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June 2011

Rick Rhodes Art Gallery in Charleston, SC, Features Works by Tina Christophillis, Justin Nathanson and Brit Washburn

Rick Rhodes Art Gallery in Charleston, SC, are presenting the exhibit, You Are Safe, featuring works by Tina Christophillis, Justin Nathanson and Brit Washburn, a Piccolo Spoleto Festival Exhibition, on view through June 25, 2011.

The beginning of the collaboration was sparked by a chance meeting between Brit Washburn and Tina Christophillis. Both artists were participating in a singer-songwriter event at the Charleston Pour House. Christophillis was able to graphically capture the text, tone and imagery of the musicians’ lyrics and the poets’ words in a wholly unmediated and captivating way. Through this meeting a project was initiated with the impulse to explore city life, relationships and their connection. It wasn’t long before filmmaker Justin Nathanson was asked to join the group and an artistic cross-pollination happened, as though one had infiltrated the deep sub-consciousness of the other and in so doing transformed the very molecular structure of the other’s aesthetics to a startling effect. Only in a state of complete dis-inhibition is such a collaboration possible and it is in this respect an enactment and manifestation of the concept “You Are Safe” came to be.

The issue of safety rose out of wanting to share artistic visions freely, and honestly. Nothing was to be judged, and everything was to be imagined. The realization arose that each of us has complete creative freedom at any given time, and that the only thing which comes in the way of that is thought. Working to rise above the intrusion of thought, the artists worked against reason, and in service of intuition. Working from this place of safety and non-judgment, the artists began working independently, inspired by their interaction.

As the collaboration moved forward, Christophillis was inspired to move inward. She began to explore the figure in timeless situations, alone in a city, room, or corridor, under a tree, holding an animal, stepping out into the light. In eliminating detail in her paintings, her figures become “everyman,” and emanating something we can all connect to on an intuitive level. This collaboration offered Christophillis safety to explore imagery that is evocative, suggestive, and relevant to all.

By video and audio taping every meeting, Nathanson began to work directly with the collaborative dialogue. Playing further on the issue of safety, Nathanson began photographing figures in the dark, almost running from and moving towards their shadows – or, themselves. Several main photographs riff even further on the theme of safety, moving into the literal – personal safety. Nathanson will have avant-garde video installation and several smaller audio pieces that will accompany his photography.

Over the course of Washburn’s acquaintance with Christophollis, Nathanson, and their work, Washburn found herself preoccupied with the artists’ images and questions posed in conversation with them. Her poems of the past several months investigate the concept of “safety” in various forms, delineating the experience in a lyric-narrative style reflective of the artists’ influence.

Tina Christophillis is a painter who received her BA in Studio Art and Arts Management from the College of Charleston in 2008. In 2009, she received the Lowcountry Quarterly Arts Grant as an individual artist to present the group exhibit Delete Apathy: Promoting Environmental Action in collaboration with the Coastal Conservation League. As a former dancer, improvisational movement plays a strong role in the work. The marks move freely as the color is alive with the pulse of emotion and the passion she sees in her environment. Everything tells a story in the work. It is all relevant, inherent and uniquely human. Currently she holds studio space at Redux Contemporary Art Center and teaches painting and drawing classes.

Justin Nathanson is a video artist, photographer, and an Independent Filmmaker, living and working in the Lowcountry with his three cats and fiancé. After years of acting school (The Lee Strasberg Theater Institute, NYC) and playing saxophone (First Alto - New York All City Band), Nathanson completed his directorial feature film debut at 19 years old, while studying film at New York’s School of Visual Arts. Since then, Nathanson and his production company The Cut Company, has produced, directed or edited many other feature films, TV shows, art films, and commercials.

Brit Washburn is a poet and a graduate of the Creative Writing Program at Interlochen Arts Academy in Northern Michigan, where she was born and raised. She continued her studies at Eugene Lang College in New York City, and lived in Brazil, France, and Hawaii, before moving to Charleston, in 2005.

The winner of two consecutive Albion Prizes for Poetry, judged by the poets Gary Snyder and Ai respectively, Washburn’s work has appeared in The Albion Review, Controlled Burn, The Dunes Review, Earth’s Daughter’s, Foreword Magazine, Manoa and A New Song, as well as the anthology, Mourning Our Mothers: Poems About Loss. She is the editor of the journal Re:Union, and has served as co-editor of the children’s poetry collection, Pass It On and the Goddard College literary magazine, Guideword.

Currently enrolled in a low residency creative writing program out of Goddard, Washburn was recently awarded an artist’s grant by the Vermont Studio Center where she was in residence in April 2011, completing Cleaving, a collection of poems, as well as a collection of essays.

Albert Einstein said, “Intuition is a gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that has honored the servant and not the gift.”

“People are waking up to the gift as the guiding point in their lives, the world and this thing we call humanity. It is not better, hip nor cool. It is the most natural and serene way of life. The moment is everything. Intention is everything. Your intuition is guiding you. Use it. Know it. Live it. Stand on solid rock and emanate all that is good about this world” says Washburn.

For further information check our SC Commercial Gallery listings, call 843/766-7625 or visit (

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