The City of North Charleston’s Cultural Arts Department is pleased to present drawings by Jessica Burke of Statesboro, GA, and photographs by Savannah, GA, artist, Michael Ellison, at the North Charleston City Gallery. The concurrent solo exhibitions will be on view from August 1-30, 2014.
In (Re)Play, Jessica Burke presents a new series of portraits in graphite that functions as a meditation on identity as seen through the influence of iconic figures of popular culture. Each piece features one of the artist’s friends, coworkers, or students, dressed in costume, assuming the identity of a fictional character from pop culture that was particularly influential during their formative years. The characters range from Princess Cinderella and Superman to Darth Vader and Joan Crawford a la Mommie Dearest. Burke’s love/hate relationship with popular culture is at the root of this exploration and has served as the inspiration for many of her series. “The media we consumed as children and continue to consume throughout our lives influences how we see ourselves and our place in the world, ultimately selling us our identities,” she explains. “The way we articulate ourselves, specifically our ideal selves, is built out of a framework given to us by popular culture. These drawings can reveal a shared sense of our inner desire to be more than we see in the mirror and closer to what is reflected to us from our television, computer, and movie screens.”
Jessica Burke earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Oklahoma State University in 2000 and a Master of Fine Arts in Drawing and Painting from the University of North Carolina in 2005. Her work has been featured in solo exhibitions throughout the country in venues such as Artspace Gallery (Richmond, VA), the Cannon Gallery (Portland, OR), and the Adirondack Center for the Arts (Blue Mountain Lake, NY). Her work has also been included in a number of group exhibitions such as the ArtVenice Biennale Project (Venice, Italy) and the Women and Body Exhibition at the Kepco Museum (Seoul, South Korea). Burke has participated in artist residencies in Italy, Canada, and in the northwest United States and her work is in both public and private collections throughout the U.S., the United Kingdom, Japan, Korea, Holland, and Italy. She is currently an Assistant Professor and Director of the Foundations Program in the Betty Foy Sanders Art Department at Georgia Southern University.
Every Day Sightings – Photographs by Michael Ellison
In his exhibition Every Day Sightings, Michael Ellison shares a collection of color photographs that are part of an ongoing project of the same name. The photographs highlight both familiar and off-the-beaten-path sights, signs, and scenes of Savannah, Georgia. Ellison’s fresh and direct approach to capturing the often overlooked components of his surroundings relies on the simplest elements of lighting, composition, and treatment of the subject. “These images document the world as I see it in all of its quirkiness,” Ellison says. “One of my goals is to challenge the viewer to appreciate the details in life by presenting the image of the world in a straightforward manner.”
Michael Ellison has held an interest in the visual arts since his childhood, growing up in post-war Charlotte, NC. He purchased his first 35mm camera during a combat tour in Vietnam. Following his service in the Marines, he enrolled in the photography program at Randolph Community College in Asheboro, NC, and later received a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Montreat College in Charlotte, NC. His photographs have been featured in solo and group exhibitions throughout Savannah and the surrounding area, as well as in a number of juried exhibitions throughout the United States. His work is also included in the permanent collection at the Telfair/Jepson Art Museum in Savannah, GA.
The North Charleston City Gallery is situated in the common areas of the Charleston Area Convention Center, located at 5001 Coliseum Drive in North Charleston. Parking and admission are free during regular Convention Center operating hours, 9:00am – 5:00pm daily. The gallery is staffed on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday only. Inquiries regarding the artists or purchase information may be directed to the North Charleston Cultural Arts Department at (843)740-5854. For information on additional exhibits, programs, and events, visit the Arts & Culture section of the City’s website.