Wellard: Hilton Head's Muse Gallery celebrates new exhibit

The afternoon light was flooding through the windows and illuminating the artwork when I visited the Muse Gallery.

The exhibit "TEXTURE" is a riveting array of the work of artists: Bonnie Teitelbaum, Chad Awalt, Mel Rea and Signe Stuart, which opens with a celebration at the Hilton Head gallery Oct. 10.

The gallery represents the art of an association of fresh and fascinating artists who create contemporary artwork that focuses on non-objective, abstract art forms.

"We are a local gallery," said owner Hali Lookabaugh, "but our gallery artists join us from all around ... ." TEXTURE" is a collection of the work of artists from Santa Fe and Atlanta."

Lookabaugh has prodigiously planned and skillfully assembled a remarkable exhibit. She has gathered, planned and calibrated the show to point out the exceptional lucidity in the sculptures of Awalt, along with the awe inspiring, even breath taking panels of Teitelbaum. Both artists will be present at the opening reception .

Teitelbaum's gestural paintings are gorgeous, brilliant, really, filled with vibrant coloring . At once strong, then muted, even delicate, the surfaces are particularly stunning.

She works in acrylic paint, which she layers with clear gel. She layers the surfaces of her paintings again and again to forge glassy surfaces and brilliant outcomes.

"If we are talking technique, when I work to create a painting, I want to get a kind of transparent surface, in each application. That will allow the light to travel between those layered surfaces," she said when I spoke with her in her studio near Santa Fe.

She said she wants to "provide the viewer the opportunity to revisit a memory, a kind of moment in time."

Awalt's sculpture has taken a new direction. He is recognized for his figures in wood and has added work in glass, a variety of metals and copper.

"His figures have always been designed with thin edges to create a feel of lightness and movement. I think these new additions have given them a more fluid life like feel, a sense of floating," said Lookabaugh.

Look for "A Few Miles Above," and "By the Shore," each around 30-35" tall. A master of his medium, his outcomes will surprise and may even haunt you.

Rea's artistic uniqueness is displayed in her widely divergent paintings in acrylic, graphite and wax.

Her work is intriguing. Be certain to find her "Being Near the Here" as you tour the gallery.

There is a staggering contrast in not only the work, but in the "textures" in the mixed medium pieces, on paper, of Stuart.

Look for "Mesas" 28" x 50" and "Between," 26"x51," both in the mixed medium on paper.

Muse Gallery

65 Arrow Road, Suite B, Hilton Head

Artist reception from 5 to 7 p.m. Oct. 10

For More information, call 843-715-4330

Artist, musician, teacher and writer Nancy K. Wellard focuses on portraying and promoting the cultural arts, first in Los Angeles and, for close to 30 years, in the Lowcountry. Email her at