Landscapes: Works from the State Art Collection

April 2015 - April 2016 / South Carolina Department of Commerce

Exhibition Text

The South Carolina State Art Collection is the most comprehensive public collection of pieces by Contemporary South Carolina Artists; encompasses a range of media from painting to photography, prints, and sculpture. Established in 1967, the collection contains almost 500 unique works by 287 artists. The works in the collection chronicle the essence of South Carolina conveying scenes, textures, people and places from across the state to demonstrate our multifaceted landscape and its occupants.

The South Carolina Department of Commerce, in collaboration with the Palmetto Curatorial Exchange, is exhibiting an intimate selection of works by five of the artists from The State Collection: Dave Appleman, Will Barnes, Bob Brown and Dave Freeman. The photographs and paintings on view through April 2016 each take the South Carolina outdoors as their subject.

Dave Appleman’s paintings are close examinations of floral arrangements presented in a large format that highlights the blossoms and foliage of his subject. He abstracts the arrangements, representing them with flat blocks of color. His paintings blend the cut-up aesthetic of Matisse with the pale and layering of mid-century graphic design.

Barnes’s black and white photographs are portraits of place. His landscape photography typically captures the quiet, natural spaces. Instead of presenting the viewer with a human subject, he angles the frame zeroing in on the details one would notice on a hike through the woods, paddle down the river or stroll in the fields. His black and white photographs, zero in on his subjects offering stark and dramatic profiles or details of the landscapes of South Carolina.

Brown also present dramatic black and white photographic portraits of areas around South Carolina but takes the forgotten structures as his subject. Shooting abandoned Antebellum structures from a low angle, he offers a cinematic take on these lost spaces. He documents the entropy of these places as they fall derelict and become beautiful monuments to South Carolina’s past.

Freeman combines the dramatic compositions and abstracted painting techniques of his fellow State Art Collection artists in his large-scale piece. Magnifying his subject to the extreme, his paintings become Petri dishes zooming in on the texture and nuances of the organic matter that surrounds us. You can read them as the bark of a tree or relief of a rock surface that has been abstracted and spliced into planes on the canvas.

All of the artists participating in Landscapes: Works from The State Art Collection are familiar with the intrinsic qualities of South Carolina’s varied environments from the sand hills to the forests and the low country presenting the minutia and the grand that encompass the fabric of the Palmetto State.

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Landscapes: Works from the State Art Collection Exhibition Packet

Exhibiting Artists: Dave Appleman, Will Barnes, Bob Brown and Dave Freeman.

South Carolina Department of Commerce