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The Curtis R. Harley Art Gallery on the campus of the University of South Carolina Upstate will host an exhibit of mixed media drawings by artist Stephen Nevitt from January 18 – February 22, 2013. Titled, Layers and Passages: A Tribute to Seven Women of Courage and Compassion, the show is open from Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The public is invited to a reception for the artist on Thursday, January 24 at 4:30 p.m. in the gallery.

Nevitt’s work in recent years has been focused on his family, many of whom were women who quietly showed great courage and determination in the face of overwhelming difficulties. This exhibit consists of a collection of portraits in tribute to seven of his female ancestors with written feedback on each of them describing what he knows of her life and the strength of her character and resolve. The women were born in the years ranging from 1826 to 1917.

“Common threads in their lives include a search for personal identity and dignity, a struggle for survival, and probable frustration with restrictions placed upon them by societal expectations.  Repeatedly in my reflections on the lives of ancestors in this exhibit, I found myself exploring the lost opportunities for women who, due to the milieu into which they were born, could not pursue their ambitions and dreams,” said Nevitt.

Growing up in the Carolinas, hundreds of miles away from extended family in Kentucky, Nevitt frequently heard rich and colorful stories about his ancestors in conjunction with old family photographs kept in a cardboard box under his parents’ bed.

“As an undergraduate student, I began making drawings and prints from these photographs and have continued working with them to this day.  Through the years, I have communicated with relatives who assisted me with genealogical research.  As a result of these contacts, I have added more photos to my family album, and these gifts have inspired new works of art that offer layers and passages to family stories as yet untold,” Nevitt added.

For more information about the showing, contact Jane Nodine, gallery director, at (864) 503-5838 or jnodine@uscupstate.edu, or Michael Dickins, gallery manager, at (864) 503-5848 or mdickins@uscupstate.edu.

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