Curated by Eleanor Heartney, author and contributing editor to Art in America and Artpress, the exhibition includes 118 pieces of artwork from the 448-piece State Art Collection http://www.southcarolinaarts.com/collection/index.shtml, which is maintained by the South Carolina Arts Commission. Due to the size of the exhibition, Contemporary Conversations is presented in two parts, which began on October 1st and continues through December 6th, 2009, at the 701 Center for Contemporary Art in Columbia.
The exhibition, composed of works by 95 contemporary South Carolina artists, is designed to suggest both the quality and diversity of the state’s cultural heritage. Included in the exhibition is Michelle Van Parys’ mixed-media photograph, entitled One Size Fits All (20″ x 16″) (2000), which is part of her photo series Second Thoughts
Contemporary Conversations includes everything from hard edge geometric abstraction to surrealist tinged dreamscapes. Works are inspired by social issues, memory, local and national history, imagination, art of the past and aesthetic theory. Together they reflect the many voices and diverse concerns of South Carolina artists.
The State Art Collection is considered the most comprehensive public collection of works by contemporary South Carolina artists. Established in 1967 as one of the first programs of the South Carolina Arts Commission, the State Art Collection has grown to include 448 works in a variety of media and styles by 277 South Carolina contemporary artists. Small exhibitions featuring work from the collection are organized on a regular basis for rural and isolated areas inside and outside of the state. Works from the State Art Collection are available for loan to art museums, state agencies, and public and private organizations for the purpose of public exhibition or public display. The collection is supported in part by the South Carolina Arts Foundation and Kahn Development Company.