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Dorothy Allison to address Deckle Edge festival this weekend

Author will also receive festival's Southern Truth Award

In its 4th year as the grassroots answer to the S.C. Book Festival, Deckle Edge Literary Festival announces South Carolina author Dorothy Allison as the keynote speaker for the 2019 festival and the recipient of the second annual Deckle Edge Literary Festival Southern Truth Award. [caption id="attachment_39421" align="alignright" width="226"]Author Dorothy Alliison Author Dorothy Alliison[/caption] Allison will speak at the Booker T. Washington auditorium at the University of South Carolina on Friday, March 22 at 7 p.m. in an engagement sponsored by the USC Women’s and Gender Studies Program. On Saturday, March 23rd at 10 a.m., Allison will address the Deckle Edge Literary Festival in a conversation with Bren McClain, author of One Good Momma Bone (2017, USC Press) at the Richland Library on Assembly Street in downtown Columbia. (McClain is also a 2005 prose fellowship recipient from the S.C. Arts Commission). Allison is the author of Trash (1988), a collection of semi-autobiographical short stories, the multi-award winning Bastard Out of Carolina (1992), Cavedweller (1998), which became a New York Times bestseller, and more. She has written for the Village Voice, Conditions, and New York Native and won several Lambda Awards. Bastard Out of Carolina was a finalist for the National Book Award, the winner of the Ferro Grumley Prize, was translated into more than a dozen languages and became a bestseller and award winning film directed by Anjelica Huston. Allison is a recent inductee into the Fellowship of Southern Writers. Read more about her here. A native of Greenville, Allison’s writings frequently reference the class struggles and social alienation she experienced as a child growing up gay, impoverished, and the first child of a 15-year-old unwed mother in the conservative South Carolina upstate. Bastard Out of Carolina also details the sexual abuse she endured throughout childhood at the hands of her step-father. The New York Times Book Review calls the book, “As close to flawless as a reader could ask for.” Allison will be awarded the Deckle Edge Literary Festival Southern Truth Award on Friday evening, March 22nd. The Southern Truth award, whose first recipient in 2018 was Nikky Finney, is awarded to a Southern author whose body of work exemplifies the complexity of the South’s history, celebrates the gifts of the South’s diverse peoples, and enhances the narrative of the South by focusing on the progress we make and the continued work before us. The 2019 Deckle Edge Literary Festival includes an exciting roster of authors, panels, and interviews including, among others, printmaker Boyd Saunders (2002 recipient of the Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Governor's Award for the Arts); Chieftess Queen Quet who is an elder of the Gullah/Geechee Nation; Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Kathleen Parker and more. For more information please visit www.DeckleEdgeSC.org.
Deckle Edge Literary Festival receives funding support from the S.C. Arts Commission.

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U of SC Press celebrates the life and work of Boyd Saunders

The University of South Carolina Press has recently published A VIEW FROM THE SOUTH: THE NARRATIVE ART OF BOYD SAUNDERS, by Thomas Dewey II with a Foreword by Charles R. Mack.

Event TODAY at U of S.C. Thomas Cooper Library, 4:30 p.m., Columbia

A VIEW FROM THE SOUTH is a celebration of the prolific artist's heartfelt devotion to the people and places of the American South. It is the first comprehensive examination of the life and art of Boyd Saunders, one of America’s premier printmakers. In this celebration of an enduring and widely acclaimed career as an artist, Thomas Dewey II chronicles Saunders’s work not only as a printmaker, but also as a painter, sculptor, illustrator, author, educator, amateur musician, and sometimes horseman. With great care Dewey exposes the common thread that runs through Saunders’s visual expressions: his intriguing tales that reveal his heartfelt devotion to the people and places of the American South. Dewey has captured Saunders’s life story through intensive research as well as via a series of interviews with the artist over several years. Details of Saunders’s early life on a West Tennessee farm and his family’s long attachment to the land document a profound influence on his life, outlook, and art. But Saunders was also moved by literature—namely that of William Faulkner, whom he met while earning a master’s of fine art at the University of Mississippi. Saunders credits Faulkner with inspiring much of his work, demonstrated in his Spotted Horses, a limited volume of lithographs illustrating Faulkner’s short story of the same name, which was published by the University of South Carolina Press in 1989. Now a distinguished professor emeritus of the University of South Carolina, Saunders founded its Art Department’s printmaking program as well as a southern printmaker’s organization called the Southern Graphics Council. In the more than forty years since its founding the organization, now called SGC International, it has grown well beyond its southern borders and now serves twenty-five hundred members worldwide. A View from the South features more than 120 color images showcasing the themes, ideas, and techniques Saunders has used in his paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures, etchings, lithographs, and woodcuts. His art is exhibited throughout the world and is included in many private and public collections, including the Boston Public Library, the U.S. Wildlife Collection in Washington, D.C., and Shanxi University collection in China. A foreword is provided by Charles R. Mack, professor emeritus of art history at the University of South Carolina. Thomas Dewey II is a faculty emeritus associate professor of art history at the University of Mississippi. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in art history from Southern Illinois University and a Ph.D. in art history from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Dewey has published widely in professional journals and penned an entry, “Audubon in Mississippi,” in The Mississippi Encyclopedia. On March 14 Boyd Saunders will be celebrated by the University Libraries and the University South Carolinians Society in a 4:30 p.m. event at the Thomas Cooper Library, where Boyd Saunders will show a "mini-retrospective" and discuss "The Storyteller's Art."

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Artist Boyd Saunders: a man of many talents

Editor's note: Boyd Saunders received the Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Award for Arts in Education in 2002. He has two works in the State Art Collection, including "Blackberry Winter: A Suite of Six Intaglio Prints," which will be exhibited at the Burroughs Chapin Art Museum in Myrtle Beach Sept. 20 - Dec. 27, 2015, as part of "Selections from Contemporary Conversations Part II." by Glenn Hare [caption id="attachment_22091" align="alignright" width="267"]Boyd Saunders McMaster Gallery features the art of Boyd Saunders in its newest exhibition, "Return of the Wanderer." Among the works on display are lithographs, paintings, etchings, sculptures and drawings[/caption] Boyd Saunders’ studio and storage room are filled with objects that chronicle more than 50 years of art-making. A highly accomplished printmaker, sculptor, illustrator, painter and teacher, his work spaces are filled with bronze statues, framed lithographs and etchings, in addition to paints and drawings paper and canvas. Against one wall is an old wooden desk and leather chair where Saunders reflects on his long artistic journey. More than 30 pieces of work from his career are on display in McMaster Gallery beginning Aug. 27. “Return of the Wanderer,” a solo exhibition, includes lithography, painting, etching, sculpture and drawings developed over the last three decades. The oldest piece was finished 30 years ago, and the newest work was completed barely three months ago. The art demonstrates a long and storied career, but Saunders says this show isn’t a retrospective. “True, the show covers a lot of my work, but it’s focused on the theme of a returning wanderer,” he says. For instance, the etching “Southern Serves the South,” shows a man walking toward a train station with a hat on his head and coat thrown over his shoulder. The foreground includes a railroad-crossing signal with a blackbird resting below the lights. In the background, just beyond the station, is a weathered red Chessie train and a handful of people waiting outside of the station. “The landscape is not a depiction of one particular Southern town, but captures the essence and character of all Southern towns,” says Shannon Lindsey, the director of the gallery. Saunders trained at the University of Memphis, the University of Mississippi as well as the Bottega d’ Arte Grafica in Florence, Italy. He came to the University of South Carolina’s art department in 1965 to teach and with a mandate to establish a printmaking program. He soon became a fixture in the regional art scene. He co-authored two books about South Carolina printmakers and organized printmakers from across the South into the Southern Graphics Council, serving as its first president. In 1989, he published, in collaboration with USC Press, a deluxe limited edition of William Faulkner’s short story “Spotted Horses.” The book featured the complete text illustrated with 34 original hand-drawn and hand-painted lithographs. The project was an homage to Faulkner and horses, two of his favorite subjects. Saunders, who was raised on a west Tennessee farm, has been around horses since childhood. “On Sunday afternoons, my Papaw would hitch up his horse, put me on it and guide me around the front yard. When I was older, I had my own horse. It was a great childhood, straight out of Norman Rockwell,” he says. His desire to be an artist started in early childhood also. His idols were not “big New York artists,” Saunders recalls. “Fred Harman was one of my heroes. He was a westerner who lived on a ranch in Pagosa Springs, Colo. He drew the ‘Red Ryder’ comic strip. That’s what I aspired to do.” Saunders’ talents, however, went far beyond comic drawings. A highly acclaimed printmaker, his works have been exhibited throughout the globe and included in numerous private and public collections, such as the Boston Public Library, the U.S. Wildlife Collection in Washington D.C., and Shanxi University collection in China. Saunders retired from full-time teaching in 2001. But, he continues to produce art, just not every day. “When I retired, I thought every day would be like Saturday and I’d get in the studio and work all day,” he says. “It didn’t happen.” Medical issues, house renovations and family concerns interrupted his Saturday dream. “Life got in the way,” he adds. However, his secret to staying productive is to always have something to complete. “A painting that’s half finished or an etching that needs attention or an plate that needs preparing keeps me motivated,” Saunders says. And he admits that his life as an artist wasn’t well planned. He only had a drive to make art. “When I got into this racket, I wasn’t sure what I wanted. I only knew I wanted a way to make beautiful things,” he says. “Teaching was a way to do that and sustain myself.” As it turns out, he was a very good teacher and he enjoyed it, immensely. “One of the greatest treasures to come out of my entire life and career has been the long line of wonderful students who’ve come through my studio,” Saunders says. “We got to know each other and become part of each other’s lives. Hundreds of them keep in touch with me.” Above image: Southern Serves the South is one of 30 pieces by Boyd Saunders featured in the current McMaster exhibition, Return of the Wanderer. The exhibition runs through Oct. 9.

If you are going As part of the "Return of the Wanderer" exhibition, McMaster Gallery will host an opening reception 5-7 p.m., Aug. 27, and a gallery talk with Saunders beginning at 6 p.m. McMaster Gallery is located in the University of South Carolina's of School of Visual Art and Design at 1615 Senate St. with parking on Pickens, Senate and Pendleton streets. The gallery is free and open to the public from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays. Glenn Hare is a marketing and public relations writer with the University of South Carolina. 

Glenn Hare