This summer I had an art experience that schooled me in accuracy and slowing down. Being reminded of these components is a benefit because I have noted them in the process of creating art. A lot of my work in promoting the arts is kind of like a high school football game, lobbing artists back and forth. It's fun, the colors are as bright as team jerseys, it gets people out of their doors, but it's not always in depth.
As I worked from May through October on the Sam Doyle Celebration, I conversed with Gordon W. Bailey, a noted art collector-scholar with clear insight into Mr. Doyle's inspired artworks. He was generous with his time and expertise and always insistent that I strove for accuracy. He clarified image copyright law, and helped me sort fact from fiction while I researched the artist's life. Sam Doyle's profound talent and unique style influenced a number of iconic artists; his paintings soared from $100 at his St. Helena Out Door Art Gallery to six-figure sales and prestigious international exhibitions. Understanding this required my attention to, and savoring of, detail.
Now, I wonder, how can I develop my approach to art in the Lowcountry? The answer is, of course, in the art and artists.
I attended Alexandra Sharma's show at the Art League of Hilton Head. That Friday night in October, she guided the small crowd through the details of her watercolors. In the desert of Rajasthan she was concentrating on simplicity when the detail walked in: a woman enrobed in orange, followed by her shadow. At Fort Pulaski in Savannah, in Assisi in Italy, and in a botanical garden in Toronto, she focused on the details of a passageway, a tower and a twisting tree. "To me," she explained, "the little corner tower was architecturally beautiful and said the whole cathedral."
Artists often use a microscope to relay an accurate world view. Often it is this sophisticated point-of-view that people respond to in art.
Cindy Male is a resident artist at ARTworks. She chose to be a fiber artist because of the "associations of fabric to humanity, from cultural cloth and ritual to the weaving the universe." She's a member of the Fiber Artists of Beaufort, which is having a show Nov. 8-10 at Tabby Fabric and Studio in Beaufort. She employs the accuracy of computers to aid her handiwork.
"The pieces I am exhibiting in FAB utilize my drawings as inspiration for repetitive computer aided designs that are printed on poly canvas. Afterward, I draw or paint on the CAD fabric. I never know what is going to come out on these final steps as it is more intuitive. This three step process developed from my studies of chaos theory, spiritual ground, and the energy of that ground as manifested into the world around us." Cindy also has a discussion series beginning this month at ARTworks.
Laurie Lovell is also a FAB artist and an ARTworks studio artist. In explaining her use of tai chi and Zen meditation iconography, she supplied a detailed bibliography of sources.
"In addition to these influences," she said, "tactile textures carry over from my investigations -- play -- with flax fiber and window screen. The screen represents a veil or atmosphere. The flax: flow and feel. I enjoy allowing the viewer to see what they want in each piece."
What else will people see at the FAB show, I asked her, and now that you've settled into your studio, what do you think about Beaufort's art scene?
"I think people will be impressed and excited about how varied fiber art can be. Everything from functional wearable pieces to wall-mounted art to three-dimensional works. I love being part of a creative community and would like to see more interaction, conversing and unity in all the art related groups and venues in this coastal region. We need to make this the best place to buy and view art for all those who participate, invest and visit our community."
And for that, no detail is too small.
Lisa Annelouise Rentz is the publicity leader at ARTworks in Beaufort. Her literary work is part of the Birkensnake show this month at the Most Wanted Fine Art Gallery in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.