Wideman-Davis

wdd

Watching Thaddeus Davis dance feels a little bit naughty – especially when his wife Tanya Wideman is watching him, too. There’s an intimacy there, evident in the contraction and release of a muscle, yes, but the sense of voyeurism has less to do with his undulating body and more to do with the look on Davis’ face; reflections of a world of understanding about important things; passion, justice, humanity, self.  This compelling expression is not surprising if you know Davis:  it is precisely what the dance company he and Wideman started a few years back is all about.  It is why the Wideman/Davis Dance Company is. With a history of performance and choreographic work that spans both the country and genre, including such stellar dance [...]

Stephen Chesley

chesley

While he supports himself with his art, he’s been a savvy investor to sustain himself through the economic peaks and valleys of the sometimes fickle arts market. But on the whole, Chesley’s livelihood is a byproduct of his lifestyle. “I paint for myself,” the 58-year-old artist says from a relaxed spot in his studio at Vista Studios Gallery 80808. “I do it regardless of whether it sells. It makes no difference to me. This is sort of a priesthood. When is a priest not a priest? If you paint for the public, you end up with mediocrity. If you paint for yourself, your artistry will stand out eventually.” That’s not to say he isn’t pleased if someone purchases a piece because of the sheer joy [...]

American Gun

americangun

One of the songs on the back end of American Gun’s new album, released May 10, 2011, is about the joys and travails of being in a local rock band—and it’s called, in a somewhat tongue-in-cheek fashion, “Breakin’ Up.” It’s a sneering punk-rock tune, full of careening guitars and a biting cynicism about band mates, club dates, and alcohol. But halfway through the song, something striking happens. In the space of  just a few beats, the guitars fall out and the drums go from   pummeling forward to marking out a muscular half-time groove that lifts the tune from a sweaty barroom into the rock-and-roll arena. The instruments build the song back up again, eventually renewing their lunge forward with a new purpose. Lead singer Todd [...]

Michaela Pilar Brown

michaela

Michaela Pilar Brown leans across the café table to be heard more clearly. “It’s OK,” she offers sympathetically. “My voice is small.” It’s true that the beguiling, doe-eyed artist speaks softly. But a small voice? Hardly. Brown’s recent Midlands shows have been alternately enchanting, insightful, shocking, and, at times, in-your-face confrontational − tackling issues of feminism and body image, historical bias, religious hypocrisy, and race. One of her most powerful creations is a recurring character she calls “Tinkerbell,” a curvy black woman made up in blackface with exaggeratedly large, bright red lips and an  ever-present set of fairy wings. In her photographs, Brown models for the character herself, mostly nude. But she doesn’t consider them self-portraits. “For me it is not ‘blackface’ but a mask [...]

Peter Lenzo

lenzo

You could define irony as a ceramic artist with epilepsy and think you came up with something original. Then you meet Peter Lenzo and see exactly how profound the impact that living with uncontrollable seizures has on the work of an artist. Peter spends most of his days at Southern Pottery, a gallery and studio on Rosewood Avenue, where he builds the face jugs that have become his focus. When he tires, he naps on a rattan loveseat. When he’s awake, he wears a protective leather helmet, because a seizure can start with no warning. When he talks, his speech is slow and every so often rises gently, almost an octave in pitch — a side effect of the medication he has to take. If [...]

Tariq Mix

tariq

Standing on the oval track, waiting for his teammate to pass him the baton, Tariq Mix felt the excitement. The air at Franklin Arena was charged with electricity, and yet Tariq focused on the task at hand as he prepared to sprint the third leg of the 4 X 100 relay. He had but one goal: To put his team in position to cross the finish line atop the leader board. The moment his partner placed the baton in his hand, Tariq was a collegiate track star sprinting towards a dream. 100 meters later, when he handed the baton to his teammate, he said goodbye to that dream. After finishing the race that day at the 2001 Penn Relays (one of track and field’s premier [...]

Roger Hutchison

roger

Roger Hutchison is encircled by a rainbow of his candy colored canvases inside Mr. Friendly’s, where his paintings have been selling like crab cakes. It is hard to believe that only a year ago, this burgeoning 35-year-old painter had never even revealed a single piece of art to the public and now stands with over 40 of his whimsical (but highly contemporary) painted canvases, boldly exhibited for Columbia to see. It is remarkable how drastically a person’s artistic journey can transform in twelve short months. Roger works as the Director of Children’s Ministries at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral (running youth programming at the Trinity Center) by day and passionate acrylic “finger painter” by night. Since discovering his love for “moving his fingers through puddles of paint [...]

Susan Lenz – Cyber Fyber

lenz

The connection between the South and fiber goes back to the birth of King Cotton in the 17th century and has known an ebb and flow that rivals the tides on our Atlantic shores.  Today, the South’s love of the warp and the weave is still evident in our fiber artists who explore pattern, texture, color and the creative process.  One such local artist has taken her love of cloth, her fascination with the stitch, and her flamboyant embrace of amalgam out of her one hundred-year-old Southern home, into her simple studio in Columbia’s Vista, and across the vast abyss of cyberspace where she shares it with fellow fiber artists throughout the world.  The product of this massive exchange of art and inspiration is called [...]

Radenko Pavlovich

radenko

When Radenko Pavlovich was eight years old, he stood before a panel of ten people who looked him up and down. They stretched his legs in all directions and had him blow into a tube to check his lung capacity. They brought in his parents so they could speculate as to what physique Radenko may resemble at a mature age. As he stood there in tiny black shorts, the communist government of Yugoslavia decided that Radenko was, indeed, fit to pursue ballet. Today, the Columbia Classical Ballet recruits exquisite dancers from around the world to display their talent in our city — all thanks to that boy in those tiny black shorts. His appearance has changed quite a bit, but his love for ballet has [...]

Tim Floyd

tim

The lofty, industrial City Art gallery showroom was abuzz with patrons one recent Thursday night for a very special art show opening. Many stared in awe at the highly-textured, mood-carving, luminescent paintings with price tags in the thousands and some excitedly selected pieces to purchase — that night, one went to a collector in England and another to Germany. The artist, Tim Floyd, was all smiles knowing that the emotions conveyed in his works were influential enough for his fans to shell out upwards of 2k. Tim’s road to local artist stardom was paved unevenly at times, but as a faith-guided man with a positive attitude and strong spirit, he saw roadblocks as green lights to live fully. What many would consider the ultimate tragedy [...]