BY NANCY K. WELLARD
Special to the Packet/Gazette
It was a brilliant early spring evening on opening night at the sculpture exhibit st the Four Corners Fine Art Gallery on Bluffton’s May River Road.
The first-nighters came early and stayed late.
“The success of our very first sculpture exhibit in Bluffton was so rewarding and popularly received that a second annual sculpture show seemed absolutely necessary,” said the gallery’s Charlene Gardner. “We have invited six of the most accomplished sculptors, all with a special interest in the South, especially the Lowcountry.
“You know, a kind of fascinating concept about these artists is that they came to the sculpture medium kind of late in their artistic careers,” said Gardner. “Many had established careers in fine art and illustration, but almost down to the person, sculpting was added to their focus much later in their journey through learning about their work and the other aspects of their artistic life.”
There is a leit motif in this collection, the concept of a kind of Southern spin. The work is widely varied and divergent in terms of images, style and materials. The consistency throughout is in the quality of the work. The artistic outcomes reflect the accomplishment of the sculptors. The six sculptors have provided a special insight to the medium.
Just through the gallery doors and into the framing area, a kind of representative grouping of a sampling of each of sculptor’s pieces completely caught my attention. The work is varied and stunning.
I looked forward to a closer look at the more than 40 pieces that artfully filled the gallery spaces, and which were set off by current paintings by Four Corners Gallery Associates.
A piece in progress caught my eye is by Fran Kaminsky. The sculpture – “Learning to Dance” – portrays our “danseuse” in a graceful pose. The angle of her head, her childlike hands suggested a youthful dedication to her ballerina’s challenge. The work, currently in clay, but will soon be completed in bronze.
Judy Mooney’s “Dragging Oysters,” in bronze is incredibly strong and involving. She offers an amazing textured piece in her representation of the oysterman and his setting.
Mike Jandrlich has the most embryonic, organic approach to his work. Look at “Oh So Lovely,” in clay. It is one of those pieces that catches you quite off guard, then sticks with you over time.
“Winnower” by Clos Coalson is simply exquisite. A remarkable piece in bronze, it is figurative and representational, but her portrayal of the young woman and her work is far more than a sculptural portrait. Don’t miss the textures and shape of her basket, the drapes and creases in her clothing and the intensity of the young winnower’s expression.
“Actually I had duo careers in illustration and sculpture,” explained Coalson. “ Since I first came to South Carolina, I have become so interested in American History. Some of my work reflects that interest in bringing to image some of the unrecognizable people who lived, worked and died here.”
“Oh Captain, My Captain” by Harriet Jandrlich will astound you from a distance, and then up close.
Jandrlich created this piece in clay, and the medium perfectly translates and communicates the character of the captain.
Bronze is the medium Susie Chisolm has chosen for “Bluffton,” a stunning piece which captures a young man – tousled hair, shirtless and shoeless wearing a wonderfully wrinkled pair of shorts – as he leans on his elbows against the suggestion of Bluffton railing. He seems to gaze, thoughtfully, out on to the May River.
The exhibit will continue through April 15.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.