Tag Archives: Spartanburg Artist Guild

Winthrop Alumni, Doug McAbee’s art puts bright, shiny finish on a harsher reality.

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"The Green Grabber"

“The Green Grabber”

The One About Scrimshaw

The One About Scrimshaw

On display until Jan. 28, 2013

Thursday, Jan. 17, reception from 6-9pm, Artist talk 7:30 pm

Spartanburg Chapman Cultural Center http://www.chapmanculturalcenter.org/

For more information, call 542-ARTS (2787).

(Originally written by Steve Wong For the Herald-Journal )

When you look at Doug McAbee’s artwork, you just know there’s a story behind each and every piece. There are whales with stick legs, big-headed people riding little animals, tabletop sculptures seemingly dipped and completely covered in high-gloss bright paint.

You’re free to take a guess at what each might be telling you, but you probably won’t connect the exhibit at the Spartanburg Chapman Cultural Center with its overall source of inspiration. “The One About Pop” was created in the wake of McAbee’s father’s death in 2012.

There is no direct mourning reflected among the 21 pieces of two- and three-dimensional abstract works. If anything, at first consideration, they are happy images: surreal Sharpie drawings of a mind’s fantasy landscapes and a cast of unreal characters; simple sculptures that might look like something real, but then again, maybe not. It’s not until that second look that you begin to wonder what’s beneath the surface.

In both content and media, McAbee’s work is more than it appears. His most recent cartoonish drawings are on knotty panels of birch wood: The wood grain and dark spots purposely show through the colorful scenes, giving the images a contrasting sense of creative optimism that tries to cover up a harsh and darker reality. This concept is repeated with his sculptures.

All of the work is for sale, ranging in price from $150 to $1,050.

An assistant art professor at Lander University, McAbee, 40 and a native of Spartanburg, welcomes interpretation of his work. He is content in knowing that most of the pieces were inspired by his father’s character and the entertaining stories that he told.

“At my father’s funeral, the family was standing around telling stories and laughing,” McAbee said. “Yes, it was a sad time, but we found the good in the memory of my dad and celebrated it.”

“The One About Pop” is on display until Jan. 28. McAbee will host a free reception at this month’s ArtWalk, from 6 to 9 p.m. Jan. 17. He will give an artist talk at 7:30. For more information, call 542-ARTS (2787).

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Artist Spotlight – Bridget Kirkland, MFA Candidate

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Time to present a Winthrop MFA Candidate…..Bridget Kirkland.  Continue on for an insightful interview with this artist…

Bridget Kirkland, untitled

Bridget Kirkland, untitled

Where are you from?

King of Prussia, PA and Erie, PA.  I ended up in the South because of my ex-husband’s career options and we decided on the South.

Why did you choose to pursue an MFA?

After being a graphic designer for 10 years (and I loved it), I got tired of people thinking they knew more than me.  I felt like an MFA would give me the backbone I needed to create the right of “arguing” to my opinion.  I feel like I trust myself more.

Bridget Kirkland, Artwork

Bridget Kirkland, Artwork

Explain what you do in your Fine Art studies in 100 words:

I question memory and interpret time with design.

What do you want to do with your degree?

Teach Graphic Design in College/University setting, Freelance Graphic Design.

What is your favorite spot on campus?

Basement level of McLaurin…breezeway is all windows.  I would love to do a show in there with transparencies on all of the windows.

Where would you take students for a Campus Tour?

I would take students to the area with the windows or to the Sculpture departmentShaun Cassidy’s area.

Who is your favorite Professor and why?

So many different ones for so many different reasons.  I have to say Tom (Stanley) – reason:  because he showed me how I could fit into this program.  He gave me faith in my artwork and helped me understand my work.  He helped me feel that what I do is a form of art.

Where is your favorite place to eat in Rock Hill?

Bridget Kirkland, Untitled Artwork

Bridget Kirkland, Untitled Artwork

Earth Fare because they have Hubert’s Lemonade.

What books should we read?

http://www.danpink.com/books/whole-new-mind

http://www.stevenpressfield.com/the-warrior-ethos/

http://www.amazon.com/Poetics-Space-Gaston-Bachelard/dp/0807064734

Tell us something about yourself that we wouldn’t know or guess about you…

I am not very secretive and I do not hide information, so this question is hard to answer, but I will try…

…I have three cars.  I love the beach – I could stay on the beach from 9am until 6pm.  I love the wide space of the beach.  I like wide spaces…not as crazy about SC’s landscapes because you cannot see very far.  I like being out west because you can see forever…it is no end.  I love motorcycles – I had a Ducati motorcycle then had to sell it before I went to school.  I love motorcycle racing.  My dream job is to be a meteorologist/anchor woman on The Weather Channel.

Who are your role models?

Stefan Sagemeister – designer.  His philosophy is happy design.  He does not take clients for money, but rather clients who allow him to create the perfect design for them…clients who honor artistic freedom.

Favorite album, lyrics, band?

My favorite song is Soul Cages by Sting.  Favorite band is Nine Inch Nails.

Favorite website?

Processing.org

Tell us about a great experience:

On a Friday morning, there was the inaugural Red Bull MotoGP race at Indianapolis.  I wanted to go so badly.  I sat at my desk at work…pissy that I couldn’t go.  On impulse, I called the rental car company to rent a car, asked my boss if I could leave at noon, and took off for solo trip to Indy.  Luckily, a Scottish Blogger/Columnist writer for Motorcycles magazine asked me to document and write a piece for the blog.   The event turned into a solo road trip by myself, as a female traveling solo.  I was able to get Ducati Credential Passes…great time!  It was the weekend that some hurricane was coming and the rainy weather was so bad.  On the way back, a storm was clipping ahead of me.  Because of the storm, there was no power, no gas.  No one knew where I was.  I met a guy who helped me get gas…got home at 7am, showered, and went right to work with an experience I will not ever do again…

Bridget at the Indy Moto Race

Bridget at the Indy Moto Race

This adventure was great because I met so many people…I was so free.  It was such an exciting weekend to take off and do something I really wanted to do!

What has surprised you about Winthrop?

That it is a family.  I feel like the whole time I have been here….there are big arms wrapped around me to give me the courage to create whatever I want.  At the same time, there is the push and the nudge to create good art.  Such a tricky thing to do…I don’t think you see this combination often in places.  Winthrop keeps their arms around you…you don’t ever feel bad, even with critiques all the time, you still feel like you are being hugged in a positive way.

Greatest challenge at Winthrop University?

Not understanding “painter talk.”

What will you miss about Winthrop after you graduate?

My artist friends, the professors, the camaraderie of everyone who knows you and your art…you don’t have to explain anything.

Bridget Kirkland, Untitled

Bridget Kirkland, Untitled

Advice for anyone entering the MFA program…

Go into it with no expectations, leave who you think you are as an artist at the door, do different things…art, books, places you travel, different people you talk to…just be completely different.  Always listen to Shaun Cassidy.  Be aware that you could be a completely different person / artist leaving as you were coming in.

If you could give advice to your younger self, what would you say?

Learn from your mistakes.  I like the good and the bad, even when making mistakes…it makes me stronger and I think you have to have the bad to appreciate the good.  Be living in the now rather than the past or the future.

Who are your artistic influences?

  • Vic Muniz, love.
  • David Hockney – paintings and photographs.
  • Inspired by so many artists who have a piece of work I like… from digital artists to sculptors to painters.  I try to look at art as much as I can.

If you could invite 5 people to a Dinner Party, who would you choose?

  1. Sting
  2. Leonard Bernstein
  3. Alf Ward
  4. My deceased Grandfather
  5. Jim Cantore
Bridget Kirkland, artwork

Bridget Kirkland, Untitled Artwork

Predict your future…

I predict I will be living in a smaller, rural area.  I would love to live by the beach…any beach.  I want an exciting future.  Maybe something like….Trent Ressner of Nine Inch Nails calls me up to collaborate with him on the art for his many mounds of projects – videos, cd covers, films, short movies, composing.

Thank you, Bridget!  Best wishes in all of your artistic endeavors.  We hope that Trent texts you soon for his next design project.  We will put in a good word (and a good search engine entry!!!).  With your talent and skill, we know you will go far!