A new show at the South Carolina State Museum showcases some of the works of several Orangeburg-area artists.
Featuring works collected between 1967 and 2017 by the South Carolina Arts Commission, “Eclipsing 50” highlights the breadth, depth and ambition of work produced by artists in the Palmetto State.
Including more than 80 pieces from the State Art Collection, the exhibition focuses on the dynamic spirit and leaps of artistic faith revealed in the collection. Giving a view of South Carolina’s changing art landscape, “Eclipsing 50” looks at artists who challenged themselves to reach beyond their own eras in pursuit of artistic expression.
"South Carolina is full of so many talented artists, many from Orangeburg, working in many different mediums, telling fascinating stories through their craft,” said Jared Glover, public relations manager for the State Museum. “This show is a celebration of those artists, their art and their tales."
The exhibition is the third showing of works from the state collection.
“Reflecting on 50 years of collecting and with the historic eclipse on everyone’s mind last fall, it struck me that an art collection is a living, fluctuating entity, moving through time,” State Museum Curator of Art Lori Kornegay said. “New works are added and time passes, so the layers of meaning shift and expand as one’s context and points of reference change through the years.
The State Art Collection is considered the most comprehensive public collection of works by contemporary South Carolina artists. Established in 1967 by the Arts Commission, the State Art Collection has grown to include works in a variety of media and styles.
“The power of art is that it can eclipse the moment of its making and it takes you out of your day-to-day life, helping you see and experience things in a new way,” Kornegay said.
“Eclipsing 50” runs through Aug. 12, 2018. Admission for adults (13-61) is $8.95; seniors (62 and up), $7.95; children (3-12), $6.95; and infants 2 and under get in free.
More information on the museum, the exhibition and ticket purchases can be found at scmuseum.org.
Orangeburg-area artists whose works are featured in the show are:
Dr. Leo Franklin Twiggs was born in 1934 in the town of St. Stephen. He helped develop the art department and the I.P. Stanback Museum at South Carolina State College (now University), where he taught from 1973 until 1998.
Twiggs received his bachelor of arts degree from Claflin College (now University) in 1956, graduating summa cum laude, and his master of arts degree from New York University in 1964. In 1970, Twiggs became the first African-American student to receive a doctorate of arts (Ed.D) from the University of Georgia.
He has presented over 50 one-man shows during his career. Twiggs was named Professor Emeritus in 2000. He received the Order of the Palmetto, the state’s highest civilian honor, during a ceremony held at the Statehouse in May 2017. During that same ceremony, he also received the highest honor the state presents in the arts as a Lifetime Achievement Award winner in the 2017 Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Governor's Award for the Arts from the South Carolina Arts Commission. In 1980, Twiggs was the first visual artist to ever receive the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Award.
Twiggs' paintings are done in a variation of the batik process, which he began experimenting with in 1964. The process allows him to create the illusion of subtle textures. His work deals with the role of relics, images and icons in the culture of the South.
His most recent series, “Requiem for Mother Emanuel,” was inspired by the fatal shootings of nine people at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. The series has received national attention and acclaim.
Terry K. Hunter
Dr. Terry K. Hunter, a native of Tallahassee, Florida, earned a bachelor of science degree in art education from Florida A&M University; a master of fine arts degree in printmaking and drawing from Ohio State University; and a doctorate in art education from Florida State University.
A renowned artist, administrator, arts advocate, curator and educator, he has significantly influenced the landscape of the arts in South Carolina. As an artist, Hunter wants his artwork to engage viewers in reflective thought relative to their own experiences. He has participated in more than 60 group and solo exhibitions throughout the United States.
The South Carolina Art Education Association named Hunter the 2005 Arts Advocate of the Year and, later, the 2011 Art Educator of the Year. His exhibition, “The Grid Turns the Corner,” a mid-career retrospective of his drawings and prints, traveled to seven cities in three states.
In 2011, he was awarded The Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Award for Individual Artist and Educator, South Carolina’s highest honor in the arts. He is a former professor of art and director of the Arthur Rose Museum at Claflin University and former professor of art at South Carolina State University. Hunter has been engaged as a consultant and/or master teacher with the S.C. Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities, the state Department of Education and the South Carolina Arts Commission.
He also served as chair of the design committee for the South Carolina African American History Monument Commission, which produced the first monument of its kind in the country on the Statehouse grounds.
He is married to S.C. House District 66 Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter.
Cecil J. Williams is a photographer, publisher, author and inventor best known for his photography documenting the civil rights movement in South Carolina beginning in the 1950s. His work has been published in hundreds of books, newspapers and television documentaries. His photography and art have been exhibited in galleries in the Southeast.
Williams began freelancing for JET magazine at age 14. As a young professional, he also contributed to other publications, including the Baltimore Afro-American, the Pittsburgh Courier and the Associated Press.
He graduated from Claflin in 1960 with a bachelor's degree in art. He studied under painter and sculptor Arthur Rose Sr. at Claflin.
Williams has photographed significant desegregation efforts in South Carolina since the 1950s. Some of his most notable pictures are of the activity during the Briggs v. Elliott case in Summerton. It was the first of five desegregation cases pushing to integrate public schools in the United States. The five cases combined into Brown v. Board of Education, the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court case that declared that "separate but equal" public schools for whites and blacks were unconstitutional.
He also documented Harvey Gantt’s desegregation of Clemson University in 1963, the 1969 Charleston hospital workers’ strike and the 1968 Orangeburg Massacre. The massacre involved the South Carolina Highway Patrol shooting and killing three African-American males and injuring 27 other South Carolina State students.
Williams has worked as the official photographer for the South Carolina Branch of the NAACP, South Carolina State University, Claflin University and the National Conference of Black Mayors for more than 20 years, beginning in the 1960s.
His work has been exhibited at many institutions and museums. He resides in Orangeburg, where he owns a portrait studio and event and wedding photography business. He is married to Barbara Johnson Williams, a retired educator.
Born May 26, 1921, in Charleston, Arthur Rose Sr. served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. After his discharge, he attended Claflin Colleg (now University), graduating cum laude in 1950 and becoming the second student in the school’s history to earn an art degree.
He went on to New York University, earning a master’s degree in 1952. That year, he returned to Claflin, helping to establish the art department. He served as chair of the department through 1976. The following year, he moved to Voorhees College, becoming the school’s artist-in-residence and continuing to teach through 1991.
Many of Rose's students over the years went on to successful art and teaching careers, including Leo Twiggs and Cecil Williams. Claflin’s art museum was established in Rose’s name.
Lee Malerich has worked in textiles for most of her artistic career. She discovered a love of sewing at an early age, especially after she realized she could use fabrics and threads for art. A native of the Midwest, she earned two studio art degrees from Northern Illinois University before moving to South Carolina to teach.
According to information from the S.C. Arts Commission, Malerich’s work “is emotionally composed. Inner tensions take the form of different figures in the compositions; herding, flipping and otherwise superimposing upon one another, just as a variety of ideas and attitudes exist within one personality. Bodies are almost never presented in full figure, as ideas are not rigid and complete things.”
“Female figures often carry an inventory of scars similar to those from surgeries she has had – from C-sections to biopsies to major invasions. This information is included in her work to bring these assaults to the surface, acknowledge them, and dispense with them,” the information states. “Making the work is a therapeutic process which enables her to more easily integrate her recent experiences with surgery and chemotherapy.”
Malerich and partner Glenn Saborosch, a fellow artist, live in the town of Neeses.
Dan Robert Miller
Born in Orangeburg County, Dan Robert Miller was raised by a single mother who died when he was 9 years old. By the time he was 15, he had worked various jobs, such as picking cotton, working in a saw mill and driving a truck. His health eventually began to fail and during a period of depression, he found what he called a God-given gift for woodcarving. A self-taught artist, Miller lived in Orangeburg County until his death in 1991.
Miller has been referred to by art scholars as an “outsider artist,” whose works are completely outside the framework of the mainstream art world. He has also been referred to as a “grass roots” artist. This term used to describe the creative endeavors of non-academically trained artists has been the subject of much recent dispute.
“The subtle distinctions between the ‘primitive, visionary, folk, outsider and idiosyncratic’ reflect changing attitudes based on the academic background of the speaker and the community traditions,” according to the S.C. Arts Commission’s information on Miller.
Born Jesse Bardin in Elloree, the artist received a bachelor of arts and a certificate of painting at the University of South Carolina and also studied at the Art Students League of New York. He taught painting at the Columbia Musuem’s Richland Art School and at USC.
Works by Bardin are included in the permanent collections of the Columbia Museum, Pennsylvania State University, the S.C. State Museum and the Hunter Museum, among others.
Bardin lived in Columbia until his death in 1997.