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A REVIEW

Color, form, drama make traveling show at Sumter Gallery of Art memorable

BY JANE COLLINS
Special to The Sumter Item
Posted 1/21/20

This year's 42nd-annual South Carolina Watermedia Traveling Exhibition, currently at the Sumter Gallery of Art, begins with an impact - color, composition, technique and drama - and a chance for viewers to make choices. There are three winners, …

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A REVIEW

Color, form, drama make traveling show at Sumter Gallery of Art memorable

Posted

This year's 42nd-annual South Carolina Watermedia Traveling Exhibition, currently at the Sumter Gallery of Art, begins with an impact - color, composition, technique and drama - and a chance for viewers to make choices. There are three winners, although their awards are not listed with the pictures. Instead of asking "Why was this one chosen?," viewers are free to focus on what they would choose. Regardless, the decision will be difficult because there are so many good choices.

"Enxhi,"Ashley Arakas' first-place winner, immerses the female figure in the action of swirls and movement. Her long hair extends into the blue, white and purple-tinged floral background, creating rhythm while the flow of light against the side of her face increases the drama of her pose.

No less impressive, "Towing the Line," by second-place winner Russell Jewell, thrusts the enormous ship into the shipyard, dwarfing the almost minuscule figures below. By contrast, third-place winner Gail Cunningham's "Day Dreaming" seems soft and encompassing, the shape of the curved body against the almost imperceptible vertical lines in the background appearing bathed in the light surrounding it.

Two Sumter Guild artists were selected for this show. Joshua Hatfield's "Grand Mausoleum" continues to embody his interesting feel of dripping sand to form shapes and textures and create an aura of intrigue.

In "Vision in Red," Denise L. Greer adds layers of mixed media to overlay color, shape and depth. In "The View," Midge Overshire presents a compelling composition of a bird and its cool observation of its surroundings, using turquoise, blue and dark purple to enhance the interesting textures of tan. It is not exactly Poe's "Raven" but evokes an eerie sense of the passing of time.

"Shadai IX" by Jaclyn Wukela frames the female's face with a bright accent of blue, a slight tinge on the eyelid, against the impact of orange and yellow. A shaft of light adds dimension and atmosphere to her personality.

The dramatic "Soapbox Massacre" by Joshua Knight, a watercolor on paper, reveals the Statue of Liberty, slumped down, her torch drooping, legs akimbo as if she is at the end of her tether (maybe too true with today's turmoil). The ground is filled with newspaper headlines and signs. His overall technique is riveting and colorful.

On a lighter note, Suzanne Accetta's watercolor "Cotton Club Drama" delightfully depicts two dancers, the male dressed in white in contrast to the dark purple/black background. The female slightly in back of him emphasizes the feel of movement and a shaft of light, like the glare of a spotlight, announces the man's eloquence and impatience to strut his stuff.

"Take Some Home" by Gary Mealor is a softly colored look at a variety of items, especially candied apples. His technique is dramatically appealing without being intense, luring viewers into the center of the composition to the vendor's face and back out to his wares.

"Never Belongs to God" by Genie Noel Ash contrasts the almost peaceful sifting of sand in the woman's hand with the sudden crackle of lightning in the distance.

The whole show exudes a sense of color, form and artists' intent to encourage viewer response, especially to ponder stories.On the other side of the gallery, the Sumter Artists' Guild winners prove that last year's winners were no "one-time wonders."

Greer continues to enjoy a play on words with works like "What Goes Around I, II and III," repeating circular shapes. In the colorful "Boy and His Dog," she accentuates the facial and bodily comparisons of the two and in "E C U" has fun with the shape of the face, especially eyes and mouth. Let us just say - jestingly - "The Dieter" should not be shown to people who like to eat cupcakes. The composition is so horribly honest!

Hatfield's entries reveal several styles and artistic avenues. His watercolor " Memorial Park, Athens, GA" with its identifiable rocks and bridge and "STO Finalem" with its convoluted shapes and colors attest to his diverse skills.

Genevieve Rath continues to create compositions with a sense of tone and atmosphere, as in "Summer's Over" and "Shadows in the Snow" with its strong light and shadows and the energetic "Rushing Home," the woman's legs and boots streaking through the wet pavement.

Mark Duffie provides a definite contrast of materials in his photography "Garden Spider," "Anole" and his metal "Flowers."

Cindy Coggins Scott features her colorful style with "Flowers for Sale" and "Clemson." By contrast and a departure from her usual approach, the almost monochromatic "Sailing at Sunset" dramatizes a vigorous mixture of gray, blue and thrusting waves against the sudden impact of the bright glimpse of the setting sun.

There is much to see in both exhibits and many opportunities to ask "What do I like in art?" Both exhibits remain at the gallery, 200 Hasell St.(adjacent to Patriot Hall), through Feb. 21. The gallery is open from 11a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Jenna Brown, another one of last year's Guild winners, continues her interest in photo emulsion lift with "Stay Out of the Forest" and "Catacombs."

Halimah Shah's ceramics reveal delicate shaping and use of color and texture. The turquoise vase, "Incised Vase," and "Horsehair Bowl" attest to her skill. A surprise is her monoprint "Behind the Lace."

There is much to see in both exhibits and many opportunities to ask "What do I like in art?" Both exhibits remain at the gallery, 200 Hasell St. (adjacent to Patriot Hall), through Feb. 21. The gallery is open from 11a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.