Aldwyth: Ebb and Flow

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The Sumter County Gallery of Art is honored to present “Aldwyth: Ebb and Flow” a large-scale exhibition by Aldwyth, now on the eve of her 80th year, that includes many of the monumental collages and intricate assemblages for which she is known. The work and ideas of an elder female artist is an exciting opportunity to present the work of an often overlooked demographic, to our community. Aldwyth lives and works in an octagonal house at the edge of a salt marsh on one of South Carolina’s sea islands. For several decades, she has been producing important work in relative seclusion from the larger art world. Her work reflects influences from folk art and craft; outsider art; modernism, Dada and Surrealism. The collages and assemblages are visually stunning, charming and engaging.

Despite her avoidance of crowds and cities, Aldwyth devours information and images from art magazines, libraries, bookstores, and the Internet. She is an inveterate collector of old “things” and natural detritus, which serve as the raw material from which her works are made. Many of the objects tell a story of the artist’s life, including personal rejection, success, wonder and melancholy. Creating work for decades with little to no regard of ever exhibiting her creations has imbued the work with a sincerity that is a treat and privilege to view. To experience the artist’s work is to confront a new history that has been rewritten from the outside looking in.

Karen Watson, Director of the Sumter County Gallery of Art states that “Aldwyth: Ebb and Flow” coming to Sumter is the result of a collaboration with the artist and The Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art at the College of Charleston and it’s Director, Mark Sloan. Aldwyth’s vision – rich, complex yet accessible – is a feast for the eyes. It is a unique “Natural History”.

Sumter County Gallery of Art’s curator Frank McCauley states: “We are thrilled to bring this extensive and fascinating exhibition to the community here in Sumter. Aldwyth’s incredibly unique body of work was one of the very first things to stand out, when I first moved back to the south six years ago, as something that needed to be shown and appreciated by the community at large. Her work is both monumental and intimate in scale. From afar many of her large-scale collages seem to represent individual planets or spherical masses that have been spinning and collecting enormous amounts of visual information, upon closer inspection viewers will pleasantly discover, on “Casablanca (classic version), a constellation of shimmering eyes bedazzling an undulating surface of reproductions of famous artworks, monuments, and familiar architecture. I think visitors will thoroughly enjoy getting up close to these works and having a treasure trove of hidden visual gems revealed to them.” The artist will join the gallery again shortly after the opening for an insightful “Conversation with Aldwyth” moderated by Mark Sloan, Director and Chief Curator for the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art, College of Charleston on Saturday, September 13th from noon to 2:00pm. Director Karen Watson says, “It’s not to be missed!”

Aldwyth has received many grants and residencies including Harpo Foundation Grant, 2006 Pati Crosby Croffead Fund for the Arts Grant, 2002 Purchase, SC State Collection, 1998 Kohler Arts & Industry Residency, WI, 1996 Anderson Ranch Arts Center, CO: Visiting Artist, 1995 Millay Colony, Residency, NY, 1989 Vermont Studio Colony Residency.

Her work has been included in many group shows and solo exhibitions and she has been included in the last two South Carolina Biennials (2011 and 2013), which recognizes the best artists working in the state today. Other exhibitions of note: 2010:Contemporary Conversations, Lee Gallery, Clemson University, SC, 2009: Aldwyth: Collage and Assemblage 1991-2009, Telfair Museums Jepson Center for the Arts, Savannah, GA and The Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art, Charleston, SC, 2008: Aldwyth: Collage and Assemblage 1991-2009, Ackland Art Museum, Chapel Hill, NC, 2008 2001: SC Triennial 2001, State Museum, Columbia SC, 1997: Woman’s Work is Never Done, America, Oh Yes Gallery, Washington DC, 1995: Triennial 95 SC State Museum, Columbia, SC,

Aldwyth’s work is in several important public collections including: Telfair Museums, Savannah, GA, Ackland Art Museum, Chapel Hill, NC, College of Charleston Foundation Collection, Charleston, SC, John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Kohler Company, South Carolina State Art Collection and South Carolina State Museum, Columbia, SC