Friday, September 02, 2016

Anonymous Ancestors at USC-Beaufort's Sea Island Center Art Gallery

(Above:  Anonymous Ancestors, my solo installation at the Sea Island Center Art Gallery on the University of South Carolina's Beaufort campus, September 2 - 30, 2016.  Artist's lecture at 4:30 on September 30th followed by a closing reception, 5:30 - 7:30.)

Yesterday was amazing.  First, I honestly didn't think everything would fit into our van.  The vehicle is really just a mini-van without a back seat.  It has lots of cargo space ... but not as much as I thought I'd need.  Somehow, I got it all inside.  We met interim Arts Department chair, Kim Keats, (a talented fiber artist) and unloaded into the unique, two-sided space.  I arranged the furniture and placement for the three sculptural garments and placed some of the larger, antique framed works around the room.

This is how I generally approach an installation ... from the spatial viewpoint ... with the notion of setting a stage ... conscientiously aware that my role is to transform a white-walled gallery into a specific environment.  For Anonymous Ancestors, this meant the space was to become an atmosphere in which one would feel like a visit to "grandma's house", a comfortable, nostalgic sitting room hung with family photos and reminders of a universal "family tree".


I took four photos ... from the four, most distant corners of the combined space ... showing how I started to work.  The burgundy upholstered rocker is genuinely a Victorian piece.  (Thank you, Mom and Dad!)  The end tables, two round rugs, most of the thousands of anonymous photos, the antique frames, and some of the other items came from Bill Mishoe's auction house.

Two of the three garments were donated by generous supporters of my artwork.  The scrapbooks and photo albums were made during my late spring art residency with Springboard for the Arts in Fergus Falls, MN. 


By placing the largest framed images and the genuine Victorian frames around the space, I assured that each section of wall would work as if a separate "vignette".


 Then ... the real work started!  There are over two-hundred framed pieces.  Thankfully, I know each one, make quick decisions, and have a good eye for where each hook-and-nail needs to be placed. 

By 1:00 PM, Kim Keats returned to the space with thirteen students enrolled in her 3D design class.  I had the men dress one of the sculptural garment and the ladies arrange some of the loose, altered images under the glass topped end table.  (More images of the students assisting are below.  Just scan down!)

We were finished before 5:00 PM.  The space looks great.  The vinyl exhibition title will be placed on the one, blank wall.  (I wasn't in charge of that ... thank goodness!)  Exhibition cards and posters were delivered while we were still in the building.  There's an artist lecture followed by a closing reception on the 30th.  I'm looking forward to this.

I did, however, forget to snap photos of The Grid of Photos.  It is suspended eight inches in front of a fourteen-and-a-half foot wall on the wall just outside the installation space.  The cast shadows are wonderful.  I also didn't have an opportunity to capture images of people looking at the altered photo albums and scrapbooks ... but I will get these photos later in the month.

The gallery is only open on Fridays and Saturdays from 11 AM until 4 PM ... but it is a popular place for people from Beaufort to see unique art and for students at the university.

Now ... yesterday was amazing on another front.  The Sea Islands Center Gallery sits in the downtown, historic district of Beaufort ... directly across the street from the wide marsh leading to the ocean ... and on the path of Hurricane Hermine.  While installing yesterday, word came that the university was canceling all classes for today in anticipation of street flooding.  Thankfully, the hurricane was down-graded to a tropical storm but that certainly doesn't mean that flooding won't occur in Beaufort.  My fingers are crossed that the exhibit will look the same tomorrow as it did yesterday!

The remainder of this blog post is a series of images.  Some show the exhibit. Others show the students assisting with the installation.  Enjoy (and say a little prayer that tomorrow brings good tidings of fair weather after an uneventful storm!)

I am linking this post to Nina-Marie's "Off the Walls Fridays", a site for sharing fiber arts.


Margaret said...

I learn so much from seeing how you go about this -- and am absolutely floored by your having enough pieces to fill a large-ish gallery space! Praying for continued good weather!

Deb Hardman said...

Fascinating. What a unique & inspiring exhibit. Thanks for sharing. I wish I could go there in person.

Shasta Matova said...

This looks like an incredible exhibition! I hope the weather supports a safe exhibit and a great turnout.

Wanda said...

The transformation of an empty space into a warm, inviting and beautiful exhibit is fascinating! The setting is perfect for the topic...."welcome to my home". On a personal note, I have to say the floor is wonderful! My wooden floor doesn't look half as good as that one there.