Thursday, August 2, 2012
FIRST THURSDAY: AUGUST
What an enjoyable evening in Columbia. First, a quick thunderstorm cleared the heavier hot and humid air; the resultant breezes helped the temperatures drop to the mid seventies, which was quite comfortable. On the streets of downtown a larger-than-normal crowd turned out for First Thurday, a celebration of art, food, music, and on this evening, classic cars. At Tapps Art Center there were several nice exhibits, but the most interesting for me was that of Melvin Green (died 2007), a lowcountry African American folk-artist painter (who also lived in New York and Mexico) whose work is a mixture of primitivist/expressionist and African Gullah heritage. He liked to employ bright colors and sweeping curves, and reveled in the naked female form. His earlier stuff often incorporated Africanesque blocks along the edges of faces, while later stuff was almost a homage to Picasso's contorted forms. [I hope to have a picture up that you can see a little of his art]. I was lucky to run into his nephew, who told me that Green was self-taught and inspired by the forms his mother used in her quilting (too bad they didn't have one of her quilts to display). I did think it was funny that when we walked outside we came across a painter of sea life, and Chimo said, "Now, this is really art. No nudes." I also liked a few of the pieces by Lyssa Harvey. My only negative about the Tapps venue was that the band playing in the old basement diningroom overpowered its small space and audience. I am sure some people liked it, but I had to check my ears to make sure they weren't bleeding. Tapps is improving every time we go there, and there are far fewer empty spaces and studios. It is really nice to have this venue and I hope more artists and patrons come in, even when there is not a festival going on, to buy some of the work. If I had a few extra thousand, I would have bought a piece by Green. We then walked aound for a bit, looking at the old cars (and, yes, I was looking at the ladies too, who seemed to take advantage of the nice weather to come out in skimpy form-fitting dresses, which was a nice view for an old codger such as myself). After spending about an hour downtown I took the boys to Zaxby's, where the chicken is much better than Chick-fil-A, and they don't discriminate or abuse a segment of our population (at least not yet).