GRAND BOHEMIAN GALLERY
Avid art collector Richard Kessler opened his first gallery in Asheville, North Carolina, seven years ago, 13 years after launching the Kessler Collection. In addition to design, food and wine, the hotel series incorporates art galleries that celebrate the works of countless artists. Charleston’s Kessler Collection sits inside the Grand Bohemian Hotel at the corner of Meeting and Wentworth streets. Celebrating its four-month anniversary in January, the gallery welcomes the Heart and Soul exhibition with artist Amber Higgins, best known for her heart-shaped, hand-formed Murano glass jewelry. Then, during February’s Southeastern Wildlife Exposition, Italian oil painter Stefano Cecchini will present his hyper-realist paintings that are inspired by South African wildlife. In addition, guests can dine with Cecchini, who is also a Safari Club International member, on February 16 in a four-course meal with wine pairings. Gallery director Dayna Caldwell says, “Foodies, wine enthusiasts and art collectors will have the opportunity to experience Cecchini’s artwork in a way that combines art, music, wine, culture—all the things that the Kessler brand embodies.”
Grand Bohemian Gallery
A native of Wisconsin, Nancy Rushing moved south at the young age of seven. She attended school and college in South Carolina. Shortly after college, she married and moved to Charleston with her husband who came to teach chemistry at The Citadel. She earned a master’s degree in learning disabilities at night and taught during the day.
Rushing has been involved in drawing and painting as long as she can remember. When she was young, her mother drew paper dolls and made clothes for them. Rushing gradually began creating her own and has since spent many years in self-study, especially in the areas of color and value. She has enjoyed working in both watercolor and pastel.
Rushing says that the feeling she gets when painting has little to do with words. When using watercolor, it’s all about the delicious feel when one color is dropped into another. With pastels, it’s the soft, buttery texture of her favorite pastels combined with the intensity of pure pigment layered together or juxtaposed next to one another that lead to a feeling of delight as she works.
CHERYL NEWBY GALLERY
There aren’t many galleries where you can browse both antique and contemporary art in a single visit. At the Cheryl Newby Gallery in Pawleys Island, however, you can—owner Cheryl Newby maintains an extensive selection of contemporary paintings and sculpture alongside an equally extensive, selective inventory of antique maps and prints—mainly natural history prints.
A quick look around the antique side of the gallery will turn up works by the likes of John James Audubon, George Edwards, Mark Catesby and John Gould. If those don’t satisfy, Newby will gladly try to find something more to your taste or hunt down prints by a particular artist should you have one in mind.
When it comes to contemporary artists, Newby represents 16 painters, sculptors and ceramic artists. “We offer so many different styles,” Newby says. “What we emphasize here is quality and diversity—our artists are from all over the country.” The late Ray Ellis, Martha dePoo, the late Quita Brodhead and Paula B. Holtzclaw are among the artists whose work you’ll see hanging in the gallery.
Cheryl Newby Gallery
ELLA WALTON RICHARDSON
As he completes his 10th year exhibiting at Ella W. Richardson Fine Art, Arkansas native Jeff Jamison has carved a niche in Charleston for contemporary impressionist street scenes. Looking at his works, it’s easy to get swept up in the romance of couples strolling down rainsoaked Parisian sidewalks and bicycling about town. With a pastel palette, Jamison invites viewers into the fleeting moment of a whisper or a kiss.
The artist now splits his time between Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and Charleston’s own Folly Beach, which is why his paintings also include recognizable local scenes, like a bustling Dock Street Theatre. A graduate of Middle Tennessee State University and the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, Jamison got his professional start as an editorial illustrator for Fort Lauderdale’s Sun Sentinel. He also worked as a courtroom sketch artist during the Manuel Noriega trial and designed book and magazine covers before following his ultimate passion of painting full time.
To view Jamison’s works, stop by Richardson’s spacious Broad Street gallery or visit the website today.
Ella Walton Richardson Fine Art
LEPRINCE FINE ART
Kevin LePrince’s LePrince Fine Art began making its mark on King Street more than six years ago. The gallery doubles as a studio, so LePrince paints there six days a week, encouraging guests to watch him work and ask questions about the process. He likes to feature numerous works from a limited number of artists, rather than one or two pieces from many artists. “I’m trying to encourage artists to be creative and go out on a limb by giving them a good bit of wall space,” he says. “That way, they’re not restricted, and they can get outside of their comfort zones, push the envelope a little.”
The gallery walls are currently shared by LePrince, landscape artist Vicki Robinson, contemporary painter Ignat Ignatov, and urban impressionist Mark Bailey. On February 14, the gallery will host the exhibit Southern Exposure in conjunction with the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition, welcoming works from a select group of artists from around the country.
LePrince Fine Art
Award-winning Charleston artist Jennifer Black has painted for most of her life. From the drawings she sketched at the age of eight to the art commissions she received as early as high school, Black has always been influenced by what’s around her. “I don’t make things up,” she says. “I tend to paint my surroundings, wherever I am.” With a focus on what she describes as impressionistic realism, Black’s favorite subjects are figures in the landscape, highlighted with dramatic light. “I like to catch the feeling of the subject, and light is very important to me,” she says. Blending colors together in the alla prima (wet-on-wet) technique, Black could be considered the Monet of the Lowcountry. Her private studio sits on the Ashley River where a stunning vista of the marsh gives the artist endless inspiration. Black’s paintings can currently be seen inside a window display at 265 King St., or folks may visit her studio by appointment.
CAROLINA FINE ART FRAMING
Founded in the 1950s, Carolina Fine Art Framing has found a new home in the historic Faber-Ward house on East Bay Street. Purchased five years ago by artist and painter Wilfred Spoon, Carolina Fine Art Framing continues the tradition of crafting handmade, museum- quality frames in the Palladian-style, three-story home, which was erected in 1832 by Henry Faber. The prominent structure was converted to a hotel for emancipated slaves following the Civil War; later, it was a middle-class residence before the Historic Charleston Foundation obtained it in 1964 and restored it to the inspired building it is today. Spoon has settled into an expansive ground-floor space, the walls already filled with his original oil paintings as well as picture frame samples representing styles ranging from art deco to ornate French. The frames are produced using centuries- old techniques, including water gilding and hand-carving. Carolina Fine Art Framing also offers a full selection of premium production frames.
Carolina Fine Art Framing
BEN HAM IMAGES
Ben Ham has been making the connection between his camera and the South Carolina coast for most of his life. A photographer since childhood, Ham now depicts the Lowcountry’s distinct landscape in his large-format photography. Though living in Hilton Head, S.C., has lent the photographer plenty of scenes to immortalize on film, he also loves traveling to the top of the Rockies, to Southwestern deserts and through Pacific vineyards, all the while using a wooden field camera to capture his stunning images. Located on King Street, Ham’s new, expanded gallery comprises over 2,000 square feet of space in which to absorb the artist’s enormous detail-rich works. His gallery on Hilton Head Island is twice the size and is also the site of Ham’s fully equipped studio, complete with a darkroom and a frame shop. In 2009, he published Vanishing Light, a 144-page book filled with nearly 70 images printed on heavy LumiSilk paper. The photographs are complemented by stories about each adventure, written by Ham. Apart from the book, Ham only sells framed, limited-edition fine art pieces.
Ben Ham Images
CHARLESTON ART BROKERS
Currently featuring 13 artists— Mary Frances Bishop, Gary Bodner, Ed Boudolf, Wes Fredsell, Victoria Guglielmi, Laura Melonas Dargan, John Gaulden, Cami Hutchinson, Caroline Trickey, Carla Johannesmeyer, Margie Luttrell, James Pratt and Alice Ní Chróinín—Charleston Art Brokers showcases everything from abstract and nonobjective paintings to figurative and landscape art, creating a vibrant, cohesive collection. The concept for Charleston Art Brokers began when co-owner Carol Williams, a custom picture framer, began relationships with artists whose paintings she had been framing. Together with co-owner Mary Frances Bishop, the virtual gallery helps architects, interior designers and others fill their spaces with stunning local art, while also offering fine-art services like art consultation, framing recommendations, artwork delivery and art installation. CAB also displays artwork in places like Collective Coffee in Mount Pleasant and is currently offering workshops with its artists. The next one is an encaustic workshop with Luttrell on January 23 and 24. For more details, visit charlestonartbrokers.com.
Charleston Art Brokers
STUDIO 151 FINE ARTS
Located near the corner of Church and Market Streets, Studio 151 is filled from floor to ceiling with pieces from 15 Lowcountry artists who all, in some way, use their art to respond to their surroundings here in the South. From Bob Graham, a Civil War painter, to Daryl Knox, who’s inspired by Lowcountry marshes and creeks, a passion for this unique corner of the country is evident throughout the gallery. Studio 151 also features watercolors, oils, monotypes, photography and mixed media from Colleen Wiessmann, Lu Bentley, Gary Kunkelman, Sandy Scott, Amelia Rose Smith, Rosie Phillips, Jennifer Koach, Amelia Whaley, Dixie Dugan, Nancy Davidson, Debra Paysinger and Michel McNinch. Styles and subjects can range from collage works to abstracts and traditional realism. But you’ll find more than canvas pieces here, because jewelry artists Shelby Parbel, Jean Norman and Lissa Block are there as well to ensure you can also wear your souvenir when you leave. Artists are in house daily to greet and discuss their works, and the gallery is open every day of the week.
Studio 151 Fine Arts
Some of Tom Potocki’s earliest memories include helping his father paint large commercial images on walls and billboards. Such experiences led him to a fine arts degree at Pennsylvania’s Carnegie Mellon University and then to New York City. There he became involved in the pop art movement, which impacted his art thereafter. “My art is a visual and emotional response to what I see and experience around me,” he says.
Potocki describes his work as refined graffiti. “The images that develop in my work are derived from a process of applying splashes and layers of color to a surface and letting go of the notion that I have to control every detail,” he says. “The finished pieces should entice the viewer to look beneath the surface of what we think we see around us and discover something new.”
In this way, Potocki invites viewers to use their imaginations, and become a part of the creative process as well as the finished product. Potocki’s work can be seen online and at Mitchell Hill Gallery at 438 King St.
Beauty abounds in the light-filled space of Atelier Gallery. Nestled among King Street’s antique shops, the gallery’s surroundings suit its mission to mingle classics with modern pieces. Established in Asheville, North Carolina, by Gabrielle Egan in 2008, Atelier found a home in Charleston four years ago.
Egan, who also owns and sells her handcrafted pieces at Peyton William both downtown and on Kiawah Island, curates every inch of space on the gallery walls, choosing artists for their individual approaches and innovative techniques.
Though artists from all over the world fill the space, like Patti Zeigler, Dana Johns, Eric Zener, Kathy Cousart, Gina Strumpf, Alicia Armstrong, Augusta Wilson, Christy Kinard, Tony Gill and Sarah Atkinson, the gallery’s overall aesthetic remains firmly in the Lowcountry. Since July, the gallery has featured several new Atelier artists—including Charleston’s Chris Dotson and abstract artists Laura Park and Wan Marsh—at its pop-up shop inside the Shops at Charleston Place.
MITCHELL HILL GALLERY
Michael Mitchell and Tyler Hill of Mitchell Hill are so much more than interior designers. Not only can they design your space, they can also design the furniture and lighting fixtures to fill it, not to mention select the art that hangs on the walls. And it doesn’t matter whether you want to go very traditional or totally contemporary—they’ll work with you wherever your style lies.
“Each one of our projects is tailored to the client, so no two ever look same,” Mitchell says. “I tend to like a clean, modern, traditional look fused with contemporary art.”
Mitchell’s name might be best known in Charleston for the Michael Mitchell Gallery, the impressively high-ceilinged art gallery on Upper King Street that Mitchell opened several years ago. Mitchell and Hill often pull from their large inventory of paintings, sculptures and photographs when building a project. “Often we’ll use a piece of art as a leaping-off point. The two worlds really do collide,” Mitchell says. “Our clients tend to be sophisticated art collectors, so the art is part of our process.”
Mitchell Hill Gallery
Whether it’s a Lowcountry waterway, a tiger in the wild or a portrait of a bright-eyed little girl, Sidney Zemp’s illustrations come alive with remarkable clarity. He once used charcoal and pastels to help give his works such fine detail, but Zemp has focused on painting in oil for the past four years.
From his childhood drawings to his now 25-year career as a professional artist, Zemp has taught himself almost everything he knows. An exception came one summer in New York when Zemp studied under Daniel Greene, one of the top portrait artists in the world. “He really changed my whole palette,” Zemp explains. As for his inspiration, Zemp need look no further than his Lowcountry surroundings. “I gravitated toward Charleston because it stimulates me,” he says. “I just knew that’s where I needed to be.” Zemp also enjoys teaching artists how to set up their own palettes in addition to workshops in still life, portrait and more. You can view Zemp’s work online or at Birds I View Gallery, 119 Church St.
REINERT FINE ART
Owned by contemporary impressionist painter Rick Reinert and his wife, Ann, Reinert Fine Art showcases more than 40 fine classical painters as well as both figurative and abstract sculptors. Its new outdoor sculpture garden gallery features bronze sculptors, including William and David Turner, Susie Chisholm, Gregory Johnson and Wesley Wofford. Inside, everything from still life and portraits to landscape and architecture is represented by local, national and world-renowned artists, including Oil Painters of America masters Neil Patterson, Zhiwei Tu, Calvin Liang and Christopher Zhang. Reinert himself is renowned for his bold, light-filled paintings, replete with thick brushstrokes and a confident use of color. Lately, Reinert has found much influence in the surroundings of his successful gallery in Blowing Rock, North Carolina, which opened in October. The landscape and colors in the breathtaking Blue Ridge Mountains bring him new inspiration, and the artist continues to paint eight to 10 hours a day. For further updates, visit the gallery at 179 King St., or at reinertfineart.com.
Reinert Fine Art
Vicki Robinson has painted full time for the past 15 years, but her first career was in interior design. “Because of my design background, I already had a love of color,” she says, “so painting was a natural fit for me and gave me that creative edge I needed.” Considered an impressionist painter, many of Robinson’s canvases reflect her love for both contemporary styles as well as antiques, which are often depicted through more tightly constructed still lifes. “It all depends on the subject, which tells me whether it needs to be playful or serious,” she says. For Robinson, painting has given her life a new dimension. “The goal has always been to make someone happy with your work,” she says. “However, it doesn’t have to be for one person. I paint from the heart so that all can enjoy my endeavors.”
Robinson is participating in February’s Southeastern Wildlife Exposition, and you can view her works at the LePrince Gallery, 184 King St.
Michele Ward opened the first Principle Gallery in Alexandria, Virginia, in 1994 and decided to give the gallery a Charleston presence over three years ago. With Frank Conrad Russen recently established as the new director, the gallery consistently ushers in new works of contemporary and classical realism from established artists the world over.
The sunny space currently showcases both sculptural and canvas pieces from more than 60 artists, including Maya Kulenovic, Jeff Erickson, Larry Preston, Sergio Roffo, Dee Beard Dean, John Stobart, Nancy Bush, Gene Costanza, David Hettinger, Jane Chapin, Denise LaRue Mahlke, Geoffrey Johnson, Frank Gardner and Barbara Flowers. Most recently, the gallery welcomed Karen Hollingsworth to the Principle family of noted artists. This spring, the gallery will host a one-woman exhibition showcasing Hollingsworth’s new collection of paintings.
Located at 125 Meeting St., Principle Gallery also hosts frequent live painting demonstrations with artists from the United States and abroad, including oil painter Laura Lloyd Fontaine.
After designing backdrops for children’s plays and programs, Mississippi artist Rose Sitton fell in love with the world of art and decided to pursue painting. Sitton quickly found her niche in street scenes, still lifes and florals before exploring abstract painting, which has been her focus for the past several years. “Once I turned the corner, I never wanted to go back,” she says. “I enjoyed the looseness of painting abstracts and letting the brush take control—being able to enjoy the creativity of that was so rewarding for me.” A constant observer of blending techniques, Sitton uses brushes, palette knives and sometimes her hands— whatever it takes—to bring together elements of shape, texture, line and color for results that are pleasing to the eye. Her works have been shown throughout galleries in Mississippi and Tennessee, especially Sitton’s closeby neighbor, Memphis, and can also be found on her website.
Steven Hyatt is a photographer and printer based in Charleston. In addition to his photography, he is also president of a printing business called Imaging Arts Printing.
“My interest in photography emerged in my teenage years as an extension of a general desire to create,” Hyatt says. “Years later, as a philosophy and religious studies major at the College of Charleston, I would often spend time ‘studying’ in the Unitarian Church’s incredibly unique and alive cemetery. Many years after that, I found myself back at the same church wondering how I could capture what I was both seeing and experiencing in that space.” The effort to meet that challenge gave birth to the Churches of Charleston Project, which has since expanded to include churches throughout the world.
Hyatt also does a wide array of photography ranging from architecture to portraits of birds of prey to landscapes and abstract fine art photography.