By Jacob Flannick
Artwork by Kiawah and Seabrook residents are finding a home on the walls of Wells Gallery at Kiawah’s Sanctuary Hotel. Kicking off the Island Arts 3rd Annual Juried Art Show from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Jan. 20 with a reception, the gallery will showcase an array of artwork until Jan. 31, including oil and watercolor paintings, jewelry displays, photographs and an assortment of visual media.
The exhibit, restricted to submissions from Kiawah and Seabrook residents, will feature two compositions from 43 local artistsall whom will be at hand during the gallery opening to discuss each piece, says Gallery director Emily Wagner.“This annual show has quickly become a treasured event,” she says, in an email, noting a combined 33 artists previously participated in the two annual viewings. “Artists prepare all year to present their works for submissions. “We get a lot of art inspired by the islands. The opening receptions leave the gallery bursting with locals and visitors alikeall here to admire the work born right here on our islands!”
Prices of displayed artwork range from $20 to $4,000a sharp contrast to the gallery’s professional pieces reaching $300,000, according to Wagner. “The pieces tend to sell very quickly,” she says.
Kiawah painter Dan Prickett, whose artwork adorned the gallery’s walls during the previous two annual exhibits, points out many painters scattering the neighboring islands stroke the canvas under comfortable circumstances. “We paint for the fun of painting,” says Prickett. “It’s not a livelihood for the most of us.”
Pricket will display two works at the gallery: A classically-inspired oil-on-canvas painting of a bowl of fruit, titled “White Glass Bowl,” and an oil-on-canvas painting of “Lord Willin,’” a shrimp boat Prickett noticed two years ago docked along Bohicket Creek. “Fishing boats are interesting to me,” he says, referring to his illustration of the gently rocking vessel. “There’s a structure to them, and you have to know how they work.”
After retiring five years ago as an investment business manager, Prickett says he’s taken up a second career with the brush in a converted second-floor art studio at his residence. He says his wife, “a good critic” of his work, hollers up to the studio oftentimes reminding him to eat while caught up in a creative streak. “I always said, ‘when I retire, I’m going to paint,’” says Prickett. “And I’m never happier when I get to do it.”
The juried show took flight after Wells Gallery owner Hume Killianwho also owns Wells Gallery along Meeting Street in downtownbegan “realizing the immense artistic talent found right here on Kiawah and Seabrook,” Wagner recalls.
Killian, learning many patrons frequenting the gallery practiced some form of artistry, sought to create a venue for locals’ creative endeavors, says Wagner.
Submissions are judged by Killian, according to Wagner, on a handful of artistic elements, including composition, balance, emphasis, mastery of technique, viewer interaction and the overall result.
Two works from Seabrook painter Patricia Huff, a second-year participant, are set to ornament the gallery’s walls, including an oil-on-canvas painting titled “The Vineyard,” depicting this past June a Napa Valley, Calif., vineyard; as well as “Through the Oaks,” an oil-on-canvas painting rendering a shade-cloaked pathway leading up to Mount Pleasant’s Boone Hall Plantation and Gardens.
“I love my places,” says Huff, who took up painting roughly 37 years ago while studying abroad as an undergraduate in Rome, Italy. “Most of my paintings relate to placesit’s in my blood.” Huff, who paints primarily with a palette knife, says she admires how the Sea Islands cast an array of lighting angles and dappled shadows. “Lights always appear so different everywhere, and that’s something I enjoy capturing in my paintings,” she says. “I love the way the light plays around the trees and on the shadows.”
Seabrook photographer Stanford Ullner’s images will furnish the gallery, too, including a shot of a Baptist church window captured this past summer downtown, aptly titled “Baptist Church Window in Charleston;” as well as “Leaving Charleston Harbor,” a photograph taken roughly eight years ago of a Romanian ship sailing out of the Harbor.
Ullner, a former dentist who’s interpreted the world for more than 55 years from behind a lens, says he draws creative inspiration from world-renown French photojournalist Henri Cartier-Bresson and New York City-based abstract photographer Ralph Gibson.
He says his work, leaning towards an abstract style, focuses on people and cityscapes, and how the two subjects coalesce.
“When I take a photo, I’m looking at how objects in place relate to each other geometrically,” he says. “I see things in a geometric progression. If I’m walking somewhere in downtown Charleston, I’m always looking for an image,” says Ullner. “I’m always trying to visualize.”
For more information on the juried art show, visit Well’s Gallery’s website at wellsgallery.com.