Riverworks

 
 
Southern Gothic denotes a particular genre of literature whose sinister stories examine the eccentric in derelict settings for the purpose of revealing cultural characteristics of the South. Away, Away Down South features images that exemplify Southern Gothic in visual art. Andrew Blanchard and Eliot Dudik - both members of the elite Oxford American Magazine's "100 New Superstars of Southern Art" - offer us images particular to the South. Their images each narrate stories of lost and suppressed ideals with sinister, violent overtones.

Andrew Blanchard groups disparate images reproduced as screen prints. Layer upon layer of gritty colors remind us that there much is undercover. He chooses to group iconic everyday images. For example, road construction barriers become symbolic barriers between lives with financial independence and economic skills and lives trapped in rural decay. Two of the images included in Away, Away Down South are from his Dixie Totem series. His totems are stacked images of rural retail and church signage anchored by a rusted pickup truck or other vehicle.

Eliot Dudik's Still Lives portraits of Civil War reenactors portray the subjects as slain soldiers on the battlefield. Most of these reenactors have died many times as part of their roles over many weekends within multiple battle reenactments. They are true weekend warriors, most dedicating much of their free time reliving and revering their past. Their reenactment of death is sometimes a narration of the actual death of their Civil War ancestor. Dudik's portraits are full color death masks upon lush green backdrops, denying the violent horrors of blood, dirt, and death of the original battles.

Both Blanchard and Dudik offer us silent images with layers of lost stories. Each appreciate spiritual, mystical death. Dudik's photos of self-conscious death narrate the sacrificial deaths of real people for lost causes. Blanchard's prints question our romanticizing of rural poverty as the simple life, hidden by invasive plants and over-shadowed by our freshly-constructed cities.

Andrew Blanchard was born in the swamps of Louisiana and reared on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. He currently teaches at Converse College. From Spartanburg, he enthusiastically advances his studio practice and his national exhibition schedule. Eliot Dudik was born and reared at the opposite end of the South in Maryland and teaches photography at William and Mary College in Virginia. He too continually adds to his successful series as his photographs travel to numerous national venues.

RIVERWORKS Gallery is operated by and for the faculty and students of the Department of Visual Arts at Greenville Technical College. RIVERWORKS Gallery is located at 300 River Street, Suite 202, along the scenic Reedy River in downtown Greenville, SC.

For more information, call:
Fleming Markel, Director
RIVERWORKS Gallery
(864) 271-0679 or email
fleming.markel@gvltec.edu