Sunday, February 21, 2010

Art at the book festival

What’s coming up next weekend is called the South Carolina Book Festival. But I’m going to write about art. Art and the book festival.
Each year the festival, which is put on by the S.C. Humanities Council, uses an artwork on its promotional materials and posters. Usually this is a pre-existing artwork.
The artist this year, Claire Farrell of Columbia, did a painting specifically for the festival of a woman reading a book.  Actually she appears to be looking at picture in an art book. Still the painting captures the pure pleasure of sitting down and relaxing with a book.
 “They called after the last festival and asked me,” said Farrell, “and I really wanted to do something of someone reading.”
Just a few blocks from the festival at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center, Farrell has a solo exhibition. The show at City Art Gallery, at Lincoln and Lady streets, opens with a reception Thursday night from 6 to 8 and remains up through March 27.
Best known for her landscape paintings, Farrell’s show of about 40 paintings and monotypes about equally divided between figurative and landscape. (One work actually consists of about 16 small portraits displayed as a group so the individual count is about 55.) This show will have more figurative works than just about any she has done.
 “To be perfectly honest the galleries find figurative work harder to sell,” she said.
But Wendy Wells, an owner of City Art, decided on the figure-heavy show.
“I’m really excited about it,” Ferrell said.
One doesn’t even have to leave the convention center to see an art show. The festival has put together its first in-house art show. Among the 27 artists are Farrell, David and Ellen Yaghjin, Mike Williams, Pat Callahan and Christian Thee of Columbia, Tarleton Blackwell of Manning, Phil Garrett of Greenville and Edward Wimberly of St. Matthews.
The art show is a way to reach across disciplines and appeal to a wider range of people, said Paula Watkins, festival director and assistant director of the Humanities Council.
The festival also has an arts panel this year, somewhat tied to recent art books. Lynn Robertson, director of the McKissick Museum at USC, moderates the panel that includes Harriett Green, visual arts coordinator of the S.C. Arts Commission, Todd Herman, chief curator of the Columbia Museum of Art, and George Stewart, a photographer. That’s Saturday at 10.
A musical ties in is also part of the festival. Reverend Floyd Knowlin and the choir of the Lighthouse of Jesus Christ will perform during the 4:30 Saturday session with authors Stanley Lanzano and Charles Joyner. Lanzano is author of True Places: A Lowcountry Preacher, His Church, and His People a photographic documentary of the lives of Knowlin and his congregation. Joyner will be at the festival in conjunction with publication of the 25th anniversary of his ground-breaking book Down by the Riverside: A South Carolina Slave Community. Blues singer Drink Small plays Sunday at 4
One person who will be missing from the festival is Rick Bragg, who was to be keynote speaker. He canceled every this week due to an illness. It appears that only today was a replacement found. That’s John Hart of North Carolina and author of The King of Lie, Down River and most recently The Last Child.
The festival, 9 – 5:30 Saturday and 11:30 – 5 Sunday, has all kinds of panel discussions, book signing and other events. Go to the festival website at

1 comment:

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