701 Center for Contemporary Art presents Kent Ambler: Into the Wood

701 Center for Contemporary Art: 701 Whaley St., 2nd Floor, Columbia, SC 29201

Opening Reception: Thursday, March 12, 7 – 8:30 pm

Artist Talk: Thursday, March 12, 6:30 pm

Exhibition: March 12 – April 26, 2020

Admission: Free; $5 suggested donation

In March 2020, 701 Center for Contemporary Art in Columbia, S.C., will open a solo exhibition of Greenville, S.C., artist Kent Ambler, presenting woodcuts, related sculptures, and architectural installation of woodblocks. The exhibition, entitled Into the Wood, will run from March 12 – April 26, 2020. The opening reception is Thursday, March 12, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m., preceded by an artist’s talk at 6:30.

Ambler is one of South Carolina’s most prolific and successful woodcut artists. His work impresses art professionals and more casual art lovers alike. Ambler’s surroundings provide his subjects, whether they are birds, dogs and goats; trees, mountains and neighborhoods; ice cream; or beer and bananas. His approach is intuitive and aesthetic rather than conceptual.

The exhibition will be Ambler’s largest solo exhibition to date, with his largest-ever three-dimensional component. The show will present three dozen woodcut prints, 20 woodcut-collage house sculptures, and an installation of a shed-sized house structure built from old, carved wood blocks.

“My work is autobiographical,” Ambler says. “It is derived from my life and surroundings, my observations. It usually starts with an observation or a quick sketch. While the imagery in my art is generally subject- or object-oriented, the visual appearance of each piece is of most importance to me. I try not to overthink or over-plan my work. I generally do my best work when my brain is ‘turned off’, so to speak. I am inspired by the simplicity of idea and image addressed by genuine folk artists.”

Beer & Bananas, woodcut, 12” x 12” 

Crow Contemplates, 2016, woodcut, 32” x 32″

Woodcut Houses,  2020, wood & woodcut collage, various sizes (approx. 12” high)

Hammond, Indiana, native Ambler (b. 1970) has been a full-time artist since 1997. He has had dozens of exhibitions, including solo shows in Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, Massachusetts, Maryland, Tennessee, New York, Michigan and Virginia, as well as Taiwan.  Ambler is represented by eight galleries throughout the country and sells his work at high-end art fairs throughout the Southeast and beyond. He received a BFA from Indiana’s Ball State University in 1992 and did graduate studies at Clemson University in 2001-2002.

“Kent is an interesting case as an artist who is deeply respected by his peers for the quality and breadth of his work, and at the same time appeals to a very wide audience,” said 701 CCA board chair Wim Roefs, who curated the exhibition. “The everyday nature of his subject matter certainly helps with this appeal since it provides easy entry points into the work. But at the same time, Ambler often presents an interesting take and surprising angle, the latter literally and figuratively. And there’s a good bit of humor in the work, too, both in the imagery and in his use of text. The work possesses a lot of energy and movement, and shows mastery of the woodcut medium — giving the work a raw quality, too.”


701 CCA

701 CCA’s mission is to promote the understanding, appreciation and enjoyment of contemporary art, and the role of art and artists in the community. With a gallery and live-work space for an Artist-in-Residence program, the Center provides artists with resources to develop, create and exhibit visual arts in conjunction with performing, literary and media arts. 701 CCA also offers year-round cultural programming, including contemporary art exhibitions and events that are free and open to the public.

For further inquiries or high-resolution images, contact Allison Cicero Moore, Executive Director, at [email protected] or (803) 319-9949.

701 CCA is located at 701 Whaley Street, 2nd Floor, Columbia, SC 29201. During exhibitions, hours are Weds-Sat, 11–5; Sun, 1-5.

Please check www.701cca.org for additional information on the exhibition and associated events.