“Art is too important not to share.” – Romero Britto, Brazilian artist.
Fortunately for many, the artworks of Lander University students and faculty are being shared this semester with thousands of people across hundreds of miles through gallery shows, exhibitions and online websites.
“Our students are creative and engaged, and we have an engaged faculty who are working on projects that promote our work in the region,” said photography professor Jon Holloway, whose photographs were recently featured in the “Carolina Series” exhibition at the University of South Carolina Aiken.
Holloway showcased his works in two distinct sections for the “Carolina Series.” One section, titled “Human Nature,” brought attention to the connection of humans to the natural environment.
Photographs in “Native Land,” comprising a body of work created over 25 years, depicted the journey of Native Americans through dramatic images and stories.
It is this “engagement” by Lander’s art department that is putting the University in the spotlight.
Sculptor and painter Doug McAbee, an associate professor of art at Lander, said the addition of the bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in fine arts at the University is leading students to “work at a higher level and enhancing their abilities to exhibit outside of our area.”
The pandemic, which forced many artists and designers to work from home, did not slow the production of the arts, said McAbee, whose “Even When It Is Dark” exhibition enjoyed a successful run in Februrary and March at the Upstairs Artspace in Tryon, N.C
The show, which comprised paintings and photographs, reflected his thoughts and emotions during the pandemic. The fantastical imagery in the paintings, including a series of “art remixes,” combined classic works of art with quirky self-portraits of the artist. McAbee used his own costumes, props, pets and even family members to recreate familiar artworks.
“Artists have to do things with our hands. We have an internal desire to make something,” said McAbee, whose art has been featured in exhibitions throughout the Carolinas since fall. “The pandemic forced some of us outside of our normal areas, but it led to new opportunities and discoveries.”
For example, the Peach Belt Conference — widely known for its competitive athletic programs – sponsors an annual show in March to showcase the art of students from the colleges and universities which have conference membership. Lander dominated the awards this year.
“I could not be more proud of the work being done by our department,” said Sandy Singletary, chair of Lander’s Department of Art. “We have accomplished so much during the pandemic. Our students have faced challenge after challenge and are continuing to be creative and productive.”
She highlighted the winter Ceramics Sale as an example of how students returned to Lander in August and immediately went to work to create designs that were available for sale to the public. Despite the pandemic, students sold more of their work than ever before.
“Three of our students had $1,000 in sales from that show,” she said. “That and many other examples point to the resilience that we’ve had during this time.”
Lander’s B.F.A. students will have their work featured during an April show at the Greenwood Arts Center, she said. “That is a great opportunity for them and for our community to see what we are doing,” she said. “That show, however, is just one of many ways that Lander art is being shown this year. Each exhibit not only highlights the work of the individual artists, but also highlights the great work of our students and faculty throughout the Southeast.”
The wide reach of the University’s art extends online, too.
Lander art lecturer, Haley Floyd, is featured in Fraction magazine, an online publication devoted to photographic projects of new and emerging artists from the around the world. The article highlights photographs from two series by Floyd, “The 14th House on the Right” and “Where the Rain Goes.”
The photographer combined the works to tell a dynamic story about the home that she grew up in and its surroundings in a suburban neighborhood. “The home described in the series is rooted in the landscape and specifically in the creek where I spent much of my time as a child,” she said.
Floyd’s article is online at http://www.fractionmagazine.com/haley-floyd.
Among this semester’s other shows and exhibits:
• “100 Miles II,” The Bascom in Highlands, N.C.: After a successful inaugural appearance in 2020, this show features the art of faculty and students from the 14 colleges and universities from the four states located within a 100-mile radius of the center. 100 Miles II continues through April 24 at The Bascom, highly regarded for its exhibits and classes dedicated to the visual arts. Among those from Lander whose work was selected for the show are B.F.A. students Abigail Nance, Marta Aguilar and Brianna Clayton and Lander faculty Doug McAbee, Jon Holloway and Elizabeth Snipes-Rochester.
• “Peach Belt Conference Art Exhibition” is just a click away at the PBC website: https://peachbeltconference.org/sports/2021/3/5/GEN_0305211723.aspx. The 2021 exhibit highlights the work of students from the Peach Belt’s colleges and universities. Lander students were awarded four of the six top prizes in the competition – and swept the Campus Spirit Category with three awards. Katherine Rumminger was awarded second-place honors in the General Category. Award winners from Campus Spirit were first place, Ashley Daniela Garcia; second place, Brianna Clayton, and third place, Tien Mai.
• Collegiate Invitational Art Exhibition, Spartanburg County Library, Spartanburg: The show opens March 24 and will continue through May 7 at the library, located at 151 S. Church St. The show features the works of students from Anderson University, Clemson University, Converse College, Greenville Technical College, Lander University, North Greenville University, Spartanburg Methodist College, and USC Upstate. Lander students include Jordon Mack, Fiona Newell, Savannah Bates, Jocelyn Pace, Dasia Warren and Ashley Garcia. Elizabeth Snipes-Rochester and Haley Floyd are Lander faculty representatives in this exhibit.
• “Senior B.F.A Exhibit,” the Arts Center of Greenwood, 120 Main St.: The show, which runs April 1 – 21, will highlight the art of Lander’s six B.F.A. seniors, the largest group of graduates to date from the department. The exhibit will comprise the paintings, sculpture, ceramics and photography produced by the students during their education at Lander.
• “Lander University Art Walk Uptown” will feature the work of Lander students and faculty at six different venues in Uptown Greenwood from 5 – 8 p.m. Thursday, April 1. Locations will include The Arts Center, Main & Maxwell, The Greenwood Building Courtyard, Flynn’s on Maxwell, Good Times Brewing and Sundance Gallery, where selections from Holloway’s “Native Lane” exhibit will be featured. The inaugural event is sponsored by the Lander University Department of Art and Uptown Greenwood. Foodies will appreciate the offerings of food trucks on Oregon Avenue, and the popular band Pope and Bert will provide live music in The Greenwood Building Courtyard. Some of the artists’ works will be for sale.
• “Senior Exhibit,” the Lander Art Gallery, Lander University: The show, titled “depARTture,” will run April 13 – May 11 and will showcase the works of students. The event will feature ceramics, paintings, sculpture, photography and graphic design pieces.