Sunday, October 28, 2007

Cats on a Leash: A Great Opening

Jeri Burdick, Clark Ellefson, Heidi Darr-Hope, Clay Burnette, Judy Hubbard, and Lee Malerich opened Cats on a Lease: Three Decades at Play on Friday, October 26 to rave reviews at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios, 808 Lady Street in downtown Columbia, South Carolina.

To access a slide show of the evening's festivities, click here.

To visit Gallery 80808/Vista Studio's website click here.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Kleinformat/Small Format at if ART Gallery

(Click on image above to enlarge!)

Vista Studio artist Stephen Chesley is one of ten artists being featured in Kleinformat/Small Format: The Columbia - Kaiserslautern Exchange at if ART Gallery, 1223 Lincoln Street. This exhibition runs from Friday, October 26 until Tuesday, November 13, 2007 and includes an opening reception on Friday, October 26 from 5 - 10 PM. Additional hours are: Weekdays from 11 AM until 7 PM and Saturdays from 11 AM until 5 PM. The exhibit features work by five South Carolinians (Mary Gilkerson, H. Bron Thornton, Stephen Chesley, Mike Williams, and Tonya Gregg) and five Germans from Columbia's sister city, Kaiserslautern (Silvia Rudolf, Roland Albert, Reiner Mahrlein, Ralph Gelbert and Klaus Hartmann).

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Cats on a Leash: Three Decades at Play

Gallery 80808 is thrilled to present CATS ON A LEASH: THREE DECADES AT PLAY featuring work by Jeri Burdick, Clay Burnette, Clark Ellefson, Heidi Darr-Hope, Judy Hubbard, and Lee Malerich from Friday, October 26 through Saturday, November 3, 2007. There will be an opening reception on Friday, October 26 from 5 - 10 PM. Additional hours are: Weekdays from 11 - 2 and Weekends from 1 - 5.


More than 580 exhibitions nationally and internationally.
More than 35 grants and fellowships awarded.
More than 200 books, magazine and newspapers articles.
More than 75 commissions from corporate and private collectors.
More than 250 workshops and lectures.
More than 85 active memberships on boards and committees.

This show is a retrospective of six of the original Cats on a Leash members who gathered in 1985 to discuss joint marketing of artists in South Carolina. Their first exhibition opened in 1987 at GMK Associates, an architectural firm, in Columbia, followed by a showing at Gallery 300, in 1988, in Atlanta, a group show at Carol Saunders Gallery, Columbia, in 1990 and a major show at the Columbia Museum of Art in 1993. The selected artists each had a piece purchased for the museum's permanent collection from that exhibition. Although the Cats have not exhibited as a group since 1993, the individual members remain committed to their own personal art careers. A synergy has developed as a result of their individual accomplishments and a reciprocal respect for each other continues to serve as an impetus for the collective future of the group.

These Cats creat powerful, detailed, whimsical craft. They are magicians with wood, pinestraw, clay, yarns, fabric and paint. They are driven, talented, multifaceted, political and potent. They are weavers of tales, chroniclers of our times, and preservers of indigenous traditions. They don't settle. These Cats produce intricate installations, functional accessories and sacred reliqueries. And, they also have supported and funded artists and arts organizations statewide; helped heal wounded bodies and spirits; spawned a cultural corridor for the capitol city; established and managed businesses; and set a standard for proactivism in the arts and community that is pervasive and laudable.

Cats on a Leash artists are charismatic, creative changlings who produce consistently professional, collectable craft. They reinvent themselves often as a lifechoice. The breadth and depth of their body of work has been significant for three decades - with no end in sight.

The exhibition will include unique pine needle baskets (as pictured here, both above and below) and handwoven scarves by Clay Burnette.

Clark Ellefson's work will include furniture and lighting. Judy Hubbard will display silk batiks and assemblages.

Above is a detail image of one of Heidi Darr-Hope's work. She will be showing a variety of photo montages and mixed media reliquaries.

Above is Jeri Burdick with one of her ceramics. Her work is also pictured on exhibition invitation, which is the first image on this entry. Jeri will be showing both two and three dimensional work.

Above is one of Lee Malerich's stitched drawings. In addition to her embroidery, Lee will be showing found art objects.

Below is additional, biographical information and abridged statements for the participating artists.

Jeri Burdick

Craft Medium: ceramics, glass, tile, mosaics
Co-owner, Radcliffe Street, Inc., art studio, Eutawville, SC

Education: Furman University, M.A.Ed; West Virginia University, Graduate Studies, Ceramics; University of Georgia, BFA, Art Ed

Membership: SC Crafts Association, American Craft Council, Piedmont Craftsmen, Inc., Society of American Mosaic Artists

Selected Exhibitions: painted and tiled murals, 17 schools in North and South Carolina; Exhibitions: American Craft Council, Piccolo Spoleto, Blue Spiral Gallery, Houston International Festival, Philadelphia Museum Craft Show, Atalaya Craft Show, The American Artisan Show and over 80 other venues. SC Arts Commission Craft Fellow, 1985.

(Abridged) Artist Statement: "Since moving to Eutawville on the lake, I have been more sculptural and colorful and my series, though more limited in number, are more complex and diverse in terms of materials and subject matter. I am most influenced by daily experiences, primary forces and things in nature. It is my lack of understanding that motivates and propels me through the creative process."


Craft Medium: Pine Needle Basketry
Education: AS degree in Retail Management in 1979, a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies with concentration in Marketing and Art Studio in 1982, and a MA in Library and Information Science in 1999; all from the University of South Carolina.
Professional Experience: Clay is Director of Grants and Fellowships for the SC Arts Commission and maintains a fiber studio.
Selected Collections:
The White House Christmas Tree Ornament Collection, Southern Accents Magazine, Mint Museum of Craft and Design, Springs Industries, Binney & Smith, Inc., and numerous others.

Exhibitions:2008 Tradition/Innovation: American Masterpieces of Southern Craft & Traditional Art, Southern Arts Federation, Atlanta, GA (will tour southeast for two years), Ohio Craft Museum, Bascom-Louise Gallery, Highlands, NC, American Craft Council, McKissick Museum, SC State Museum, National Basketry Organization, Columbia Museum of Art, Sumter Gallery of Art, Baskets by Master Basket Weavers Billie Ruth Suddeth and Clay Burnette – Summit One Gallery, Highlands, NC, South Carolina State Fair, Blue Spiral Gallery, SOFA - New York and Chicago, Ogden Museum of Southern Art, New Orleans, American Art Co., Takoma, WA, Contemporary International Basketry - Manchester, England (traveled the United Kingdom 4/99 - 9/00), Piedmont Craftsmen, Craft Alliance, St. Louis, Smithsonian Craft Show, and more than 130 other sites.

(Abridged) Artist Statement:

"The creation of a pine needle basket is a painstakingly slow process. I gather each longleaf pine needle directly from the tree, dry it, dye it, paint it, and then soak it in water before beginning the coiling process. As I work on a basket, time seems to stand still and I am filled with a calming inner peace that I seem to only experience during this focused creative period. And yet at the same time I also feel an urgency to complete the object at hand so that I can begin the process all over again. Ideas are endless..... time is precious."


Craft Medium: furniture, lighting

Education: BFA, USC

Professional Experience: owner Lewis & Clark; chief designer for numerous residential and commercial projects: Delaney's Street Delicatessan, Chernoff-Silver offices; creator/designer of the Art Bar

Affiliations: Board member, Columbia Art Studio Project, SC Artists Committee, Columbia Development Corporation, Columbia Design League; committee member Artista Vista and Vista Lights, Woodworkers Guild of SC, Congaree Vista Arts and Antiques Guild, Vista Studios, Art in Public Places, Artists' Resource Forum

Selected Exhibitions: American Craft Council, New York Gift Show, Gibbes Museum of Art, Folk Arts Center, Asheville, American Furniture Designers, Switzerland, International Contemporary Furniture Fair, Victoria and Albert Museum, the Chicago Art Institute, and more than 70 other showings.

(abridged) Artist Statement: "I went to my files and opened the folder marked "Artist Statement." It was empty...Does this mean I have nothing to say; or that I am saying nothing."

Heidi Darr-Hope

Craft Medium: fibers, mixed-media

Education: BFA, MFA, USC; Intensive Study Program, C.G. Jung Institute, Zurich, Switzerland, Dream Analysis (Jungian Perspective) Two Year Certification Program, Dream Tending Intensive, Art as Medicine: The Healing Quilt

Professional Experience: BFA, USC; Professional Studio Artist ,Gallery Director, Teaching Artist, Palmetto Health’s South Carolina Cancer Center, Columbia, SC Haden Institute Faculty Member, Healing Icons® and Circle of Dreams™ a series of lectures and workshops that present art as an alternate form of physical, emotional and spiritual healing;

Corporate Collections::Home Box Office, Atlanta, GA, Convex Co., LTD, Hong Kong, Coca Cola USA, Bogner GmbH, Munich, Germany, Madeira Threads LTD- USA and UK, Textilforum Magazine, Hannover, Germany, Waelkens, Oostrozebeke, Belgium, NCNB Corporation, Columbia, SC, Sin Woo GMT, Seoul, South Korea, Marriott Corporation, Orlando, FL, and more than 25 others.

Selected Exhibitions: University of Georgia, Spirit Square Gallery, Charlotte, Winthrop University, International Gallery, San Diego, CA, and museums/galleries in Virginia, Pennsylvania, Illinois, North and South Carolina, Germany, Italy, Canada, among over 90 addditional sites.

Notable: Co-author of Art and Healing; Sometimes Words Are Not Enough, Healing Icons Art Support Program for Patients with Cancer; recipient of 8 Special Project Grants and a Craft Fellowship from the SC Arts Commission.

(Abridged) Artist Statement: "I see my images not as "art objects" but as pathways between my inner and outer self."


Craft Medium: Mixed Media

Education: B.A., Stetson University, Florida

Professional Experience: studio artist, writer, artist-in residence

Selected Exhibitions: State Art Collection Retrospective, Gallery 80808, SC State Museum, Upstairs Gallery, Tryon, NC, USC-Sumter, Richland Memorial Hospital, Francis Marion College, Clemson University, Piedmont Craftsmen, Guild of SC Artists, and museum and galleries in Georgia, North and South Carolina, Pennsylvania, and California, among almost 50 venues.

(Abridged) Artist Statement: "I am drawn to the idea of the sheltered environment constructed out of whatever materials can be gathered and shaped by instinct and the will to survive. Like a nest, a life is woven together moment by moment, layer by layer --sometimes deliberately and sometimes haphazardly."


Craft Medium: Stitchery, mixed media

Education:: BFA, MFA (Fiber/Fabrics), Northern Illinois University

Professional Experience: Studio artist and educator ( Adjunct Instructor of Art, Coker College and Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College), only recipient of three SC Arts Commission Craft Fellowships; National Endowment for the Arts Regional Fellowship

Selected Exhibitions: Ormond Beach (Florida) Museum, Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft, NC Folk Arts Center, The NIH Clinical Center Galleries, Ohio Craft Museum, Crafts Council of England, Mayo Clinic, Washington Craft Show and over 190 others.

Notable: Work has been reviewed or printed in over 100 publications; she is included in the collections of The Museum of York County, Tree of Life Congregation, Columbia, Walton Rehabilitation Hospital, Augusta, Georgia, SCANA Corporation, Columbia, Sun Printing, Inc., Orangeburg, South Carolina National Bank, and dozens others.

(abridged) artist statement: "artists are filters for a culture. personal experiences amazingly coalesce into universal trends. what now does not makes sense, will someday."

Unabridged Artist Statement: "Getting a group of artists to work together is like trying to walk a bunch of cats on a leash."

Free parking for this art event is available after 6 PM and weekends in the city owned lot diagonally across Lady Street from the gallery....though entrance to the lot is off Washington Street.

To visit the Gallery 80808/Vista Studios website, click here.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Solo Exhibition of Laura Spong's work at Francis Marion

October 2 - November 15, 2007
8:30 am - 5:00 pm Mon-Fri
Hyman Fine Arts Center Gallery

Paintings by Laura Spong

In 2006, Laura Spong had four solo exhibitions. They included a retrospective at the University of South Carolina and a wildly successful 80th birthday exhibition that might have set a sales record for a solo show in Columbia, S.C., especially for a local artist. Helped further by her inclusion in several group shows, Spong certainly broke her own sales record for a year by a wide margin. .

A well-received, 32-page catalog accompanied her 80th-birthday exhibition. It detailed her remarkable life and career, discussed the context of that career and evaluated her art. "The other day I read the essays in the catalog again," Spong says, "and I had a hard time believing it was about me." With the commercial success came critical acclaim. The South Carolina State Art Collection acquired two of Spong's paintings, and later this year she'll be in a group show at the Greenville (S.C.) County Museum of Art.

The acclaim has liberated Spong. For years she has painted with workman-like regularity, routinely keeping daily hours at her studio. For years she also has painted with a sense of urgency, not so much because of age but because those paintings don't paint themselves and she gets out of sorts if she doesn't work. To this work ethic and passion, the recent success has added new confidence, and Spong has been hitting it on all cylinders since, producing gem after gem.

"I have been inspired and energized," says Spong. "I think the work is freer. It has a sense of letting loose, of just painting and not obsessing about every little line and dot." The work has changed some, without losing any of the Spong imprint. While maintaining the lyrical quality of her work and the fluid lines, Spong's paintings have become more aggressive and daring.

"The breaks in the planes are sharper, the marks at times more forceful, and the scribbles more abundant and perhaps livelier. More often than before, Spong has explored an earthier, even dark pallet. More often also she has limited her pallet, even producing somewhat monochromatic paintings.

"Above all, these developments suggest an increased confidence as Spong further expands her range. But, she says, sometimes they indicate her disposition. "I am not depressed, but I do feel pessimistic about the situation in the world. Still, at times I feel great hope, too. My hope comes from my faith, but when I am not in that mode, I go dark. I get into fears of the future, of losing my independence and my health, and fear about the people I love."

"I think the paintings are more interesting," Spong says. "I think I am getting more layers and more depth. My biggest fear has been that I would just paint a pretty piece of cloth."

Monday, October 8, 2007

Old & New: Carl Blair and Anna Redwine

if ART presents Old & New: Carl Blair and Anna Redwine at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios, 808 Lady Street in Columbia's downtown Vista from Friday, October 12 through Tuesday, October 23, 2007. A reception will be held on Friday, October 12 from 5 - 10 PM. Additional gallery hours are: Weekdays from 11 AM until 7 PM; Saturday, from 11 AM until 5 PM; and Sunday from 1 until 5 PM.

For more information about this exhibition, please contact Wim Roefs at if ART, (803) 238-2351 or
For more information about Anna Redwine, please visit her website at
For more information about Gallery80808/Vista Studios, please visit their website at

When visiting Gallery 80808, free parking after 6 PM is available in the city owned lot diagonally across Lady Street...but entrance to the lot is off Washington Street.

Wim Roefs' wrote the following article in 2006 regarding Carl Blair:


Carl Blair has been on many levels a driving force in the arts since he came to South Carolina in 1957. He’s one of the state’s most prominent painters. He was a leading force in making Bob Jones University’s art department a central part of the Upstate South Carolina art scene. He is among the founders and owners of one of the state’s oldest art galleries. He’s been on scores of local and statewide boards and commissions. And he’s been a mentor to students and friend to many colleagues, providing both moral and practical support for more than a few. In 2005 he won for Lifetime Achievement the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Award, South Carolina’s Governor’s Award for the Arts.
As an artist, Blair was with colleagues such as William Halsey, Corrie McCallum, Merton Simpson, Arthur Rose and J. Bardin in the vanguard of modern art in South Carolina. His prominence as a painter is marked by several museum retrospectives since 1995. In 1999, he was included in “100 Years/100 Artists: Views of the 20th Century in South Carolina Arts,” the South Carolina State Museum’s look back at the 20th century. “When people think of South Carolina,” Greenville artist and independent curator Sharon Campbell already said in the 1980s, “I am sure they think of Carl Blair as being one of the foremost artists in this area.”
Blair worked his way to success through several styles and approaches, as the current exhibition of the Margaret Blair Art Collection shows. With the landscape as his main subject matter, he arrived at an abstracted style and aesthetics that allowed for great variety while always revealing Blair’s touch. His paintings, Blair has written, are neither realistic nor abstract but “visual poetry” and “statements about nature and the aura which surrounds it, placing emphasis on the formal elements.”
After forty years, fellow artist Edward Rice commented in 1995, Blair’s work still stands. “From his somber, largely derivative, early works to his joyous, secure, recent canvasses, Mr. Blair has shown us how to see the splendor of everyday existence; the face of a Kansas rock quarry is transformed into a cathedral wall of faceted translucent alabaster; the light on fall foliage is fixed on the canvas as crushed pigment straight from the colorman’s mill.”
As an art teacher for four decades, Blair helped BJU become a hub for fine art production. His influence has been evident as former students such as Jason Wagoner, Eric Benjamin, Mark Mulfinger, and Diane Kilgore Condon and others have made names for themselves. “Carl was an inspiration to all of us students in countless ways,” Kilgore Condon wrote in a letter supporting Blair’s Verner nomination. “I fully credit him with the unflagging support that kept me in school and ultimately, in the arts to this present day.”
During her seventeen years since school, Kilgore Condon wrote, Blair “served unfailingly on our behalf as a mentor, friend and source of information and support.” When in the early 2000s she and others started the ArtBomb Studio, a large artist-run studio complex in Greenville, Blair showed his enthusiasm and regularly checked on the progress. “Never once did he attempt to quell our enthusiasm despite the size of our project.”
Blair also taught in the summer honors program at his state’s Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities and at the Fine Arts Center for the Greenville County School District. He also taught night and summer classes for two decades at the Greenville County Museum of Art. “His students learn a great deal more than painting from him, as do many of the rest of us,” Sharon Campbell wrote in the catalogue for a 1998 Blair retrospective at BJU. “We learn to live lives of compassion, diligence, and freedom. He is invaluable to the artistic life of this region…”
As co-founder, part owner and president of one of the state’s oldest and most prominent galleries, Hampton III in Taylors, just outside of Greenville, Blair from the early 1970s helped provide an early outlet for contemporary art in the state. Hampton III’s importance cannot be overstated. In addition to Halsey, McCallum and Bardin, the gallery from the start provided representation for Leo Twiggs, Jeanet Dreskin, Bette Lee Coburn, Tom Flowers, John Acorn, Darell Koons, Emery Bopp and others, many of whom were leading contemporary South Carolina artists. The gallery also tapped into subsequent generations as it exhibited work by Philip Whitley, Edward Rice, Bob Chance, Alice Munn, Jim Craft, Jeri Burdick, David Yaghjian, Janusz Zadurowicz, Dave Appleman and many others.
In recent years, Hampton III has organized landmark exhibitions of works by Halsey and Edmund Yaghjian that helped establish new price levels and recognition for those deceased icons of post-war South Carolina art. The gallery also reintroduced veteran artists such as Sigmund Abeles, Charles Quest and Alta Alberga. Blair played a crucial role in all this. Between Hampton III and BJU, he has, by his estimate, hung more than 1,500 exhibitions.
Statewide, too, Blair helped promote and steer the development of the arts. He held office in the legendary Guild of South Carolina Artists, which served visual artists from 1950 through the 1980s, especially with its annual statewide exhibitions. In 1968 he was appointed to Greenville’s Arts in Public Places Commission. He served on the acquisition committee of the S.C. Arts Commission from 1969-1972. In 1987, the governor of South Carolina appointed Blair to his first three-year term on the S.C. Arts Commission Board of Directors. He was reappointed in 1990 and 1993 and elected chairman of the board in 1994 and 1996. Blair also sprung into action in 1989 when Hurricane Hugo wrecked coastal South Carolina, organizing an effective fundraising campaign for artists affected by the storm.
Blair was born in 1932 in Kansas, where he grew up on a farm and, by his own account, “dreamed a lot... I spent a lot of time in the woods, got to know trees and plants and atmosphere, the effect of the sun and light… I took everything in, stored those impressions up.” In 1956, he received a BFA from the University of Kansas; the next year, he earned an MFA from the Kansas City Art Institute and School of Design. He married Margaret Ruble, and the couple, also in 1957, moved to Greenville, where Blair joined the art faculty at BJU.
Margaret Blair became Blair’s rock, both personally and professionally. She was, Blair often claims, “the brains behind the operation.” His wife, Blair told Deb Sim for a Greenville Museum 1995 retrospective catalogue, “is smarter than I am, she is better looking, she has a vision… She can see way farther ahead than I can… She has been everything to me, and if I have any success as an artist, I owe much of it, most of it, to her.”
After coming to BJU, the Blairs decided that Carl would without compromise try to make the best art he could. “We agreed that if we didn’t sell anything, we’d have to live with it,” Blair told Sim. “We wouldn’t short-cut or do pretty things that we thought would sell. We would do good art. And we lived with it for years and years… If I did sell anything it would be five, ten, fifteen, twenty dollars. After a number of years of struggling and being true to our art dream, I did start selling a few things.”
Soon after their arrival in Greenville, Blair began teaching at the Greenville Museum, too. In the 1960s he also taught several years at the Kansas City Art Institute’s summer school. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Blair began his long involvement with the Guild of South Carolina Artists, entering work in its annual art competition and starting the string of awards he would receive from that organization. He frequently began to collect awards from other statewide, regional and national competitions, too, receiving a good hundred altogether.
Critics were impressed with the technical ability Blair demonstrated in his abstracted landscapes. University of Georgia art professor A. Graham Collier called him “a lyrical poet.” One judge, Louis Bosa, chair of the advanced painting department at the Cleveland Institute of Art, selected Blair for a top award because “the artist had captured the most strange mood of nature” the judge had seen for some time. Blair’s entry, Bosa wrote, captured “the feeling of wind blowing, as well as almost the growth of nature.” The art competitions took Blair’s work to venues such as Atlanta’s High Museum, the Isaac Delgado Museum in New Orleans, the Montgomery Museum of Art in Alabama, Florida’s Ringling Museum of Art, the Mint Museum in Charlotte, the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, Clemson University and, in his home state, the Greenville Museum, the Gibbes Museum in Charleston and the Columbia Museum of Art.
In 1962, Blair was invited to join the Joanne Scott Gallery in Norfolk, Va. Six years later, the Bertha Schaefer Gallery in New York City followed. He was included in Prize Winning Art Book Six in 1966 and in Paris, France’s Le Revue Modern in 1965 and 1968. In 1969, Blair also was part of the first major survey of visual arts in South Carolina, the “1st S.C. State Invitational” at the Columbia Museum of Art. That same year, he was included in Jack Morris’ book Contemporary Artists of South Carolina, published by the Greenville Museum.
Two years later, Blair was invited to “Six South Carolina Painters,” an invitational at Clemson University, and to an exhibition of art from ten Southeastern states at Georgia College at Milledgeville, juried by Elaine De Kooning. Also in 1971, Blair became president of the Greenville Artists Guild. The next year he was the first person to receive the “Annual Director’s Award” from the Greenville Museum. In 1972, with Emery Bopp, Darell Koons, and Richard Rupp, he founded Hampton III.
Blair kept up a busy exhibition schedule throughout the 1970s and 1980s. His reach extended well beyond the Southeast. One of his paintings was in the 1984 group exhibition “Portrait of the South” at the Palazzo Venesia Museum in Rome, Italy. Blair had his first major solo museum exhibition in 1982, at North Carolina’s Asheville Museum of Art. He participated in several in-state museum exhibitions. In addition to solo gallery exhibitions at Erskine College in South Carolina and his own Hampton III Gallery, Blair had one-man shows in Atchison, Kan., Scottsdale, Ariz., and, repeatedly, at the Jerald Melberg Gallery in Charlotte, N.C.
Throughout the 1990s and after, Blair kept up his torrid exhibition pace at museums, institutional venues and commercial galleries, including Melberg, Hampton III and galleries in Columbia, Charleston, Atlanta, Kansas City, Mo., Cincinnati and Cleveland, Ohio, and Vero Beach, Fla. He also showed at Blue Spiral I in Asheville, N.C., the Morris Museum of Art in Augusta, Ga., and the Las Vegas Art Museum. Blair’s work was part of the U.S. State Department’s Art in the Embassies program, in Egypt and Mauritania. In 1994, Blair was invited to the S.C. State Museum’s “Centennial Celebration Exhibition.” Blair’s work is in more then 2,500 private, corporate and public collections.
The Greenville Museum in 1995, BJU’s Gustafson Fine Arts Center in 1998, the Burroughs & Chapin Museum in Myrtle Beach in 2002 and the Blue Ridge Arts Council in Seneca in 2003 organized Blair retrospectives. The Greenville retrospective also traveled to the State Museum in Columbia. Both the Greenville Museum and BJU published catalogues. “For over four decades,” Greenville Museum director Tom Styron wrote, “Carl Blair has been a vital force in the Greenville arts community, setting standards of professionalism and personal integrity that inspire all who know him. Carl is the very soul of creativity, and he is a terrific painter. From his earliest brooding landscapes to his latest bold abstractions, his vision of transcendent energy, order, and purpose has remained steadfast.”
Blair retired from BJU in 1998 but didn’t slow down as an artist. In addition to the never-ending stream of solo and group gallery shows, several recent museum exhibitions testify to his continued relevance to the South Carolina art scene. In 2000, the Greenville Museum organized an exhibition of Blair’s black-and-white monotypes. In 2001, the Columbia Museum of Art followed with an exhibition of Blair’s grid-patterned landscape paintings and monotypes. These works, Bill Bodine, the museum’s curator at the time, wrote in the catalogue, “speak eloquently of Carl’s lifelong pursuit of an art that combines elements of both representation and abstraction.”
In January 2005, yet another solo exhibition closed at the Spartanburg (S.C.) Museum of Art just after a show of five prominent, historic South Carolina artists, including Blair, opened at the Greenville Museum. Blair also had solo exhibitions at Lewis & Clark Gallery in Columbia and at the Fine Arts Center of Kershaw County in Camden, S.C.
When Blair was nominated for the Verner Award, the letters supporting him did more than testify to the quality and extent of his contributions as an artist, educator, gallery operator, and arts advocate and administrator, although they did that. What stood out were the many references to his loyalty toward colleagues and his quiet support for many of them individually, including his willingness to ferry other artists’ artwork around the state to exhibitions and competitions. “Carl is one of the most non-egocentric artists that I have ever met,” wrote artist John Acorn. “I do not know of any other individual,” former student Kilgore Condon wrote, who “has stepped into my life time and time again with friendship, respect, humor, guidance and a strong moral compass and spiritual faith, hoping to see me excel in my own personal artwork and in my hopes for Greenville’s artistic growth.”
What also stood out among the Verner letter writers was that many were surprised with the request for a support letter; they assumed Blair already had a Verner. “WHOA!!!,” Columbia furniture designer and Verner Award winner Clark Ellefson proclaimed, “Carl Blair has not received the Verner? How can this be? I had always assumed Carl had been awarded this recognition – he has done so much!”

© Wim Roefs
July 2006

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Through the Eyes of Art

Vista Studio artists Susan Lenz and Michel McNinch are among the artists participating this Through the Eyes of Art at Saluda Shoals on Sunday, October 7.

Through the Eyes of Art

Start Date: 10/7/2007
End Date: 10/7/2007
Location: Saluda Shoals Park
Enjoy a unique view of Saluda Shoals Park Through the Eyes of Art! The beauty of the park serves as both a stage and an inspiration for some of the Midland's most talented artists. Experience a wide variety of artistic mediums and gain special insights from each artist on how the creative process works. Wander into the world of dancers, painters, musicians, and actors interpereting the beauty of nature's art along the trails of Saluda Shoals Park.
Contact: Dolly Patton
Phone: (803) 213-2035
For more information on Gallery 80808, Vista Studios, and its artists, please visit

Monday, October 1, 2007

Memory and Place: An exhibit by Angela Bradburn and Claire Farrell

Works by Claire Farrell and Angela Bradburn to Be Exhibited and Gallery 80808

Memory and Place, an exhibit of recent works by Columbia artists, Angela Bradburn and Claire Farrell will be held at Columbia’s popular art space, Gallery 80808. The gallery is located in the Vista Studios at 808 Lady Street in Columbia. Join the artists for a reception on Friday, October 5, from 5:30PM to 8:30PM. The show will open on October 5 and continue for 5 days until October 9. The gallery will be open from 10:30AM to 6PM on weekdays and 2PM to 5PM on Saturday and Sunday.

The artists, Angela and Claire, are long-time friends whose work shares many common threads. Both work in a representational style, and their paintings include landscapes, figures, and close-ups of nature. Bradburn works in both watercolor and oil, while Farrell’s work is primarily in oil and mixed media unique monotypes. The work of both artists reflects their love of nature and reveals their close ties to the world around them. The exhibit includes images of places, people and things as seen through the eyes of these two friends. To see a variety of work from the somewhat experimental to the very traditional, please visit this exhibit.

Angela’s award winning paintings have received national recognition by taking best of show awards in both the Southern Watercolor Society and the Margery Soroka Memorial Award in the American Watercolor Society. She has been rewarded with signature membership in both the prestigious American Watercolor Society and the National Watercolor Society.

Her work has been included in The Collected Best of Watercolor, Rockport Publishers, 2001: Best of Watercolor, Vol. 3, Rockport Publishers, 1999; Best of Watercolor, Painting Light and Shadow, Rockport Publishers, 1997, South Carolina Wildlife Magazine, March/April 1999.

Claire’s work has been accepted in numerous national and state-wide juried exhibitions. She has received “Best in Show” awards in the Florence (SC) Statewide Juried Exhibition, South Carolina State Fair, the San Diego Watercolor Society Exhibit, the Friends of the Coast Exhibit in Charleston, the Waccamaw Arts & Crafts Guild Judged Show in Myrtle Beach, and the University South Carolina Alumni Art Competition. Additionally, she has received numerous awards of merit in a wide variety of exhibitions. She is a past president of the South Carolina Watercolor Society and her work is included in corporate and private collections nationwide. She maintains a studio at her home in Columbia, South Carolina.

Both artists have recently launched new websites. To see more of their work, please visit them at OR

Free parking is available after 6 PM in the city owned lot diagonally across Lady Street from Gallery 80808...but access to this lot is off Washington Street across from the police station.

To visit the website for Gallery 80808/Vista Studios, please click here.