LOCATED on Broad Street’s historic Gallery Row, Sweetgrass Fine Art Gallery showcases the incredible talent of local and internationally recognized artists. The 1852 colonial home turned art gallery features six separate salons, four fireplaces and a bricked courtyard. This quaint atmosphere provides the perfect Charleston way of viewing art. The gallery’s impressive roster includes sculptor Alexa King and renowned painters Alice Ann Dobbin, Cat Tesla and Anne E. London.
Alexa King, a former artist-in-residence at Churchill Downs, is internationally recognized as one of the leading sporting sculptors in the world. Chosen from a field of 100 sculptors to create a full-size replica of Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro, her sculpture is the culmination of a lifetime of studying movement in animals. Says the artist, “When I hold clay in my hand, I sense the movement of a horse.” Her sculptures are in the collections of America’s most prominent families and have been successfully auctioned at Sotheby’s as well as Christie’s in London. Recently, King broadened her scope to include birds and other wildlife.
Charleston artist Alice Ann Dobbin earned her latest recognition with “Best Painting” at the 2019 Piccolo Spoleto Juried Art Exhibition. Like the previous artists, her passion is nature. For the past 20 years, she has focused on the landscapes and wildlife of the Lowcountry. Her work transcends conventional realism to evoke a tranquility that is almost spiritual.
Painter Cat Tesla creates both ethereal landscapes and abstract designs. She says: “The subjects I choose to paint are organic, either originating from Mother Nature or inspired by her. I love building layers using painting and drawing, scraping back, then adding more, pooling juicy paint, and pouring glossy, translucent glazes over the surface.”
Another nature-loving artist, Anne E. London has developed a remarkable career as an internationally acclaimed artist and champion of the conservation of endangered species. Her dedication to wildlife has taken her to Africa, Asia and all over the Americas. “I want future generations to be able to experience the magnificence of seeing these beautiful animals living in their native habitat,” she says.
From her earlier intaglios to her latest work with impressionistic charcoal and watercolor, London brings to life breathtaking portraits of wildlife in their natural habitats. “When I look at a lion, I see its uniqueness as an intelligent being,” she says. “All animals have a rich interior life full of emotions; to ignore that fact is to miss something significant we share.”
Through Arts for Animals, London’s nonprofit in Zimbabwe, thousands of children connect creativity with conservation to make a difference in their future. She is active in several animal conservation organizations and serves on the board of directors for the Project Hope Foundation. Both the International Rhino Foundation and The Cheetah Conservation Foundation have named her as a signature artist.