Although the attention usually goes to the Thursday night public opening of Artista Vista in the Congaree Vista, what’s usually forgotten is that most of these exhibitions are on display for weeks. I love the gallery hopping thing; see lots of people, eat some cheese, talk, talk and talk. I don’t do much looking, and although some people do, most really don’t.
I went back today for another look.
“Perceptual Painters” organized by artist Brian Rego of Camden, is one of the best shows the gallery has mounted. The seven artists are associated with the Pennsylvaina Academy of Art, which is considered a quite conservative place. These paintings are conservative, but it is conservatism to admire – good technique, solid composition, emotions and ideas that speak softly rather than scream. The paintings are of interiors, still lifes, a few figures and some landscapes and while all the art feels tied together, each artist has a distinctive voice.
The complex and cool interiors by John Lee (right) give way to a warmth and a little humor in Dave Campell’s mostly small pieces. A few of the works are a little more out there, but they show plenty of skill and imagination with traditional approaches.
It's obvious that these artists are talented, but judging they also seem young. I want to see what happens when they really push themselves during the next few years. In the meantime, this show will do quite nicely.
“Perceptual Painters,” through June 27.
“Wings” a small show of paintings by
The show at the Carol Saunders Gallery most often focuses on birds birds flying, birds looking at us and birds dong things bird might be able to do if they organized a union such as moving a nest and delivering mail.
Foster’s birds are beautiful and well-rendered, but what she does with them doesn’t often work. Those set in a kind of patterned background look a little too much like plain old decoration. Where she tries to set them free, they’re often lost in an undistinguished landscape. Foster is most likely doing this intentionally – the finished feathers contrasting against a more unfinished background. But these birds and their flights of fancy call out for more finely-tuned technique.
The show is up through May 23.
Carl Blair of
Blair is a landscape painter, but one who mostly keeps the landscape in his head and does that he wants to with it. This most often find its way into canvases that are often grid like, but which can also explode into glowing pools and swooping shapes. There’s all that in this show, which has works dating back to the 1984, although most is from the last decade.
For me, the mostly abstract “I Think I Play Snowy Day” from 2003 is one of the most beautiful, moving and most unusual of his works I’ve seen and I’ve seen hundreds.
The animal sculptures are rough-hewn critters with a little color. They’re fun and unless you drop one on your foot, harmless.
“Flora and Fauna” runs through May 9.
Each spring, the resident artists of Vista Studios (also known as Gallery 80808) have a group show. This isn’t a commercial gallery, although it sometimes serves that purpose.
All the artists do fine work, but the exhibition itself doesn’t serve the viewers, the gallery or the artists well.
This is a show in which the artists put in whatever they want to put in. I’m sure they’re putting up what they think are their best pieces, but one person’s best work, according to them, next to another person’s best work, according to them, may not make for the best show. And this needs to be a real show, not just one from artist A and one from artist B and so on. It’s a strange show because it is all about the group, but it is also completely about the individual.
Hiring someone to organize the resident artists’ exhibition would probably be too expensive and complicated and would no doubt cause hard feelings. And the last thing we need is to mess up something like Vista Studios which is a monument to the survival of art in the
For the visitor who doesn’t know much about Vista Studios, there’s no explanation of what this place is, why the show exists and who these artists are. The person who is stopping by for the first or maybe even fifth time doesn’t know it from the gift shop around the corner showing art. For those of us who have been around time, it may seem obvious, but this year it is painfully NOT obvious.
Even monuments need upkeep.
The Vista Studio resident artist exhibition is on display though May 15.