Thursday, January 6, 2005

Laura Spong: The Early Years: August 21- September 8, 2007

The Greenville County (S.C.) Museum of Art has acquired Columbia artist Laura Spong’s 2007 painting Is It After Me? The painting is oil on canvas and measures 48 x 58 inches. The painting was included in the recent Greenville Museum exhibition Studio Visits and was featured on the cover of the museum’s June membership newsletter. The purchase went through if ART Gallery in Columbia, which represents Spong (b. 1926).

The Greenville Museum purchase follows last year’s acquisition of two Spong paintings by the South Carolina State Art Collection, which purchased Spong’s late-1950s painting White Flowers and Dancing Under The Street Light of 2003.

Meanwhile, if ART Gallery is showing Laura Spong: The Early Works. The exhibition, which runs through September 8, consists mainly of paintings by Spong from the 1950s and 1960s. Attached is an essay by if ART owner Wim Roefs with more information about Spong and her work from that period.

In September, Spong will be in The Fame Factor, a group show at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios in Columbia organized by if ART Gallery. The exhibition will explore the concept of fame, especially the relativity of fame. The show will include limited edition prints by world famous artists, including lithographs by Joan Mitchell, Karel Appel, Lynn Chadwick, Wilfredo Lam and Bram van Velde.

In addition to Spong, the exhibition – which opens on September 7 and runs through September 18–also will include South Carolinians Leo Twiggs, Edward Rice and Virginia Scotchie. Other American artists in the show are Richard Hunt, Benny Andrews, Ibram Lassaw, Paul Reed, John Hultberg and Sam Middleton, an American artist who has lived in the Netherlands since the early 1960s. Dutch artists in addition to Appel will be Corneille, Ger Lataster, Hannes Postma, Kees Salentijn and Lucebert. Furthermore, the show will present French artist Jacques Doucet and Belgian artist Reinhoud.

Several paintings in the current Spong exhibition of early works at if ART Gallery were included in the Greenville Museum’s Studio Visits exhibition, which ran from April 18 – June 10. The Greenville exhibition also included if ART Gallery artists David Yaghjian of Columbia and Dorothy Netherland of Charleston, S.C., as well as David Boatwright of Charleston and Alexia Timberlake and Jay Owens, both of Greenville.

In addition to her 80th-birthday exhibition in February 2006, Spong had three solo exhibitions last year, including one at Hampton III Gallery in Greenville and a retrospective at the University of South Carolina’s McMaster Gallery. Spong also was in a two-person show at the Vinson Gallery in Atlanta. In February of this year, Spong was with Katie Walker, Paul Reed and Mike Williams in a group show at Columbia’s Gallery 80808/Vista Studios, organized by if ART Gallery. Next month, Spong’s work will be in a group show at Elder Art in Charlotte, N.C., and in October, she will have a solo exhibition at Francis Marion University.

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