The City of North Charleston’s Cultural Arts Department is pleased to announce that photographs by Dawnita Hall and paintings by Susan Irish will be on display at Park Circle Gallery from December 1-30, 2020. The concurrent solo exhibitions are free and open to the public.
Signs of Life – Photographs by Dawnita Hall
Dawnita Hall’s exhibit, Signs of Life, is a series of nine metallic print photographs of found signs and lettering. As a child, Hall was encouraged to notice signs and lettering by her parents who kept her occupied on long car rides by playing letter games with her. She also has fond memories of being read to as a child. Hall started to appreciate letters and words as more than just symbols representing sound. Faded advertisements and peeling letters on the side of a mom and pop store spark her imagination and make her wonder “what was, what is, and what can be.” In this series, Hall points her camera at fading messages and signs to invoke narrative thought. She considers her style journalistic in nature and uses minimal digital darkroom tools to preserve the natural beauty of the scene.
Dawnita Hall began her photography practice by taking a photographic storytelling class with a borrowed camera. Fourteen years later she now teaches photography and photographic storytelling techniques herself. She has won multiple awards for her photography and is currently a contributing photographer for the photographic history preservation project, The South Carolina Picture Project, produced by SciWay. Learn more about the artist at DawnitaHall.com.
I See You in My Garden – Paintings by Susan Irish
In her exhibit, I See You in My Garden, Susan Irish presents a series of abstract impressionist mixed media paintings with color palettes and compositions inspired by nature, both what she sees in her gardens and in the people around her (human nature). The exhibit also pays homage to Mother Nature and the artist’s own mother who was also an avid gardener. “Studying the plants brings me closer to my mother and our shared stories,” she says. A practicing artist for many years, Irish has developed an intuitive approach to creating artwork. “The realism is less important to my work now, but the process is always the same,” she explains. “For me that is letting go of the directions and steps of the art manuals and letting all that has been synthesized just flow out. Like riding a bike.” She begins with some expressive mark making and responds to the marks, incorporating design principles and building towards a harmonious image. Using a variety of materials including encaustic wax, collage, acrylic, and wax pastels, she develops layered images that preserve hints of the artist’s process. A thick layer of wax is carved into to create texture and reveal a bit of the layer beneath, a hint of collaged text peeks through a thin layer of paint. These pieces act as a map of Irish’s creative process.
Susan Irish is an artist and art educator in Charleston, SC. She earned a master’s degree in creative arts and art education from Lesley University in 2009. For several years she worked as an art teacher in public schools while pursuing her own artistic practice. She is passionate about creating space for artistic community and from 2015-2018 she was the director of Fabulon, an art school and gallery that she founded in West Ashley. Currently, she is using this time of social distancing to create new artwork in her home studio. Learn more about the artist at SusanIrishArtist.com.
The Park Circle Gallery is located at 4820 Jenkins Avenue in North Charleston, in what was formerly known as the Olde Village Community Building. Admission is free and free street parking is available on Jenkins Avenue in front of the gallery, as well as on the adjacent streets and in parking lots close by. The gallery is open 10:00am-6:00pm Tuesday-Friday, and Noon-4:00pm on Saturday. Gallery capacity is currently limited to 10 people at a time. Staff and all visitors must wear a face covering while they are in the gallery and practice social distancing. Hand sanitizer will be provided upon entry. For more information about PCG, call 843-637-3565 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For information on other Cultural Arts programs and artist opportunities, visit the Arts & Culture section of the City’s website.