Selvage: New Works By Jim Arendt
Exhibition opens at Pickens County Museum June 23 with a reception to meet the artist.
The Pickens County Museum of Art & History will be presenting three new exhibitions from June 23 through August 16, 2012. Please join us from 6:00 until 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 23 as we host a reception to meet the artist featured in “Selvage: New Works by Jim Arendt”. Also opening that evening will be the exhibits “American Drive: An Exhibition of Works by Steven Bleicher” and “The Landscape in painting: works by John Brecht, Cathy Zaden Lea, Carla Padgett & Bill Updegraff”. All three exhibitions will continue through August 16, 2012.
Jim Arendt, Director of the Rebecca Randall Bryan Gallery at Coastal Carolina University, is an artist whose work explores the shifting paradigms of labor and place through narrative figure painting, drawing, prints, fabric and sculpture. Influenced by the radical reshaping of the rural and industrial landscapes he grew up in, he investigates how individual lives are affected by transitions in economic structures. His work has been exhibited regionally and abroad in numerous group and solo shows. Most recently his work was awarded Best in Show at Hub-Bub Gallery’s Emerging Carolina and was included in the 701 Contemporary Center for the Arts South Carolina Biennial.
Jim received his BFA from Kendall College of Art & Design, Grand Rapids, MI, and his MFA with a concentration in painting from the University of South Carolina. He has studied art in England and Spain and participated in residency programs including The Fields Project in Illinois. He has taught numerous courses in design theory, color, drawing, illustration, anatomy, animation, graphic design, printmaking and, from time to time, leads demonstrations in less well-known forms of image making such as letterpress and encaustic painting. Prior to joining Coastal Carolina University, Jim worked as Gallery Director at FAB Gallery for South Carolina State University, and was also an Instructor at the University of South Carolina.
When asked about his work, Arendt quoted the scripture, “If my land cries out against me and all its furrows are wet with tears, if I have devoured its yield without payment or broken the spirit of its tenants, then let briers come up instead of wheat and weeds instead of barley.” (Job 31:38-40).
He continued, “Art is labor made visible. The order, planning and execution of art making serves as a metaphor for the labor undertaken on my family’s farm. The land bound us to it and to one another. The work put into the land, livestock, and implements was our investment in our family’s future. We gambled that the rains would come, that the market would demand a fair price for our crop, and the bank would not foreclose. Labor became a tangible expression of our hopes.”
Jim went on to say, “Art making is a way for me to echo the cycle of seasonal death, unemployment, natural disasters, and loss I encountered during this time. The physical labor involved in the creation of these pieces mirrors the work I engaged in with my family. The scale and application of materials evokes in me memories of the time when there was hope for our endeavor. Bound up in these pieces is the fluctuation and uncertainty of the work we left unfinished.
“The pieces in the Pickens County Museum show, part of a series called Those of Us Still Living, casts the people I know best into the center of my work. I am recreating my family, not as they were or are, but as I know them to be. Our lives, separated by years and distance, remain entangled around the land we worked and called home. Denim was created to be abused, worn out, patched, stained, and burnt through with hot sparks. Its characteristics are mirrored in the people I choose to represent. Jeans remain supple, and with the right pair of boots can still go to the ball. I like that. Still, it is hard to make pictures out of it… I guess I like that, too.”
The Pickens County Museum of Art & History is funded in part by Pickens County, members and friends of the museum and a grant from the South Carolina Arts Commission, which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Located at the corner of Hwy. 178 at 307 Johnson Street in Pickens SC, the museum is open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., Thursdays from 9:00 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Admission is free but donations are welcomed.
For more information please contact the museum at (864) 898-5963.