Feature Articles

August 2013

RIVERWORKS Gallery in Greenville, SC, Features Works by John Acorn

RIVERWORKS Gallery in Greenville, SC, is presenting JOHN ACORN: Project Pistols, on view through Aug. 30, 2013. A reception will be held on Aug. 2, from 6-9pm.

Acorn confesses to being addicted to making things. For the last 5 years he has made hundreds of wooden pistols and assembled them or combined them to create The Pistol Project.

“My interest in using the pistol as a subject or theme for my recent artwork is part of my ongoing search and inquiry into the nature of our species, human beings,” Acorn says. The pistol cutouts are a child’s benign toy and a timely reminder of death, often too young and always too frequent. Acorn, with his signature impeccable craftsmanship, has combined brightly colored pistols to configure a “P”, like the “P” in “My First Alphabet Book.”

Acorn has constructed icons that might be found in the proverbial Sunday School class by framing angel whatnots with pistols. He has tucked pistols into a handmade quilt to insure the safety and warmth of home and hearth. Acorn has used the pistols to touch on many of our American apple pie ideals, childhood, home, church. The Pistol Project is accessible, fun, frightening and sad all at once.

Acorn explains “I do not intend to be a crusader or missionary on issues regarding firearms. I do admit, however, to wondering about the fact that my culture is so enamored with firearms.”

Acorn, after completing a MFA at Michigan’s Cranbrook Academy of Art began teaching at Clemson University in 1961. He served as chair of the Art Department at Clemson for 21 years, retiring in 1997. Acorn has been an active artist with many commissions in public buildings across South Carolina. His latest commission (2013) is the stunning “Orbital Trio” in NOMA Square outside the Hyatt on Main Street, Greenville.

The South Carolina Arts Commission recognized his efforts as an arts advocate in South Carolina in 1998 with the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Award. Acorn has exhibited widely and his work is included in the collections of the Greenville County Museum of Art, the Asheville Museum of Art and Charlotte’s Mint Museum of Art. Acorn received Clemson’s 2010 Distinguished Emeriti Award for his continuing commitment to the university and the community after retirement.

RIVERWORKS Gallery is operated by and for the faculty and students of the Department of Visual and Performing Arts at Greenville Technical College. The gallery is located at 300 River Street, Suite 202, along the scenic Reedy River in downtown Greenville.

For further information check our SC Institutional Gallery listings, call the gallery at 864/271-0679 or visit (www.gvltec.edu/vpa/) and click on RIVERWORKS.

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