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Property and Cows, Kent Ambler, woodcut, 20 x 32”, 2011 THE JOURNAL OF SOUTH CAROLINA ART AND ARTISTS






8 SC Film Comment: Adventure Art 10 Music: The Royal Tinfoil 13 Culinary Arts: Buenos Aires 14 Literature: Advanced Genius Theory 16 Artist: Kent Ambler 22 Architecture: Lee Hall 28 Sculptor: Glenn Saborosch 32 Musician: Marina Alexandra 34 Artist: Morey Weinstein 42 Artist: Colin Quashie 46 Photographer: Jeff Amberg 54 Artisan: Jerry Stover 56 Artist: Anna Redwine


62 Emerging Artist: Rachel Borgman

CONTRIBUTORS Mary Gilkerson : Editor Teri Tynes : Senior Arts Editor Tom Savory : Architecture Editor Chris White : Film/Cinema Editor

Tony Lee : Music Editor Kristian Niemi : Culinary Arts Editor David Wright : Managing Editor Rachel Haynie : Writer

James Quantz : Photographer Scott Bilby : Photographer Sarah Kobos : Photographer Reese Moore : Writer/photographer

Allison Day : Writer Erin Emory : Writer Jerry Stover : Writer Mark Pointer : Founder/Designer

These pages are the labor of many talented hands, from writing, design and editing, to sales and marketing. We encourage you to contact us with any feedback or story ideas at our website. Please support the artists, your community leaders and advertisers. For advertising information please contact us at: 803.386.9031 or undefined magazine is copyrighted and may not be reproduced in any manner, in whole or in part, without the publisher’s written permission. ©2012 All Rights Reserved 6


on the cover: Tin Toys, Morey Weinstein, acrylic, 48 x 48”, 2010

This is not a magazine. This is a gallery. Simple in its construction and purpose. An empty vessel for the art and artists within. And very much like that small gallery that you stumbled across when you were lost in the back streets of Florence, and depending in the same manner on the mercurial whims of its proprietor, this gallery will open, again and again and again. Unceasing, and replete with the wonderous, the unexpected, and the excellent. Welcome back to undefined.




Steve Snell Adventure Art “Everyone is necessarily the hero of his own life story.” Or so said “novel-killer” John Barth in his controversial 1967 essay, The Literature of Exhaustion. Spartanburg-based visual artist Steve Snell is energized by that possibility, and is putting Barth’s claim to the test with his new short film series, THE EPIC SPARTANBURG. “I find inspiration in the work of artists who involve their audience in the process of creation,” the twenty-nine year old Snell explains, “And I love discovering the heroic aspects of everyday lives…of average, normal people. THE EPIC SPARTANBURG is my attempt to marry those ideas.” Snell’s epic short film series invites anyone in town to propose a self-directed adventure for him to document. After a day of shooting, Snell edits the film, assembling his footage in such a way as to reveal each person’s daily adventure. Add to that footage a big movie soundtrack, and you have a “real-life epic.” “I’m not a traditional filmmaker,” Snell confesses, “My background is in painting…with only a few years of video production under my belt. But I’ve always loved movies—the bigger the better. They inspire me. It’s probably fair to say that all of my work has been informed by my experiences with popular culture and films.” THE EPIC SPARTANBURG is a natural outgrowth of Snell’s vision for “adventure art”—visual art that involves a physical performance element, a quest. Snell is drawn to the performance art of Joseph Beuys, who sought to connect more deeply and directly with his audience than many of his 20th Century peers, many of whom preferred to maintain a safe, ironic distance. Beuys sought to return a sense of wonder and spirituality to an art world that was dominated by rock-hard rationalism.

Likewise, Snell’s adventures are meant to provide artist, audience, and subject the opportunity to see their lives through a more heroic, cinematic lens. And in doing so, elevate and celebrate the individual. “I believe that art can be transformational…for the artist and his audience,” Snell says wistfully, “With THE EPIC SPARTANBURG project, I see my role as more facilitator than sole creator…a kind of wilderness guide to my subject’s adventure…their own personal mythmaker.” Learn more about Steve Snell’s latest THE EPIC SPARTANBURG short film at Snell is originally from Columbus, Ohio, but is proud to call South Carolina his home now, as one of four Artists-In-Residence at HUB-BUB in Downtown Spartanburg.

Home Theater Recommendations METROPOLIS RESTORED (1927) dir. Fritz Lang 2026 is just around the corner. Preview our near future by way of early cinema’s most ambitious and human spectacle. SHERMAN’S MARCH (1986) dir. Ross McElwee A classic. A documentarian sets out to make the definitive General William T. Sherman history. Ends up heartbroken and longing for love among the ruins. ABOUT SCHMIDT (2002) dir. Alexander Payne If you missed it, see it now. Jack Nicholson’s swan song. A retired and widowed insurance executive—easy-riding across the American Midwest in his RV..

Chris White, undefined Magazine Cinema Editor, is a fan of artistically ambitious, handmade epic adventure films. He makes his home (and his own feature films) in the Upstate. His latest, TAKEN IN (2011), was screened at the 6th Annual Indie Grits Film Festival in Columbia, SC.








The Royal Tinfoil

The Royal Tinfoil

It’s impossible not to love The Royal Tinfoil. The Charleston-based quintet describes themselves alternately as “fake cousins that like to party” and “fake cousins who fell down a well”, and this charming faux-family plays some really gorgeous tunes that vocalist Lily Slay describes as Americana-rock-meetsgypsy-sex. The end result? One damn good show. Undefined caught up with The Royal Tinfoil at one of Charleston’s favorite dive bars, Tattooed Moose, a spot noted for its beer menu and unusual taxidermy collection. The band mates straggled in one at a time for the interview, and once we cracked the PBR tall boys and got the cigarettes smoldering, we got down to business. Tell us a little bit about how you guys got started. Mackie and [Lily] got started around 2009 and we started as a two piece playing gigs and covers around town. We added a bunch of different people, mandolin players, guest drummers, and then we finally decided we wanted a solid line up. We met Brad and Tim when we played with their old band, Dim Peepers. We picked them up when their band split ways, and we took a rock drummer, Marshall, from Mackie’s other band... and now we’re all congealed.

Has anyone actually fallen down a well? Maybe Mackie? But really, it’s just that no one wants to hear your Craigslist success story. How do you describe your sound? And do you hate that question? Yeeeeah... It’s difficult for us because most people don’t know how they would categorize us, either. We say somewhere between blues, rock, Americana, and drunken gypsy sex. Is there really any other sort of sex?

So you’re scavengers, is that what you’re saying? (laughter) Yeah. The goal was always to have a solid line up, and as we started to get rowdier and rowdier we knew we were going to need drums and electric bass to tie it all in.

What is your inspiration? We’re inspired a lot by our lifestyle, being goodhearted but deviant hell raisers. Musically, the influences are spread out across several genres, which is why it can be hard to describe our sound. Tim and [Brad] used to play in a jazz band, Lily’s got a lot of soul in her voice, Mackie grew up playing bluegrass and plays blues guitar, and Marshall is a rock and roll drummer. Everybody’s bringing something different to the table. We’re often inspired by the bands that we play with, being on the road and meeting new people, and trying to understand those people’s perspectives.

What’s the story behind the fake cousins bit? That’s our fictitious biography. We’re fake cousins, but it’s very real to us. Well, Mackie actually was caught transporting an alligator. He was picked up on mysterious charges involving a small reptile. That part is true. But the streetwalker bit can be loosely interpreted, pun intended.

text and photography: Reese Moore



Where all do you play? Regionally, mostly Southeastern cities right now... Asheville, Columbus, Athens, Raleigh, Wilmington, Columbia. We play in Columbia pretty frequently nowadays. We really like it there! We’re kind of a band’s band, so we do well in communities with a lot of other musicians because we do what they do, but we party really hard while we do it. What’s the craziest thing that’s ever happened to you on tour? Where are you printing this? Rejected Penthouse letters? (laughter) We had a weird experience when we were going up to Wilmington last time. We got a flat tire in the middle of nowhere and didn’t have a spare, so we called AAA to have them tow us over 50 miles to Wilmington, but we weren’t sure they would have enough space for five people in the cab of the tow truck. Mackie, Marshall, and [Brad] decided to hide in the back of the van and cover up with blankets and backpacks while they put us on the tow truck and drove us there. Meanwhile there was plenty of room, so they were up there kickin’ it while we were poking our heads out of the back of the van. The last several days, everyone I’ve talked to about this interview has had a story about how rowdy your shows are. What’s the craziest thing that’s happened at a show? There are so many. This one time, this lady was in town for a funeral, and she was partying her ass off. The circumstances that brought her there were devastating, but she was getting wild. When Mackie did a solo, we thought she was literally going to get naked. The hunger in her eyes... There was a lot of shirt lifting and gyrating. Lily Slay: I used to rip Mackie’s shirt off every time we played, but we started a trend so we had to stop. These random people started coming on stage to rip his shirt off. What’s next for The Royal Tinfoil? Our album comes out on May 25th at The Pour House in Charleston. With Shallow Palace from Columbia, and we’ve basically got enough material to do another whole album. And getting another van. Our van is so small it’s insane. We’re all teeth, farts, and knees in the face.




with Kristian : Buenos Aires

El Federal Not to be mistaken for the touristy Bar El Federal in San Telmo, Chef Paula Comparatore’s restaurant in Retiro is an absolute gem. Specializing in Patagonian cuisine in a rustic, yet thoroughly modern environment, this has become our “go-to” BA restaurant. Start with the sublime empanadas, then blindly point your finger to any entrée. They’re ALL THAT good! San Martin 1054, between Paraguay and Alvear

La Baita Based on its Spanish-Italian heritage, you’d expect a LOT of great Italian restaurants in BA, but actually, they’re few and far between. La Baita, however, hits the mark. From amazing and ample antipasti to hand-made pastas and a perfect ragu, this Palermo mainstay is the quickest way to get your Italian fix. Thames 1603 (corner of Honduras) •

Hernan Gipponi at the Fierro Hotel Located in a hip, boutique hotel, this jewelbox of a restaurant delivers a phenomenal nine-course meal for less than fifty bucks that rivaled our meal at Per Se in NYC. The wine list is presided over by the president of the Argentinean sommelier society and the floor is warmly watched by GM Martin Bruno, so in addition to gorgeous food, you’ll have some of the best service in BA. Soler, 5862 in the Hotel Fierro •

For nightlife, Buenos Aires doesn’t get rocking until after 2AM, so take an early evening nap, then head out for dinner around 10PM. That should have you out and ready to party when the clubs open. Don’t miss Niceto Club for “Club 69” on Thursdays! Belly-dancers, transvestites and more occupy the floor of this club for an evening of dancing and colorful shows until the sun comes up. Niceto Vega • 5510 Kristian and his wife, Heather, live in Shandon with two furry kids, Corgis Mason and Rudy. His love of rustic Italian cuisine and wine shines in Forest Acres through Rosso Trattoria Italia, a restaurant where attention to craft and local sourcing have made it an instant classic.




The Advanced Genius Theory On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Bob Dylan’s first album, I would like to introduce you to the only concept that can adequately explain the arc of his career since the release of that record: Advancement. “Advancement”, or the “Advanced Genius Theory” as it came to be known in my book, came about as a result of a conversation I had in 1992 with my friend Britt Bergman about Lou Reed’s mullet, his Honda scooter commercials, and the generally dreadful music he had been making for the last several years. We wondered how someone so great could have gotten so terrible, so quickly. Somehow, we arrived at the idea that if Reed was ahead of his time in the 1960s, then maybe he was still ahead of his time in the ’80s and ’90s. That would mean that his music was still great, and we were repeating the mistake made by the people who passed on the Velvet Underground and Nico in favor of the Monkees or Sgt. Barry Sadler. And if that were true of Lou Reed, of course it would be for Bob Dylan as well, whose 1980s output was arguably even worse that Reed’s. Or was it even better? From that conversation grew an entirely new way of looking at music and, eventually, everything. It’s a worldview that is essentially the opposite of the idea expressed by Sick Boy in the movie Trainspotting: “Well, at one time, you’ve got it, and then you lose it, and it’s gone forever. All walks of life: George Best, for example. Had it, lost it. Or David Bowie, or Lou Reed.” The Advanced Genius Theory says that Sick Boy had it all wrong, that Bowie and Reed hadn’t mysteriously lost “it,” they just changed “it” to something that is harder to appreciate. Our view was that some artists are above criticism and that there was a need for a new vocabulary beyond “good” and “bad” to explain their output. For instance, the early stage (the “good” phase) of an Advanced Artist was called the Overt Period because the artist’s intentions were clear. For Bob Dylan, this would be the folk years before he went electric. There was nothing ambiguous about what he was trying to do, and because he is such a genius, he was a complete success. But his particular brand of genius made him tire of that success quickly, which is why he had to invent new obstacles to overcome, which explains why he would “betray” 14


the folk community that embraced him first and embrace rock and roll. Britt and I recognized the significance of asserting that some artists should not be questioned, so we developed strict guidelines for what it took to even be considered for Advanced status: • The artist must have done great work for more than 15 years – plenty of artists can make a few good records, but it takes a genius to stick around 15 years. Dylan has been around for more than 50 years, which is why he is mega-Advanced. • The artist must have alienated his or her original fans – the Advanced thrive on change, especially in ways that annoy the people that like them the most. His going electric is the obvious example, but I’m partial to his decision to appear in a Victoria’s Secret commercial. • The artist must be completely unironic – Advancement only works when the artist seems to be the only one who isn’t in on the joke, because it is only later that people realize there is no joke. • The artist must be unpredictable – Advanced artists don’t do what is expected of them, but they don’t do the opposite of what is expected of them either. Once again, the Victoria’s Secret ad. Only Advancement can explain that. • The artist must “lose it,” spectacularly – the Advanced never go away, with each new project seeming more impossibly self-indulgent, grandiose, and out-of-touch than the last. Take a listen to his Christmas album if you need some help understanding that. Even with these guidelines, it’s not easy to accept the idea that you have no right to criticize an artist, even one as inarguably great as Bob Dylan. But once you have embraced Advancement, something amazing happens: You start to like everything. This is what we call the Advanced State of Mind. When you have achieved it, you will, of course, appreciate the most challenging work by someone like Bob Dylan, but you’ll also experience with an open mind the parts of popular culture that otherwise might have tormented you. For example, “We Built This City,” movies based on TV shows, TV shows based on movies, radio commercials featuring two people pretending to have a casual conversation about a

product, and cable news. What’s more, though you like everything, you don’t necessarily lose the ability to discern between levels of quality. You can still have “good taste.” It’s just that the question becomes how much you like a work of art rather than whether you like it. This is far superior to traditional good taste, which is predicated on what one rejects. The Advanced accept everything, including everything the Overt enjoy—acid jazz, abstract expressionism, French New Wave, NPR—but they won’t ruin your party by insisting on playing music no one’s ever heard of. So not only will Advancement give you back your favorite artists and help you enjoy things you’ve always hated, it will get you invited to more parties. In some ways, the Advanced Genius Theory is much too complicated to explain in a short article or even a book. Even Britt and I, after hundreds of conversations over 20 years, still argue about who qualifies: is Neil Young Advanced? Leonard Cohen? David Byrne? David Johansen? David Lee Roth? But the core of the theory is actually quite simple and, I think, obvious: Lou Reed, David Bowie, and Bob Dylan know more about making good music than I do. So if they do something that seems like a bad idea, maybe I’m the one who is wrong. And why not give them the benefit of the doubt? In the case of Dylan, the worst thing that can happen is that I’ll like some “bad” music, while the best thing is that I get to enjoy an entire decade’s worth of his music that I might have otherwise rejected because the production was too slick. That’s a risk I’m willing to take. text: Jason Hartley illustration: John Fisher




Kent Ambler 16



rom his first job working for a sign company right out of college, doing anything from hand lettering, billboards, and neon design, to a move to New Mexico trying to fit into the area art scene, the most recent move seemed to set his path straight in 2000. “South Carolina was a good move for me,” said Indiana native Kent Ambler. “Ever since I’ve been here, it’s seemed like my art career has taken off.” The move has also proven to be a positive feature for Ambler’s artistic inspiration. His eight acre Paris Mountain home in Greenville, SC provides Ambler with the ideal setting to create his art,

especially since he predominantly focuses his work on everyday subjects. “It seems like when I plan stuff, it gets stale in my mind pretty quickly. If I don’t care about it, it just doesn’t feel natural and doesn’t come across as genuine. I like drawing my dogs and birds in my front yard and friends portraits and houses. There’s something in my mind that’s satisfied with working from recognizable objects.” These observations quickly transform into a sketch that is then transferred into a woodcut. “I used to like to sketch more than I do now, but I’m at a point where I mix a little more memory and intuition. I’ve tried to work abstractly, but it never feels finished. Everyday life is a leaping point to explore the aesthetic qualities of a piece.” These qualities are expressed through Ambler’s woodcuts;

text: Erin Emory

the predominant method he uses to create his artwork. “I used to want to do everything- etchings, oil, drawings, photography, silkscreens, but now I pretty much just do woodcuts. Sometimes I’ll paint with acrylic or do small sculptures, but 70% of my time is with woodcuts.” Ambler said the medium came naturally to him, especially in his intro to print class where he first learned about the process; “I could see in my mind how cut marks would print while everyone else was obsessed and were barely scratching theirs. I liked the surprise of it.” But it’s also that surprise that can have a way of holding Ambler back from creating. “Sometimes there’s lag time because the blocks will lay around until I can convince myself it’s just a drawing and go for it.” Ambler admits that he will







not use a block until he can imagine the entire piece which sometimes takes longer, since he uses his newer method of working from memory instead of sketches. The capability of postponing specific projects can be a positive aspect of being a full-time artist. Ambler says his favorite thing about being an artist is the capability of being “self reliant.” “I get to do what I want that day. I can start whenever I want and work til whenever I want. An interesting thing about being a full-time artist is that most people aren’t used to meeting someone who makes a profession of it. Some people talk down to me like I’m starving to death; sometimes it’s good to be underestimated like that though. I’m kind of a fly-under-the-radar type of person- if you want to think that, go ahead.” Ambler has always made a “profession” of his art. “No one else in my family is an artist. I don’t know where it came from; it was just something I was born with.” The artist who has his BFA from Ball State University began at 3 years old. Ambler taught himself how to draw a star from a tepee shape that he was unhappy with by drawing lines through it. “In high school, I was the ‘kid who could draw’ which continued on auto pilot when it came to college. I never really gave any other profession a thought and I’m glad I didn’t think it through too much. I have an aptitude for design planning- I love architecture; if I had really been thinking about what to do with a degree, I would have been an architect, but I’m glad to be doing what I’m doing.”  As of right now, Ambler has his artwork on display at Art & Light  Gallery and Mary Praytor Gallery in Greenville, Photographics on Kiawah Island, and American Folk Art in Asheville, where he admits “I wouldn’t consider myself a folk artist, but I like folk art, collect it, and I am inspired by it.  I went to AFA and explained my background, we instantly clicked and I’ve been there for 6 years now.” Besides galleries, Ambler spends time at various shows throughout the year with the first large event this year being the Atlanta Dogwood Festival. All of Ambler’s upcoming shows, as well as artwork can be found on his website at As for any new projects in the works, Ambler has his sights set on an installation space in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He plans to enter a piece in ArtPrize which offers installation space around the town to winning artist’s entries. “There’s like 10 places that I think my installation idea would fit. I plan to paint dogs on shaped masonite panels. I installed 120 running dog paintings in a gallery recently, but I think it would be cool if I could find a space where I could fit 500 dogs!” From small woodcarvings, to large installation pieces, Kent Ambler can make any everyday, recognizable subject a work of art.



Dog Trick, acrylic on panel, 48 x 36”, 2010

Tough Guy, woodcut, edition of 20, 24 x 24”, 2011 Opposite page: Peg, woodcut, edition of 12, 22 x 11”, 2011 Page 16-17: Pitbulls and Sharks, woodcut, edition of 20, 11 x 17”, 2011 Page 18-19: Dog 1 through 35, (individual pieces), acrylic on shaped panel, 30” Length, 2011-12 THE JOURNAL OF SOUTH CAROLINA ART AND ARTISTS



text: Tom Savory


photography: Annemarie Jacques


Three’s a Charm If there is one building type that every architect knows well, it is the Architecture School. The place where all architects are created, it is the architect incubator, the silent teacher that’s always there. Architects will speak often of their schools, describing their buildings to each other in arcane lingo, painting vivid backdrops for stories of late nights, struggles and triumphs on their way to understanding their chosen craft. The relationship between architects and architecture schools is unique, and it is rare for an architect to have the opportunity to design one, rarer still to design an addition to one’s own. Such is the case with Lee III, Thomas Phifer’s addition to Clemson University’s Lee Hall. Built in 1960, Lee Hall was conceived as a pristine cloister on the campus edge, inwardly focused, with a courtyard entry. A later addition to the rear, Lee II, presented broad expanses of windowless masonry, with studios and offices opening onto a second, internal courtyard. A collection of places for quiet learning, while wonderful in many ways, Lee Hall was an enclave.



Rooftop sun control devices.

What first appears simply as a well-crafted box becomes more subtle the closer one gets. Approaching the building by foot, a series of translucent shrouds, rooftop sun control devices, become visible, lending a vaguely anthropomorphic profile to the roof. Moving closer, the box itself seems somehow warped, the result of an almost imperceptible, slightly disorienting curve in the roof’s surface. Closer still, the broad west masonry wall that visually ties the design to the original building breaks free at the edges, delaminated from both building and ground, floating free in striking contrast to the heavier masonry of the earlier buildings. The north and south facades, by contrast, are lyrical expanses of ultra-clear glass set behind a lacy pattern of y-shaped columns that support delicate translucent roof projections framing and filtering daylight at the building’s edge. And the less visible east façade actually folds into the otherwise rectilinear plan, in straightforward deference to an adjacent ravine. This well-crafted box is, in fact, fractured and playful,

With the completion of Lee III this spring, Phifer has responded to the enclave with a design that is at once playful, rational and open. John Jacques, Phifer’s former professor and his collaborator now 35 years later, describes the design as turning the cloister “inside out.” Recalling his earliest days at Clemson as “a young, young, student,” Phifer says he often felt insecure and unsure. Searching for direction, he would find himself wandering the halls, visiting art and landscape studios and absorbing the work of older students. In his wanderings he would find comfort in the realization that others, too, were searching, a realization that built confidence. “Everyone wanted to close their doors,” he says. But by opening doors and removing walls, Phifer sought to recreate in Lee III the atmosphere he yearned for as a student – an open, collegial environment where students and teachers mingle, disciplines overlap and learning occurs spontaneously. The result is a romantically utilitarian pavilion that openly presents itself, inviting the public in and encouraging inhabitants to gaze out across open space. Diagrammatically, as always with a Phifer design, this building looks simple, completely perceptible almost immediately. But the simplicity is deceptive. While Phifer’s North Carolina Museum of Art first appears mysterious, revealing itself almost reluctantly, Collaborators: Phifer (left) and Jacques discuss Lee III in Phifer’s New York studio Lee III is the opposite.



The north facade.

warped and filigreed, providing a subtle foil to an otherwise highly rational scheme. Inside, the building is organized around a series of 4 parallel 2-story bars – taut, rectilinear machines for learning – connected by a bridge that extends into Lee II. Housing faculty offices and seminar rooms, these bars overlook and modulate a single, expansive studio floor. Treelike steel columns rise above the bars and splay out to frame circular skylights that provide diffused light evenly throughout the space. Interior finishes such as exposed concrete floors, metal roof decking and steel beams are straightforward and utilitarian, giving the space an industrial feel. The result is a building that is part Louis Kahn and part Albert Kahn. It is at once a study in the poetics of light and form, and a pragmatic, no-nonsense response to a complex design problem. While this fusion of poetry and pragmatics is a hallmark of Phifer’s work, it is perhaps most clear in Lee III, a building that must inspire and take abuse over time, while remaining a flexible teaching lab. Nothing about this building appears precious, yet because it is so rigorously organized, it is unmistakably sculptural. What may be most intriguing about Lee III, though, has more to do with sound and touch than sight. Entering, one almost gets the feeling the power is off. The building is literally silent. Absent is that familiar “whoosh” when you open the door, the shock of cold air hitting the skin, and the background

hum of air moving through ducts. It is comfortable inside but not jarringly so, and the only sounds are the soft murmurs of students and crisp distant footsteps. In fact, as it turns out, the power is almost off, owing to a sophisticated series of sustainable systems. Outside, an array of pipes plunges deep in the ground, capturing the earth’s steady temperature, to radiantly heat and cool the floor year round. Various sensors control windows and lights, exhausting air, admitting breezes, regulating humidity, and providing artificial lighting as needed. Air flows through faculty offices at low volume, relying on natural convection to regulate temperature. Together these measures result in a building that is intimately synchronized with its environment. These individual systems, however, are only part of a more fundamental strategy. In fact, the very building itself is a sustainable macro-system. East and west masonry walls guard against harsh sun while north and south glass admits controlled daylight, pulling it deep inside. Playfully sculptural shrouds dot a rooftop meadow, protecting skylights from direct sunlight, on a green roof that absorbs and filters rainwater for reuse. Inside, the 2-story faculty office bars that modulate the main volume also contain their own microclimates - teacher terrariums overlooking open studios. Each of these purposefully chosen systems, shapes, surfaces and forms coalesce in a design that belies its complexity through a relentless pursuit of clarity.



The studio floor.

“Profoundly simple” is how Jacques describes the design, recalling Einstein’s famous admonition to “make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler.” And indeed the building’s clarity is transformational. Recalling that, even as a student, Phifer approached his work with well-established discipline, Jacques describes his process 35 years later as a tireless cycle of questioning, testing and simplifying. He shares that before Phifer started to design Lee III, he spent untold hours, over days of meetings, listening, occasionally asking questions and mostly absorbing. Jacques adds “We never worried about the design. Tom just approached the process with tremendous, quiet confidence. He would go away with the most difficult design problem and always come back with an elegant solution.” He also says Phifer would press further, often scrapping his own solutions in favor of clearer, simpler ones the more deeply he understood the problem. The result is a building that delights, teaches and inspires while remaining a backdrop for the work at hand. Recently speaking with Kate Schwennsen, Chair of the School of Architecture, she told me the building makes her happy every day. From her office, looking across the studios,



she is able to watch the daily creative ebb and flow and the kinetic effect of ever-changing daylight across space. She reflects on how the students have already responded to their new environment, absorbing its sophisticated rhythms and proportions, and how, inspired by the environmentally conscious design, they have created a “building stewardship council.” Both she and Jacques cite endless examples of how Lee III has inspired its new charges, and they delight in the countless visitors that show up daily to take it all in. Discussing Lee III, Phifer, too, continually returns to the building’s users. He looks forward to studios filled with sketches and models, with paper, cardboard and color everywhere. Visiting the studio recently, it was indeed clear to see how the students’ work itself completes the design. It brought to mind Phifer’s vision of the day when trees grow to engulf the North Carolina Museum of Art, seasonally cloaking it, marking the passage of time as the building endures. Similarly, one imagines Lee III, the Silent Teacher, gradually succumbing to the seasonal swell of creativity, and reemerging in an endless cycle as her students learn, grow and finally wander into the world to practice their craft.

sketch: Tim Floyd







mbuing static objects with an inspiring sense of motion compels sculptor Glenn Saborosch to create. “I am challenged by taking a most solid and unmoving material and expressing the opposite with a figure that moves impressionistically through space,” said the Missouri native, recently transplanted to a Neeses farm where he and his wife, the artist Lee Malerich, live and make art. “I am interested in the physical composition and expression of the three dimensional moving figure,” In his hands, in his mind’s eye, representative pieces – human figures, equine, and most recently canine - appear freeze-framed in steel. “As I go about my day, it is almost as if I record a continual video, noticing figures and their spatial relationships as they interact with their environments. Artists have always noticed this phenomenon, and some compositions expressed by the figure have evolved into romantic, sometimes iconic visual statements,” explained Saborosch. During his career in the transport industry - during which Saborosch logged thousands of miles - he had plenty of road time to take note of evocative scenes or snitches of potential subject matter. As soon as his hands were free from the wheel, he’d thumbnail them on a scrap of paper and stuff them into a pouch until he had time to sketch them out in more detail. Works that could only be described as more abstract than his usual figurative pieces are a relatively new exploration for this sculptor. Once they cool from the heat of his deftlyhandled torch, they, too, appear nearly animate in their captured sense of movement. Over the four decades Saborosch has been sculpting – interspersed with stretches of time for family rearing and work – his process has evolved, although the basics have been intractable since he settled, even before college, upon metal sculpture as his chosen artistic expression. “The techniques I use start with the traditional practices of welding and application of a patina to steel.” Early on, Saborosch knew that steel was the right material for his art. “By now I have worked with steel for more than

text: Rachel Haynie

Glenn Saborosch forty years.” Saborosch explains his preference. “From wire to sheet metal as the raw material, steel can be composed to express fluid movement or look like a solid cast object. I find its versatility very compelling and use it in all its forms. I start with preliminary sketches and sometimes use maquettes in designing larger work. The nature of each piece I create demands that I consider not only the contour lines and shapes that define my figures, but the negative spaces that occur between them,” he explained. “It is in these spaces that activity and interest is integrated into the piece.” Though starting with grey sheet metal, Saborosch achieves color variations in the finished piece by keeping a close eye on the metal’s changing coloration as heat alters it. Experience enables him to create finished sculpture with blue or amber patinas. “On some works I add highlights of brass or copper to warm up the pieces.” More of his works are in private collections than in galleries or museums, so he was pleasantly surprised to discover, not long after he married Malerich and moved to South Carolina, that one of his favorite patron couples had also moved to the area. Clayton and Catherine Henke, now of Lexington, already had acquired five of Saborosch’s sculptures before they relocated from Columbia, Missouri, to South Carolina where Clayton joined the White Knoll High School faculty as a guidance counselor. “We first were taken by a large piece of Glenn’s work we saw at an outdoor art fair near our home,” recalled Clayton Henke. “But it was sold. We expressed interest in purchasing a smaller version, so that became our first. In time, we bought another work that has two components, and we’ve added the others since.” The Henkes had no idea they would ever encounter Saborosch again when they took a leap of faith to move to South Carolina. “I wanted to give my wife a special piece to bring with us for our new home. When I contacted Glenn to see what new pieces he had, I was stunned to find out he was moving here too,” Henke said. “Now that we are both settled



here, I think we live closer to each other than we did when we were all in Missouri.” The couples have reconnected for a visit in South Carolina. The housewarming addition to the Henke’s collection is showcased prominently in the foyer of the couple’s new home in Lexington. “We get so many compliments on this one, and here, the other pieces are placed in spaces that allow us to see them, enjoy them every day. I have always liked sculpture more than paintings because of the medium’s threedimensional qualities. I’m a very tactile person anyway, and you don’t touch paintings,” Henke acknowledged. Although works in the homes of collectors are seen only by their guests and families; that does not apply to a Saborosch sculpture on view just outside Tokyo, Japan. His most visible



piece by far is seen annually by thousands of thrill seekers visiting Tokyo Disneyland. The story of how he was chosen to create an original work for display in such a high traffic venue is nearly as good as the fairytale whose heroine he was commissioned to interpret. “I got a call on my cell phone one day as I was driving,” recalled Saborosch, who for much of his business career drove for an international freight line. When the voice on the other end of the call announced herself as a representative of Walt Disney Imagineering, Saborosch figured he was mishearing or being scammed. “I explained that I was on the road and asked if we could continue the conversation when I got in a better situation to hear.” When the conversation recommenced, he learned

the selection team choosing art for Tokyo Disneyland had been impressed by exampled of his work they found in The Sourcebook of Architectural and Interior Art. Once negotiations were settled, the sculptor went to work depicting one of Disney’s most beloved icons. In Tokyo Disneyland, Cinderella’s tale is interpreted in six story beats. The beat for which the Disney organization commissioned Saborosch was the scene depicting the Grand Duke slipping the famous glass slipper on the fairytale figure’s petit foot. “I was asked to work to very specific dimensions and specifications, with little room for interpretation,” recalled Saboresch. His sculpture was part of the 2009 endeavor that celebrated the remodeling completion of the Cinderella Castle, a key attraction in the expansive theme park outside Japan’s capital city. “Within the spatial specifications I was given, I knew Cinderella would not fit in the space provided if she were seated in a chair, the Grand Duke kneeling to try the slipper on her foot. So I have her standing; he is kneeling. Obviously,

steel would not lend itself to an interpretation of a glass slipper, so I had the slipper chrome plated, making it more visually pronounced.” Saborosch has not yet been to Japan to see his most significant commission to date, on view in an ornate display cabinet along the wall in Cinderella Castle. But he hopes to travel there someday. When he gets there, he will find his Cinderella, still poised to receive the slipper that will prove she is the girl of the prince’s dreams. Back in reality and much closer to home, Saborosch recently unveiled another piece that surely will be seen often – although not by as many as Cinderella in Japan. For the foyer of Glenforest School, where his teen-age son Garrett studies and runs cross country, the sculptor created a very special piece. The figure is a child who has emerged from a stifling, frustrating one-size-fits-all learning environment into one where children are taught the way they can learn. Now, Saborosch is contemplating his next sculptural project. For ideas, he flips back through his sketch book.




Marina Alexandra

Marina Alexandra’s passion to play and teach classical guitar is changing our corner of the world. Her brainchild, the Southern Guitar Festival and Competition, held its inauguration on June 23rd and 24th, 2012. Bringing world-caliber guitarists to this city and inspiring its current guitarists is the realization of a decade of planning. Ms. Alexandra, by way of the city of Kharkov in the Ukraine, explains her desire to enrich our city’s culture in the following interview. What brought you to Columbia? I came to Columbia in 1996 to join my husband when he was offered a computer-programming job here. I arrived with my bachelor’s degree in guitar performance, with a minor in pedagogy and conducting. I applied to the USC School of Music and was truly overwhelmed when I found out that I was offered a scholarship and assistantship to continue my Master’s Degree under Christopher Berg. What inspired the organization of the Southern Guitar Festival and Competition? It has been a longtime dream of mine. For several years, I have been competing and performing at national and international guitar competitions and I have seen the great impact such events have on their communities. I discussed this idea with Christopher, on and off for about 10 years. In October 2011, I laid out the plan of how this guitar festival would be a great success and why it would contribute not only to the South Carolina guitar community, but also to the general community. Christopher gave me his “blessing” and encouraged me to start making my dream a reality. He also went beyond providing moral support by becoming the first donor to the Guitar Muse fund that I created to sponsor all guitar activity in Columbia. Classical guitar still is not as well-known and respected as piano or violin is in the musical world, so classical guitarists are always looking for ways to promote and introduce our instrument to the general public. A festival and competition is an ideal situation for inspiring guitar students of all ages and an opportunity to feature some of the best guitar virtuosos in the world. To take advantage of this opportunity, I invited Romanian, Russian, and American guitarists that enhanced the culture in SC. The Saturday concert on June 23rd featured an amazing flamenco trio and on Sunday, June 24th, featured classical guitarists that focused on more traditional guitar repertoire such as Classical, Spanish, and Modern music.



What motivates you to be its director? Even though I am the official director of Southern Guitar Festival, I couldn’t do it without a strong team of guitar players and teachers on whom I rely for advice and expertise: Steve Sloan, Matt Smith, Chance Glass, Alan Knight, Jeff Harris, Chris Essig, and Drew Spice. Their support has been invaluable. I believe and am confident in how this event can benefit South Carolina. Having performed in many competitions, I know exactly what I want and I am trying to avoid the mistakes of other guitar competitions. I am sure I will make my own mistakes and I will do my best to avoid them in the future. How were you able to secure funding? Well, as crazy as it might seem, I had absolutely no funding at the beginning. Being a musician, not a businessperson, I always focused on what inspires me and how I can become better at what I do (teaching or performing). Money was never my priority or agenda. Well, apparently, money is a very important part of any project! As director, I knew I had to create a fund to secure the artists’ concert fees and competition awards. We musicians, always underpaid, learn how to be creative in raising money. My colleagues and I came up with the idea of a Guitar Gala fundraising event, at which the artists mentioned earlier agreed to play for free. I also invited several local visual artists to become part of this event. They allowed us to sell their works and donated 50% of the sale toward Southern Guitar Festival and competition. Thanks to this collaboration we were able to raise enough money to secure the necessary funding. What challenges have you faced in directing the Southern Guitar Festival? I have encountered nothing but great support from local guitarists, students, and their parents. I was sincerely surprised with how eager guitar teachers were to become a

part of this event. The teachers who chose to collaborate created several projects that are extremely beneficial and educational for the community. We had performance classes that were intended for everybody interested in learning how to perform in public. These classes also gave guitar teachers the chance to exchange teaching ideas and network. Achievement Day, a biannual event, focuses on examining the progress of students. Students perform in front of a panel of judges and receive verbal and written comments on their progress and recommendations. How did Columbia College become involved? Columbia College is a tremendous supporter of the arts in our community, and I am fortunate to have a long-standing relationship with them. I work at the Arts Studio there, and the concert hall in the Wright Spears Center for the Arts is perfect for presenting classical guitar. Columbia College kindly agreed to partially sponsor Southern Guitar Festival and allowed all participants from out of state to use dorms on campus for a very low fee. Where do you see yourself 5 years from now? This is a hard question for me to answer. I do have goals and dreams that I hope to realize, but in my culture we don’t talk about things that have not taken place yet. I sure hope to bring more awareness about the potential for classical guitar to this community. I would love to see the younger generation picking up this great instrument and learn something more interesting than just a few chords. I also hope that the principals of our public schools will become more open-minded about hosting the guitar programs that will be taught by professionally trained guitarists. What are some positive aspects of music culture in the Columbia area and what do you think could stand to improve? It is amazing that so much is happening in Columbia. Somebody can be entertained daily by going to very affordable, often free, concerts, exhibitions, and theater productions. There is lots of creativity going on to promote new music and to make art very affordable, but with all this creativity comes the reality that we artists are dependent upon what people are willing to pay to go listen to a great musician or a concert. We often find ourselves playing for free or for a really laughable fee. I truly hope that people will start placing as much value on the arts as they put on their food. For more information:

text: Tony Lee photography: Scott Bilby




Morey Weinstein If Pixar made Toy Story with the aid of a pinch of stimulants and a lick of LSD, in effect elevating each computer-generated image to new heights of realism and intricacy and pure, eye-popping color, the end result might resemble the artwork of Morey Weinstein. Or if the movie’s figurines reverted back to pre-sixties antiquity and embraced the saturation of a jam-packed circus tent, then that might look like Morey’s work. Or possibly if Disney set the lighting just so upon a carefully spaced collection of tin toys, photographed it and Photoshopped away every imperfection, yes, that just might capture some semblance of Morey’s masterpieces. Except, Morey doesn’t use computers to make his art.

text: Allison Day photography: James Quantz






orey Weinstein paints each miniscule, hyperrealistic detail with an airbrush and a tiny stick of smooth bristles. Each painting takes up, on average, three or four square feet of wall space, and takes about, on average, one month to complete. When you stand up close to a painting of Morey’s, you kind of feel like Pixar has been coloring with crayons all these years. When I stand before Morey Weinstein, I kind of feel like he scratched his shaved head, lit a cigarette in contemplation, and then decided he would concede to tell his story on a whim. And he does tell his story - not skipping over the scary parts, but not emphasizing them overdramatically or downplaying their impact on his life. He tells me his story, of how he got to Columbia, South Carolina, with his motorcycles and his Narcotics Anonymous key tags and his ailing mother whom he visits every other day and his candy-colored, hyper-realistic art. He tells me his story, and he shows me his paintings. Enter Morey’s home. To the right is a television below what appears to be a blown-up digitally-enhanced photograph detailing the front of a motorcycle. It’s actually a painting. To the left are a couple of couches surrounding a coffee table featuring books on God and spirituality. Directly in front sits a shelf containing a movie buff’s collection of classic films plus horror and sci-fi DVD’s like The Walking Dead. Atop of the shelf a model Harley-Davidson is parked, and above this hangs a 30 centimeter gun beside Clint Eastwood as Dirty Harry, resting two-dimensionally within a 34” by 50” frame. And then there’s Morey, the artist.

“Come on in,” he says with a Yankee inflection, “let me get ya something to drink. What would ya like? Water, Coke?” The small silver hoop in his ear glints with the afternoon sunlight filtering in through the window above the couch. It matches the glint of the chain hanging from his well-worn jeans. It matches the glint of the motorcycle chrome featured in the blown-up photograph that reveals itself upon closer inspection as purely paint and canvas. I take a water bottle. Then we tour the house. Each room contains at least one Morey Weinstein painting. Adjacent to the living room is a mostly barren space of offwhite wall and amber hardwood floor, set off by a painting of green hands sending sparks to Dorothy’s red shoes. The painting is Munchkin-height, and its verisimilitude is far more convincing than Oz’s wizard ever was. Morey likes to include movie icons and references from art and popular culture in his work. “I like bringing those things back to people,” he says. He watches his classic films and horror flicks in the evening, and then he sets Pandora to 60’s rock and roll, plus on occasion Adele, painting late into the night and retiring when the sunrise is a few hours away. He likes creating things that people can recognize. With no specific chronology, Morey tells me about his work, and we continue to move through the house. The spare bedroom has stacks and stacks of art, canvases bagged and in rows leaning across from the unused bed, some completed, some with white amorphous shapes interrupting scenes of detailed figures in action. One shows a sprawl of wine-stained corks; another, the aforementioned oasis of toys

“Art doesn’t have to be pretty. I want

Skin Deep (detail), acrylic, 36 x 36” 2007 36


Chrome Won’t Get You Home, acrylic, 36 x 30” 2008

people to walk away and remember.” that would make FAO Schwarz cry tears of joy; and finally, several feature violent Lego figures. Morey likes to paint things for himself. He likes things to sell, of course, but much of his work is therapeutic, and that purely intrinsic drive equates to a quality of unmatchable, intense singularity. He used to work in the ad business. In the late 80’s and early 90’s, Morey would pull all-nighters working on around three advertisements a week, tired and strung out but waiting for that sweet six grand at the end. At first he painted freelance for the liquor industry in New York, and then he hand-painted all of those Joe Camel cigarette advertisements in Greensboro, North Carolina when the character “with the penis-shaped nose,” he jokingly comments, came from France to the United States in 1988. Of course, this was before the Surgeon General warnings picked up and the government issued tight restrictions on tobacco advertising, he tells me, and everything “went down the toilet.” Morey wasn’t given much creative freedom in the ad industry—it was “very sterile.” An art director would give him a basic sketch, allowing him the liberty to “overemphasize

the product,” enhancing color, perfecting the natural flaws of reality. Morey made ads for cars, cigarettes and alcohol. This rigid exercise in creative restriction and strict attention to detail enhanced Morey’s meticulous and perfectionist standards. “If my work is no good, I rip it up,” he says. “But that doesn’t happen often; plus I can usually fix mistakes.” Morey took from his ad-drawing days a wife (now an exwife) and two sons, ages 21 and 24—both artists. Advertising also left Morey with a residual interest in painting commercial products—but now he has transitioned from obedient hyperrealist painter to cleverly creative hyper-realist artist. And he’s got an interesting sense of humor. One memorable painting hiding in that guest bedroom features Mr. Potato Head with a triangle of holes on his spudly body just above his shoes, his arms up in obvious distress, and a small, almost indistinguishable plastic penis on the ground in front of him (this piece is called “OOPS! ”). Another painting features naked Barbie torsos surrounded by their blonde severed heads, with long plastic legs ending in candy-colored shoes interspersed throughout (entitled “Skin Deep”). Oh, and then there’s the piece depicting Legos with



The Policeman’s Banquet, acrylic, 48 x 36” 2008

guns, a Toy Story meets Chuckie story done in airbrushed acrylic. “My goal is to cause an emotional reaction,” Morey tells me. “Art doesn’t have to be pretty. I want people to walk away and remember.” Plenty of his work is pretty, though. Like the 38” by 64” explosion of Technicolored candy hanging on the wall of the room in his house that is dedicated to art-making. It’s any child’s Halloween dream: foot-long Reese’s cup packets, Three Musketeers bars of proportions immediately demoting king-size candy packaging to mini status, all in an acid trip of vibrancy. It’s not finished yet, and Morey doesn’t like to show his unfinished work, but he makes an exception. The studio also contains a plethora of unusual trinkets: a collection of old toys ordered online and displayed on a shelf in the closet; a buffalo skull given to him by an artist friend; a Grateful Dead poster, one of many framed throughout the house. Morey followed the Dead for 24 years. He saw 168 shows all over the country, and tattooed the length of his back on the day that Jerry Garcia died. “Those were fun times,” he says. Other fun times occurred during his bout in Florida at the turn of the millennium. He went to motorcycle shows in



Charlotte when he was living in Greensboro, and was “always breath-taken” with the paintjobs and patterns on the bikes— and he knew it was done with his medium, the airbrush. He met someone at a dealership who was skilled at this particular type of painting, and Morey asked the guy to paint his first Harley-Davidson. The guy instead showed Morey how to paint it himself. As the government further restricted cigarette advertising, Morey decided to move from North Carolina to Florida, the state with the highest population of bikers. In Florida, he learned to pinstripe, using a long, retro sable brush to paint continuous lines along the metal bodies of bikes. Painting on curved steel is very different from painting on paper or canvas, he notes. Morey was pals with the Hell’s Angels. He has a Harley-Davidson tattoo that curves around his bicep, his own pinstriped ink job branding his passion for motorcycles right on his sun-spotted skin. Then Morey’s mother fell ill, and he moved here to the other Carolina. Morey, one of three separately adopted brothers, is very close to his family. He tells me that his dad and his older brother Steve are the best people he knows. Both supported him artistically, despite his dropping out of three different art schools; they had known he had talent since he was twelve, upon seeing him copy comics from the

Sunday New York Times and paint plastic model airplanes at his home in Long Island. Though Morey’s father passed away 24 years ago, his brother Steve still supports him, selling much of Morey’s work from Movie Labs, his Hollywood research consortium, located in Silicon Valley. “The majority of ones sold out here are ones that make people happy,” Steve Weinstein, who is Movie Labs’ President and CEO, says in a call from California. These works—the cork pieces, the candy pieces and the toy pieces— get sold to successful computer whizzes who have just made money, just realized they can become art connoisseurs; they put Morey’s work in the front of their homes. “The intricacy really appeals to those Silicon Valley types,” Steve says. But Morey is in here in Columbia. He visits his mother, Sylvia, frequently; she is in a home for Alzheimer’s. He’s been in Columbia since 2009, enough time to show his work as the featured artist at a Tapp’s Art Center exhibition over on Main Street. To the early rock ‘n’ roll sound of the five-piece South Carolina band, Say Brother, complemented by the local rockabilly group Capital City Playboys, art fans young and old walked down Tapp’s 60-foot hallway to view Morey’s work. Munching on fruit, cheese and little ham sandwiches, seniors

and college kids alike found they could connect to at least one or two of the twenty pieces showcased, says Tapp’s Assistant Director, Billy Guess. The exhibition included Morey’s toy pieces, his motorcycle and cork paintings, and his haunting self-portrait. This last piece hangs by Morey’s bed and it shocks me. It shocked Morey’s therapist too. It is brilliantly constructed, marrying the mediums of canvas and clay, staring down at you from the wall with a clear, stark message. A large green eye gazes out of this painting. It’s so zoomed in that you can see individual skin cells, individual eyelash hairs, and the tiny emerald rivets of the iris. The pupil is an actual hole, and just behind the hole, a black skull juts out like an unnamable force is sucking it from a sea of tar. To the left of the hole, you see a semi-transparent image of Morey, a gun in his mouth. Translucent blood spatters behind his head; the trigger has been pulled. Morey once contemplated suicide. He partied a lot in his early adulthood in New York. He hung out with tough crowds, developed new hobbies. He always thought guns were interesting; he started going to go to target ranges in the 90’s, though he wasn’t even allowed to play with toy

OOPS!, acrylic, 48 x 36” 2005



untitled, acrylic, 64 x 38” 2012

Dirty Harry, acrylic, 50 x 34” 2005



guns as a kid. He started collecting his own. Time slipped by; he grew disenchanted, sunk deep in the quicksand of cocaine. Trapped in that white powdery hourglass, he fell from the top, and feeling like his time had run out, found himself face to face with a dark, circular abyss: the muzzle of his gun; the Grim Reaper’s pupil. But he had two sons. He had a family, and he had his God-given artistic talent. This talent he used to paint his self-portrait suicide. This painting, he tells me, freed him from needing to extend hyper-realism to reality. By airbrushing his death, he saved his life. Now Morey lives in Columbia, South Carolina, caring for his sick mother, reading the spiritual books on his coffee table. He does not do anything purely on his own; God plays a part in everything. He says he cares about how people treat people. He got rid of all of his guns twelve years ago; he has been clean from drugs for seventeen. He does not drink. He goes to a gym, rides around with his motorcycle buddies in South Carolina, smokes his cigarettes and paints. He makes new pieces. He buys old tin toys off the Internet. “Just because I ride a Harley—and it’s a badass Harley—doesn’t mean I’m some kind of ‘badass biker.’ I’m just a motorcycle enthusiast,” Morey says. And standing in front of Morey, with his shaved head, silver hoop earring, and Harley Davidson tattoo, silhouetted against the massive backdrop of his fluorescent candy masterpiece, more fantastic than anything Pixar could ever hope to create, all done by Morey’s hand and by Morey’s creative spirit—with this badass biker exterior that produced the sugary artwork on the wall behind— I believe him.







f you’re expecting a subtle, tasteful discussion of social justice issues in contemporary American culture, then Colin Quashie is not the artist for you. But if you are moved by engaged visual criticism and see its potential to have an immediate impact on viewers then you’ll love Quashie’s unflinching examination of the lingering effects of racism in contemporary American culture. The artist uses humor and satire, mixing wit and irony, to convey a message that needs to be seen. The recent events in Florida make it painfully obvious that the conversation about race needs to continue. Quashie doesn’t exhibit his work that often, but over the last eighteen months there have been several opportunities for viewers to participate in that dialog, two in Columbia and one in Charleston. Subjective Perceptions, the first solo exhibition of Quashie’s work in Columbia was on view at Benedict’s Ponder Fine Arts Gallery in the fall of 2010, and the artist was selected for 701 Center for Contemporary Art’s first Biennial this past fall. Just this past April he had a major solo show, “Plantation (plan-ta-shun)” at Redux Contemporary Art Center in Charleston. The title of the exhibition gives a clue that while Quashie lives in Charleston, he does not in any way fit the stereotype of the “Charleston artist”. In fact, turning that stereotype on its head is one of his most effective strategies. Born in London in 1963 and raised in the West Indies,

text: Mary Gilkerson

Colin Quashie

Quashie immigrated to the US with his parents at age six and grew up in Florida. He attended college for a couple of years, but left to join the Navy working on submarines. After his discharge in 1987 he began actively pursuing his art career. Quashie’s demanding content challenges cultural gatekeepers, sometimes leading to censorship. The first instance back in 1995 devastated the artist, and he stopped making art for two years. In a move that ultimately served to sharpen his commentary, he moved to the West Coast and started writing comedy for Mad-TV. His hiatus from art making was short-lived, and although he continues writing for the film and television industry, Quashie has been an active part of the state cultural scene ever since. The artist pulls imagery from wide variety of sources that range from contemporary pop culture to 19th century historical photographs. He packages these images in familiar formats, ones that use both the visual and verbal language of the media to address issues of race, gender and social equality, or rather, inequality. Real estate advertisements, product and package designs, billboards and coloring books become the framework for his witty and satirical dissection of our lingering cultural stereotypes. His seductive use of the familiar makes his work very accessible. The viewer is lured in by images associated with comfort, ease and even style that are then revealed to be cultural inconsistencies that create a sense of unease and discomfort.



Quashie’s ability to manipulate the allure of the familiar is exactly what makes his work so challenging to both the average viewer and art insiders as well. Quashie has used the metaphor of a children’s coloring book many times and the most recent version, Plantation Coloring and Activity Book, uses the commonplace motif to present images that appear neutral and naïve until a closer examination reveals images of brutality and horror. The jarring quality of the combination only adds to the power of the images. The cover shows a smiling Aunt Jemima, her face wreathed in a pattern of cotton bolls. But inside are “activities” like “Connect the Dots” where the tag line reads, “Help Master whip the uppity slave and show him who’s boss!” The dots connect to form scar lines on the back of the simplified outline of an African-American man. The image is derived from a mid-19th century photograph - which appears in “Plantation Digest” – now in the collection of the Library of Congress. “Plantation Digest” is a series of large acrylic and gel transfers on board, fairly dripping with bitingly dark satire. Using the format and slick presentation of the magazine and advertising world, Quashie reconfigures a series of images pulled from contemporary media with 19th century period images and text to point out the continuing systems of gateways and gatekeepers, just as powerful now as 200 years ago. The plantation gates on the “Cover” served to mark a boundary, the outer limit beyond which the most of the inhabitants were not allowed to pass. Similar gates are still used, marking boundaries that are just as clearly defined by race as before. With the headlines, Quashie makes a clear connection between the overt racism of the 19th century and the covert racism that remains in the 21st. The goal of plantation management was to maintain a quiet, compliant workforce. His choice of contemporary images and text points to the degree to which that is still true. Colin Quashie speaks openly about the two ton elephant in the living room of American culture, pulling it from the corner and placing it squarely in front of the TV where we all have to look at it and acknowledge its presence. What happens from there is up to the rest of us.








Jeff Amberg Jeff Amberg listens to the voices in his head. Well, one voice, more accurately. The photographer-turned-fine artist has spent more than 30 years shooting photojournalism and commercial images. One day in the midst of editing photos, a demanding little voice ordered Amberg to drop everything, step away from the computer, and change his life’s course. Sound crazy? If you’ve seen the captivating, gorgeous abstract works Amberg has been creating, you might start hoping your own little voice will pipe up sometime soon. How did you get your start with photography? I got my first camera when I was 12. My father was a photographer back in the 1930s as a teenager, and I got my sister’s hand-me-down camera. It wasn’t until I got to the University of South Carolina that I met another photographer whose work was inspiring to me. I bought a camera from him and fooled around with it, got an apprenticeship with a local photography studio, went back to college and got my degree as a journalist, and went to work as a newspaper photographer. I worked as a newspaper photographer from 1980 to 1990, and in 1990 I struck out on my own. What inspired that shift from working for a newspaper to striking out on your own? When my daughter was born, my wife was going to stay out of work for a year. When we first got married, our plan was to live on one paycheck for three years and put the other one in the bank. That was one of the best ideas I’ve had in my life. We managed to save a significant amount of money, and when Anna was born we were able to put enough money down on a house that it was like paying rent. All the time, I suspect my wife - who is brilliant - was thinking, he’s eventually going to go out on his own. Sometimes the bride knows more than the groom! So I started freelancing and by 1989, when I looked at what I was earning freelancing, what represented 4 hours a week freelancing was the equivalent of half of what I was making annually at the paper. It was easy math. At that point I had been doing it for 10 years, and felt that I had done about everything there was to be done. I had seen a lot. It was a great

text: Reese Moore

experience. Because my name had been out for so long as a photojournalist, the transition to freelance was probably not as difficult as it would have been to graduate from college and go out there cold. So what drew you to making abstract images? It may sound strange to you, or it may not. When I’m working on post-production in Light Room, it’s work, work, work, work, take a break, walk around. I take a break about 30 minutes or every 45. I was leaning back in the chair and I was stretching, and my little voice... Well, I’ve had a little voice in my head as far back as I can remember. My mom always called it my guardian angel. The voice said to me in a very soft tone - it always speaks softly and it always tells the truth - the little voice said, “Go and do this, and do it like this!” And I thought, “Well, YEAH! That sounds like fun.” I stopped what I was doing, grabbed a camera, went out, and followed the instructions the voice had given me. I just started doing it. How long have you been doing this then? Since March of 2010, so two years. The website has only been up for about a year, but that represents about the first year’s worth of work. As I’ve been practicing it, I’ve discovered more about the visual process. I’ve learned to assess what I’m looking at, and take it from there. When I first started, I just let the spirit guide me to a physical location and just started doing it. Now I have found some consistency in how the images are being created. I can’t predict and see what the images are going to look like yet, I just haven’t gotten there yet. THE JOURNAL OF SOUTH CAROLINA ART AND ARTISTS












It seems like this is a pretty instinctual process. Yes, that’s exactly it. I just release myself from myself, if you will. Is that a difficult thing to do, after shooting as a photojournalist for so long? It’s just a different kind of fun. After I started looking at these new images, I found myself thinking, “Why is there something familiar about this?” I started to reflect and try to understand why I was gravitating to these places. I found myself thinking about memories from when I was 9 years old. In elementary school in the Northeast, we had regular school and then rotations where we would do art or wood shop or whatever. One of the art things that we did was work with these copper plates and enamel pieces, and we’d fire them. All the sudden I saw one of the pieces I did when I was nine. That’s where this is coming from! It brought me back to place where I didn’t know where I was going. Your work has a strong painterly quality, how do you describe or categorize your work? It’s a kind of a simple expression. It’s an expression of lens and light. There’s no preconception, they’re just expressions. What makes one expression more successful to you than another? It comes from staring at clouds. I’m that person that says, “It looks like a hippopotamus and a daisy.” I see things in other things. I think that may have contributed my success with photographing people. When I go through these expressions, certain ones will really pop out to me, and I’ll see things. I think, “If this happened for me, maybe it will happen for other people,” which is why I don’t title the pieces. People see things in them, and that’s the beauty of the pieces. They’re getting something out of the work. From a technical perspective, I’d love to hear a little bit about your process. Because they’re expressions of lens and light, they’re taken away from the traditional aspects of photography. What I do is the opposite of that in some ways, I’m looking at what’s happening and I don’t pay attention to any of the conventional approaches to what photography is. The easiest way to explain it would be that I use the camera like a paint brush. Does that make sense? Where do you see yourself going next? Where do you think the voice will take you? You know, the voice lives in its own time frame. The channel is always open, but I don’t know.





utumn in the south, slightly before the sun is realized above the horizon, brings a feeling unique to this part of the world. It’s crisp, but not truly cold. The air smells like the rolling smoke off of smoldering apple wood logs. Nostrils tingling and chainsaw in hand, I meet up with five other woodworkers under the autumn spell. Early shift workers and little children aside, most people are still wisely nestled between their sheets. Still, here we are, steam swirling off the gas station coffee, gathered in a heavily wooded yard in West Columbia. Our mission is simple: remove the 250 year red oak that has fallen in a recent storm and turn it into lumber. This is no average tree. At its base it is the size of a Volkswagen Beetle. Lying head first down a hill, the trunk looks like the tail of a shooting star over our heads. My compatriots are a mixed lot. I stand alone as the only professional woodworker, but by no means am I the most talented. In addition to myself, there are two master wood turners, and a jujitsu master who brings his patience and concentration to both his own woodworking and often, when needed, mine. We have all come, drawn by our individual love of the natural beauty of wood, to salvage and conquer this log. As the first rays of sun begin to break through the branches of the leafless trees, we begin. In the first six hours of work the cutting of chainsaws, swinging of axes, and hammering of wedges create a choir of work. The chainsaws take turns between singing solos and duets. There is something beautiful about the sound of a sharp chainsaw cutting through wood. Lunch time finds us leaning against our axes. We stink of chainsaw bar oil and fresh cut oak. We need food. There are recommendations for fast food, but I resist. We need real food. Good food. Our food must match our task. I pile everyone into my truck and drive. 45 minutes later we arrive in front of a small town diner outside of Columbia. I am unsure of exactly the small town we are in. I am not sure of the name of the diner either as it has changed owners and names over the years, yet all the old signs still remain. I know this place from previous travels looking for a rumored source of black walnut. I never found the walnut, but I did find a classic meat and three. Clean and simple in appearance, the restaurant is unpretentious, as are its patrons. We are welcomed in as if we have had lunch there everyday for years. The price is right, the food is genuine, and the drive has afforded us time to rest and regain our strength.



Jerry Stover Free from our work at the moment, and fortified by the meal, the conversation is light and jovial. We talk of uses for the lumber, things we will create when the wood is cured. Technique is questioned and argued. Jokes are made at each other’s expense. In one of those moments of quiet that comes after a satisfying meal, I am asked a simple enough question, “what separates southern woodworking from the rest of the country, if anything?” The question was asked expecting an answer that would reflect on various connections between established artistic styles and possibly different influences of well known woodworkers. In my work, I have often made a study of historic styles and the work of other great American woodworkers, such as George Nakashima or David Marks. Typically, I would enjoy the chance to try and understand the differences and similarities. Hobbled by the empty plate in front of me though, I simply shrug my shoulders and tell him I would have to think about it. I push the question aside along with my plate. We pay the check and leave. Six hours later, two giant log halves sit upon our trailer, awaiting their trip to the mill, where we plan to turn them into lumber. There have been no major injuries, but blood has still been drawn from burst blisters the size of quarters. The open sores sting from the salty sweat washing over them. It will take several more hours, but the oak will eventually give itself to us completely, producing a grade of lumber that can never be purchased. Unlike most modern farmed wood, the growth rings are dense and pronounced. We count the rings back to the year 1746. This tree has stood as a silent witness to our history. I catch myself day dreaming about what it must have seen watching both the revolutionary and civil wars. It withstood hundreds of storms including the infamous Hurricane Hugo. Now with due reverence, it is ours to craft. Two years has elapsed since that autumn day in West Columbia. I have waited patiently for the lumber we cut to properly dry and be ready to use. As the time has passed, I have allowed my mind to plot the perfect use for my share of the red oak lumber. I have developed a plan for a modern version of a classic southern pie safe my father saved from our family farm in Kershaw. Often surprising to my clients, simple rustic or farm furniture lends itself well to modern interpretation. Additionally the piece will offer excellent storage and plenty of surface area to display the unique beauty of the quarter sawn red oak. As I prepare to work the oak into fine furniture, I am

reminded of my friend’s earnest question about southern woodworking style. It is a valid question. What does make our work special, if anything? I have seeped this question in my mind for a long time and preparing the oak for work I think I have stumbled on my answer. It is not the answer that I think was originally expected. To me, the south, its people, and its woodworking artisans are a group that no longer creates from an established style. There was a time in our past when local work was built around schools of design and style, but today the influences are more literal and individual. You will rarely hear a reference to an obscure influence learned in art school or from the internet. In many regards, southern woodworking is a clichÊ: We are the sum of the parts of the world around us. Our influences may be found in simple outdoor tables surrounding a BBQ pit, built by a local farmer 80 years ago, or by the unique variety of functional tables in one of my favorite pubs in Columbia, the Hunter Gatherer (whose owner is also a talented woodworker). Like well cooked pulled pork, we are a low heat, slow cooked, worth the wait group of artists. One local artisan, who often escapes the summer heat by floating in an inner tube down a slow moving river, has turned that feeling of a Saturday on the river into a beautiful and calming rocking chair. Another woodworker, who loves to get lost in cypress swamps, has recreated the towering heights and twists of the cypress trees into a majestic spiraling stair case. I have witnessed incredible talent, and cutting edge design, ahead of anything found in the galleries of New York City, down lost and wash boarded dirt roads. I have discovered history in new furniture being created from 200 year old heart pine siding reclaimed from a collapsing farm house. Southern woodworking grows directly from the soil and soul of this

text: Jerry Stover photography: Kasi Koshollek

place we call our home. Southern craftsmen are part dirt and sweat, part story tellers, and sometimes part crazy. Our work is our lives. Our influences are our homes. I have driven a hundred miles for the perfect piece of wood and fifty more for the perfect pulled pork BBQ because the woodworker I was visiting recommended it. That is the difference. That is who we are, and that is what defines our work. Inspired by the question of what makes our southern style unique, I have been thinking about all the great local woodworking artisans we have in the area. I thought about some of the crazy adventures and all night work sessions I have had with gifted woodworkers. I am awed by the passion I have encountered and the beauty I have been fortunate enough to witness. There is humble, quiet, but still world class talent working all around us. There are skills and styles mingling in garages and workshops. There is collaboration everywhere, cutting edge design and ancient craft are finding common ground. Additionally, though their numbers are painfully low, a new generation of woodworkers is giving birth to a whole new vision. Woodworking in the south is as rich as our farmland. There are artisans in our midst, and yet, most people remain unaware that they are here. That must change. Over the next few months, I will begin to document my travels around this south of ours and help to shed light on the local artisan movement. I plan on helping people discover and share in the work of these skilled craftspeople. It will always be an adventure, it will most likely always involve food, it may involve the occasional soap box rant, but most importantly, it will reveal the amazing talent of our local, southern inspired woodworkers.



Beacon, ink, gouache, watercolor crayon, pastel, 24 x 17�, 2012 56




nna Redwine’s artwork is experiential on multiple levels – in the conception, the making and the viewing. The New Orleans native works in a process that sounds just as improvisational as legendary NOLA jazz greats Louis Armstrong and Jelly Roll Morton. While her response is usually based on what is an intense experience for her, it’s an experiential intensity, not a dramatic one. Her inspiration can come from something as mundane as a tiny insect crawling across her arm or the movement of a small frog through the water of a pond. The intensity comes in the translation of that full experience, one that engages all of the senses, through what can only be described as a very meditative art making process. That full sensory experience is distilled into color and mark, a gestural mark that records her internal as well as external act of seeing. The artist says that she knows where her starting point is in a work, but not where she’s going after beginning. She empties her mind and allows her other senses to take over, making very subjective, subconscious choices about both mark and color as she works to evoke those moods and feeling for others. The art becomes the experience of the making, a process that extracts and distills experience into form.

text: Mary Gilkerson

Anna Redwine

Redwine has made Columbia her home for most of the last decade, arriving in the city to pursue an MFA degree at the University of South Carolina. But unlike so many of the transient student population, she stayed after graduation, immersing herself in the urban life of the city. Deeply committed to growing a vital downtown Columbia, she has served as the president of the Columbia Design League for the past several years and is an active board member at 701 Center for Contemporary Art. The young artist’s concern with the interconnectedness of things is a crucial part of her artwork as well. She uses her empathetic skills to identify with her subject, whether it’s a lowly mosquito, a firefly moving through the night air, or a fellow human being. This lets her connect with the subject kinetically, making marks that synchronize with the subject’s movement through space. In two earlier solo exhibitions presented by if ART Gallery at Gallery 80808, “Anna Redwine: Life in One Breath” in 2006 and “April Drawings” in 2007 she incorporated a spare use of dark calligraphic lines within the larger surrounding white spaces. In her most recent work she turns that system on its head. “Anna Redwine: Nocturnes”, a solo exhibition of her latest work, was presented by if ART at Gallery 80808/





Vista Studios on Lady Street in Columbia in June. As with most of her work, Redwine produced “Nocturnes” earlier this year as a response to a direct experience, this time a camping trip in a remote area far from her everyday urban life. “I love to be alone outside at night,” Redwine says, “when the smells are so intense, and shapes are nebulous. The works are non-representational responses to my subconscious and specifically informed by senses other than sight.” “I also had been thinking about mystery and embracing the unknown. Nocturne to me doesn’t mean scary or macabre. It means enchanting and beckoning.” And these pieces most definitely beckon to the viewer with bursts of intense color that emerge from dense inky blacks. Redwine created the mixed media paintings after returning to Columbia, over the course several days of intense, concentrated work. The work that came out of this process is filled with her signature calligraphic linear mark, but there is a concentrated vigor to them that makes the paintings some of her most highly expressionistic work yet. These are not literal depictions of natural forms – in fact, it’s some of her most abstract work to date – but there are allusions to representational elements that give the works an anchor in the experiential world. Another development in this body of work is her explosive use of color. Redwine’s last body of work was spare, monochromatic, and almost Zenlike in its economy of line and use of the negative spaces to define the positive ones. The meditative Zen quality is still present but the color is anything but monochromatic now. Intense yellows, pinks and greens bloom out of the dark surface of the pieces. She fills the negative spaces in this new work with lush, dense blacks so that they function as much more than surrounding voids. While they might represent the darkness of the air at night, they also evoke the rich potential of the earth, a dark fecund-ness. The end result is a body of work full of color, atmosphere and expressive mark making. As Redwine says, “Nighttime and darkness are specific forms of space opportunity, the unknown, staring at the stars, making out the shapes in silhouettes of trees and buildings.” “Nocturne” isn’t just about nighttime, though. It’s also about mysterious attics and crannies and paths that trail off in the distance.

Opposite page, clockwise from top left: adelaide, ink, gouache, watercolor crayon, pastel, 24 x 17”, 2012 wakulla, ink, gouache, watercolor crayon, pastel, 24 x 17”, 2012 audubon, ink, gouache, watercolor crayon, pastel, 24 x 17”, 2012 in the pines, ink, gouache, watercolor crayon, pastel, 24 x 17”, 2012

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The Horses of Delacroix, Oil Paint on Canvas, 40”x 30” 62




your imagination indulge your i nsp irat ion a nd Support South Carolina Artists When you purchase Van Gogh vodka, at your favorite restaurant or shop, you are supporting the artists and arts programs in South Carolina. A portion of each sale, by cocktail, bottle or case, goes to the South Carolina Arts Commission and the South Carolina Arts Foundation. Indulge your inspiration and your imagination responsibily.



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