Columbia Open Studios returns with fresh artists, April 5-6

Artist - Jean Capalbo  

Like the other Open Studios events around the country – unaffiliated, much like the First Thursdays phenomenon – Columbia Open Studios has grown to be a widely anticipated annual art event around the Midlands. Presented by 701 Center for Contemporary Art, the free, self-guided tour opens the doors to visual artists’ studios across the region on April 5 and 6, 2014.

 

The first weekend in April, thousands of people will venture out to chat with artists about every aspect of their work, meet fellow art lovers and purchase favorite pieces, if they wish, at zero markup. Guidebooks are available at various locations around town and at 701 CCA, located inside historic 701 Whaley on the 2nd floor. Nearly a dozen of these artists are new or returning to the tour after a hiatus, yielding a variety of new stories, inspirations and techniques for tour goers. Artists take full advantage of their personal backgrounds, favorite art-making tools and studio spaces, proving that inspiration can be found in the most typical and seemingly mundane places.

 

Curious about the kind of experience you’ll get during Columbia Open Studios?

Learn more about a few of the tour’s newest artists before mapping out your weekend of studio-hopping.

 

Renea Eshleman, Cayce   Renea Eshleman serves as the Associate Director of Academic Affairs for the S.C. Commission on Higher Education. Such a hefty title could certainly mean a challenging work day – which is why she sees art as her therapy.   Eshleman makes her own jewelry and is also a painter, using her “mother-in-law-suite”-turned-studio to house her supplies. The studio is readily accessible for loading/unloading art and supplies from the adjoining garage, which also serves as a spill-over space for too-good-to-pass-up art display units and frames.   A small porch and French doors to the outside inform her jewelry-making, providing a source of inspiration outside her chaotic yet comfortable space.          

 

Jean Capalbo, Shandon Extensive travel and a professional background in education are Jean Capalbo’s muses. In fact, she was in Tanzania in March, observing animals on the Serengeti and other African plains. (Her painting in the near future will undoubtedly be influenced by this trip.)   She has served as a school administrator and a teacher, enjoying the field in its entirety due to its creative core. Specializing in acrylic and oil painting, Capalbo is always searching for unique mediums to craft surface designs, including everything from plastic doilies to foam stamps.   Capalbo has recently relocated to the Carolinas from Sedona, AZ. She has painted all her life, taking time to study the field at UCLA, Santa Monica College, USC (our USC that is) and Sedona Art Center in Arizona.

 

Charlene Wells, Melrose Heights/Millwood Wells is one of four Open Studios artists operating out of Viridian Gallery & Studio on Carlisle Street. She refers to the area as a developing “art block,” boasting not only another studio, but also several other artists, an architect and an interior decorator.   Wells has studied under many accomplished artists. While painting under Reuben Gambrell, she met a handful of fellow artists with whom Viridian was later formed. Her paintings of subjects from the created world are allegorical expressions that she hopes will inspire a viewer to pause, study and decipher the symbol - while also noting her expression of color and value.

 

Returning to the tour are Tim Floyd and Jan Swanson. Other newcomers are John & Venetia Sharpe, Patrick Mahoney, Lindsay Wiggins, Lisa Strally and Mary Lynn Williams.

 

  • Find out more about your old favorites as well as the new talent on 701 CCA’s Columbia Open Studios website: www.columbiaopenstudios.org.
  • Get a guide at 701 CCA (701 Whaley, 2nd floor) or at art-loving venues around town.
  • Preview Party Thursday, April 3, 7-10pm at 701 CCA, $5/$10 with cash bar and complimentary hors d’oeuvres.
  • Tickets: http://www.701cca.org/columbia-open-studios-preview-party/
  • The Columbia Open Studios tour Presented by 701 Center for Contemporary Art Saturday and Sunday, April 5-6, 2014
  • Free!

The Art of Passing Strange -- Blog #2 with Krajewski, West, Puryear, Smith, and Umoja

REMINDER Jasper #4, our 1st annual All Women - All Art issue releases on Thursday March 15th with a spectacular release party at Vista Studios Gallery 80808 -- 808 Lady Street that evening. Women Only from 6 until 7 -- and then at 7 we'll open the doors to the gentlemen. Admission is free and we'll be enjoying the famed Jasper EconoBar as well as a

GIANT PINK CAKE!

Please join us.

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A few days ago, we shared with you the exciting news about Jasper and Trustus Theatre's collaboration on The Art of Passing Strange. There's even more excitement in the air as the 10 selected artists (Thomas Crouch, Cedric Umoja, Alex Smith, Whitney Lejeune, Lisa Puryear, Paul Kaufmann, Lucas Sams, Michael Krajewski, David West, and Lindsay Wiggins) begin to complete their paintings and share them with us at Trustus and Jasper. So in the interest of fairness and generosity, we're sharing the images we receive with you, as we receive them.

Read on to see what lies in store for you if you attend the opening of The Art of Passing Strange on Friday night -- but while pictures are a great tease -- they're nothing like seeing the real thing. And remember, all the art is for sale -- we'll be conducting a silent auction throughout the run of the show with 100% of the proceeds going straight back to these artists who so often give of their creativity to various causes throughout the Columbia community. (And if you have your heart set on any one specific piece, each artist will be determining a BUY NOW price which will allow you to purchase the piece and take your selected painting out of the auction. You'll just need to pick it up at the end of the run of the show.)

Michael Krajewski is a self-taught artist whose work has appeared throughout South Carolina and locally at Anastasia AND FRIENDS, HoFP Gallery, Tapp’s Arts Center, Frame of Mind Gallery, the Columbia Museum of Art, and more. He was chosen to be the first artist featured as a centerfold in Jasper Magazine – the Word on Columbia Arts. Reach Michael at krajewski101@hotmail.com.

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David West has a BFA in Studio Art and a Masters degree in Art Education. He has worked professionally as a graphic designer for the last 13 years, while also creating and showing fine art in his free time. Though he still provides design services, he is currently transitioning into a teaching career. You can see some of his fine art at his studio in the Arcade on Main Street. Reach David at http://www.live2create.com/.

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 Lisa Puryear studied at the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities and the University of South Carolina under Philip Mullen, Roy Drasites and Ann Hubbard.  Lisa is currently a member of the Trenholm Artists Guild in Columbia, SC and About Face at the Columbia Museum of Art. Reach Lisa at lisa_puryear@yahoo.com.

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Alex Smith is an actor, director, and visual artist who returns to the Trustus stage (in the form of visual artist) after a 12 year hiatus since he painted the backdrop for the production of Gross Indecency:  The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde, which he directed in 2000. He dedicates his work for Passing Strange to Jim and Kay Thigpen, whom he loves more than words can say. Reach Alex at alex@whatartmademedo.com.

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Cedric Umoja attended the Art Institute of Atlanta and studied in South Carolina under Tony Cacalano. He is a founding member of the artist collective Izms of Art, a recipient of a 2012 South Carolina Arts Commission grant. His influences are Dondi White, Max Beckmann, Hans Hoffman and Sam Keith. Reach Cedric at umoja.artofficial@gmail.com.

~*~

 

The Art of Passing Strange - Blog #1

My story being done,
She gave me for my pains a world of sighs;
She swore, in faith 'twas strange, 'twas passing strange ;
'Twas pitiful. 'twas wondrous pitiful,
She wish'd she had not heard it, yet she wish'd
That heaven had made her such a man.
Othello, the Moor of Venice, act 1, scene 3, lines 158–163

 

Those of you well versed in Jasper's mission know that we are all about bringing together artists and patrons from a variety of arts disciplines as a way of growing and sustaining Columbia's burgeoning arts community. So when Chad Henderson, director of Trustus Theatre's upcoming play, Passing Strange, approached us about collaborating on a project which would bring the visual and performing arts together for an extended run this spring, we were delighted to get involved.

Here's the deal, 10 local artists were invited to view a 2009 Spike Lee-directed film of the Broadway production of Passing Strange, a rock musical about a young man's journey into enlightenment via his travels in Europe. Then, each artist was given two four by four canvasses on which to create the art that the film inspired. Those 20 canvasses will be used on the set of the musical throughout its Trustus run. Simple and beautiful, right?

Now here's where you get involved.

Come to Trustus Theatre on Lady Street in Columbia's Vista on Friday night, March 16th for the opening of The Art of Passing Strange. There will be music and entertainment -- more on that below -- snacks, a cash bar, and most importantly, you'll have the opportunity to get up close and personal with the 20 paintings newly created for the musical as well as the artists who created them. And the exciting thing is this -- the art is for sale. Throughout the run of the play, bid sheets for each painting will be available in the lobby and you'll be able to register your bid for your favorite art. There are two especially cool things about this.

One, the artist gets 100% of the sale of her or his work.

And two, each painting will also feature a "Buy Now" price at which you can purchase the painting, close all other bids, and know then that you'll be taking that art home at the end of the run of the show on April 14th.

For more information, read on below and visit The Art of Passing Strange's Facebook page.

So, come out on the 16th for the art show opening -- The Art of Passing Strange -- and then return to the theatre during the March 23 - April 14 run to see the art on stage and take in this Tony winning rock musical, with local musical groups like Day Clean and The Mobros opening up each performance with a a free pre-show concert for theatre ticket holders.

And yes, Friends, this is how our community continues to grow. Stay tuned for more of What Jasper Said about the artists and their art in The Art of Passing Strange.

 

Trustus Theatre and Jasper Magazine present

THE ART OF PASSING STRANGE - a one-night only event!

PASSING STRANGE is a one-of-a-kind rock musical charts a young musician's journey to find "the real" through an exploration of artistic voice and authenticity.

Trustus' pro...duction of PASSING STRANGE marks a new level of inter-disciplinary creation - mixing theatre, dance, music, and visual art together for an unparalleled artistic event. Local visual artists will be creating 20 brand new pieces inspired by the show that will serve as the scenic design, and local singer/songwriters will be performing during pre-show.

THE ART OF PASSING STRANGE is the grand unveiling of the new pieces created for the show. Get an intimate experience with each piece before they make their way onto the set. Also, enjoy music performances by Major 2 Minor and a dance performance by Vibrations Dance Company. You'll also get the chance to make your mark on the set - we will provide the paint, you bring the inspiration. The cash bar will be running - so join us at Trustus to celebrate a unique artistic collaboration in Columbia, SC!

Artists: Lisa Puryear, Michael Krajewski, Lindsay Wiggins, Cedric Umoja, Paul Kaufmann, Lucas Sams, Alex Smith, Thomas Crouch, Whitney LeJune, & David West

Admission is free!

(Please check out Jasper Magazine's Facebook page, and click on "Like," and please be sure to subscribe to What Jasper Said so you'll always be on top of the latest in Columbia's arts news.) 

 

An Art Show with Legs

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