Wilfred Spoon: Quiet Ground & Micah Green: Hands On, The South
The Sumter County Gallery of Art will unveil the exhibitions of two artists, one with a connection to The Sumter Item, who bring a real yet emotional charm to their artwork.
Wilfred Spoon’s “Quiet Ground” and Micah Green’s “Hands On, The South” will be open to the public from Thursday through April 22 at the gallery. The uniqueness of their styles lend beautifully to portraying the emotions and stories from their individual perspectives.
Green, the chief digital officer and a photographer at The Item since 2017, was born in Texas and lived in Mississippi for much of his childhood. After graduating from Mississippi State University, he was hired as a reporter but began taking photos at a short-staffed newspaper and has since become an esteemed photojournalist who has worked with The New York Times, Bloomberg, and Reuters.
He now uses his 35mm lens to capture stories throughout the community via The Sumter Item from the realistic view of the human eye.
Much of Green’s photography skills were learned through his own experimentation. With his lens and his heart as his guides, he has explored and captured various events and emotions throughout Sumter and South Carolina to showcase the “ugly, entrenched truths abound in the South” along with the “stories that radiate life and hope.”
Karen Watson, executive director for the gallery, observed that Green interacts with the scene rather than reacts as he approaches with a sense of wonder and captures a softer, more personal perspective of the moment after having spent time with those he photographed.
“Although Green goes all over the country documenting stories with his lens, the pieces in ‘Hands On, The South’ have a decidedly local appeal, taken mostly in Sumter and South Carolina,” Watson wrote. “From Trevor Lawrence greeting a throng of fans at Death Valley to a hug captured at the funeral of a fallen deputy, to Deaconess Selena Smith preparing for a bodybuilding competition, these are Sumter’s stories.”
In contrast to Green, Spoon’s artistic style derived from his influence of early and pre-Renaissance painters of religious icons, primitivism, and Cubism.
A North Carolina native, Spoon earned his Master of Fine Arts at Parsons School of Design in New York in 1987. Now based in Mt. Pleasant, Spoon’s paintings have little to no division between the foreground and background with both the interior and the exterior occupying the space.
Cole Miller, curator for the gallery, wrote that Spoon’s surreal yet naïve scenes possess an “undoubted charm,” one that is “delicate decorative” with a “gentle empathy and respect for the simple, the honest and the unpretentious.”
“In the painting Still Life with Goldfish, a table scape populated by a precarious cup of coffee beside a goldfish in the microcosm of its bowl reflects the pale, circular moon through the window beyond. A mysterious flamingo becomes as much a subject within the painting as the voluminous tropical plants which envelope it,” Miller wrote. “‘Quiet Ground’ explores the harmony and conflict between abstraction and figuration where a patchwork rug on the floor becomes a triangle in geometric space, or a marsh bird can exist in a singular moment outside of time but confined within space. The moments of pause and reflection, humor and apprehension contained within Spoon’s works focus attention on both the tranquility of a brooding pelican, and the mythology of modern art.”