Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Carl Blair's Flora & Fauna: April 17- May 9, 2009

At its location on Lincoln Street, Columbia, SC, if ART Gallery presents Carl Blair’s Flora & Fauna, an exhibition of wooden animal sculptures and new paintings by Greenville artist Carl Blair. This will be the first Columbia exhibition by the veteran artist featuring sculpture. The exhibition also will be on view during Artista Vista 2009, April 23-25.

Carl Blair’s Flora & Fauna refers to the plant and animal life of Carl Blair’s mind, some of it of literal places and critters, other simply of Blair’s imagination. Nature always has been Carl Blair’s main visual inspiration – nature and the countryside in general. Some of his animal sculptures are representative, and all of them, fanciful. They are a reminder of Blair’s upbringing on a farm and of his insistence that as a youngster, he spent more time with animals than with human beings. To some extent, Blair regards his animal sculptures as self-portraits.

Nature typically is the basis of his heavily abstracted paintings, whether it’s the flatlands of the Midwest or the more mountainous terrain of the South Carolina Upstate. There, Blair lives on Paris Mountain, just outside of Greenville and near Paris Mountain State Park. He has lived there since the 1970s, when the place was still mostly undeveloped.

Kansas native and Greenville, S.C., resident Carl Blair in 2005 received South Carolina’s Elizabeth O’Neil Verner Governor’s Award for the Arts for Lifetime Achievement. He has been as an artist, administrator, educator and a driving force in South Carolina arts since in 1957, when he began teaching at Bob Jones University, from which he retired in 1998. He has shown in galleries and museums all along the East Coast as well as abroad. His prominence as a painter and sculptor has increased steadily and has been marked by several museum retrospectives since 1995. In 1999, he was included in “100 Years/100 Artists: Views of the 20th Century in South Carolina Arts,” the South Carolina State Museum’s look back at the 20th century.

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