Popular exhibitions open at Sumter gallery

Local guild and S.C. Watermedia Society winners on view

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Two Sumter Artists Guild members are winners in the 39th Annual South Carolina Watermedia Society Traveling Exhibit. The exhibit will share space at the Sumter County Gallery of Art with the Sumter Artists' Guild Winners exhibition, an annual favorite of the community. Both shows open on Thursday with a 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. reception at the gallery, 200 Hasell St.

The SCWS exhibition was juried by Montreal artist Marc Taro Holmes, who selected 75 paintings from 183 entries for the show, with the top 30 included in the traveling show, which is now at the Marion County Museum.

Denise Greer and Suzy Czerwinski were both juried into the traveling show, Greer for her "The Inlet" and Czerwinski for "Redhead's Plight." They are expected to be present at Thursday's opening.

This year's Winner of the Best of Show award is "The Hands of a Fisherman" by Lynda English.

Karen Watson, director of the Sumter County Gallery of Art, described The South Carolina Watermedia Society show as "one of the most popular shows the gallery presents each year; it has been presented by the gallery for over 30 years. This show has a wonderful selection of diverse work by artists, with a little something for everybody. The variety of imagery and subject matter is stunning; from mixed media abstract works to more traditional representational work including landscapes, figural and still life compositions. The South Carolina Watermedia Society Show showcases the incredible talent of South Carolina artists."

Watson is also impressed by the talent of the Sumter Artists Guild winners. She especially noted the continuing growth of the guild under new president Michael Duffy "and a core of longtime, hardworking guild members - Laura Cardello, Carole Carberry, Amanda Cox and Vicki Hagner.

She said the guild show was especially strong and comprised a "broad range of styles and media, with an emphasis on abstraction," although the winning works were figurative art.

"Accomplished watercolorist Genevieve Rath's breathtaking painting of her grandson, 'Night Swim Buddies,' won first place, Carole Carberry won second place with her serene and mysterious 'Golden Moment,' and Thomas Alexander Blackmon's detailed pyrography (wood burning) 'Livery Stable Courtyard,' won third place," Watson said.

Honorable Mention winners comprise Sumter Gallery art education director Amanda Cox for "Floral Study II," first time entrant Taylor Mitchum for "Meaningful Colors" and Sylvia Pickell for "Scherenschnitte."

The winner of the 2016 Sumter Artists' Guild Show People's Choice Award was Connie Brennan for her intricate "Tattered Angel."

Watson emphasized the importance of the community's support of the gallery.

"This show would not be possible without our community partners, NBSC - a division of Synovus Bank; Creech Roddey Watson Insurance; and the Sumter Artists Guild, which has done the wonderful reception over the past several years," she said. In addition, flowers for the reception are courtesy of the Poinsett Garden Club and the Council of Garden Clubs of Sumter.

Sumter County Gallery of Art, 200 Hasell St. in the Sumter County Cultural Center will open both the Sumter Artists Guild and S.C. Watermedia Society Traveling shows with a 5:30-to-7:30 p.m. reception Thursday. Admission is free.