Four Corners founder Charlene Gardener says The Man Show started last year as a way to get attention. It accomplished a lot more than that. This month it put within the four walls of Four Corners Gallery a range of seven Lowcountry artists who reach all the way from tradition to the very edge of the envelope. From pencil to oils. From fatwood to bronze. From the last unspoiled moments of old Pinkney Place to the bright, pure energy fields of a young Islander’s imagination. You could see it all here.
It slowed you down to enjoy all this in one place. The artists are such good company. When they’re here to chat, yes, but also when just their work speaks for them.
Doug Corkern, our restless, romantic architect, chose sepia pen-and-ink to capture some of the weathered buildings of Pinkney Place before they are lost to history. Amiri Farris shows here that success hasn’t frozen his style. A wall full of small, square paintings shows that Amiri is still moving – even after redefining the bounds of “Gullah” art with textures, depth and multi-media expressions that are simultaneously fresh and faithful.
Wayne Edwards was here, too. There is a stunning sense of realism in his oils. Objects of palpable weight and familiar form. And yet Wayne bends light to his will, giving light the presence of another object in these paintings.
Jack Anderson’s woodworking has long seemed almost human to me, with corners so finely fitted that a cheekbone in Victoria’s Secret couldn’t be smoother. The new boxes and chests he brought to The Man Show have more texture and articulation. His expert appetite for the smooth now shows up in translucent fatwood. So rich and resinous it resists carving, and makes every completed bowl or vessel a token of dedication.
Richard Coyne’s skies and marshes pass through the frame and sit like
serenity, with their calm, horizontal compositions. Yet in their specificity they live the truth that although sunrises, sunsets and tides come every day, no two are ever the same.
The watercolors of Robert Highsmith here are clear-eyed, almost photographic. Robert’s virtuosity takes watercolor out of the sentimental and stands it up beside nature, as if with a kind of quiet pride.
James Nelson Lewis is a welcome addition to the Lowcountry. Although Jim’s work has been showing at Four Corners since 2008, he only just moved to Port Royal last year. Jim’s approach to watercolor is to respond to the world, rather than depict it. His impressions make an excellent point in The Man Show.
Cruise to “the main drag” in Bluffton and visit Four Corners Gallery at 1263-B May River Road in Old Town. It’s a remarkable gallery at any time, founded on the inspiration that, as a fine-art framer, Charlene Gardner was seeing works that were not showing anywhere else. That insight led to one of the really worthwhile galleries in the region. Art and art lovers find good company here.