2018-01-12 / LifeStyles

“Eight Southern African-American Artists: Past, Present, Future”

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CAVA’s exhibit celebrating Black History Month opens Jan. 15

“Eight Southern African-American Artists: Past, Present, Future” opens January 15 at the Gaffney Visitors Center and Art Gallery.

The January-February exhibit celebrating Black History Month includes artists both southern born and ones who have made the south their home. The artists include Liani Foster, Pat Kabore, Shanequa Gay, Ludovic Nkoth, Antonia Modesto and Tracey Timmons. Additionally, two Cherokee County artists who have passed away, brother and sister Leroy Marshall and Inez Littlejohn, are remembered in this exhibit.

A reception will take place Sunday, Jan. 21 from 3 – 5 p.m. The artists will participate in a gallery talk around 3 p.m. They will give short presentations about their works or about their artistic backgrounds.

“Eight Southern African- American Artists” is presented by the Cherokee Alliance of Visual Artists (CAVA), the art organization that operates the gallery in the visitors’ center. According to president Noah Lindemann, CAVA enjoys being able to present exhibits that relate to the community and to special events during the calendar year.

The exhibit includes both established artists, included in major collections, and emerging artists. Those who are local contribute to the cultural life of the upstate and help to foster a climate for the visual arts. Several are members of the Artists’ Guild of Spartanburg and Spartanburg’s Main Street Co-Op.

Each artist will be represented by five to seven pieces. All works are fairly recent, reflecting the artist’s current interests. Visitors will be able to view paintings, jewelry, mixed-media works, fibers and prints.

Self-taught “folk artist” from Gaffney Leroy Marshall died in 1988. A major exhibit in the 1980s introduced his work to the public and established his reputation. Although a paraplegic, he conducted workshops in area schools. His innovative mixed-media paintings are included in private and public collections including the South Carolina State Art Collection.

Marshall’s sister, Inez Littlejohn, who was also selftaught, died in 2011. According to her husband, there was never a time when she was not involved with art making. Her works depict life around her as she experienced it. Her mixed-media works are visually complex, well designed and decorative. The exhibits committee was interested to learn that Littlejohn sometimes completed subjects in Marshall’s works that he felt uncomfortable doing.

Liani Foster originally hails from Ohio; he recently moved from Washington, D.C. to Lake Lure, N.C. He incorporates fibers in usual ways but also plans to include at least one large wood sculpture that conjures an earlier time period and place. His work was brought to the attention of CAVA’s exhibit committee last year during Gaffney’s annual Peach Festival juried exhibit.

Having lived in West Africa, Pat Kabore currently resides in Pacolet, S.C. Included in Hub City’s recent book, “Artists among Us”, Kabore has an extensive exhibition and teaching record. Primarily a printmaker and mixed-media artist, she said, “I want my art to build bridges and connections between cultures and people.”

Georgia resident Shanequa Gay presented a large exhibit of her works recently at Wofford College. That exhibit introduced her work to CAVA members. Using a painterly approach, she explores historical and contemporary social concerns of black culture. Gay provocatively introduces collage elements that are interesting both for their content and aesthetics.

Born in Cameroon, West Africa, Ludovic Nkoth is one of the area’s upcoming artists. He studied art at USC Upstate. Although his paintings for this exhibit are based on portraits of the old masters, his style is also reminiscent of Francis Bacon. Nonetheless, his works are truly innovative. Framed to reflect the earlier period, visitors should enjoy the paintings’ Baroque-inspired reference.

New York City transplant, Antonia Modesto, is a painter and photographer living in Lyman. An emerging artist, his painting style is reminiscent of the bright, flat colors to the pop art era and the colorful patterns of the Latino world from which he is descended. He plans to include a selection of digital prints as well as paintings for this show.

Tracey Timmons has lived in the South a long time but was born and raised in Ohio. She is a self-taught metalsmith and studio jeweler working with precious metals and semi-precious gemstones. She plans to include a series of gingko leaf inspired pieces. The exhibits committee is pleased to be able to include a three-dimensional artist in this group.

There is no charge to attend the exhibit that continues through February 23. The Gaffney Visitors Center and Art Gallery is located at 210 West Frederick Street in Gaffney. The gallery is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. For more information about this exhibit, CAVA membership or art classes, call the CAVA Gallery at 864-489- 9119 or 864-489-9817.

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