We’re lucky in Columbia that on most any given Friday, there’s an art opening somewhere. This past Friday found me checking out the work of someone new (at least to me). I’d heard some buzz about this young artist, Lindsay Wiggins, but I hadn’t yet seen her work. To be honest, descriptions of its surrealist bent did not fill me with delight. That’s not to say I don’t like surrealist art. It’s just that there seems to be a lot of it these days, and, to me, it has to be truly spectacular to capture my interest. I need to recognize something compelling in it and feel a connection. Wiggins’ show at ART+Cayce Gallery at 1329 State Street in West Columbia did not disappoint. In fact, it quite surprised me; I found it both captivating and inspirational.
Titled “Dreams and Memories,” the show certainly evokes the subconscious sensibility of dreams. And while Wiggins’ rich color palate of reds, greens, and ochers leans to the darker side, her paintings have a vibrant, sometimes whimsical balance to them, particularly those in which she includes her adorable white pooch, Smooch. One of my favorites happens to be “Self Portrait with Smooch” (pictured), which immediately called to my mind Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus.” It’s hard to put my finger on exactly why, but the Botticelli aesthetic may come from the colors and details. The most dramatic element to me is the way Wiggins’ hair is lifted and carried by crows. The image was aptly chosen for the show’s promotional post card. Another painting I liked a great deal features Smooch with legs surreally elongated and bowed in the shape of a hot-air balloon floating across the blue canvas, with jellyfish floating alongside Smooch as if sentries.
Many of Wiggins’ paintings include animals, especially horses with bizarrely elongated legs that appear to bleed off the bottom edge of the canvas. These were my personal favorites, particularly “Passion,” “Circus I” and “Circus II.” I loved the strong vertical lines and the lilting geometry of the leggy animal paintings. Crows and birds of many varieties also populate a number of pieces, both subtly and otherwise.
Strolling around the gallery, I overheard several references to Salvador Dali, and I personally saw fine details in a couple of pieces that were reminiscent of Edvard Munch’s famous “Scream” (see detail, pictured).
The pieces in Wiggins’ show are priced to sell, but I give you fair warning. It’s not easy to select just one. And lots of them sold on Friday. Wiggins’ show at ART+Cayce runs through October 31. If you’re a collector, I’d get in early while this young woman’s paintings remain so affordable. I believe (and hope) we’ll be seeing a lot more of Lindsay Wiggins on the arts scene in the near future.
-- K. Hartvigsen
Kristine Hartvigsen is associate editor of Jasper Magazine -- Read more of Kristine's work at www.jaspercolumbia.com