Living

Art that balances faith, reason

Sacrifice, redemption and faith.

The themes swell in Jason Amick's solo exhibition "Jason Amick: New Works" which opens Friday at Gallery 80808. The paintings, monotypes and etchings have remarks of spirituality.

One particular image, "Tobit," a 4-by-6 inch monotype, depicts the face of a man. He is withered, his features contorting. At first glance, the face is one of pain. On another, the man seems at peace, relaxed. The shadows in the work present myriad readings of the piece.

Many of the 20 to 30 pieces in the show, Amick said, are inspired by the Bible, with "Tobit" specifically encouraged by the Book of Tobit in the Catholic and Orthodox Scriptures. Tobit was a blind old man who had become a burden on his family. He had only one prayer, a single wish.

"My version in the monotype of Tobit depicts him with his blindness and his mental state of wishing for death," Amick said. "His soul has been beaten down, but he's come to accept his fate.

"Tobit is a good man who seems to be unfairly punished. The Book of Tobit grapples with why bad things happen to good people, which is a question that I think nearly everyone can relate to."

The Bible has been a source for Amick's work for more than a decade, as he has tried to discern the relationship between faith and reason.

"I found myself playing the role of devil's advocate in my past work as I weighed in as both a religious person and a naturally skeptical person with an interest in science," said Amick, a University of South Carolina graduate.

"This latest body of work abandons the conflicted and skeptic-sided view of faith."

Another image, "Isaac," a 9.5-by-14.5-inch oil on panel, features Isaac lounging, arms stretched, on what appears to be logs or a raft. Isaac, the only child of Abraham and Sarah, and the father of Jacob and Esau, did not leave Canaan because God forbade him. In this painting, is he pondering his faith, his sacrifices, his obedience?

Like a lot of the stories in the Bible, this work is left to interpretation.

The show runs through Oct. 12. There's an opening reception from 5 to 9 Friday. Gallery 80808 is at 808 Lady St. (803) 252-6134

So what's happening here?

It's a question the audience might be asking at "WHISPER: The MOVIES," the NiA Company's ambitious new production that will be performed Friday and Saturday at the future home of the Nickelodeon Theatre.

Here's what will happen: NiA will interpret theater and movies, only with a twist. The actors will mash up genres and eras. Some of the acting will be projected on a screen. Sometimes the acting will be on the stage.

"Sometimes it will be both," said Darion McCloud, NiA's artistic director.

Confused? Intrigued? Here's one mashup that will happen: "Dead Poets Society," "Revenge of the Nerds" and "Dolemite" will be combined into a scene.

"It's crazy," McCloud admitted. "But it's going to be fun."

Showtime both nights is at 8 p.m. The Nick's future home is at 1607 Main St. For more information, visit http://theniacompany.blogspot.com

Trustus Theatre opens its Black Box Theatre season Thursday with two performances: "Mr. Charles, Currently of Palm Beach" and "Pride & Joy." Black Box is the smaller theater at Trustus.

Gerald Floyd, a gem of a performer with boundless charisma, stars as Mr. Charles, a person without restraint. Mr. Charles hosts his own late-night cable show. "Pride & Joy" stars Dianne Wilkins in her Black Box debut. She'll play a mother with exceptional children.

The shows run through Oct. 17. Showtimes: 7:30 p.m. Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 7:30 p.m. Oct. 15; and 8 p.m. Oct. 16 and 17. Trustus is at 520 Lady St. $12; (803) 254-9732

Suzy Scarborough's paintings require a state of mind. The work is intuitive. Scarborough, a painter who works with various mediums, will have a solo exhibition at Compass 5 Partners, a Cayce architecture firm. It opens with a reception from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday.

Scarborough, who began painting almost two decades ago, began with figures. But her current style is cradled in nature. Her landscapes aren't a re-creation of anything that can be driven by or visited.

"They're not painted from life at all," she said. "I start out trying to paint something abstract, and it turns into landscapes. They always seem to turn in landscapes."

Her landscapes exist in a world where environmental beauty and sustainability is paramount. The green and yellow hues blend to harmonious and illuminating effect. There's nothing - as in people and machines - there, but life is robust, thriving.

"I'm kind of expressing my own perceptions of the world," Scarborough said. "I tend to like to paint colors of light, and how light bounces around. I just paint form inside my brain.

"Before I start, I don't know what it's going to look like at all. I just start with a big brush and make big strokes."

And she makes sure she's in the right state of mind.

The shown runs through Nov. 5. Compass 5 Partners is at 1329 State St., West Columbia. (803) 765-0838

Tickets for "Jingle All the Way," the collaboration between the S.C. Philharmonic and Bela Fleck & the Flecktones, went on sale at 9 a.m. Thursday.

The concert is Dec. 1 at the Koger Center. It's the first stop on the band's holiday tour, so the rhythms and jams will be fresh.

Tickets cost $40 to $70 and can be purchased by calling (803) 251-2222 or by visiting www.capitoltickets.com.

The poet Earl Braggs will have a reading and signing at 2 today at 701 Center for Contemporary Art. Braggs , a professor at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga, makes the places he visits characters that interact with the characters in his work.

701 CCA is at 701 Whaley St. www.701cca.org.

LAST CHANCE

"Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg: 20th Century Masters in the Collection," an installation that features two leaders of the American Pop art movement, closes today at the Columbia Museum of Art.

Johns, who grew up in the Midlands and attended USC for a few semesters before settling in New York in 1949, was good friends with Rauschenberg, who died in 2008. This installation, which explores their artistic relationship, is drawn from the museum's collection.

The museum, at Main and Hampton streets, is open from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Free; (803) 799-2810

- Otis R. Taylor Jr.

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