Thursday, August 23, 2007

Pickens County Museum...Where "The Blues" Will Be



Yesterday I drove to South Carolina's upstate, to Pickens County, to the Museum of Art and History. I thought about "Blues Chapel"...how it looked in my studio like an intimate place for reflection...how it looked in the spacious Sumter Gallery of Art like a public place for prayer. I wondered what kind of setting had been selected by the museum's curators and board. I'd been told it was called the "Sealevel Gallery".

Upon arrival, I learned that this space was on the second level. It was up a ramp in the older part of the building. I'd been there before...just didn't know the names of the various rooms. These are the images that awaited me.







Below is a picture of the museum from the street corner.



Below is a picture of the museum, including its new wing, from the back parking lot.



I had my notebook with me are wrote this:

The Sealevel Gallery is the room in which Susan Sorrell taught the class I attended about two years ago. Without the tables and chairs, the beads and fabric, the chatter of voices, the room is quite lovely. There is a quiet sense of isolation which I like. It's a feeling of being apart from the outside world, almost hidden. I can hear traffic buzzing in the street below but it is muffled by the thick ply of off-white carpeting on the wall. The windows all have fitted blinds in the exact same neutral color. The woodwork also matches. The result preserves the feel of an institution, a museum, while providing a comfortableness of an intimate setting.

Currently hanging is "The Photographer's Photographer", an exhibit of work by the area's influential instructors. It is well hung and includes very professional labeling. The lighting is good. I am nicely alone in the room.

There is only one wall for "Tapestry in Blue", my focal point. I will hang the twenty-four portraits like I did in Sumter...three rows of eight instead of four rows of six. I will need only a single church pew. The other walls are broken by windows and "projections" that must cover former fireplaces. There is also another, most wonderful feature, a circular niche over which is a turret-like, Victorian, round, tin roof. Here will be the kneeler I plan to make. On it will sit "The Blues Bible" that I started but abandoned...until now...an ALTARED book.

I've been think about small triptychs for a month while making backgrounds. There are wide windowsills and one that is a bit more narrow....maybe places for triptychs? I have much to consider. Maybe I'll even try an art quilt...perhaps a xylene transfer on muslim with the vintage strips of one-inch blocks that I've saved for years....perhaps a few very church-inspired "Elements of Architecture" all stitched in shades of blue...perhaps some collages of early female Blues singers tied to advertisements for "American Idol" and "Dancing With the Stars" and "Singing Bee" and "So You Think You Can Dance?"...perhaps a Black Madonna fusing my masks with a western icon...perhaps a blue "In Box".


Lots to do. I left happy.

4 comments:

Jacquelines blog said...

The place is beautiful Susan, it's a great exhibition space. I love the play of light. I am sure that you're work looks stunning there!

arlee said...

"An ALTARED book"-----oh oh oh :} ROFL---that's a bible i'd read--love the Blues!!! (Did i ever tell you i sang them with a garage band many years ago?)
The space looks fabulous and will be perfect for your "staging".

Nikki said...

What a wonderful space. So many new and exciting ideas to think about and work on. When is your exhibition?

Gunnels blog said...

a very beautiful place! It will be wonderful!