"Body of Work: Faces and Figures" opens at Gallery West Tuesday, July 8

Just as any vibrant summer gathering should be, Gallery West’s fast-forthcoming show is destined to take on qualities of a reunion and a first meeting of new friends – referring to both art and patrons. For a reunion with the past, work - created over three centuries - grace the walls at 118 State Street in West Columbia. New friends will show up as new work in all media; featured will be new work by outstanding Columbia artist Pat Callahan. Patrons will converge for the show opening Tuesday, July 8 with a wine and hors d’oeuvres reception hosted from 4 to 8 p.m. Pat Callahan, "Side Light", pencil and conte

Many Columbians are already familiar with the sensitive and beautifully-crafted figure drawings by Pat Callahan. On view for this summer exhibition will be a selection of Pat's work that showcases her refined viewpoint and poetic drafting skills. Callahan comes to art and to craft through graphic design. Perhaps to balance her computer-based career, Callahan draws a classical subject - the body - in traditional drawing media. She works from life, capturing beauty and strength embodied in her subjects. With descriptive line and gesture she captures exquisitely bodies of weight, ruled by gravity and time.

Among the many other highlights in Body of Work is a small, elegant photograph by internationally acclaimed photographer Edward Weston. This intimate, wistful portrait of Weston's friend, Mary Buff, is contrasted by a large, flashy oil on canvas by New York society portrait painter, Mabel Hatt. Hatt's painting of Evelyn Siegel looks like a direct descendent of John Singer Sargent, and for good reason - Hatt's father was a student of Sargent's. More contemporary is a brightly-colored painting by well-known South Carolina artist Jonathan Green of a family enjoying the beach.

In addition to paintings and photographs, there are numerous works on paper in Body of Work. Of note is a haunting etching by nationally-acclaimed printmaker and former head of the Yale University Art Department, William Bailey. A forceful graphic note is struck in Sigmund Abeles and his print of a mother and child. Among the most geometric works in the show is a large original print entitled, Builders, by renowned American artist Jacob Lawrence.

Jacob Lawrence, "The Builders (Family)", 1974, silkscreen

Side-by-side with these well-known artists will be paintings, photographs, prints, drawings and sculpture by artists of great talent. Gallery visitors will note a 1930s portrait of a young girl by Elsie Budd, an astonishing wood engraving by Alfred Tinayre, or the whimsical sculpture of Tom Soumalainen.

Gallery West has quickly become characterized by its director’s innate talent for unearthing affordable treasures and spotlighting them evocatively in the gallery. Several area artists are also featured in the exhibition, including Russell Jeffcoat, Philip Hultgren, and Bonnie Goldberg.

The exhibition remains on view through August.  Gallery West is located at 118 State Street in West Columbia.  For more information, call (803) 207-9265,  e-mail gallerywest.sara@aol.com , or visit their Facebook page.


~ Rachel Haynie