← View All Articles

Artist Aldwyth to be honored in Columbia at 701 CCA exhibit

The South Carolina Arts Commission recognized Aldwyth in 2015 with the Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Governor's Award in the Artist category. From The Island Packet Article by Nancy Welland, photo by Jerry Siegel

AldwythDada is a state of mind. Dada is artistic free thinking. Dada gives itself to nothing. So is Dada defined. So is dada defined... Andre Breton The work of renowned Hilton Head Island artist Aldwyth will be acknowledged, yet again, by the residency presented to her by the city of Columbia. The 79-year-old artist is celebrated for her work in bricolage -- a French word meaning construction or creation from a diverse range of available things -- in sculpture, structure, assemblage or collage. Her collage work will be the subject of an exhibit detailing the preparation of two epic-sized wall collages which will fill a room adjacent to the studio loft at the Center for Contemporary Art at 701 Whaley Street. At the official opening reception, Jan. 31, visitors will have the opportunity to meet and congratulate Aldwyth, take in her talk on Dadaism, and view her new collage pieces "I am and have been creating two large wall collage installations in a room joining the Gallery with the purpose of celebrating and marking the 100 years since the very beginning of the Dada Movement in Europe," said Aldwyth. "That was February 1916." During the following months, according to CCA executive director Wim Roefs, there will be lectures and performances relating to Dadaism. Also taking place in that location, several months into the future, are presentations in music, little theater performances, an evening with Jaap Blonk, the foremost sound painter, and with Tim Daisy, well known in the Chicago, percussive jazz scene. Jan Arp, a major force in the Dada movement of 1916, was quoted as saying when asked why Dadaism? "We were revolted by the butchering of the war, so we devoted ourselves to the arts. While guns rumbled in the distance, we sang, we painted, made collages and wrote poems with all our might." Dada was an anti-bourgeois movement to the radical left. It involved the viewer in the interpretation of the work, a new concept toward the appreciation of art. Dada was not simply created and performed by the artist alone. Nor was its creation limited to a short window of opportunity. The recent death of singer/artist David Bowie reminded us that during the early 1980's, in one of his several iterations, he reintroduced a brand of Dadaism through his music, his poetry, his off the wall fashion statements and particularly through his video and film work. More than just "Ziggy Stardust," and "Man Who Fell to Earth," we now extend our thinking to Bowie"s constant redefinition of his astonishing audio and visual sensibilities . Clearly we all will regard his January 2016 "Black Star" album in a new way. "The pairing of Aldwyth and her careful collage and assemblage to the celebration of the official opening of the Dada Movement at our gallery was perfect," said Roefs. "The opening of the exhibit and the very important events that we will offer in the next few months are going to take us to a cutting edge of another accomplishment." Combining found items, detritus from natural sources, illustrations from magazines and books and Aldwyth's clusters of well chosen words in her collages balances the authenticity, experimental, skeptical, regressive, aggressive, approaches we find in the work of the Dadaists. Through it all, we can't overlook elements of her intellect, her artistic sense of design and her unwavering, sardonic sense of humor. Dada is dead...long live dada... Aldwyth Her collages are epically scaled and intricately fashioned. And that Aldwyth provides us with unique, original, breathtaking moments which seem to transport us to a new place. The impact of her work will disturb your calm in a very good way. Her work has been featured in a critically acclaimed exhibit "Aldwyth: work v./ work n./ Collage and assemblage 1991-2009, at the Halsey Museum in Charleston. She was later designated by the South Carolina Arts Commission in 2015 to receive its highest honor, the Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Award, an award based on life's work. "My work is what I do...And I do it for myself." said Aldwyth. "I am the one who must be satisfied with the results." She quoted Bowie: "Everything is rubbish and all rubbish is good." "He got that right," said Aldwyth.

South Carolina artist Aldwyth named a finalist for 1858 Prize

[caption id="attachment_20209" align="alignright" width="285"]Aldwyth Photo of Aldwyth by Jerry Siegel[/caption] Hilton Head Island artist Aldwyth is one of six finalists (and the only South Carolina finalist) for the 1858 Prize for Contemporary Southern Art presented by the Gibbes Museum of Art and Society 1858. Awarded annually with a cash prize of $10,000, the 1858 Prize for Contemporary Southern Art acknowledges an artist whose work demonstrates the highest level of artistic achievement in any media, while contributing to a new understanding of art in the South. More than 275 artists from 11 Southern states submitted applications for the prize. Aldwyth received the 2015 Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Governor's Award for the Arts in the Individual Artist category. The six artists were selected by a distinguished panel of judges including Charles Ailstock, Society 1858 Board member; Jamieson Clair, Society 1858 Board President; Sonya Clark, artist and 2014 Prize winner; Miranda Lash, Curator of Contemporary Art, The Speed Art Museum; Cary Levine, Associate Professor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Mark Sloan, Director and Chief Curator, Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art;  and Pam Wall, Curator of Exhibition at the Gibbes Museum of Art. “Seeing the prize grow this year—not only in the number of applications, but also in the level of diversity and range of artistic medium—has been like a dream come true for Society 1858,” says Society 1858 President Jamieson Clair. The winner of the 1858 Prize will be announced on Sept. 17 during an event hosted by Society 1858 and the Gibbes Museum of Art. 2015 Short List Bios Aldwyth South Carolina artist Aldwyth has worked in relative seclusion for several decades. She creates intricate collages and assemblages, often monumental in scale, from found objects, appropriated images, text, and other elements. Aldwyth was recently honored with a major one-person traveling exhibition organized by the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art at the College of Charleston. Andrea Keys Connell Sculptor Andrea Keys Connell creates figurative works that challenge conventional notions of monuments, statuary, and figurines. Using clay with other mixed media, her work has a strong narrative and emotive quality. Keys Connell lives in Richmond, Virginia where she serves as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Craft/Material Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University. Kevin Jerome Everson Kevin Jerome Everson’s films utilize both scripted and documentary footage to examine the everyday lives of working class African Americans and other people of African descent. A prolific filmmaker, Everson has created both feature-length and short films characterized by a subtle, poetic quality. His work is included in the collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art, and is currently on view in the museum’s inaugural exhibition America is Hard to See. George Jenne George Jenne is a video artist who combines moving images with the spoken word to create uniquely narrative films. His work explores the inner psyche of his characters, revealing the complex ideas and emotions underlying each individual. A native of Richmond, Virginia, Jenne currently lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Deborah Luster Luster, who lives and works in New Orleans, Louisiana, turned to photography as a means to cope with the murder of her mother. She has created thousands of powerful, haunting portraits of prisoners housed in Louisiana. Her recent body of work captures desolate landscapes in New Orleans where murders have occurred. Ebony G. Patterson The work of mixed-media artist Ebony G. Patterson investigates the complex relationships between gender, politics, beauty, race, and ritual in contemporary Jamaican culture. Her artistic practice combines painting, textiles, and installation work, often in large scale. A native of Jamaica, Patterson lives and works in Lexington, Kentucky, where she serves as an Associate Professor at the University of Kentucky. Society 1858 Society 1858 is a group of dynamic young professionals who support the Gibbes Museum of Art with social and educational programs tailored for up-and-coming art patrons. Membership to Society 1858 is open to any member of the Gibbes Museum of Art. Society 1858 takes its name from the year that the Carolina Art Association was established. Although the Gibbes Museum of Art opened its doors in 1905, the museum’s art collection began in 1858. Society 1858 aims to continue the strong legacy of art appreciation in Charleston. Members of Society 1858 have access to private exhibition previews and receptions, invitations to social events throughout the year, and free or reduced admission to Society 1858’s programs. Gibbes Museum of Art  Established as the Carolina Art Association in 1858, the Gibbes Museum of Art opened its doors to the public in 1905. In the fall of 2014, the Gibbes temporarily closed for major renovations and will reopen its doors in the spring of 2016. The renovation project is designed to showcase the museum's collection, provide visitors with a history of American art from the early colonial era to the present, and engage the public with a center for education, artist studios, lecture and event space, a museum café, and store. During the renovation the museum will offer programs such as the Insider Art Series, Art With a Twist, Art of Healing, events including the Art of Design and annual Gibbes on the Street Party, and educational offerings such as Art to Go and Eye Spy Art. Highlights of the Gibbes permanent collection can be viewed on Google Art Project at www.googleartproject.com. Via: Gibbes Museum of Art

Aldwyth: Art from what ‘comes to hand’

The South Carolina Arts Awards were celebrated May 13 in Columbia, with a ceremony presided over by Lt. Gov. Henry McMaster at the Statehouse, followed by a luncheon hosted by McKissick Museum. The evening included a concert, art sale and gala presented by the South Carolina Arts Foundation. The celebration honors recipients of the Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Governor's Awards for the Arts and the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Awards. This year, the celebration also included the McNair Award, presented to honor outstanding leaders building on the legacy of the late Gov. Robert McNair. We congratulate all award recipients for their outstanding contributions to the arts in South Carolina! From the Island Packet: Article by Nancy Wellard

AldwythBricolage: Construction or creation from a diverse range of available things as of a sculpture or a structure of ideas by using whatever comes to hand; something constructed in this way. In a triumph of understatement, Aldwyth told me she was a "bricoleur," who has dedicated much of her life to "bricolage." I must set the record straight: She is not a brioleur, she is the bricoleur. Her outcomes in bricolage define the format. No one does what Aldwyth does. Her work -- collage, assemblage and sculpture -- is jaw dropping. The pieces are unique, original, breathtaking, timeless, extraterrestrial in a way, and they can transport the viewer to distant environments. They border on the supernatural. The Aldwyth artistic trajectory has unfolded in an almost inevitable way. She is the artist who creates those loosely crafted works by combining found items from disparate sources, detritus from any number of locations: illustrations, illustration from magazines, well chosen words cut from favorite books. She uses anything is at her disposal. She has been quietly acknowledged through the southeast for her work in a variety of forms, formats and mediums. Now that acknowledgment is more visible with her designation by the South Carolina Arts Commission as winner of the Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Award on May 13. "Aldwyth set a high bar ... and it has been a joy and inspiration to see those accomplishments recognized," said artist and friend Louanne LaRoche. "And also for her to be held -- publicly -- in such high regard." 'THE EDGE OF THE ART WORLD' The 79-year-old artist has lived on Hilton Head Island for nearly 48 years, but continues to remain somewhat unknown to many. Her public persona is that she -- vibrant and energetic, somewhat reclusive -- is consumed by a life in which she is fully engaged in her work. "My work is what I do, and I do it for myself," said Aldwyth. "I am the one who must be satisfied with the results." She says this with humility, graciousness and a flash of good humor. Mark Sloan, Director and Senior Curator of the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art, College of Charleston, approached the best description of Aldwyth when he said: "Aldwyth stands on the edge of the art world. She paces around its perimeter, taking measure of its mass and scale Aldwyth works in her Treehouse home on Deer Island on the south end of Hilton Head Island. She is surrounded inside by the unusual trappings of her artistic focus and outside, nestled at waters edge, by the natural setting of the forested Lowcountry. "I've redesigned my house to accommodate my lifestyle and my work," she said, gesturing to indicate the practicality of an open space. She removed the interior walls of her loft, choosing, instead to dedicate that space to work. Windows surround the loft, and bookshelves poke out from under the windows, filled mainly with momographs. Small works of art vie with dried lizards and other important items from her past. Large collages reside in tubes stashed in the rafters. The few walls are covered with foam core to accommodate works in progress. There are four tables - three long, high top worktables that accommodate her stacks of tear sheets from "Artist Forum," or "Art in America" and other publications given to her by friends who know she collects particular magazines for her work. Rolls of Okawara paper, lean in the corner. There are lots of scissors, and Jade adhesive -- the tools of her trade. To that add file folders, zip lock bags, and microwave dinner trays to house her kind of objects d' art and dozens of labeled drawers holding images ranging from "Mona Lisa" to "Folk Art" and "Special." "By the way," she said, with no particular reference, "while I'm not necessarily a rules person, I do have one rule: all of the pieces I use in my work must be found items. I've handled each piece so many times. I find, pull, and organize them, preparing them for use. I never reproduce any image that I use in my work. That means used book stores are my prime suppliers." The fourth table is not high top, but a station for administrative work by day and, with the removal of the technological inventory and the introduction of a bedroll, her bed by night. 'THE WORK I DO' Aldwyth's day begins around 4 a.m., when she sees to those activities she can complete before sunrise. As soon as it is daylight, she takes a vigorous walk. Her goal is at least 10,000 steps a day, verified by a pedometer. When she returns to her studio/loft, she begins work. We talked about the beginnings of her interest in art. Starting with an art class at American University, a 13-year odyssey ultimately led to her degree in fine arts from the University of South Carolina. There were also important life experiences and friendships all in the pursuit of defining her artistic focus. "My dad was a Navy chaplin," explained Aldwyth. " Our family lived all around the country ... even in Beaufort," she laughed. "Actually I attended high school there for a time, before we were off to Washington. It was later that I returned to make this area my home." "What an enormous boost I was given through my friendships on Hilton Head" Aldwyth said. "I worked privately at first. But at some early point, I connected with Louanne LaRoche, then owner/director of the Red Piano Gallery. What an amazing difference that made toward establishing my artistic roots and new directions." "I first met Aldwyth when I purchased the Red Piano gallery in 1980," said LaRoche. "I admired the feverish perseverance and hyper focus in Aldwyth's process as an artist." Aldwyth added that she cherished the time she spent at the Red Piano. She was invited to the Red Piano Round Table and joined in conversations with artists such as Coby Whitmore, Joe DeMers, Joe Bowler, Walter Greer, Bal Ballantine, Marge Parker, Elizabeth Grant, Katy Hodgeman, Tua Hayes and George Plante. She considers what she learned at that table her MFA. When I asked about her family, she explained they were in close touch. "I have three sons. Two -- Joe and Bill Thomas -- still live on Hilton Head," she said. "Reb and his wife Karen and granddaughters, Rebecca and Margaret are nearby in Columbia" Aldwyth's sister and best friend, Joyce and husband live close to her studio home. "They are all so wonderfully supportive of the work I do, " said Aldwyth. "My brother in law, Jack Keller, a former member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary, gave me his old Tide Logs, which were the genesis of my collage, "Where Were You When the Moon Was Full?" which is now in the collection at the Telfair Museum in Savannah." She added that Betsy and Jim Chaffin, who moved to Hilton Head shortly after she did, are longtime, close friends. It was Betsy who introduced her to the use of Okawara paper. Several years earlier, her sister Joyce had given her an 1871 Zell Encyclopedia. "I determined to use every image in that encyclopedia, actually 2000 ... in one work. But over five years, I cut and rearranged. It wouldn't work," she said. Aldwyth said these two gifts made possible the creation of her 79 x 76" work, "The world according to Zell" possible. Over time, Aldwyth reimagined that encyclopedic world to become the foundation of art - landscape, portraiture and still life -- and the large sheets of paper were the critical support of the overwhelming detail. "Without those gifts, who knows what I'd be doing now," she said. 'GET UP AND WORK' Aldwyth's work has been widely acknowledged through selected exhibitions across the country, among them The ARAC@AAM, the Aspen Art Museum, the 20th Anniversary, the South Carolina State Museum, 2 South Carolina Triennial, the South Carolina State Museum, 701 CCA, The Right to Assemble Halsey Gallery and the College of Charleston Currently hanging throughout our general area are a number of Aldwyth pieces. "What's love got to do got to do with it," is at the Bascsom Center for the Arts in Highands, N.C. until the end of May. "Casablanca (classic version)" and "Casablanca (colorized version)" will be shown at the Columbia Museum of Art in an exhibit called "Independent Spirits: Women Artists of South Carolina" in a fall show accompanying an exhibit of work by Georgia O"Keeffe. When I asked about what she is working on currently, Aldwyth said she really doesn't talk about her work in progress. Another one of her rules. "If you can talk about it and explain it, you never do it," she said. "It's trying to figure out what you want to do. That's what makes it exciting to get up and work - making 100 small decisions that makes something happen that you never expected." Artist, musician, teacher and writer Nancy K. Wellard focuses on portraying and promoting the cultural arts, first in Los Angeles and, for close to 30 years, in the Lowcountry.

S.C. Arts Commission announces 2015 Verner Award recipients

The Verner Awards statueCongratulations to the recipients of the 2015 Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Awards for the Arts! The S.C. Arts Commission annually presents the awards, the highest honor the state gives in the arts, to recognize outstanding achievement and contributions to the arts in South Carolina. The awards will be presented at a ceremony in Columbia on Wednesday, May 13. The S.C. Arts Foundation will honor the recipients and the arts community at the South Carolina Arts Gala. This year’s recipients:

"South Carolina's quality of life, education and economy are enhanced tremendously by those who dedicate their work and lives to the arts," said S.C. Arts Commission Chairman Henry Horowitz. "The Verner Awards recognize that service of commitment and passion. We are honored again this year to present the awards to a most worthy group of organizations and individuals. We are grateful for their contributions to our state." For more about the Verner Awards or the S.C. Arts Gala, call (803) 734-8696 or visit www.SouthCarolinaArts.com. About the South Carolina Arts Commission The South Carolina Arts Commission is the state agency charged with creating a thriving arts environment that benefits all South Carolinians, regardless of their location or circumstances. Created by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1967, the Arts Commission works to increase public participation in the arts by providing services, grants and leadership initiatives in three areas: arts education, community arts development and artist development. Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., the Arts Commission is funded by the state of South Carolina, by the federal government through the National Endowment for the Arts and other sources. For more information, visit www.SouthCarolinaArts.com or call (803) 734-8696.