Feature Articles

June Issue 2002

Columbia Museum of Art in Columbia, SC, Offers Two Exhibitions Featuring Watercolors for Summer Viewing

The Columbia Museum of Art in Columbia, SC, will offer the exhibitions, Masters of the American Watercolor and 25th Annual Juried Art Exhibition of the South Carolina Watercolor Society, on view from June 15 through Aug. 18, 2002

The Columbia Museum of Art is organizing an exhibition of 11 works from the large and prestigious collection of American watercolors at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Highlights of the intimate exhibition are rarely seen works that include four paintings by John Singer Sargent. Also included are works by Winslow Homer, Childe Hassam, Reginald Marsh, Frank Benson, William Stanley Haseltine, William Trost Richards and John Whorf. The exhibition looks at the rise of watercolor painting in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

A celebrated portraitist in the medium of oil, John Singer Sargent (1856-1925) adopted watercolor as his preferred painting medium while traveling throughout Europe and America in the first years of the twentieth century. Two of the works featured in the exhibition, Venice: I Gesuati and Carrara: Lizzatori II, were produced during Sargent's trips to Italy. His aggressive approach with brushmarks and color, which became typical of a more modern American watercolor style, contrasts with the conservative and reserved English and European methods practiced by earlier artists such as Richards, Haseltine and other adherents of realism.

Winslow Homer (1836-1910) broke from his early career as an illustrator to produce some of the most striking watercolor images of the late nineteenth century. In Mar. of 1881, Homer sailed for England and settled in Cullercoats, a small fishing and artists' community on the Northumberland coast near Tynemouth. Over the next year Homer began working on a series of watercolors that included Tynemouth Sands, shown in the exhibition - an image that captures a scene from the everyday lives of members of the fishing community.

Harry Hansen, professor of art at the University of South Carolina, serves as guest curator. This exhibition is organized by the Columbia Museum of Art and sponsored by Blanchard Machinery Company.

The South Carolina Watercolor Society (SCWS), the largest statewide visual artists guild, celebrates its 25th Anniversary by presenting the 25th Annual Juried Art Exhibition of the South Carolina Watercolor Society. Dean Mitchell, internationally recognized artist, will select paintings for the exhibition from over 300 statewide entries. There will be $10,000 in cash awards presented to the top 30 artists.

Currently residing in Overland Park, KS, Mitchell is a native of Quincy, FL. He received his BFA from Columbus College of Art and Design and subsequently worked as a leading designer for Hallmark Cards, Inc. In 1983 Mitchell left the commercial field to pursue the muse of realistic painting in both rural and urban America. His efforts were recognized with membership in the American Watercolor Society, Miniature Artists of America, Allied Artists of America, The National Society of Painters in Casein and Acrylic, Knickerbockers Artists, and the Sante Fe Watercolor Society, of which he was President in 1993. In 1994 he was awarded an Honorary Masters Degree.

In 1992 Mitchell was one of five finalists in the $250,000 Hubbard Award for Excellence, Ruidoso, New Mexico and received the prestigious Parks $50,000 Grand Prize for the Arts in Parks competition in 1999. In 1995 the US Postal Service commissioned Mitchell to do a series of Jazz stamps.

Today, Mitchell's paintings may be found in not only private and corporate collections but also the permanent collections of the St. Louis Art Museum, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Hubbard Museum, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Mississippi Art Museum, Arkansas Art Centers and others. He was featured in The Artist's Magazine, Oct., 2000, and Mitchell said, "Ultimately it's the ability to communicate with passion - not mere technique or subject matter - that counts. Artists have to constantly realize that art is a language unto itself. You'll find that artists who really went with their hearts and went with what they believed in, those are the artists people truly embrace and remember."

Several programs have been planned in conjunction with these watercolor exhibitions including gallery talks and demonstrations. The schedule is as follows: On Sat., June 22, at 2pm, Harry Hansen, guest curator of Masters of the American Watercolor will give a gallery talk about the exhibition. On Sat., July 13, at 1pm, Toni Elkins, artist and SCWS member will give a gallery talk about the the exhibit, 25th Annual Juried Art Exhibition of the South Carolina Watercolor Society. On Sun. July 21, at 1:30pm,Clarie K. Farrell, artist and SCWS member will give a gallery talk about the the exhibit, 25th Annual Juried Art Exhibition of the South Carolina Watercolor Society. On Aug., 3, at 1pm, Angela Bradburn, artist and SCWS member will give a gallery talk about the the exhibit, 25th Annual Juried Art Exhibition of the South Carolina Watercolor Society. On Sun., June 23, at 1pm, Harry Hansen will present a watercolor demonstration.

For more info call the Museum at 803/799-2810 or visit (www.columbiamuseum.org). For info on group rates and tours, call 803-343-2208.

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