The Best of Figure Out 2016

It's part of the changing seasons. As people all over Columbia anxiously await the suspension of the heat index and a reason to put on more clothes, Planned Parenthood Health Systems sponsors an exhibition at Tapp's Arts Center in which all the subjects of the art take them off. It's no secret; Figure Out, which just finished its 4th iteration at Tapp's Arts Center, is one of Jasper's favorite yearly exhibitions. And though the show came down this weekend, the art will linger on in our memories and on some of our walls.

But if you missed it, here are just a few of Jasper's favorite pieces from Figure Out 2016.

Kristi Berry

Lauren Chapman

Lauren Chapman - detail

Lyon Hill

Ansley Adams

Will South

Billy Guess

Kim Fabio

Anne Marie Cockrell


Until next year.





CMA Curator & Frequent Jasper Contributor Will South to Exhibit Work at Gallery West

Gallery West, located at 134 State Street in West Columbia, will host a special exhibition of recent work by artist Will South from January 26 through March 13, 2016. A wine and hors d'oeuvres Opening Reception will be held at the gallery on Tuesday, January 26 from 6:00-9:00 pm.
Will South, a frequent contributor to Jasper Magazine, has become known on the Columbia scene over the past four years for his work at the Columbia Museum of Art, but also for his role as a painter in his own right. Wearing two hats, in Will's view, is fine "as long as the hats fit." As a museum curator, Will is known for making art accessible, whether in writing, on the wall, or in public talks. He shares his passion for art freely, and sees museum work as an ongoing opportunity for public service. Back in the studio, however, he reverts to the artist who has made art his entire life, only now one who has learned a great deal from art history.
In a number of his most recent paintings, the influence of art history is out in the open. One painting features a lounging cat with a painting by the great Italian modern Modigliani in the background. The Modigliani is interrupted by a floral spray, and the entire image is in a blurred, smoky light. There is no specific message here (or in any of the work, according to the artist) other than the poetry of the moment. The Modigliani in question sold recently for 170 million dollars, but the cat sharing its space is completely unconcerned. The atmosphere is one of quiet and detachment, where, for the artist, what is depicted supports the mood first and foremost.
In addition to oils on canvas, Will is a prolific draftsman and a number of recent figure drawings will be featured. His attitude toward figure work is unabashedly selfish: "The world doesn't need any more figure drawings, but I do, and so that's why I make them. There is a world of difference between hearing someone sing and singing yourself. Happily, in the shortness of life, we get to do both."

Get Osamu Kobayashi While You Can - Thursday night at 80808

Osamu Kobayashi  

The process of painting is a power struggle. I take my paintings one way; they want to go somewhere else. And when they go somewhere else; I drag them in another direction. In the end, the paintings usually wins.

My work is reductive in form, often compositionally centered, and employs a spontaneous and intuitive array of colors, shapes, and textures. Using these elements I create visual dualities: chance vs. control, organic vs. geometric, warm vs. cool, large vs. small, etc.

Like a good story, the elements that comprise each work push and pull off of each other, creating a unified structure that stays contained--but never becomes subdued--within its own parameters.

The aim is to create work with a sensation similar to that of a clear thought: the idea has its bases covered; there’s no room for argument. In reality, however, these paintings can never be clear thoughts; they are much more open than that. They are more of a confrontation: between what I desire to know and what I can never know entirely. -- Osamu Kobayashi


If you read the most recent issue of Jasper you know how proud we are of our native son Osamu Kobayashi whose visual arts career has already lifted off the launch pad, sparks flying, smoke roiling, and is making that last almost slo-mo ascent into space. Right now, we can shade our eyes against the brightness, but soon he'll be another one of those star-like satellites in the sky that we can identify by its placement and history, but no longer actually touch. (Unless we sneak in a visit with him when he comes home to see Shige and the rest of his family on one of those rare, super-artist holidays.)


Watch this video by Brian Harmon starring Columbia Museum of Art chief curator Will South as well as Osamu's very proud brother Shigeharu Kobayashi to learn more about Osamu's upcoming exhibit this Thursday, December 12th at Vista Studios Gallery 80808 at 808 Lady Street.

Don't miss a chance to meet and chat with Osamu while he's in Columbia.

See you Thursday night at this free Columbia arts event.

Read more about Osamu here.

Will South Show continues at Gallery West through November 16th - by Rachel Haynie

Being surrounded all day by notable fine art neither intimidates nor saturates Will South. He leaves Columbia Museum of Art (CMA) where he is surrounded by notable works of art daily, yet when he wraps up, he goes home to paint in his studio for several more hours an evening. “I love painting and look forward to getting back to it each day, just as I enjoy studying and interpreting it, talking and writing about it in my job as curator at Columbia Museum of Art. I don’t think I can remember a time when I wasn’t making art; certainly I have never stopped trying to paint and draw, but I find I am at a time and place in my life now where I can fully enjoy both being an artist and being a curator. I learn more about creating art from art history than I have ever learned in an art class. ” South says: “There is no substitution for work,” meaning his tenacity at his easel ultimately pays off, and the result of this pleasurable labor is currently on view at Gallery West, 118 State Street (former Café Strudel location.) This show, in which South’s recent work shares exhibition space with the ceramics of Douglas Gray, Francis Marion University art professor, is up through November 16: Wednesdays, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Thursdays through Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Sundays 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

This show marks the first opportunity for Metropolitan Columbia to see evidence of South as an artist. All of South’s pieces for this show have been painted or drawn in the months since he arrived in Columbia to assume curatorial duties at CMA so have not been exhibited previously. “Simplicity is a virtue,” says South, and that philosophy is notable in the works in this show. To him, “what is enduring about an image is the sensuality of color, the refinement of shape, the human intelligence contained in a line. I challenge myself to edit out all but the essential and, of course, the problem is in knowing what the essential is.”

Spare and lean are words that surface when looking at these pieces, both the oils and the charcoal drawings. One Ahh! moment elicits from the ethereal Back in Blue, oil wash over charcoal. A playful note, revealing something of the artist’s drawing side, is the label for Self Portrait as Pencils, an oil on canvas. Wake Up in New York, an oil and charcoal on linen, may conjure up a bit of déjà vu for this artist who honed some of his skills at the Art Students League in New York. He had come to the city for PhD studies at the Graduate Center of the City University in New York following a Master’s degree in art history and an undergraduate studio art degree from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.

In co-exhibiting with Doug Gray, South and his work provide textural contrast. Gray’s interest in color and surface are evidence in the pieces selected for this show. -- Rachel Haynie


For more information, call 803-207-9265.