Sunday, September 23, 2007

David Yaghjian's painting featured in Charlotte newspaper article and Winthrop University Art Gallery exhibit

This past Friday, September 21, the Charlotte Observer ran the following article advertising an art exhibition at Winthrop University. Vista Studio artist David Yaghijan is included in the exhibit and his acrylic on linen painting Evening was featured in the following article by Richard Maschal.

Winthrop exhibit reflects eclectic taste of man who sought out pieces


A presence fills Winthrop University Galleries, hung with paintings, prints, drawings and sculpture.

It is of Mark Coplan, the collector who bought this art -- all of it connected to South Carolina -- and who loved searching it out, meeting artists and exercising his passion.

"He was just a big guy with a big heart," said Tom Stanley, director of the galleries and a friend of Coplan, who died unexpectedly in 2002 in his 50s.

The 28 works are the first showing of a significant collection of S.C. contemporary art. Another show taken from the collection opens Oct. 12 at the S.C. State Museum in Columbia.

The State Museum bought 110 of the about 420 pieces Coplan gathered over 20 years for $125,000, its largest-ever art acquisition.

At Winthrop are well-known S.C. artists such as Leo Twiggs, Ed Lewandowski and Carrie McCallum. Coplan had eclectic taste, so the exhibit includes folk art, fine art and outsider art.

Here is Maria Kirby Smith's statue of Jesse Helms as a lawn jockey, a textile mill depicted by Leonard Chastain and a face jug by Billy Henson. There's also a seemingly primitive but well-painted figurative piece by Neville Chuzzlewit, a.k.a. Tom Styron, director of the Greenville County Museum of Art.

The free public opening happens 6:30-8 p.m. Oct. 5 in the Rutledge Building on campus, with blues by the Fabulous Wild Cats.

Coplan, who worked in real estate and insurance and lived in Columbia, had a passion for collecting art.

Most weekends, he'd drive to different parts of South Carolina hunting work. He had a good eye and was not out only for established artists but loved finding work by a promising student or a beginner on the rise.

"It was an adventure for him," said Stanley.

One painting in the show is by a youthful Paul Matheny, now chief curator at the S.C. State Museum. He'll give a talk on Coplan at 8 p.m. Wednesday in Rutledge Auditorium.

Coplan didn't necessarily spend a lot of money. Sometimes he bargained over the price. Sometimes he paid for a work at $100 a month. The checks were always on time, said Stanley, because Coplan respected artists.

He would invite them to his house to see the work hung and to socialize.

Sometimes he drove to the Hodges Taylor Gallery in Charlotte.

"He was one of my favorite people in the whole world," said gallery co-owner Christie Taylor. "He'd come up and often we'd sit on the floor and split a bottle of wine and talk about art."

Coplan died without a will, so his collection was divided between his three sisters. Stanley hopes this exhibit -- with work from the State Museum and the sister living in New Jersey -- will help ensure the collection stays together.

For his vision, Coplan will receive posthumously Winthrop's Medal of Honor in the Arts at an Oct. 19 ceremony.

Stanley hopes his example will inspire others.

"There just aren't enough Mark Coplans in South Carolina," he said.

The Collector

One man's vision offers a look at art in South Carolina.

WHEN: Through Nov. 2. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays.

WHERE: Winthrop University Galleries, Rutledge Building, Rock Hill.


DETAILS: 803-323-2493;

To visit the website for Gallery 80808/Vista Studios where David Yaghjian's studio is located, please click here.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Spirited Versatility by Tony E. Forrest

Above is the invitation to the art event opening this week at Gallery 80808, 808 Lady Street featuring work by North Carolina artist Tony E. Forrest.

Free parking for this exhibition is available after 6 PM in the parking lot diagonally across Lady Street from the Gallery...although entrance to this park is off Washington Street across from the police station.

Additional information about Vista Studios and Gallery 80808 is available at the website:

Friday, September 14, 2007

Introducting Michel McNinch

The artists at Vista Studios are pleased to welcome painter Michel McNinch. Michel is subletting one of the studios for the next six months and will be exhibiting work with the group for the upcoming Vista Lights celebration. She has already set up her easel and materials, is hard at work, and using her new space regularly. (See photo above.) Below is her picture and links to her website and blog.

To visit Gallery 80808/Vista Studios website, click here!

Thursday, September 6, 2007




Featuring art by:

Benny Andrews (American, 1930-2006) – Karel Appel (Dutch, 1921-2006) – Lynn Chadwick (British, 1914-2003) – Corneille (Dutch, b. 1922) – Jacques Doucet (French, 1924-1994) – John Hultberg (American, 1922-2005) – Richard Hunt (American, b. 1935) – Wilfredo Lam (Cuban, 1902-1982) – Ibram Lassaw (American, 1913-2003) – Ger Lataster (Dutch, b. 1920) – Lucebert (Dutch, 1924-1994) – Sam Middleton (American, b. 1927) ­– Joan Mitchell (American, 1925-1992) – Hannes Postma (Dutch, b. 1933) – Reinhoud (Belgian, 1928-2007) – Paul Reed (American, b. 1919) – Edward Rice (American, b. 1953) – Kees Salentijn (Dutch, b. 1947) – Virginia Scotchie (American, b. 1959) – Leo Twiggs (American, b. 1934) – Bram van Velde (Dutch, 1895-1981)

September 7 – 18, 2007
Opening Reception: Friday, Sept. 7, 2007, 5:00 – 10:00 PM
Opening Hours: Weekdays, 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM; Sat., 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM;
Sun, 1:00 – 5:00 PM

In September, work by world-famous artists such as Joan Mitchell, Karel Appel, Lynn Chadwick, Wilfredo Lam and Bram van Velde will be in The Fame Factor, a group show at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios in Columbia organized by if ART Gallery. The exhibition also will include if ART Gallery artists Leo Twiggs, Edward Rice, Kees Salentijn,Virginia Scotchie, Laura Spong and Paul Reed. The Fame Factor will explore the concept of fame, especially the relativity of fame.

The exhibition opens September 7 with a reception from 5:00 – 10:00 p.m. and runs through September 18. Opening hours for Gallery 80808/Vista Studios will be expanded during the if ART exhibition. They will be weekdays, 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.; Sat., 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.; Sun, 1:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Other American artists with national and even international reputations in the show are Richard Hunt, Benny Andrews, Ibram Lassaw, Paul Reed, John Hultberg and Sam Middleton, an American artist who has lived in the Netherlands since the early 1960s. Dutch artists with international fame in addition to Appel and Van Velde will be Corneille, Ger Lataster, Hannes Postma, Kees Salentijn and Lucebert. Furthermore, the show will present French artist Jacques Doucet and Belgian artist Reinhoud.

Reinhoud and Doucet both were part of the legendary CoBrA group of Northern European artists from the late 1940s and 1950s, which also included Appel, Corneille and Lucebert. “CoBrA” stands for Copenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam, the cities or origin of most of the major figures in the group. Another artist in the show, Wilfredo Lam, a Cuban artist who had a vast international reach, exhibited once with CoBrA, in the early 1950s, though he was not a member. All of these artists are in the collections of major American museums. Dutchman Salentijn works in a post-CoBrA style

Hunt, Lassaw, Chadwick and Reinhoud are sculptors. All will be represented in the exhibition with limited-edition lithographs. Hunt, from Chicago, is one of the country’s most famous living sculptors, in part for his many public sculptures. Lassaw was one of the main sculptors in the New York School and a core figure on the city’s 1940s-1950s Abstract Expressionist scene. Chadwick is one of the most prominent figures among British sculptors of the generation of Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth.

Sam Middleton, born in Harlem, NY, but living in the Netherlands, is known for his collages inspired by jazz; the exhibition will show some of his silkscreens. Lataster is one of the Netherlands’ most prominent Abstract-Expressionist painters; his work is in several major American museums. Postma established a big reputation in Europe in the 1960s with his etchings and aquatints, some of which will be in the show. Bram van Velde, who spent most of life and career in Paris, is a legendary figure among mid-20th-century European abstractionists.

Hultberg was part of the New York School scene but subsequently moved to California. Andrews was from Georgia but built his career in New York City, becoming one of the country’s most prominent African-American artists, who increasingly gained traction in the wider art community. Reed was with Kenneth Noland, Morris Louis and Gene Davis among the original Washington Color Field painters of the 1960s. Mitchell is simply one of the most famous Abstract-Expressionist painters.

Twiggs, from Orangeburg, S.C., most likely is the country’s most prominent pioneer with batik as a contemporary art medium. Scotchie is a ceramist with an international reputation who teaches at the University of South Carolina. Rice, from North Augusta, S.C., is represented in many museums in the Southeast. Spong’s reputation has grown by leaps in recent years and is now among South Carolina’s best-known abstract painters.

“The idea of the show is to explore how relative fame is,” if ART Wim Roefs said. “Several feet worth of books and catalogues on Appel, and a few feet on Mitchell, don’t change the fact that among people attending this show, Laura Spong is probably better known – and she makes do with a single 32-page catalogue. Leo Twiggs also is better known here than Appel and Mitchell. Someone like Van Velde is legendary in Europe. Though he had New York gallery shows in the United States, and though his work is in many major American museums, he is at best obscure around here. In general, of course, a lot of famous European artists aren’t well-known in the United States.”

“Lassaw really was one of the major sculptors among Abstract Expressionists, but, of course, sculptors, except for David Smith, played third fiddle in the movement compared to the painters. Reed was one of six artists in the first nationally traveling exhibition of Washington Color Field painters, with Kenneth Noland and Morris Louis, and he makes the art-history books. Still, he’s mainly known among art insiders, though the renewed recent appreciation of color-field painting has giving him new exposure, too.”

For additional information about Gallery 80808/Vista Studios, please visit our website at

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Stephen Chesley's Solo Exhibition at the Myrtle Beach Art Museum

One of Vista Studios' resident oil painters is being featured in a solo exhibition in Myrtle Beach. Here's the information:

The Art of Stephen Chesley: Twilight, Slight Rain

Poetic Realist Paintings
September 11– October 21, 2007
Opening reception: Thursday, September 13 from 5:30pm to 7:30pm

at the Franklin G. Burroughs-Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum is located in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina at 3100 South Ocean Boulevard across from the Springmaid Pier.

The museum's website includes this additional information:

Columbia, South Carolina artist Stephen Chesley didn’t intend to become an artist. His degrees are in urban regional planning (BS from Virginia Commonwealth and MA from Clemson University’s School of Architecture), but after spending a brief time in that profession, he turned to his lifelong love of drawing and painting. Brooding landscapes are what Chesley is renowned for, and while on first glance they are read figuratively, there’s an abstract, mysterious quality that intrigues the viewer.

While influenced by the likes of Rembrandt, Winslow Homer, James Whistler, George Seurat, Edward Hopper and even Jackson Pollock, Chesley is primarily self-taught. Sometimes described as dramatic and even foreboding, his works tend to make more obvious the drama found in the ordinary.

As the artist himself explains, “I wish to make you wonder what is just around the bend, over the horizon, or behind a window. I strive to create a mystery, to portray a presence of massive form by not portraying it, or a presence through the unseen that casts a shadow or reflection. Something is just a breath away, a step or a shift of the eye.”

For directions to this exhibit, please visit:

For more information about Stephen Chesley and his work (plus where to find him painting in his local, Columbia studio), please visit

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Sculpture 2007: Tri-State Sculptors Exhibit includes Vista Studio artist Sharon Licata

Sculpture by members of the Tri-State sculptors Education Association will be on view in the Wellington B. Gray Gallery and the Rocky Mount Arts Center from September 5 until 28, 2007 with outdoor entries staying on view through January 31, 2008. This exhibition includes Diamonds in the Rough (pictured below) by Vista Studio artist Sharon Licata (also pictured below).

The Willington B. Gray Gallery is located off Fifth and Jarvis Streets on the Main Campus of East Crolina University in the Jenkins Fine Arts Center. Hours are Mondays through Fridays from 10 AM until 4 PM and Saturday from 10 until 2. For more information, pleast contact the Wellington B. Gray Gallery at 252-328--6336 or the Rocky Mount Arts Center at 252-972-1163 or email Sharon Licata at

To visit the website for Vista Studios where more of Sharon's stone carvings are featured please click here.