Monday, November 26, 2007

Heidi Darr-Hope's upcoming monthly art & soul retreats

What if imagination & art are not the frosting but the fountain head of human experience? Rolo May

For information on Heidi’s 2008 retreat offerings

I am in the process of writing a book that addresses my philosophy of teaching dream interpretation and the craft of art making as vehicles for personal and spiritual growth. My weekly groups have been postponed until September 2008 to accommodate my commitment to this project.

Thank you for your support and understanding. I hope you will join us for the all day retreats offered monthly.

Who: Heidi Darr-Hope

What: 2008 Art and Soul Retreats - Small groups exploring spirituality, nighttime dreams and the joy of creativity

Columbia, South Carolina’s beautiful downtown historic arts district

Vista Arts Studios, 808 Lady Street , Vista Arts Building , Studio #2 - for hotels and other points of interest


“I had heard that magic still exists in this world. Now, I know where it lives. To dive into the creative cauldron is to swim toward spiritual ascension. My advice to those considering…If your intuition is calling you to these retreats, dive in and swim there wholeheartedly.” Caroline ( Atlanta , GA )

How: class size is very limited so to reserve a space and to enroll contact me through the link below or respond to this email
Absolutely no prior experience is necessary, only a commitment to honestly explore your creative potential.

Vista Lights 2007 Reviewed in The State by Jeffrey Day

Review: Stroll through the Vista again — for art’s sake


You could be like everyone else and spend today shopping for clothing, appliances and toys. But wouldn’t you rather look at, and buy, art?

Last week’s Vista Lights festival was mostly about music and holidays and business. Still, some galleries in the Vista opened new shows. And they’re still up.

For the best one-stop looking and shopping, go to Gallery 80808/Vista Studios. Its annual late-fall show includes works by each of the 13 artists who have studios. It’s quite a group, with David Yaghjian, Heidi-Darr Hope, Steve Chesley and others. You’d be hard pressed to find a more diverse group of highly accomplished artists.

Some of the most exciting works in the show are by sculptors Pat Gilmartin and Sharon Licata.

Gilmartin offers up small bronze figurative works, but she also has been doing more unusual pieces. Check out the clay female figure covered with a dress pattern.

Licata often makes smaller- scale, abstract sculptures. In the middle of the main gallery, she has stacked a batch of stones that look not-quite-finished, but just right.

Ethel Brody, one of the more mature artists in the studios, has a whole batch of new paintings that walk a line between high design and pure abstraction. (She’ll have a solo show at the gallery in the spring.)

Don Zurlo’s abstract paintings in this show are not as heavily painted as his earlier ones, but still are richly textured with an inner glow.

The exhibition is well displayed as are most at the gallery, whether put together by the resident artists or outside curators.

The only drawback is that the art doesn’t have dates; although all the pieces are supposed to be new, anyone who has kept up with what these artists have been doing will know not all of them are.

Through Nov. 27 at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios, 808 Lady St.; (803) 252-6134

(The article goes on....but this is the IMPORTANT PART!) It appeared on November 23, 2007 with a nice image of Pat Gilmartin's sculpture which was not available on the State newspaper's website...pity! To visit the Vista Studios/Gallery 80808 website, click here.

Vista Lights 2007 Reviewed in the Free Times

Issue #20.47 :: 11/21/2007 - 11/27/2007
Vista Lights Should Return to Core Mission:

Showcasing the Arts


Vista Lights — just like Artista Vista — originally was about showcasing the work of emerging artists. When the Vista was a new concept, it was the excitement of what was new in the visual arts, and not much later, in the performing arts that drew the crowds.

The crowds still come. But it seems like they are driven more by the lure of free samples and commemorative trinkets at the area restaurants. At this year’s Vista Lights on Nov. 15, people were collecting goodies like kids at Halloween.

On the whole, the art component of the night was flat. Most of the galleries simply installed shows of work by the gallery artists. Some didn’t even bother to change what was already hanging.

Artists from the Artists’ Roundtable took advantage of available wall space in one of the retail businesses on Lincoln Street but the work was so jammed into the space that it was difficult to see. Sometimes less is more.

The work that stood above the rest was a show at City Art by Lee Swallie, who won the Columbia Museum’s Young Contemporaries Award this year. Swallie explores the human figure in a series of charcoal and mixed media pieces that are dramatic in their scale, energy and use of light.

Kathy Casey’s “Painting Textures” in the main gallery at City Art is mixed in its level of success. Most of the paintings are tightly controlled geometric abstractions based on a grid with some similarities to Carl Blair’s or Laura Spong’s work. However, they lack the active gestural mark-making that brings the other artists’ work to life. Casey’s most successful pieces, like Soho No. 2, abandon the grid and give way to a looser
application of paint and mark.

Kathy Casey's paintings at City Art were featrued in Vista Lights on Nov. 15.

Gallery 80808/Vista Studios features a survey of solid work by the resident artists: Ethel Brody, Pat Callahan, Stephen Chesley, Jeff Donovan, Heidi Darr-Hope, Pat Gilmartin, Robert Kennedy, Susan Lenz, Sharon Licata, Laura Spong, David Yaghjian and Don Zurlo. The new work in the show is interesting, but some of the older — much older — work doesn’t seem to fit.

Chesley’s work on monochromatic studies shows in his new paintings. The values are pushed to the extreme while the colors remain subtle. Raining is the least monochromatic of the group, but the hues are still very close together. This makes the soft line of blue that skirts across the bottom all the more powerful in evoking light.

There are darker values and colors in some of Laura Spong’s new work, too. In A Chance Reflection the darks along the outer edges make the light areas in the center glow. She is beginning to paint the darks with the same care and attention as Motherwell.

Jeff Donovan’s new paintings contort and compress the human form into impossible poses. Loving Cup shows a young woman contorted into a pretzel around the mug in her hand. The titles in his pieces deliberately play on the images and increase both the irony and humor.

Reliquary of Spirit, a mixed media construction by Heidi Darr-Hope functions on Baroque sensory overload. It would be interesting to see a full installation of these pieces in the gallery so that Darr-Hope would have a chance to completely control their setting.

Yaghjian continues with his “everyman” series. In Bull Rider 2 the figure of the man balances precariously on one leg atop a running bull. While the viewer has a pretty good idea that the man falls in the next frame of the narrative, it’s obvious that the man either has no clue or doesn’t care.

Don Zurlo’s paintings are developing a sensitive approach to surface and color. In 9411 two interior rectangles are thickly painted in ochers and yellows. A narrow pale pink line separates the two areas and reads as a simple horizon line. These interior shapes are juxtaposed against succeeding flatly painted rectangular frames.

There is nothing wrong with galleries exhibiting established artists. But, if the emerging artists and performers are neglected, the whole arts community will stagnate. In this case it’s a bigger risk to take no risk at all.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Vista Lights 2007 in pictures

(Above: Pat Gilmartin's ceramic Catfish with a trio of oil panels by Stephen Chesley.)

The artists of Gallery 80808/Vista Studios have hung a beautiful exhibition of recent work for the annual Vista Lights celebration. The Thursday night reception was marvelous. The show will hang through November 27. The gallery is generally open throughout the midday as well as in the late afternoon and early evening...basically, whenever artists are working in their studios. It is always a good idea to call (803) 252-6134 before venturing out...but, if you are in the area, please just drop by. To learn more about Gallery 80808/Vista Studios or any of the artists working there, please visit

(Above: Oil panel by Stephen Chesley hanging above one of two guest books.)

When visiting the gallery, please sign one of our guest books with your email address. This will add you to our list for cyber invitations to upcoming art events at Gallery 80808.

(Above: Series of mixed media boxes by Pat Callahan.)

(Above: Our central hallway graced with an oil panel and sculpture by Stephen Chesley and a series of mixed, media boxes by Pat Callahan.)

(Above: The Chase by Pat Gilmartin beside an acrylic canvas by Don Zurlo. On the far right is an oil by Laura Spong.)

(Above: Ethel Brody sold the marvelous painting on the left. Pat Gilmartin's Catfish also sold. These are parted excellently with a trio of oils on panel by Stephen Chesley.)

(Above: Pat Gilmartin's sculpture with four monotypes by David Yaghjian in the main gallery.)

(Above: A view from the central hallway into the gallery space showing a trio of paintings by Jeff Donovan on the left and a seascape by Michel McNinch on the right. Inside the gallery are monotypes by David Yaghjian, an acrylic on canvas by Don Zurlo, a sculptural assemblage by Sharon Licata, and...just visible...a sculptural figure by Pat Gilmartin.)

(Above: A view to the gallery from a side hallway showing an oil on canvas by Laura Spong. Hanging on the central hallway door is a seascape by Michel McNinch. Inside the main gallery are monotypes by David Yaghjian, an acrylic on canvas by Don Zurlo, a sculptural assemblage by Sharon Licata, and just a hint of another painting by Michel McNinch.)

(Above: A view of two paintings on canvas by Jeff Donovan hanging in the central hallway. Beyond is a seascape by Michel McNinch and two small oils by David Yaghjian. Inside the main gallery two fiberworks by Heidi Darr-Hope are on display.)

(Above: A trio of work by Jeff Donovan.)

(Above: This corner of the main gallery includes a fiber piece by Heidi Darr-Hope, an illuminated stone sculpture on a covered pedestal by Sharon Licata, a grouping of paintings by Ethel Brody, and a welded sculpture by Stephen Chesley.)

(Above: This wall in the main gallery showcases a mixed media altar and three fiber pieces by Heidi Darr-Hope, an illuminated stone sculpture on a covered pedestal by Sharon Licata, and a welded sculpture by Stephen Chesley.)

(Above: This is a closer view of Heidi Darr-Hope's fiber work, Sharon Licata's illuminated stone sculpture, and the grouping of paintings by Ethel Brody.)

(Above: In the foreground stands a sculpture by Pat Gilmartin with Heidi Darr-Hope's mixed media altar behind it. To the left is an impressionistic oil painting by Stephen Chesley beside a non-objective oil painting by Laura Spong. To the right is a fiber piece by Heidi Darr-Hope.)

(Above: This corner of the main gallery includes three monotypes by David Yaghjian, an acrylic painting on canvas by Don Zurlo beside Fall Exhibition by Michel McNinch, a figurative sculpture by Pat Gilmartin, and a sculptural assemblage by Sharon Licata.)

(Above: Looking from the Main Gallery and Sharon Licata's sculptural assemblage, Ethel Brody's large painting is seen with Stephen Chesley's oil further on in the central hallway.)

(Above: Sharon Licata's sculptural assemblage stand in the foreground. Heidi Darr-Hope's mixed media altar is behind. To the right one of Heidi's fiber pieces. To the left hangs an impressionistic oil by Stephen Chesley beside a non-objective oil by Laura Spong.

(Above: This is a closer view of one corner in the main gallery hanging with two of David Yaghjian's monotypes and an acrylic on canvas by Don Zurlo. The sculptural assemblage is by Sharon Licata.)

(Above: One wall of the main gallery features four monotypes by David Yaghjian and a figurative sculpture by Pat Gilmartin. Sharon Licata's sculptural assemblage is in the foreground.)

(Above: This corner of the main gallery shows two realistic paintings by Michel McNinch, two monotypes by David Yaghjian, a figurative sculpture by Pat Gilmartin, and Sharon Licata's sculptural assemblage.)

(Above: Pat Gilmartin sold this incredible sculpture that is a focal point of the main gallery.)

(Above: Ethel Brody's series of paintings.)

(Above: Heidi Darr-Hope's mixed media altar.)

(Above: Two paintings by Michel McNinch.)

(Above: This corner of the main gallery features a large painting by Ethel Brody, two smaller paintings by Michel McNinch, two monotypes by David Yaghijan, a figurative sculpture by Pat Gilmartin, and Sharon Licata's limestone assemblage.)

(Above: This view from the back hallway into the atrium shows a non-objective oil painting by Laura Spong on the far left. Flanking Heidi Darr-Hope's mixed media altar are two fiberworks by Susan Lenz. In the foreground on the right is another fiber piece by Susan Lenz as well as a marble cat by Sharon Licata.)

(Above: Looking down the back hallway there is a wall mounted altar by Heidi Darr Hope above a seated figural unit. In the atrium hangs a non-objective oil by Laura Spong. In the covered pedestal is a marble cat by Sharon Licata. Hanging on the back hallway wall are works by Susan Lenz, Ethel Brody, and Don Zurlo.)

(Above: This is another view of the back hallway wall which also includes work by Laura Spong and more acrylic on canvas works by Don Zurlo.)

(Above: This view to the atrium includes three fiber pieces by Susan Lenz, a marble cat by Sharon Licata, and a mixed media altar by Heidi Darr-Hope. Below is a welded sculpture by Stephen Chesley.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Vista Lights 2007

(Above: David Yaghjian's Launched, acrylic on paper)

Fall Exhibition 2007 opens at Gallery 80808 as past of Vista Lights on Thursday, November 15, 2007, 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. The gallery is located within Vista Studios, 808 Lady Street in Columbia’s Congaree Vista. For this night of arts celebration, a stop here is a “must.” View new works by the 13 artists of Vista Studios and tour their open studios. Step in the creative space of each artist and discover a journey underway.

(Above: Pat Gilmartin's Hurricane Katrina)

(Above: Pat Gilmartin's Chase)

Pat Gilmartin pursues two established directions in her ceramic work in Fall Exhibition. The bas relief disk Hurricane Katrina is carved with symbols of flood waters, broken levees, and refugee trailers. This topical work achieves archaeological weight. In contrast the delightful Chase is a suspended figure striding with elongated limbs. Laura Spong contributes evocative non-objective paintings to the exhibition. Each is an expressionist journey that, the artist hopes, prompts the viewer’s own introspective journey.

(Above: Don Zurlo's Wedge North in Off Beam Mode, acrylic on canvas)

The literal and figurative journey factors into one of Don Zurlo’s new canvases. Zurlo translated a stream of consciousness sketch made while on a road trip to a family wedding into Wedge North in Off Beam Mode.

Susan Lenz continues her materials exploration with Strata Series, inspired by cross sections of the earth’s surface. Stitched to water-soluble fabric (which is later rinsed away) each Strata is a lace of horizontal fibers and free-motion embroidery. The surface evokes sedimentary earth, veins of metal, and faceted gemstones.

(Above: Susan Lenz's Strata VII, fibers)

In the hands of Sharon Licata, stone is but a veil. Licata carves alabaster to daring thinness in Through the Veil to depict the thin veil between worlds. A second sculpture, Getting back on the Totem, is a limestone testament to power regained when a woman restores herself high in her own priorities.

(Above: Sharon Licata's Through the Veil, carved alabaster.)

Jeff Donovan adds to Fall Exhibition a new grouping of figures on canvas. Each is both whimsical and serene. Painter Stephen Chesley contributes landscapes. Each canvas is a haunting play of shadowed and luminous forms, an uneasy pause at evening’s last light. Ethel Brody presents the light-hearted “fantasy” Big Rock Candy Mountain and the hard edged Color Wheel Series. The five paintings of the series are a fresh exploration of color fundamentals.

(Above: David Yaghjian's Bull Lift, oil, 10" x 8".)

(Above: David Yaghjian's Hoopsnake, monotype.)

The circus continues in the playful and deftly scribed paintings of David Yaghjian. His familiar old man in briefs heroically lifts a bull and launches from a high dive. Pat Callahan questions the forces at play in her juggling of competing passions and responsibilities in new shadow boxes titled scattershot, trying to hold center, and spin again. New mixed media works by Heidi Darr Hope, landscape and seascape paintings by Michel McNinch, and figurative works by Robert Kennedy complete the exhibition.

(Above: Michel McNinch's Winter Surf)

(Above: Michel McNinch's Fall Exhibition)

Fall Exhibition 2007 continues through November 27. Vista Studios will be open on Thursday, November 15 from 11 AM through the evening's festivities; Friday, November 16 from 11 AM until 6 PM; Saturday, November 17 from 11 AM until 6 PM; and on Sunday, November 18 from 1 PM until 6 PM. Most weekdays, the gallery is open from 11 AM until 3 PM and again in the early evening...but call first to be sure! (803) 252-6134.