Saturday, July 23, 2005

Article: Carolina Arts, November 2005

November Issue 2005

Vista Studios in Columbia, SC, Offers Group Exhibition for 2005 Vista Lights

Vista Studios opens Expressions at its Gallery 80808 on Nov. 17, 2005, as part of 2005 Vista Lights. The artists of Vista Studios also open their studios for this evening of extended hours by galleries in Columbia, SC's, Congaree Vista. The exhibit continues through Nov. 28, 2005.

Expressions - a rather self-indulgent theme for artists? Perhaps, but one that sparked amusingly literal to provocative spiritual interpretations. The artists represented are Carol Barks, Pat Callahan, Pat Gilmartin, Heidi Darr Hope, Robert Kennedy, Susan Lenz, Sharon Collings Licata, Laura Spong, David Yaghjian, and Ron Zurlo.

Susan Lenz turns to the written word in her amusingly obsessive collage series, No! no! A Thousand Times No! and the variation If I've Told You Once, I've Told You a Thousand Times. Lenz's investigations with words continue in book art to include It's a Classic, My Mother's Jewels, and in collaboration with poet Melissa Bush, Becoming an Artist. Pat Callahan explores the spoken word and the depth of communication in the mixed media communication: communion.

The expressive reality of time-worn faces is the subject of Pat Gilmartin's new sculpture series Life Lines. Gilmartin celebrates the creased and lined faces of elderly, faces etched with the experience of life and a welcome departure from the smooth, taut "beauty" of youth. Gilmartin also presents the new series of wall sculptures Fig Leaves.

Heidi Darr Hope, once again a Vista Studios artist, presents the provocative mixed-media works Forgiveness, All as One, Mother of All, and Holy Ones. Each vibrant composition stands as spiritual conversation.

Two artists speak to a sense of place in their entries. Laura Spong captures the cool and calm of the mountains in summer that belies the season's extremes in Mountain Melody, a non-objective oil painting. In his paintings, the newest Vista Studios artist Don Zurlo evokes experiences of place and time: a deep forest that defies the heat of summer in Landscape with Green over Blue; the day, hot and tired, easing into summer night in Red Moon; a softly-colored space that gives perspective on the passing of life and love in 12 Layers of Melancholy.

Stepping into a dreamed state of being, Sharon Collings Licata manifests a "rock solid peace" in alabaster with Rock Dove. And she gives shape to the "twists and turns of an expressive night" in Desert Night. The abstract sculpture is carved in black chlorite. Ethel Brody explores the flipside of dreams in the acrylic abstract painting Nasa Nightmare.

Carol Barks works in cooperation with the nature and formation of the stones she sculpts. Thus she shaped the creature-like Pisciform I of orange alabaster and Pisciform II of yellow calcite. Barks discovered the granite for her sculpture Second Time 'Round in the alley beside the studios. The stone was once part of a Civil War statue long stored in the bowels of the 808 Lady Street building. The statue of an officer was unfortunately reduced by sledge hammer to rubble, but is now recycled and reinvented for Expressions.

David Yaghjian treats the viewer to new scenes from the life of his rumpled old man in the oil paintings Mowing, Leaf Blower, and Man and Grill. Yaghjian sees the character as self-referential, but also as an every man or anyone's great uncle, or "that guy in line at the bank."

Gallery 80808 and Vista Studios are located at 808 Lady Street. Visitors are advised to avoid the Lady Street construction chaos by entering the studios from its side door on the walkway that begins on Gervais Street and runs beside the M. Craig and Co. showroom and the Rhino Room.

For more info check our SC Commercial Gallery listings, call 803/252-6134 or at (

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