The Daily Gamecock

First Thursday exhibits local works

Art crawl sees diminished but devoted crowd due to severe weather

The crack of thunder and splatter of raindrops certainly sent a few scurrying inside during Main Street’s First Thursday event last week.

“At one point,” said Eric Stockard, the owner S & S Art Supply, “it seemed like people were running in from the rain.”

Those who found shelter inside S & S were privy to the exhibit by Jamie Blackburn.

Entitled “Exploratory Abstraction, Order vs. Chaos,” Blackburn’s exhibit was composed of mostly oil on canvas pieces. Ranging in size, the works show Blackburn’s interest in color and form, and while some of the pieces like “Tension Release,” “Tuscan Mood” and “Shades of Texture” are made up of blocks of color, others like “Bleed” are more like collages. The exhibit was only one of many stops on the art crawl that has, slowly but surely, begun to spur sidewalk traffic on Main Street.

The crowd, which was notably diminished due to the time of year and the weather, also found refuge in the Tapp’s Art Center, which was showing pieces from a variety of artists. The center, which currently is not open to the public save special events like First Thursday, spans the first floor and basement of the residential Tapps building, which houses about 40 high-end loft apartments. Viewers were forewarned of the artistic nudes, some of which were shot by Molly Harrell. Local band, The Caddy Boyz, played in the back of the space to accompany the visual experience.

After construction of the Tapps building finishes and the center is officially opened, it will promote collaborative efforts among artists as well as serve as a resource for the entire community, according to Kirk Miller, the husband of the project’s facilitator Brenda Schwarz Miller.

A block up from those two locations, anastasia & FRIENDS hosted a group of artists in an exhibition called “Go Figure!” The work, which varied from oil and acrylic paintings to mixed media, was all centered on the human form.

Leslie Bennett, who made her debut Main Street showing that night, chose third-year public relations student Benjamin Plyler as the subject of some of her work.

“I am dating Leslie, and she decided to paint me a few months ago,” Plyler said.

Other pieces to note in the “Go Figure!” exhibition include two mixed media works by Matthew Kramer. The two pieces — the larger piece named “Worried” and the smaller named “Nude” — both seemed to be human skeletons crafted from wire and standing on cement sheets. The size of “Nude,” which was a startlingly simple interpretation of the theme, caused viewers to come closer to obtain details, injecting a bit of intimacy into the piece.

“I think First Thursdays are an excellent idea for Main Street and for Columbia’s art scene,” Plyler said. “It’s a time where folks can come out and enjoy an evening on a main street that has been struggling for so long.”

In another shop, Frame of Mind, there was artwork by DR and Kelsey Granger that was a continuation of their show from last month. Many viewers were anticipating a performance by Fire in Motion that ended prematurely due to the rain.

Preach Jacobs, booked to DJ in front of S & S, also ended his performance early.

Many of the exhibits will continue to hang throughout the month until the hanging of the new exhibits for next month’s crawl.


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