Feature Articles

August 2013

Picture This Gallery on Hilton Head Island, SC, Offers Works Focused on the Color Indigo

Picture This Gallery on Hilton Head Island, SC, will present All Things Indigo: The Color That Seduced the World, a mixed media exhibition featuring works focused on the color indigo, on view from Aug. 12 through Sept. 21, 2013, A reception will be held on Sept. 12, from 6-8pm.

Artists with works in this exhibition include: Arianne King-Comer, Jocelyn Châteauvert, Mary C. Leto, Amanda Degner, Nancy Mitchell, Courtney Fall Tomchik, Caren Calafati, Mary Hark, Mira Scott, Carly Neil, Barbara Miller and Mary Kelly.

Hilton Head Island has a rich history that revolves around the production of indigo. Eliza Lucas Pinckney (1722-1793) was a woman of sixteen when she managed her fathers 10 plantations and pioneered large-scale cultivation of indigo in the Lowcounty of South Carolina and locally on Pinckney Island. With this exhibit, Picture This Gallery wants to honor the history and elevate the art-form that surrounds this globally sought after dye, “the color that seduced the world”.

Mary Hark, one of the contributing artists offering this comment, “Indigo is a color that is valued by cultures all over the world. It is a dye that offers a remarkable range - from a chalky sky blue to a deep, ruddy, blue-black. It is a medium that can sing with crisp pattern, carry rivers of fluid marks, or produce a stunning, field of thick, rich, darkness. I have used this color for more than 20 years in my studio practice - its emotional range, its connection to textile traditions from all over the world, and its profound beauty continues to engage my imagination”.

Caren Calafati uses a fine art approach to her watercolor renderings mostly in varying shades of pure indigo. She works from her studio, Sea Islands Indigo, on Hilton Head as well as her studio in New Hampshire. Here in South Carolina she has an advantage of charming vistas from which she draws her inspiration. She frequently uses a moon image along with ocean themes “moonscapes” but her work is decidedly Sea Island inspired. Using monochromatic schemes with shades of color fast indigo on archival papers with resist techniques she captures the essence of the Lowcountry with a nod towards its long history in South Carolina.

Jocelyn Chateauvert began her career as an artist making jewelry out of paper and sterling silver. Eventually she had the desire to work on large-scale projects, so she began creating installation art 25 years ago. Her installations are made strictly of paper that she hand makes from plant fibers. For this exhibit Chateauvert is offering Jewelry where the paper is infused with the indigo colors.

Mary C Leto, a conceptual artist, uses handmade paper as her primary medium and vehicle for her artistic expression. Artists books, sculptures and two dimensional works are created using the texture, color, opacity or translucency of certain fibers to convey an idea. Basically self taught, she became a professional paper maker after interning in the famed Dieu Donne Papermill and Gallery in SoHo NYC, 1996.

Leto has been making paper and artist’s books since 1988, teaching in many museums, colleges and botanical gardens. She successfully shows her paper-works in galleries nationally and many are included in important private and public collections and publications.

Capturing Orbs in the Night Sky is a wordless artist’s book of dyed indigo handmade paper and various other plant materials. The book deals with capturing fleeting moments or memories that barely come into focus, known or unknown and then fade into the “blue”. Leto adds, “Indigo, a favorite color, always reminds me of the deepest ocean or a moonless sky when thoughts surface ‘out of the blue’ to be coddled and polished - silver slivers of the past shrouded in an attempt to safeguard them before slipping away – again”.

Arianne King-Comer earned a BFA in graphic art with an art history minor from Howard University. She is now an art consultant, lecturer, teacher and textile artist.

King-Comer studied indigo processing in Nigeria on a United Nations grant and traveled to Istanbul, Turkey where she designed boutique denim wear for Mavi Jeans, USA. She appeared in a PBS documentary (1999) and a segment of HGTV’s “Country Style” (2003). Today she works in collaboration with the North Charleston Cultural Affairs Office at Heritage House, a cultural center. She also teaches Yoruba Patterning in Textile at John C. Campbell Folk School.

Barbara Miller combines many talents to achieve amazing award winning jewelry. Most notably in her creation of a collar type necklace. Indigo Dreams, one such necklace combines several disparate art forms, knitting, wire work and beading where her love of indigo is evident.

Miller knits stainless steel wire together with a massive quantity of indigo gems, blue kyanite, indigo dyed fresh water pearls and lapis lazuli to mention a few. The result is a gorgeous “collar” necklace many of which can be found in museums, galleries and gift shops and on lucky owners of these beautiful works of art.

The use of vibrant color which typically dominates Mira Scott’s works of Lowcountry subjects is absent in these rich prints of indigo seeds. Nevertheless with her brilliant use of line and her flair for presenting images of nature, the absence of color is not noticed. There is a fresh new uncluttered appreciation and obvious love of her beloved indigo in this presentation.

Remembering an admired artist, Anna Heyward Taylor, an early 20th century linocut artist who depicted early plantation life including harvesting indigo and rice, Scott felt that the crisp clean lines of a linocut could best represent her locally harvested indigo seed stalks. Working from her own photos, and experimenting with lighting Scott was able to create unique shadows cast by the seed pods and captured these in the prints, elevating and setting them apart from typical linocuts.

On Saturday Sept, 14, 2013, Picture This Gallery will offer All Things Indigo, a full day of indigo events which include: a screening of the documentary “Blue Alchemy: Stories of Indigo by Mary Lance”; Julie Dash’s 1991 Sundance award-winning movie “Daughters of the Dust”; an historical presentation on Eliza Lucas Pinckney by living history interpreter Peggy Pickett; a papermaking demonstration by Jocelyn Châteauvert and Mary C. Leto; a lecture on homeopathic uses of indigo by Nancy Reed; and a lecture by Arianne King-Comer.

Picture This Gallery (established in 1985) is a beautiful, large, well-situated space committed to showing unique quality works of art. Resident artist Mira Scott and her partner, photographer Mark S. Tierney are featured and include many national guest artists. The gallery presents local and national artists working across multiple disciplines. The gallery has a full service picture-framing department; conservation framing, art and frame restoration, fine art jewelry, giclee printing services, pick-up and delivery. An in-house virtual gallery allows visitors immediate access to the artists’ full portfolios, and provides an engaging interactive experience. 

For further information check our SC Commercial Gallery listings, call the gallery at 843/842-5299 or visit (www.picturethishiltonhead.com).


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