Exhibition opening for 701 CCA Prize finalists
Garden gnomes, luminescent landscapes and not-so-innocent portraits of children can be found in the 701 Center for Contemporary Art’s latest exhibition.
The show features three finalists for the 701 CCA Prize, a competition for South Carolina artists 40 years and younger.
This year’s finalists are Colleen Critcher of Florence, Yvette Cummings of Conway and Jena Thomas of Spartanburg.
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The three finalists’ work will be shown in the 701 CCA Prize 2016 Exhibition, which will open Thursday with an artists’ reception from 7-9 p.m. The exhibition of 35 works will run through Dec. 18.
“Prior to this 701 CCA initiative, the state did not have a prominent event to highlight the best young talent in South Carolina” said Wim Roefs, 701 CCA board chair.
The jury-selected artwork from this year’s finalists is diverse.
Critcher describes herself as “a visual artist fascinated by commodity culture, kitsch, and plastic things.” In one painting, that translates to Critcher hugging a green dinosaur toy. Usually, it involves garden gnomes. Her paintings often show her with a pointy-hatted figurine on a white backdrop. With the odd juxtapositions she asks, are these objects actually worth our time or affection?
Thomas, a recent Florida-to-South Carolina transplant, combines landscapes and architecture in her work. Scenes of trees and forests are punctuated by corners of pools, poles and hard-edged patios.
“You don’t know why they are combined in one area. So you’re not done after looking at it after 10 seconds,” Roefs said.
Cummings’ work also requires a second look. She uses collage elements and a children’s book aesthetic in what “seem like these innocent paintings, but then you start looking closer and there’s always something disturbing about them,” Roefs said.
In one piece, Cummings paints her daughters wearing brightly-colored clothes and surrounded by birds, but look closer and you’ll see that one of her daughter’s thighs is heavily scratched.
“All of a sudden you’re not sure what you’re looking at. I think that ambiguity in her work is very appealing,” Roefs said.
In her artist statement, Cummings says, “the narratives are created with purposefully vague and discordant imagery to represent the effects time and distance have on memory.”
The 701 CCA Prize winner will receive a six-week, paid residency at 701 CCA, a solo exhibition at 701 CCA and an ad in a national publication.
The winner will be announced in a celebration at the gallery on Dec. 1.
OTHER ARTS EVENTS AROUND TOWN
Book talks and signings
Karen Joy Fowler, author of the “The Jane Austen Book Club,” will speak Tuesday at the University of South Carolina as part of the school’s Fall Literary Festival. Book signing to follow.
6 p.m. at the Hollings Library, enter through the Thomas Cooper Library, 1322 Greene St. Free. library.sc.edu/p/fallfestival
Mary Alice Monroe will make a presentation at the Palmetto Collegiate Institute. The event is sponsored by The Friends of the Lexington Main Library. Monroe’s latest book, “A Lowcountry Christmas,” explores the meaning of the Christmas season through the struggles of a veteran returning home with PTSD.
6:30 p.m. Tuesday at 104 Hendrix St. $30 for nonmembers and $25 for members, includes a signed book and appetizers at the reception. www.LMLfriends.org
Jazz series at Main Street Public House
Saxophonist Robert Gardiner and his group will perform at Main Street Public House as part of the ColaJazz Artists Series.
8-11 p.m. Wednesday at 1556 Main St. Free. www.colajazz.com
First Friday Art Crawl
Businesses on State Street will open their doors for a special night of art and fun. Gallery West will have an exhibition of two artists in “Changing Perspectives: Savannah Etheredge and Albert Sperath” with sculptures and works on paper. Frame of Mind will have a photo exhibit of musician David Hunt, and It’s the Little Things will have a holiday open house featuring jewelry by Hippy Do-Da. There also will be food from the Wurst Wagon, specials at Terra and 116 State, live street painting and music by Stillhouse.
5-8 p.m. Friday on State Street in West Columbia. Free.
Opera at USC season opener
Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s “Sunday in the Park with George” depicts the journey, the joy and the heartbreak of an artist committed to realizing his vision. Inspired by Georges Seurat’s famous painting, “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte,” the musical won a Pulitzer Prize and was nominated for 10 Tony Awards including Best Musical.
7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 3 p.m. Nov. 6 at Drayton Hall Theatre. $25 for adults; $20 for university faculty & staff and military; $7 for students. sc.edu/music/opera