Feature Articles

May 2013

Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, SC, Features Works by Stephen Mueller and Carl Palazzolo for Spoleto Festival

The Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, SC, will present Spoleto Watercolors of Stephen Mueller and Carl Palazzolo From the Collection of David and Carol Rawle, on view in the Rotunda Galleries, from May 24 through Sept. 15, 2013.

The Gibbes Museum of Art in conjunction with the Spoleto Festival USA will present the extraordinary body of work created in Charleston by two significant contemporary artists: Stephen Mueller and Carl Palazzolo. Mueller and Palazzolo began visiting Charleston during the Festival in the early 1990s and created paintings inspired by their experiences in the city. Drawn from the collection of David and Carol Rawle, this exhibition documents the collaborative relationship between Mueller, Palazzolo, and the Rawles - a relationship that continues to thrive today.

Executive Director Angela Mack says, “It is extraordinarily rare to find collectors willing to create an artist-in-residence scenario for the pure joy of interacting with the creative process. We are delighted to have the opportunity to display the fruits of this twenty-year collaboration between collector and artist inspired by Charleston and Spoleto Festival USA.”

Stephen Mueller’s abstract paintings create a tension between background and foreground through the juxtaposition of delicate washes of color and bold, simplified shapes. The geometric abstractions were inspired by Mueller’s interest in Eastern philosophy. Many of the shapes evoke mandalas, Buddha, bodhisattva figures, and items associated with these figures such as lightning bolts, mirrors, and prayer beads.

Mueller lived and worked in New York City, where he passed away in 2011.

Carl Palazzolo’s unique paintings include recognizable imagery stripped of any context. This results in mysterious, abstract works evoking memories and dreams. Palazzolo often employs trompe l’oeil techniques to fool the eye and create a playful interaction with the viewer.

This exhibition presents the opportunity to share the story of two significant American artists creating art in the south, and the visionary patronage of Rawle, one of the major art collectors in the region. Spoleto Watercolors also matches the museum’s mission to develop innovative exhibitions that interpret the art of Charleston and the American South.

The Spoleto Watercolors of Stephen Mueller and Carl Palazzolo From the Collection of David and Carol Rawle is sponsored by the member auxiliary group Gibbes, Etc., the Medical University of South Carolina, South Carolina Bank and Trust, The Joanna Foundation, and the Albert Sottile Foundation.

Related programing and special events include:

On May 24, at noon - Spoleto opening ceremonies; at 1pm in the Rotunda Gallery - Annual Fellows luncheon in Gibbes courtyard; and at 2:30pm - Gallery talk and tour of the Spoleto Watercolors led by artist Carl Palazzolo. The tour is free with gallery admission.

On May 30, at 6pm - a reception and conversation with Dr. Jeb Hallett, David Rawle, Carl Palazzolo, and Dr. Joseph John, Jr. around the Spoleto Watercolors exhibition. Admission is $20 for members and $30 for non-members. Purchase tickets at (gibbesmuseum.org/events).

On June 6 and July 11, at 2:30pm - Curator-led tour of Spoleto Watercolors.

Established as the Carolina Art Association in 1858, the Gibbes Museum of Art opened its doors to the public in 1905. Located in Charleston’s historic district, the Gibbes houses a premier collection of over 10,000 works, principally American with a Charleston or Southern connection, and presents special exhibitions throughout the year. In addition, the museum offers an extensive complement of public programming and educational outreach initiatives that serve the community by stimulating creative expression and improving the region’s superb quality of life. Visit highlights of the Gibbes collection on Google Art Project at (www.googleartproject.com).

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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