Friday, December 17, 2021

Last Words at the Sumter County Gallery of Art

(Above:  Last Words, my solo installation at the Sumter County Gallery of Art.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

Last night was the opening reception for my solo installation Last Words at the Sumter County Gallery of Art.  For me, this is a special place and always will be.  My very first museum show was here in 2006.  In fact, I started this blog in order to " to hold on to some of the wonderful, artistic things that have happened to me." (Click HERE for one of my first blog entries about Blues Chapel!)  Fifteen years later and I'm just as honored to be back!

(Above:  Last Words ... a view to the sheer chiffon epitaph banners.)

I'm honored by the fact that Cole Miller, the museum's curator, picked up the selected artwork and installed the show. This gave me a way to see my work through the eyes of an expert. It allowed me to see different possibilities too.  Take, for example, the sheer chiffon epitaph banners.  When I've installed this show, I hung them randomly and in ways that allowed visitors to walk through them.  Installed in rows, however, actually encouraged people to stop for a few moments and read the touching "last words" left on a gravestone and stitched to the fabric.  When I've installed these banners, I always rolled up the longer ones ... but there is something quite wonderful about those pieces puddling on the floor.  They seem to suggest the continuation of epitaphs ... a longer and on-going list ... just like walking through a real cemetery.  The words of remembrance are everywhere and go on and on and on.

(Above:  Karen Watson, executive director of the Sumter Gallery of Art and Cole Miller, curator, with me at the reception.)

I am equally grateful to Karen Watson for arranging great press for this show.  The local newspaper, The Sumter Item carried this article about the two exhibits that opened last night.  Plus, there was another reporter at the opening collecting information and impressions for a future review!  I'm excited!

(Above:  During the reception for Last Words.)

The Sumter Gallery of Art opened its doors on February 23, 2003 in the science wing of the former Edmunds High School.  The 24,000 square foot space has two, large exhibition galleries.  Across the wide hallway from Last Words was the Sumter Artists' Guild Winners Show.  In the hallway was an excellent selection of reception food.  Lots of people mingled from one show to the other.


(Above:  Last Words ... with CRAZY (In the Millennial Age) on the wall facing the other entrance to the gallery.)

There are two entrances into the Ackerman Gallery and Last Words.  One of the doors opens to a view of CRAZY (In the Millennial Age).  This is yet another way that a curated show differs from what I might have done.  Until recently, I didn't see that I compartmentalize my own work.  Although I see the common thread (pardon the pun!) that runs through everything I make, I have always sculpted my installation in very specific ways.  I finished the altered crazy quilt two years ago and automatically put it in my newer installation, Once and Again: Alterations.  It never occurred to me that it could belong with my Grave Rubbing Art Quilts in Last Words or my solo installation Anonymous Ancestors ... but it does!  All those anonymous faces stitched to the surface speak to my older work, my current work, and also to the future shows for Once and Again: Alterations.  It is very humbling to see how a qualified curator puts different things together.  Also, Cole Miller beautifully sprinkled color throughout the show that I generally approach more monotonously.  He has a very good eye!

(Above:  The signage in the wide hallway for Last Words.)

The show is up through February 18, 2022.  I hope it touches many ... because this experience certainly has touched me!  Below are additional images taken during the evening reception.



tllyon said...

Stunning and I'm sure even more so in person. I would love to be close enough to read all of your thoughtful words on the hanging silks! Congratulations!

T. Gaynor said...

It's all about perspective, isn't it. Your craftsmanship and imagination are second to none. I'm a fan. Congratulations, well deserved.

Ann Scott said...

Thank you for sharing this with those of us who can't see it is person. So much work; from the ideas, to making the art, to displaying it in an inviting way. It is very interesting to read about this curated exhibition and what you have learned from the way it has been hung. Lucky those who do see it in person. Congratulations!

Margaret said...

Congratulations! And what an opportunity to learn about the way a professional curator...curates. I'm glad I was able to see it, from across the continent.

Catherine - Mixed Media Artist said...

thanks for sharing, looks amazing