From the Arts Calendar in The State Newspaper’s Sunday, October 4, 2009 Life and Style section by Otis R. Taylor, Jr.
Sacrifice, redemption and faith. The themes swell in Jason Amick's solo exhibition "Jason Amick: New Works" which opens Friday at Gallery 80808. The paintings, monotypes and etchings have remarks of spirituality. One particular image, "Tobit," a 4-by-6 inch monotype, depicts the face of a man. He is withered, his features contorting. At first glance, the face is one of pain. On another, the man seems at peace, relaxed. The shadows in the work present myriad readings of the piece. Many of the 20 to 30 pieces in the show, Amick said, are inspired by the Bible, with "Tobit" specifically encouraged by the Book of Tobit in the Catholic and Orthodox Scriptures. Tobit was a blind old man who had become a burden on his family. He had only one prayer, a single wish. "My version in the monotype of Tobit depicts him with his blindness and his mental state of wishing for death," Amick said. "His soul has been beaten down, but he's come to accept his fate. "Tobit is a good man who seems to be unfairly punished. The Book of Tobit grapples with why bad things happen to good people, which is a question that I think nearly everyone can relate to." The Bible has been a source for Amick's work for more than a decade, as he has tried to discern the relationship between faith and reason. "I found myself playing the role of devil's advocate in my past work as I weighed in as both a religious person and a naturally skeptical person with an interest in science," said Amick, a University of South Carolina graduate. "This latest body of work abandons the conflicted and skeptic-sided view of faith." Another image, "Isaac," a 9.5-by-14.5-inch oil on panel, features Isaac lounging, arms stretched, on what appears to be logs or a raft. Isaac, the only child of Abraham and Sarah, and the father of Jacob and Esau, did not leave Canaan because God forbade him. In this painting, is he pondering his faith, his sacrifices, his obedience? Like a lot of the stories in the Bible, this work is left to interpretation.
The show runs through Oct. 12. There's an opening reception from 5 to 9 Friday. Gallery 80808 is at 808 Lady St. (803) 252-6134