Looking for a shady sanctuary on a hot summer day? On Friday, July 1, you can visit the forest without leaving downtown Columbia. The place is Tapp’s Art Center and the woods come courtesy of Dave Robbins’ 24-painting exhibit entitled The Pace of Nature. And while the paintings do a wonderful job of transporting viewers out of the gallery, Robbins, who is a landscape designer and horticulturist by trade, gave that transcendent quality a boost by filling the space with foraged branches and vines and moss. The result is a tiny private wood, hung with paintings of trees, branches, thickets and leafy boughs.
“It’s more of an installation,” says Robbins. “I wanted viewers to slow down and absorb the setting, so I decided to make the experience feel like they were walking through a forest. In the end, it almost felt like I was bringing my paintings to life.”
When he’s not painting, Robbins is either caring for landscapes—he’s currently charged with keeping up the grounds surrounding the President’s House at USC—or planning garden spaces for private clients. He’s been painting for about five years and hopes this show will offer a bit of serenity in a busy world. “My goal with landscaping has always been to encourage people to really take in where they are,” he says. “This is the first time I’ve been able to fuse the two parts of my life.”
The Pace of Nature is extended through August 1. Admission is free; for more information, visit www.tappsartscenter.com.
By Katie McElveen, Special to The State