Monday, May 4, 2009

Artist returns to Columbia - for a while and a show


For the past three months Anne Boudreau has been stitching and stretching as an artist-in-residence at the 701 Center for Contemporary Art.

“I can’t believe I’ve been here three months,” she said Tuesday night while brewing Community Coffee in a white enamel pot. “And I’m still not finished. How can I still be working on this?”

“A Delicate Balance,” the show resulting from her residency, opens Thursday evening.

In the large, second-floor gallery a sunset illuminated four nearly transparent fabric sculptures. The four are large abstract pieces about large abstract concepts. In the apartment studio across the hall wire and fabric sculptures in the forms of corsets, aprons, cravats and codpieces floating from the ceiling. They’re a mix of simple gray and blue mattress ticking material and showy black and white floral fabric making a clothing-based commentary on class.

“The thing that struck me about the mills was the disparity between those who worked in them and those who owned them,” Boudreau said.

Another element of “A Delicate Balance” are watercolor-washed drawings by Hand Middle School students based on clothing-influenced pieces she made.

“I just love this,” Boudreau said holding up one drawing. As rifled through the stack she she found more to love.

The residency at the Center for Contemporary Art isn’t Boudreau’s first time in Columbia or even in the building. The New Orleans native and resident lived in Columbia in 1994 from 2000. She came to study for her master of fine arts degree at USC. Her graduate thesis exhibition was held in the 701 building when it was the arts center Gallery 701. The large works in “A Delicate Balance” are a kind of return to the pieces in that show.

During the 1990s, she was very much a part of the South Carolina arts fabric. She did exhibitions in Columbia, Sumter, Camden, Spartanburg, Hilton Head and Rock Hill and won a fellowship from the S.C. Arts Commission.

“When I was here there was always a sense of community among the artists,” said Boudreau. “And it feels like it’s grown and matured since then.

“I still say South Carolina was very good to me.”

Boudreau is the second artist-in-residence at the Center for Contemporary Art, which is housed on the second floor of the former Olympia Mill Village community center. The building at 701 Whaley Street was renovated last year.

Boudreau, wearing cutoff jean and two shirts of competing patterns, is small and slight, with black hair that used to be spiky but now has grown out. Her conversation takes many tangents – the origins of the word “cravat,” whether anyone under 50 will know what mattress ticking is and how whale penises – or as she puts it “peni” ‑ she saw in a Jacques Cousteau television program when she was a child influenced the long, silver-gray forms that pierce the corsets and codpieces.

While she could have stayed in Columbia, she wanted to move back to New Orleans to be close to her mother who is now 86. Like others, Boudreau weathered Hurricane Katrina, which included getting laid off from her teaching job. She’s represented by the Le Mieux Gallery in New Orleans, but won’t be living in the city much longer. She and her partner David DuBose, a printmaker, plan to move to Layfayette, La., where he’s taking a teaching job. “Mamma” will most likely be going too.

But shaking up her entire life is a few weeks away. Boudreau still had a show to finish. So with the clock pushing 11, she got down to work.

“A Delicate Balance,” opens with a reception from 7 to 9 Thursday evening. $5 donation requested. The show will be on display through July 5.

1 comment:

  1. I really loved this show and enjoyed seeing Anne.

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