The City of North Charleston’s Cultural Arts Department is pleased to announce that concurrent solo exhibitions of mixed media works by Jessie Renew (North Charleston, SC) and oil paintings by CJ Howard (Wilmington, NC) will be on display at Park Circle Gallery from July 6-30, 2022. A free reception hosted by the artists will be held at the gallery on Friday, July 8, from 5:00-7:00pm. The public is invited to attend.
Retrofits – Mixed media works by Jessie Renew
In Retrofits, local artist, designer, and illustrator, Jessie Renew presents a collection of interactive, mixed media compositions. To build these pieces, Renew begins by scouring thrift stores, trash piles, buy-nothing groups, sales, and store closings to collect clothing, household objects, toys, craft supplies, and various other objects at the last stop before their ultimate disposal. She then breaks down and rebuilds this “stuff” into colorful 3D collages. The results are works of art that celebrate the visual and narrative interest of everyday items. By changing their context, these objects are freed of their former lives as practical or decorative. “These pieces are about resourcefulness, reusing, and do-it-yourself approaches – opposing consumerism, wastefulness, perfectionism, and snobbery,” she explains. “In that same spirit, Retrofits are an invitation for the viewer to have whatever type of experience they choose – be it surrendering to the color and abstraction, following the clues to create a narrative, or recalling their own memories and associations.”
Jessie Renew was born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa, before immigrating to the United States in 1995. From an early age, her two great passions took form: art and nature. She began art instruction at age 7 and continued through college where she earned degrees in studio art and art history. Concurrently, she pursued outdoor programs and experiences, especially in sailing, kayaking, hiking, and camping. After college, Jessie became a kayak instructor and evolved into a marketing professional in the outdoor industry. In 2016, Jessie befriended a musician who would become her collaborator, and through this experience her passion for art was reignited. She began working freelance and doing art projects in addition to her job. These included chalk art, murals, graphic design, music videos, and illustration. A period of reevaluation led her to relocate to North Charleston and pursue art full time. Currently, she is working in her home studio on mixed-media paintings and sculpture. Learn more about the artist at www.jessierenew.com.
Holy Humxns – Oil paintings by CJ Howard
In Holy Humxns, Wilmington, NC, based artist CJ Howard presents a series of life-size oil paintings that celebrate matriarchs who are artists. “These powerful and complex human beings are raising children, fighting for justice, working to pay the bills, and pursuing their own creativity — every day,” she states. “They deserve to be celebrated and commemorated for their work, their love, their passion, their existence.” Infused with tenderness and prayer, Howard’s paintings are lovingly handcrafted and feature a wide array of models. For this series, she hems the paintings and hangs them on wooden dowels rather than stretching them. This allows the paintings to move subtly with the air currents. The hand-crafted nature of the hemming also connects these paintings to tapestries and displayed quilts, art forms that have been creative outlets for mothers for centuries.
Before her son was born, CJ Howard spent more than a decade curating exhibitions in New York and North Carolina and displaying her own art in group and solo shows throughout the US. In between her work as an arts organizer, she traveled to nine different countries to collaborate on artwork with other artist-activists. However, her postpartum experience led to a wake-up call that would motivate her to return to her own personal art-making practice. Now, when she’s not playing dinosaurs with her toddler, she creates oil paintings that celebrate the beauty and complexity of parenthood. Learn more about the artist at www.cjhowardart.com.
The Park Circle Gallery is located at 4820 Jenkins Avenue in North Charleston. 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 11:00am-6:00pm Wednesday-Friday, and Noon-4:00pm on Saturday. For more information about PCG, call 843-637-3565 or email [email protected]. For information on other Cultural Arts programs and artist opportunities, visit the Arts & Culture section of the City’s website.