art Exhibition on view from May 27 through June 12, 2005. On the outside of the park on the Meeting and Calhoun Streets side 102 of SC's award winning artists will pitch their tents - full of art in a wide variety of styles and mediums. Coordinators of this exhibit are Billie Sumner and Victoria Platt Ellis. All artwork is for sale.

This brings up a point of fact. All the art you see in any of the exhibits presented during Piccolo is probably for sale - if someone doesn't own them already. And even then - for the right price, you might be able to purchase them. So don't think that just art offered in an outdoor setting is for sale.

The juror for this year's show will be Noyes Capehart Long. Long came to the Art Department of Appalachian State University in 1969 after having been with the University of Mississippi from 1967-69 and for the four years prior to that (1963-67) at the University of Missouri in Columbia. He obtained a BFA at Auburn University in 1958, and his MA at the University of Missouri in 1967. At the time of Long's retirement from Appalachian State University in 1997, he had completed over 32 years teaching studio techniques at the university level.

On May 27, at 4pm, City of Charleston Mayor, Joseph P. Riley, will present the awards including the Mayor's Purchase Award.

Artists participating in the Piccolo Spoleto Outdoor Juried Art Exhibition will be offering demonstrations at the park, including:
May 29, 1pm - Steven Jordan (watercolor).
May 30, 11am - Tim Greaves (oil) and 2:30pm - Scott Henderson (digital photo hand coloring).
May 31, 11am - Stephanie Hamlet (mixed media) and 2:30pm - Christopher Hill (oil).
June 1, 11am - Ron Rocz (photography) and 2:30pm - Madison Latimer (mixed media).
June 2, 11am - Hilary Lambert (oil) and 2:30pm - Alice Stewart Grimsley (watercolor).
June 3, 11am - Carol Carberry (watercolor) and 2:30pm - Christy Crosby (oil).
June 4 - 11am - Bob Graham (drawing) and 2:30pm - Susan Mayfield West (pastel).
June 5 - 11am - John Jones (acrylic) and 2:30pm - Robin Brizard (oil).
June 6, 11am - Lynne Hardwick (mixed media) and 2:30pm - Bette Bentley-Layne (acrylic).
June 7, 11am - Linda Scavio (marbled paper) and 2:30pm - Peggy Howe (oil on paper).
June 8, 11am - Kellie Jacobs (pastel) and 2:30pm - Richard Johnson (acrylic).
June 9, 11am - Sherry Browne (papercuts) and 2:30pm - Joyce Hall (oil).
June 10, 11am - Sandy Phillips (watercolor) and 2:30pm - Detta Cutting Zimmerman (oil).

Next door to Marion Square is Wragg Square where the two Piccolo Spoleto Outdoor Crafts Fairs 2005 will take place on the weekends of May 27 - 29, 2005 and June 3 - 5, 2005. Located at Meeting and Charlotte Streets, during the two shows, Wragg Square will house more than 123 American craft artists from 20 states. Media presented ranges from traditional to contemporary expressions. Demonstrations by the exhibitors are presented throughout the shows. (You can see the schedule on Page 40 of our printed version of the paper for May - the link is on the home page of our site.)

Jurors will also select awards from both of these shows and works will also be added to the City of Charleston's collection with Mayor's Purchase Awards. This show is coordinated by Dorinda Harmon and Charleston Crafts Cooperative, Inc.

The only twist to this outdoor show is that there is an admission - well worth it, but here's a little tip - Charleston Crafts will be sending out complementary "free" admission cards to art galleries throughout SC before the events take place, so you might want to check with a gallery near where you live to save a few bucks. But the $3 admission is the cheapest thing you'll pay on a visit to Charleston (children ages 15 and under free).

Charleston Crafts, a cooperative of South Carolina artisans, will also be presenting daily free crafts demonstrations of the skills used to make the variety of traditional and contemporary crafts that may be seen in their gallery at 87 Hassell Street. (Also see on Page 40 of our printed version of the paper on our home page.)

Robin Boston

Heaven is Here, and Earth, and the Space is Thin Between Them is the theme of the 2005 Piccolo Spoleto Festival 'In the Spirit' exhibit held annually at Circular Congregational Church on Meeting Street in Charleston - across for the Gibbes Museum of Art. The exhibit will take place from May 27 through June 12, 2005, and feature works by artists of Circular Congregational Church. This is the sixth consecutive year the artists of Circular Congregational Church have chosen to explore their spirituality. The coordinator of this show was Peggy Howe.
The Bea Aaronson Invitational Exhibition will take place at Earth Fare located in South Windemere Shopping Center, West of the Ashley in Charleston. This exhibit in a grocery store takes place from May 27 through June 12, 2005.

I don't know where they come up with some of these locations for exhibits during Piccolo, but this one is a bit unusual.

Bea Aaronson

Piccolo Spoleto 2005 poster artist Bea Aaronson exhibits her works, including the official Piccolo Spoleto image, La Fete de la Nuit. Aaronson is a self-taught multimedia artist, art critic, performer, award-winning poet and published author, independent scholar and lecturer. She was born in Paris in 1956. After studying Art History at La Sorbonne and L'Ecole du Louvre, she went to Cape Town, South Africa, where she earned a BA Honors in French Literature and Art History. She moved to Charleston in 1987 and since then earned an MA in French Literature from the University of South Carolina, Columbia. She has exhibited her work in the United States, Europe, South Africa, Lebanon, and Israel, and curated shows in Colorado Springs, Columbia, and Charleston for Piccolo Spoleto.

Coordinator for this exhibit was Francina Smalls-Joyner of the Office of Cultural Affairs - who does a great job of keeping us informed of exhibits at the City Gallery at the Dock Street Theatre. Too bad she's not involved with PR on the City's Waterfront Gallery.

From this point on we hit what I call the "Piccolo Fringe" of the visual arts offerings. I'm not sure what exactly makes an official Piccolo Spoleto exhibit, but every year I'm amazed at some of the offerings. Not that they are not good shows, but I have to ask - "what makes them a Piccolo Spoleto exhibit and other exhibits not. Why are they listed in the official program?

By the way, you need an official Piccolo Spoleto program to really get the last minute update on the 700+ offerings the Festival presents.

First up is the exhibit at the Saul Alexander Gallery at the Charleston County Public Library, Blossoms, featuring flower paintings by Charleston artist, educator and historian Carol Ezell-Gilson. The exhibit, on view from June 2 - 30, 2005, reveals her love of color and detail and pays homage to nature's intense beauty.

The exhibit, Eaker-Aaronson: Face To Face, takes place from May 29 through June 12, 2005, at Bea Aaronson Studio at 356 King Street. Une histoire d'images en visages: Two very different artists take the line for a walk and project colors to instill different emotions. On June 10, from 6-9pm, Eaker and Aaronson paint live, inspired by the music and following the rhythms of Debussy and Ravel's string sextets, Satie's Gymnopedies and Gnossiennes and Stravinsky's Rite of Spring.

The exhibit, Quilt, will take place at Khoury Oriental Rugs, 71 Wentworth Street, from May 27 through June 12, 2005. By reinventing the practical elements of film, this installation calls upon the sense of touch. This exhibit by Emerson College film student, Mary Helena Clark, is a projector constructed from camera parts and a tapestry made of teabags, creating an ephemeral collage of moving images.

The exhibition, The Bridge I View, will take place at the Charleston Visitor Center (Bus Shed), 375 Meeting Street, from May 27 through June 12, 2005.

John Douglas Donehue, Jr.

Local artist John Douglas Donehue, Jr., in collaboration with Project ARTISTIC and selected art students from C.E. Williams Middle School, present their unique interpretations of the new Cooper River Bridge using kinetic sculptures inspired by the work of Alexander Calder.

Under a tent at Marion Square will be the exhibit, Viewpoint, from May 27 through June 12, 2005. Through the lenses of residents from the Charleston Crisis Ministries and the Charleston Housing Authority, view exciting, new photographic perspectives on life in Charleston's inner city. The exhibit was coordinated by Gene Furchgott.

And, the final Piccolo Spoleto visual art offering will be the one-day exhibition and discussion - Sophia: Global Expressions Of The Sacred Feminine. The event takes place on June 2, 2005, from 6-7:30pm, at the Phoebe Pember House Studio, 301 East Bay Street.

Found in all the world's spiritual and religious traditions, although often veiled and misunderstood, she carries many names: Mary, Mary Magdalene, Sophia, The Black Madonna, Tara, Quan Yin, Saraswati, Kali. This discussion and art exhibit, featuring paintings, sculpture, icons and fabric art, explores the question: how is she manifesting in our time? The coordinator for the exhibit was Carolyn Rivers.

That's it - as far as we know as of our deadline for this issue, but there will be more - there always is.

And, don't forget - Charleston's commercial visual art community will be offering visual art lovers all they can take and more. Just as many, if not more, exhibits will be being offered at the same time a galleries throughout the greater Charleston area.

For further information check our SC Institutional Gallery listings and other articles offered in this issue.

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