CURRENTS brings Savannah to Augusta by way of the river between them. The show’s seven artists exhibit under the same roof for the first time. Banded together by the historic city they call home, they have also all graduated with degrees in various disciplines from the Savannah College of Art and Design. Many are former or current staff or faculty members serving at the same university. They are additionally linked by their shared and distinct talents as well as by their experience and analysis of the Lowcountry. Savannah’s history, traditions and people inform these artist’s practices.
Though there is little overlap in the style and materials of their work, there is common ground in their themes. Much of the work of these emerging and mid-career artists has been influenced by observations of environment, whether that environment is physical, intellectual or cultural. Using several modes of presentation and disciplines, these creators employ assemblage, photography, fibers, painting, sculpture, and animation, as well as a number of mixed-media approaches.
Each artist imbues this collection with under CURRENTS regarding connection to place, to one another and to the cadence, or flow, of their respective voices. All are full-time, fine art and commercial studio artists working in a tight-knit artistic community. As part of that group, the curator is tasked with navigating and mapping the myriad tributaries they create.
Katherine Sandoz paints land, sky, and water resulting in layered abstract landscapes that present color and beauty. Though her figurative paintings are more representational, Melinda Borysevicz views the act of painting itself as a type of alchemy that happens in the moment of creation. Commentary on modern culture is seen through the assemblage and paintings of Marcus Kenney, while Tobia Makover explores the spiritual and emotive with her timeless encaustic photographs. Michael Porten proffers his concepts as a modern classicist, the artist as re-inventor with his restyled objects, portraits, and busts. As Elizabeth Winnel layers colors on luscious lips, she exacts meditations and discoveries about the painting process itself, finding meaning in paradox and opposites. Will Penny’s creations reach beyond space’s simple three dimensions, challenging the viewer to test his or her concepts of traditional painting.
All of these artists are inspired by different aspects of the world around them, but ultimately, their work engages us is the way they see, create and respond. Their individual curiosities and re-examination of old and new, of identity and culture, of formalism and process, dare us to journey within the works and with these artists.
Like the river, their work is never static, and as viewers, we too, are a part of its making.