Hung By the Chimney With Care, an installation by Susan Lenz

I know, I know. The weather is getting nippy. You've got a million things to do toward getting ready for the holidays and/or ending the semester. You're behind on sleep and ahead on stress. And just when you were getting used to it being November, damned if December didn't sneak up behind you and go boo. You may be thinking to yourself that, given what a good patron of the arts you are in general, this particularly busy First Thursday in December might be one that you don't really have to attend.

Think again.

Even if you aren't a sap for the holidays like we are at Jasper, if you're an arts lover, this First Thursday -- also known as Mingle and Jingle on Main -- is one event that you really don't want to miss.

We wrote yesterday about Amanda Ladymon's new work, Kindred Harvest -- which is more than enough to go out in the cold for -- but we are equally excited about the multi-artist exhibition at Anastasia & FRIENDS (featuring local arts celebs such as Virginia Scotchie and Susan Lenz) as well as the Tapp's Arts Center Winter Mix, guest curated by Jeremy Wooten and showing work by a whole slew of local artists including Nikolai Oskolkov, Alex Smith, and Fausto Pauluzzi -- not to mention the good folks in the Art Studios in the Arcade at 1332 Main Street including Eileen Blyth, Richard Lund, Debra Paysinger, Bettye Rivers and more.

But one of the main reasons to come out into the cold on Thursday night is to see new work by fiber and installation artist, Susan Lenz.

Though reluctant to admit it, Susan Lenz is an artist who knows no fear, recognizes few obstacles, and to top it all off, somehow has the energy of a 14-year-old and a work ethic that would send Orwell's Boxer the workhorse early to the glue factory in shame. (Witness the fact that Lenz will be participating in no less than three exhibitions on Thursday night.)

Her new work, installed in the windows and interior of S & S Art Supplies on Main Street, is entitled Hung By the Chimney With Care, and has been in the making since last spring when Lenz, ever the forager and scavenger, discovered an abandoned pile of socks in a laundry facility on the grounds of the South Carolina State Mental Hospital. While most people would have looked at the pile and seen crazy people-laundry, Lenz looked at it and saw art. Lenz writes about the installation here.

We haven't seen this new installation yet, but we've seen almost everything else that Lenz has done -- and she's done installations and shown in exhibitions far and wide mind you, (and if you're wondering why Jasper hasn't written about her yet, rest assured that she and her work will hold a place of prominence in the March 2012 issue of Jasper, subtitled All Women -- All Arts). So while we may not know what exactly to expect from Lenz's latest project, we do know that, based on the history of her work, we should expect a thorough and fully realized installation with fastidious attention to detail; in all probability, a somber message; but, knowing Lenz as we do, likely in a whimsical form.

For these reasons and more, we look forward to seeing you on Main Street on Thursday night -- most likely in front of the windows of S & S Art Supplies.


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