Press: Charleston Scene
‘Wet, Hot, Southern Summer’ at the Southern gallery
By Amy Mercer
Special to The Post and Courier, Jan 27 2016
After a long absence, winter has finally arrived and with it are temperatures far below my comfort zone, so it was a pleasure to walk into the Southern gallery with its high ceiling, white walls, clean and modern style, and an exhibition of work inspired by summer.
“(It was) A Wet, Hot, Southern Summer” features work in a variety of mediums from Southern artists Kristy Bishop, Michaela Pilar Brown, Sarah Emerson, Matt Haffner, Isabelle Klauder, Michael Pajon, Jeanne Vockroth, Antoine Williams and Gately Williams.
Owned by Erin and Justin Nathanson, the Southern will feature a 6- to 8-week exhibition schedule of contemporary artists. It’s located at 2 Carlson Court, behind the Pizza Hut on Meeting Street.
The Nathansons have extensive backgrounds in the local arts community. After graduating from the College of Charleston, Erin managed the City Gallery at Waterfront Park for several years, and helped create ArtFields, a visual arts festival in Lake City. Justin moved to Charleston from Los Angeles in 2005, and is the owner of the Cut company, a film, television and Web content production company.
Married for four years, they see this collaboration as the perfect merging of their talents.
They wanted to open a gallery for years, and believe that now is the right time.
“We want this space to feel all-inclusive. We want it to be a place that people think of when they come to Charleston,” says Erin.
“(It was) A Wet, Hot, Southern Summer” illustrates the varied interpretationss of a common time period: the summer of 2015.
South Carolina photographer Gately Williams’ image of a beautiful, nearly naked woman splashing through the waves is sensual and carefree, while Kristy Bishop describes her series of woven pieces as invoking “the feeling of fleeting freedom and fun of summer by combining the thick and thin textures, vibrantly dyed fiber and a bit of glitz. Together these elements remind one of an impossibly hot day with no end in sight. The only respite being a dip in the pool or a late night party when the temperatures finally start to cool.”
Michaela Pilar Brown explores the body through the prisms of age, gender, race, sexuality and history in her mixed-media work.
Sarah Emerson describes her highly stylized drawings of nature as “combining geometric patterns and mythic archetypes to examine contemporary landscapes.”
The works on view at Southern were created in preparation for a series of paintings on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia in Atlanta.
Some of the pieces in the show reflect the theme more directly, including the delicate indigo pieces by Jeanne Vockroth, who says the title of the exhibition “brings to my mind images of sipping a cold drink beneath the sheltering shade of a pale blue Southern porch ceiling, observing life pass by and indulging in a respite from the low, smothering Southern sun. This triptych of dyed Indigo pieces was inspired by the blue porch ceilings of the South and their historical connection to Charleston.”
Intereactive print display
The gallery also contains a works on paper program that will feature a rotating roster of artists.
Local woodworker Brett Bowden of Knotty Woodcraft built an interactive print display that is attached to the wall and allows visitors to easily engage with the prints.
Erin says the works on paper program is a great way to introduce artists that are experimenting in different mediums, including painting, photography, collage, mixed media and drawing.
Objects will range from 3-D fiber work to hand-painted skateboards.
The Southern’s next exhibition will be a solo show of artist Ben Hollingsworth, whose work has continued to evolve since he moved from the Lowcountry.
The Southern gallery opened on Jan. 14 with an enthusiastic crowd and we look forward to watching this space evolve.
Winter hours are by appointment on Monday and Tuesday; noon-7 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday; and noon-6 p.m. Sunday.