Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Review of Vista Lights 2009 by Mary Bentz Gilkerson

Issue #22.47 :: 11/24/2009 - 11/30/2009
From the Free Times

Vista Lights Shows Gradual Comeback in Local Art Market
Galleries Showing Diverse Works

The annual Vista Lights celebration, held the Thursday before Thanksgiving, is one of the markers of the beginning of the holiday season in downtown Columbia. Judging by the number of red dots on the walls beneath artworks at Vista galleries by Saturday afternoon, it looks like the area art market is making a slow, measured comeback.

There are more young and emerging artists showing their work this year in temporary exhibits in regular retail spaces. In addition, at least one of the galleries is focusing on young or emerging artists.

The Carol Saunders Gallery features digital photomontages by Ginnie Saunders. The multi-layered images are complex and systemic in their structure. Jeff Donovan’s Hats series greets viewers from the windows of if ART Gallery where a range of work from gallery artists is displayed.

The resident artists’ exhibit at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios is one of the strongest in years.

At least part of the strength of the show comes from the contributions by Deanna Leamon and Kirkland Smith, who recently joined David Yaghjian, Laura Spong, Michel McNinch, Susan Lenz, Sharon Licata, Robert Kennedy, Pat Gilmartin, Heidi Darr-Hope, Jeff Donovan, Stephen Chesley and Ethel Brody in the space.

Smith’s Marilyn dominates the end of the main hall. Spinning off of Andy Warhol’s iconic Marilyn, Smith has created an equally large version completely made out of junk. In recycling both the image and the material, she has created a powerful statement about both disposable culture and beauty. Leamon’s large charcoal drawing Arms Akimbo and painted studies of heads continue her exploration of the fragility of the human form.

Brody makes a very consistent, strong showing in her group of works. The layering of color in the dense weave of lines creates visually rich surfaces that pull the viewer in. Spong’s work also uses rich layering of intense color in her intuitive painterly approach. Blazing Autumn, McNinch’s most evocative work, has strong contrasts in light creating a definite mood. Lenz continues her series of everyday heroes in her fiber and mixed media portraits. Chesley’s River, Reeds, High Wind shows the influence of his recent work in black and white.

Several 80808 artists are experimenting with new directions or materials. Darr-Hope’s new works on paper share many of the same concerns as her small fiber pieces. Rich colors, symbolic forms and text give them the feel of manuscript pages. Donovan and Yaghjian are also using different media that give their familiar imagery a fresh feel.

The three-dimensional work in the show is equally strong. Gilmartin’s Crow-matic Quanday is a quirky piece with a sense of humor. Kennedy’s clay portrait head has the feel of a classical Roman bust. Licata’s rough stone piece, Ancient Eight, packs a monumental feel into its small scale.

City Art is featuring the work of Wanda Steppe and Harriet Goode, two painters with very different styles. Steppe’s pieces are highly finished, representational in the way that they depict the subject matter but somewhat surreal in the combination of subjects. Peaches in a Night Sky pairs orange and gold fruit on a shelf in front of a dark indigo nighttime tree line. There is a play on illusion in that the viewer can’t tell whether the landscape behind the shelf is a backdrop or the actual physical space behind the still life.

While Goode still employs a representational subject in her work, she uses it more as a motif to organize her exploration of form and mark. The very general outline of a human figure appears in almost all of her pieces, as in Riddle. The form is sometimes recognizable as a female one, sometimes not.

Most of the exhibits will remain up for several more weeks. For the moment the Vista still dominates the local visual art scene. Just because you might have missed the main night doesn’t mean you’ve missed it all. Take an afternoon and stroll through all of the galleries.

Monday, November 16, 2009

VISTA LIGHTS 2009 at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios

(Above: Deviant Diety by Deanna Leamon. Click on image to enlarge.)

Vista Studios’ 13 artists will be participating in this year’s 24th Vista Lights celebration.

Reception: Thurs. Nov. 19 from 5 - 10

Additional hours include Fri. Nov. 20 from 10 - 4; Sat. Nov. 21 from 10 - 4; Sun. Nov. 22 from Noon - 4; Other days by chance or appt. Call (803) 252-6134

On November 19, 5:00-10:00 pm, galleries and shops will open the holiday season with evening hours. Come see our new exhibition and visit with the artists as they open their studios and discuss their processes. There are two new artists at the studios, Deanna Leamon and Kirkland Smith. Although they are new to Vista Studios, they are well known around Columbia as two of its’ finest artists. Come by and see their new studios.

(Above: Arms Akimbo by Deanna Leamon. Click on image to enlarge.)

Deanna Leamon has filled her new studio with figurative images, including Arms Akimbo. The inspiration for this piece is a certain kind of, nasty sort of, person. Head Study” will also be included in the show. “I’ve been working on heads for a while, everything you might want to express about being human can be done with the head,” says Leamon.

(Above: Head Study. Below: Red Head. Both by Deanna Leamon. Click on images to enlarge.)

Kirkland Smith has brought to the studio her new process for creating in assembling non-recyclable materials and post-consumer waste. Marilyn is a 4’x4’ portrait of Marilyn Monroe and is constructed from items we consume and discard daily. She will also include Sixty Minute Man painted in the classical tradition from live model.

(Above: Marilyn by Kirkland Smith found objects on panel. 4' x 4'. Click on image to enlarge.)

(Above: Muslim, Decision Portrait Series by Susan Lenz. Xylene photo transfer on tea-stained muslin. Hand embroidery. Click on image to enlarge.)

Susan Lenz, fiber artist, will show five of the newest pieces in her Decision Portrait Series, which focuses on personal choices without value judgment. Each work is a xylene photo transfer on tea-stained muslin with hand embroidery. The stitched words and titles are meant to reflect the choices made by those depicted, as in the works, Recycler, Patriot, and Living with HIV and others.

(Above: Living With HIV, Decision Portrait Series by Susan Lenz. Xylene photo transfer on tea-stained muslin. Hand embroidery. Click on image to enlarge.)

Ethel S. Brody, non-objective painter, is exhibiting a large painting entitled “Multiplicities” as well as several smaller works from her “stripe” series.

(Above: Solidarity, Decision Portrait Series by Susan Lenz. Xylene photo transfer on tea-stained muslin. Hand embroidery. Click on image to enlarge.)

Jeff Donovan will have mixed media figurative works on canvas mounted to panel, including Hee, Hee, Hee.

(Above: Near the Point by Stephen Chesley. Oil on panel. Click on image to enlarge.)

Pat Gilmartin will be showing several new ceramic sculptures that she completed during the summer. Her most recent piece is called Baobab: The Tree of Life. Pat’s interest is in its fascinating form: a massive trunk with just a cluster of small limbs at the top that sometimes resemble roots.

(Above: Downward by David Yaghjian, 28" x 21". Click on image to enlarge.)

David Yaghjian continues is figurative “semi-narratives” using acrylics, crayons, and chalk on paper. Among the new work that will be on exhibit will be Downward and Two Hats.

(Above: Two Hats by David Yaghjian. 10" x 8". Click on image to enlarge.)

Sharon Collings Licata, sculptor, will include Rock Dove III as a continuation of a series of larger than life, but very quiet meditative bird sculptures. She will also exhibit Moon Goddess, which is an exploration into the figurative. Half Life size, it is of a reclining figure, face down with her hair flowing over her hands.

(Above: Rock Dove III by Sharon Licata. Click on image to enlarge.)

Artists Stephen Chesley, Heidi Darr Hope, Robert Kennedy, Michel McNinch, and Laura Spong will also present new work and open their studios at Vista Studios. The Exhibition will continue through November 30. Gallery hours are weekdays 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and weekends 1 to 4 p.m. Please call the Gallery 80808 at 803-252-6143 to confirm hours.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Liisa Salosaari Jasinski presents OIL PAINTINGS, 2006 - 2009

(Above: Zeitgeist by Liisa Salosaari Jasinski. Oil on Panel. 40" x 48". Click on image to enlarge.)

Liisa Salosaari Jasinski will exhibit her paintings in Columbia at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios, 808 Lady Street from November 5 to November 10, 2009. The Opening Reception is on Friday, November 6th from 5:00 until 9:00 PM.

The exhibition includes work from an ongoing series of abstract oil paintings executed on canvas and rigid supports and using classical oil painting methods combined with contemporary oil and acrylic mediums. These paintings explore themes related to the history of universe and the earth, and they also reflect the artist's ongoing study of historical pigments and their attributes.

(Above: Old World by Liisa Salosaari Jasinski. 20" x 24" on yupo. Click on image to enlarge.)

Finnish-born Salosaari Jasinski has held one-person exhibitions in Texas, Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Her oil and mixed media paintings have been included in invitational and group exhibitions at Museums, Art Centers, and Galleries throughout the U.S., including New York Hall of Science, Robeson Gallery at Penn State University, and Beverly Arts Center in Chicago. Her work is in many corporate, public, and private collections including "Carolina Contemporary Collection" at the Medical University of S.C. in Charleston. Salosaari Jasinski has received South Carolina Arts Commission's Individual Artist's Grant in 2003 and 2008.

(Above: Blue Untitled by Liisa Salosaari Jasinski. 30" x 48". Oil on wood panel. Click on image to enlarge.)

Exhibition Dates: Thursday, November 5 - Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Opening Reception: Friday, November 6 from 5PM to 9PM

Location: Gallery 80808 in the Vista

Address: 808 Lady Street, Columbia, SC 29201

Parking: City Garage at the corner of Lincoln and Washington

Hours: Thursday, Nov. 5: from 12Noon to 6PM

Friday, Nov 6: from 11:30AM to 5PM (followed by the Reception)

Saturday, Nov. 7: from 12Noon to 4PM

Sunday, Nov. 8: By Appointment

Monday, Nov. 9: from 11:30AM to 5PM

Tuesday, Nov. 10: from 11:30AM to 5PM

Also by Appointment – call: 803-321-6261

For more information, directions, or to make an appointment, call 803-321-6261


(Above: Fugitive Properties - Proximity by Liisa Salosaari Jasinski. 20" x 20". 2007. Oil on wooden panel. Click on image to enlarge.)

For more information and images, please visit Liisa Salosaari Jasinski's page on the Southern Arts Federation's Southern Artistry website.

Liisa Salosaari Jasinski's exhibition statement:

This series of oil paintings reflects many of the questions that occupy my mind about the universe and the history of earth. My interest in cosmology, theoretical physics, and geophysics is longstanding, and it forms an invisible, energizing scaffolding for my work and also serves as my bridge to the nature. I find that while I work, it is helpful to be anchored into this mental framework of complicated, profound questions. Complexity and ambiguity are always challenging and they can readily translate into visual language. Sometimes the painting’s subject matter or title is a direct allusion to these issues, and often times their presence is just shadowy. The long, rich tradition of oil painting and its attributes of longevity and permanence further reinforce the connection between history, earth, and the universe.

Liisa Salosaari Jasinski's biography:

Liisa Salosaari Jasinski was born 1945 in Helsinki, Finland, where she also spent her childhood and youth. She pursued a career as a writer and translator before receiving a Master’s Degree in Psychology with a Minor in Art History from the University of Helsinki in 1972. After graduation she came to the United States to study psychotherapy. She has lived permanently in the U.S. since 1974. She has traveled widely and studied art on her own since adolescence. The clean, modern style of Finnish design, crafts, and architecture, as well as the early 20th century European Expressionism have had a significant impact on her development as a visual artist.

Liisa has held one-person exhibitions in Texas, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, and North Carolina, including Urban Artifacts Gallery in Houston, Texas, L.J. Brown Gallery at the Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, and Waterworks Visual Arts Center in Salisbury, North Carolina. She has also been included in two-person and invitational exhibitions nationally. Her paintings have been seen in numerous group exhibitions including “Triennial 2004” at the South Carolina State Museum in Columbia, South Carolina, and “Gross Innovations” at the Cynon Valley Museum in Aberdare, United Kingdom in 2004. She has participated in two public art projects in Columbia, South Carolina. In 2006 she curated "Losing the Reference—Marks of Time, Mysteries of Passage" exhibition of South Carolina Artists' work at the Upstairs Artspace Gallery in Tryon, N.C.

Her award-winning work is represented in many corporate, public, and private collections around the United States, including Carolina Contemporary Collection at the Medical University of S.C. in Charleston, Metropolitan Convention Center and the Housing Authority in Columbia, South Carolina, Piedmont Technical College in Greenwood, South Carolina, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, Metris Company in Scottsdale, Arizona, and Trio Enterprises in Charlotte, North Carolina.