Diane Kilgore Condon: Wild Kingdom
The Annual Sumter Artists’ Guild Winners Exhibition
January 14 – February 12, 2021
In January when COVID isolation and post-holiday cabin fever have set in, the Sumter County Gallery of Art provides the perfect getaway with two fantastic exhibitions in a welcoming, safe space.
Because the annual January “South Carolina Watermedia Society Exhibition is completely virtual, SCGA staff went in search of an artist that would be a great complement to the Sumter Artists’ Guild Winners Exhibition. We are excited to present the art of Diane Kilgore Condon. Kilgore Condon is a painter who was born in Wisconsin and lives and works in Greenville, South Carolina and is the owner of ArtBomb Studios. Kilgore Condon received a BFA in Fine Arts from Bob Jones University in Greenville, SC. There she studied with renowned South Carolina artist, Carl Blair.
Established in 2001, ArtBomb launched what is now Greenville’s important Pendleton Street arts district. From a September 2019 article in Livin’ Upsate SC magazine: “ In 2001 Diane Kilgore Condon wasn’t trying to be a trailblazer, she simply needed a new spot for her studio. Working full time as merchandising manager for Belk department store, Kilgore Condon had an art studio in downtown Greenville where she painted part time. When her landlord decided on another use for the space, she began searching for a new place to paint. In 2001, the Village of West Greenville didn’t exist. Only a handful of retail and restaurants remained open, with empty storefronts and homes in decline dotting the landscape of the once thriving textile mill community. When Kilgore Condon stepped inside the two-story brick building that originally housed the Brandon Mill Company store, she did so with an open mind. The place was pretty big, and she remembers thinking, “that maybe I should ask a few artists to come along,”. At the end of the conversation the owner said he’d be willing to sell it. Having left her job to become a full-time artist, Kilgore-Condon formed ArtBomb Studios, a nonprofit organization, and invited other artists to move their studios to Pendleton Street. A genuine desire to see each other flourish is another part of The Art Bomb’s success, according to a resident artist of 15 years. The resident artists all root for each other and are thrilled with each other’s success. Many credit ArtBomb as being the catalyst for what is now the trendy, artistic and entrepreneurial district called The Village of West Greenville. It continues to be a close-knit community where artists can create, and a place where lasting friendships form – some of the four-legged variety. In the past 20 years, ArtBomb artists have rescued 44 dogs from the streets of West Greenville. Kilgore-Condon’s beloved Elsie, a puppy she found abandoned on a nearby street, was her constant companion for 14 years and a muse for many of her paintings. Several of the paintings in the Sumter exhibition feature Elsie.
Kilgore Condon has had three solo exhibitions in South Carolina at Bob Jones University, the Greenville County Museum of Art, and the Pickens County Museum. She has also participated in several group exhibitions throughout the South including the Morris Museum in Augusta, Georgia, the Burroughs & Chapin Museum in Myrtle Beach, SC; the Sumter County Gallery of Art in Sumter, SC and the City Gallery at Waterfront Park in Charleston, SC.
Her paintings are a profusion of flora and fauna (dogs, birds, rabbits) spilling out of large – and small canvases, hence the title Wild Kingdom, and are very pleasing to the eye. Kilgore Condon is among the Upstate’s most prolific and respected painters and the Sumter County Gallery of Art is very excited to present an exhibition of her work.
The Sumter Artists’ Guild is one of the most active Artists’ Guilds in the state. President Laura Cardello – a multi-talented artist, has worked tirelessly to expand the Guild’s artistic presence in Sumter in a variety of creative ways. It has been especially challenging in 2020. She is supported by a group of hardworking officers, Vicki Hagner. Jennifer Franklin, Erin Duffie, and Lisa Melton. SCGA director Watson notes, “This year’s COVID edition of the Sumter Artists’ Guild Exhibition which opened July 30th without an opening reception saw slightly fewer entries but overall, the exhibition was one of the strongest in years. Watson is quick to point out though that every Guild Exhibition is strong, but this year had a little something extra. The judge for the 2020 Guild Exhibition was Robert O. Keith IV and he picked out an amazing array of winners. When we add Geneviève Rath as the 2020 Peoples Choice Winner for her exquisite watercolor “Owl”, SCGA staff knew our audience could look forward to a stellar Sumter Artists’ Guild Winners Exhibition. The exhibition will include a broad range of styles and media with an emphasis on representational and mixed media. Accomplished fiber artist Sylvia Pickell won Best of Show with her sublime quilt “Snail Trail” with bits of Japanese fabrics in an intricate pattern. J. Michael McGuirt won first place with his charming and surreal painting “Onward We Go!”, Vicki Hagner won second place with her mosaic sculpture “Wingtips” and Kerry Strathman captured the feel of the rural landscape and third place with her understated painting , “Fading Day, Rev. Carter Road Sunset”. Honorable Mentions included, John Cotner for his mixed media “Reef”, John Quinton Dingle for his intimate capture of family time, “Sleeping Beauty” and Lisa Melton with her small but impactful photograph “Bite The Bullet”.
This popular show would not be possible without our community sponsors: Synovus, Covenant Place Continuing Care Community. Opening hours are from 1:00 – 6:00 but NO food or drink will be served. We look forward to seeing you, our friends and patrons on Thursday, January 14th.
Diane Kilgore Condon will give an artist talk Thursday, February 11th at 5:30 pm
SCGA strictly adheres to best COVID practices so masks social distancing and hand sanitizing are all REQUIRED.