Joe Walters: A Mid-career Retrospective Anne Lemanski: Touch and Go

Joe Walters: A Mid-career Retrospective

The Sumter County Gallery of Art in conjunction with Solomon Projects in Atlanta, GA, is proud to present a major exhibition of sculpture and works on paper by Charleston-based artist Joe Walters; his first major showing in South Carolina in 14 years. Inspired by the natural world that surrounded him while growing up in eastern Kentucky, Walters creates installations of visual complexity and beauty, which metaphorically address issues involving human relationships with nature. Walters regards the individual plant and animal forms as abstract shapes, which activate space. When viewed from various vantage points, the “interwoven” sculptures create a tapestry-like effect reinforcing Walters’s theme of the interdependence of all living things.

Tango, a newly created piece inspired by the dance of the same name, is a lyrical, curvy wall sculpture composed of branches, leaves, seedpods and flower heads. The work

evokes a traditional “still life” capturing the fleeting nature of life in material form. Another new work Waterline Kisses, is an abstract sculptural representation of reflections in a body of water, of marsh vegetation, insects and birds. As with all his sculptural work, Walters’ new pieces are hand-modeled of polymer clay and finished with layers of sand, and paint to create a textured, weathered appearance.

Arts writer Andrea Bejarano states that Walters work “examines the human connection to the natural world as well as the life cycle of germination, growth, death and decay.” “His new work is fascinated with representing vegetation, such as fallen leaves or branches one would see on a quiet forest floor.” “These frozen moments in time represent a kind of romantic or fantasy approach to an eternal natural cycle.”

Walters received his MFA in sculpture from East Carolina University, Greenville, NC.

He has exhibited throughout the Southeast, Florida and New York in institutions such as: the Mint Museum of Art, The Weatherspoon Art Museum, Jacksonville Museum of Modern Art and the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art. He is represented by Solomon Projects in Atlanta, GA and Bernice Steinbaum Gallery in Miami, FL.

Anne Lemanski: Touch and Go

The Sumter County Gallery of Art is also excited to present an exhibition of work by North Carolina artist Anne Lemanski. This exhibition “Touch and Go” highlights a selection of her highly crafted sculptural works that utilize familiar forms to explore the inconsistencies and contradictions she sees in the world, from our culture’s treatment of women to its exploitation of both domesticated and wild animals.

Lemanski’s recent work focuses on the complexities of the relationship between humans and animals, highlighting society’s admiration for them as symbols, and exploitation of them to suit its needs. “I really want to make people aware of the domino effect that man has on making use of animals,” she says. “We are all linked together.”

Coyote is a life-size sculpture of the animal composed of brightly colored Mexican serapes. “It’s a subtle play on the term coyote as in those who smuggle illegal immigrants across the border,” says Lemanski, who likes to get people talking about current issues.

21st Century Super Species: Jack-dor is the largest piece in the entire exhibition. The creature is eight feet tall with a 10-foot wing span made out of birch wood veneer. He has the legs of a horse, the torso of a California condor and the head of a Mexican jack rabbit. “This creature is based on animals that are extinct or in trouble,” said Lemanski. She sees this piece as the evolution of a new species.


Also included in the exhibition is a work entitled A Century of Hair 1900-1990. This installation showcases iconic women’s hairstyles from each decade of the 1900s through the 1990s ranging from an old Gibson Girl upsweep hairdo to two long braids, which is how Lemanski wore her hair in the 1990s. But embedded in each sculpture is a commentary on the culture of the time: how women were regarded and the challenges they faced in each decade.

Anne Lemanski received her BFA from the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, MI. Lemanski is a former resident artist for both Penland School of Crafts in Penland, North Carolina, and Ox-Bow Summer School of Art in Saugatuck, Michigan. Lemanski’s work can be found in many private collections as well as the permanent collection of the Asheville Art Museum in Asheville, North Carolina, and the U.S. Department of State, Art in Embassies collection.  She is the recipient of the 2010 North Carolina Arts Council Grant, and was recently nominated for a Louis Comfort Tiffany Grant.

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