USC Upstate and Spartanburg Art Museum to Host Contemporary Still Life Painting Invitational 2012

August 13, 2012 at 3:03 pm

The Curtis R. Harley Art Gallery at the University of South Carolina Upstate, in collaboration with the Spartanburg Art Museum at the Chapman Cultural Center, will exhibit the works of twelve nationally known artists at the Contemporary Still Life Painting Invitational 2012. Their works will be on display at the Spartanburg Art Museum from August 14 – October 20, 2012, and at the Harley Gallery from September 28 – October 26, 2012.

Participating artists are Ginger Bowen (Phoenix, Ariz.), Linda Cancel (Laurens, S.C.), Loren DiBenedetto (Huntersville, N.C.), Frankie Denton (Winston-Salem, N.C.), Bevin Engman (Winslow, Maine), Ron Ferkol (Gerald, Mo.), David Gray (Tacoma, Wash.), Chad Hughes (Oxford, N.C.), Andrea Kemp (Golden, Colo.), Laurin McCracken (Leland, Miss.), Randall Mooers (New York, N.Y.) and Daniel Sprick (Denver, Colo.). The exhibit is curated by Dr. Henry Fagen, adjunct professor of art at USC Upstate.

Opening receptions will be held September 20 at 7 p.m. at the SAM, and October 11 from 4:30-7:30 p.m. at the Harley Gallery; they are free and open to the public. The opening reception at the SAM will feature a tour and discussion led by the curator. The opening at the Harley Gallery will feature a discussion led by Laurin McCracken.

Also in conjunction with the show, artist Laurin McCracken will offer a watercolor workshop at the SAM from October 9-11.

“When you say ‘still life paintings,’ most people think about pictures of flowers and fruit sitting on a shadowy table,” Steve Wong, marketing director for the Chapman Cultural Center, said. “That is not always the case, and this exhibit is especially good at showing the vastly different aspects of still life art. Technically, the term still life used to refer to paintings of things that were dead—fruit and flowers cut from the plant and therefore no longer alive. Actually, a great many pictures show the dying process: wilted flowers and rotting fruit. Even in this exhibit, there are pictures of decaying animals, as well as some beautiful displays of vibrant flowers and luscious fruit. Keep an open mind when seeing this exhibit and understanding what it has to say.”

The show’s twelve artists hail from North and South Carolina, Missouri, Colorado, Arizona, Washington, Mississippi, New York, and Maine, and their works represent the finest examples of recent still life paintings being created in the country. These artists have all exhibited in galleries and museums, and have been featured in national art magazines. Their works depict the ephemeral illusions, mystery, nostalgia, surreal ordinariness and humor contained in today’s American culture. The varied media, including oil and watercolor, exemplify the artists’ skills in descriptive examination and analysis about the experience and residue of life.

“The sophisticated viewer may glean some references to literature, poetry, philosophy or historical events,” said exhibit curator, Dr. Fagen. “Still life painting has always been a visual communication device that reflects varied interests of a society’s cultural and economic condition. The detritus and joys of human existence are illuminated within the still life. Still life paintings are not new to the Upstate and Spartanburg area, however, these works may challenge the status quo.”

For more information on the exhibit at the Harley Gallery, contact Michael Dickins, gallery manager, at (864) 503-5848 or For details on the SAM exhibit and watercolor workshop, contact Kathleen Moore at (864) 948-5364 or