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May Issue 2010

Sumter County Gallery of Art in Sumter, SC, Features Works by Rose Metz and Ramona Bultman-Lewis

The Sumter County Gallery of Art in Sumter, SC, is presenting several exhibits including: Rose Metz: Dualities, Ramona Bultman-Lewis: Thick as Thieves­ Images from the Bultman family 1930 - 1950, and the Elmina Series, by Bultman-Lewis, on view through July 9, 2010.

Rose Metz

Rose Metz has been a resident of South Carolina since 1975. She studied art at the Cleveland Institute of Art, the Fort Worth Museum of Western Art, and the University of South Carolina. Metz also studied abroad in England and in Florence, Italy. She has taught painting and drawing at the Sumter County Gallery of Art for many years.

Rose Metz

The title of the exhibition, Dualities, refers to Metz's choice of subject matter as she shifts effortlessly between representational work, landscapes, florals, figural studies, and non-representational, abstract work and reflects her talent, versatility and open mindedness. Metz is adept in many media including watercolor, oils, collage and printmaking.

Metz's work has been included in numerous, prestigious solo and group exhibitions including the Springs Traveling Exhibition, the Collage Society, Los Angeles, CA, the 35th Annual National Watermedia Oklahoma exhibition and the San Diego Watercolor Society show and the Burroughs-Chapin Art Museum, Myrtle Beach, SC, in 2003.

Currently, Metz's work is included in the exhibit, Milestones: Celebrating 70 and Beyond, at the Burroughs-Chapin Art Museum. Her solo shows include the Fine Arts Center of Kershaw County, Florence Museum and the Patriot Hall Gallery in Sumter (2005). Metz is a perennial award winner of the annual South Carolina Watermedia Society Show. Her paintings are in many corporate and business collections including the Springs Industries Collection, Siebels Bruce Company, Galloway & Moseley, and City of Sumter, as well as many private collections throughout the US and Europe. Her work has been highlighted in several national watercolor publications including Palette magazine (2009) and Watercolor Magic magazine (2002).

In the June/July 2009 issue of Palette magazine the review of her work noted that: "Rose Metz achieves a quietly intimate quality in her small non-objective collage pieces. They feel like small sections snipped from a large ancient Asian scroll. Working with a variety of found materials, Metz's palette is dominated by muted colors and black calligraphic marks against a few spots of intense color. Her brushwork is casual and unpremeditated. What distinguishes Metz's work is her subtle use of color and contrasts of intensity, often employing the color of the found material (paper, fabric) and adding painted areas that are in tune with these materials, resulting in compositions that are handsome and beautifully integrated."

Metz offered the following statement about her work: "For my non-objective work, I start intuitively with colors and images and the relationships between them, which I work experimentally. The feel of the work and where it is heading is an important part of the composition. I add and subtract until I find a solution that I feel is right for the statement I wish to make. My subjective work is more structured, and since I teach this style of representational painting, it is a welcome change from my non-objective work although both are a challenge. I have no social commentary to make; I am hopeful that what I paint will communicate itself to others."

Ramona Bultman-Lewis

Ramona Bultman-Lewis started taking photographs as a child growing up in suburban North Carolina. Her father had a collection of antique cameras that she and her brother would experiment with taking their own images. At age four she had her first experience in the darkroom. She began using the computer as a tool for creating art while at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill working on a double major in fine art and computer science. Bultman-Lewis received a Masters in Architectural Design from North Carolina State University, and has also studied at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA, and Kunsthoch Schola Weissensie, in Berlin, Germany. As a multimedia artist she integrates photography with sculpture and a variety of digital resources: animation, 3-D graphics, and rich media.

Ramona Bultman-Lewis

Bultman-Lewis has taught multimedia, graphic communications, photography, and life drawing at North Carolina State University. Her work has been included in several exhibitions including solo shows at Through This Lens Photographic Gallery, Durham, NC, 2008, and Road to Kumasi, Durham Arts Council, 2007, and group shows: Durham Arts Guild Competition­Third place award, 2006, Peace College Social Justice exhibition-2004 and the Raleigh Contemporary Gallery Open, 2003.

The works comprising this show are from two current projects: Thick as Thieves integrates traditional photography with digitally enhanced techniques, and the Elmina Series, in which a simple design process is applied, using form, color, and metaphor as the bases of expression. Bultman-Lewis' message is always evolving; her goal is to challenge the viewer's personal convictions of cultural stereotypes.

The highly personal works in Thick as Thieves are based on pictures of Bultman-Lewis' father's family that were taken in pre-World War II Sumter. The photographs, taken by her grandparents and uncle William Bultman Jr., document a family caught between the lines of race, bound by society's expectations and laws. Bultman-Lewis states: "I realized after starting this body of work that I have unearthed something quite powerful and grand. These images are hauntingly familiar yet so foreign. The story has yet to be told as I consider these works to be an introduction to the Bultman family and the journey of our lives."

Thick as Thieves will also include video footage of Bultman-Lewis' father, Dr. Charles Bultman and the late Mayor "Bubba" McElveen (who were close friends) touring Stateburg, as well as several family heirlooms such as clothing and a large model airplane constructed by the artist's father and uncles. 

For several years Ramona Bultman-Lewis has been working on images, which make up the Elmina Series, that were taken in Ghana, West Africa in 2003. These images pay homage to the Akan culture in Ghana and illustrate how those cultural values are reflected in daily life.

"By integrating Ghanaian proverbs and Adinkra symbols with documentary photography, I endeavor to give credence to their usage as 'words' of wisdom. In Ghana, proverbs are commonly used to express a practical truth about humanity. It is my intent to honor this humanity and wisdom and bring voice to people seldom heard," says Bultman-Lewis.

"Creating conceptually based, sociopolitical photographic imagery is the foundation of my work. With an emphasis on time and place, I deconstruct Western stereotypes and challenge our preconceptions of beauty, body type, and power." Bultman-Lewis adds, "I choose subjects of my work to examine both racial and gender assignment - how women/men, blacks/whites take cues from the mass consciousness of the American psyche to determine their self-image. I combine these themes with metaphors for assimilation, taking from other cultures that which is comfortable but leaving behind their rich history and inherent significance. My visual choices are made to clarify and give voice to what is often overlooked, misunderstood, or ignored in our contemporary global society."

For further information check our SC Institutional Gallery listings, call the Gallery at 803/775-0543 or visit (www.sumtergallery.org).

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