In celebration of his 40-year teaching career and contributions to the visual arts community in Spartanburg, Converse College, University of South Carolina Upstate and Wofford College are collaborating to showcase the work of Mayo Mac Boggs, Professor of Art at Converse College. The exhibition, “2010-2011: A Retrospective Exhibition for Mayo Mac Boggs,” will be held on all three campuses. Well known for his abstract paintings, steel sculptures, bronze work, computer graphics and architectural designs, Boggs will display more than 100 pieces of art.
“Mac’s talents are great gifts to the greater Spartanburg community. Over the past 40 years, he has shared his craft with students through teaching as well as created beautiful artwork that today enlivens facilities and green space in Spartanburg and far beyond,” said Converse President Betsy Fleming. “Mac is truly a high-impact artist for our community as evidenced by three institutions of higher education joining together to celebrate his work.”
The three-part exhibition is scheduled as follows. All events are free and open to the public.
- Aug. 26 – Sept. 23 in Milliken Art Gallery
Gallery hours: Monday – Friday 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Sunday 2:00 – 5:00 p.m. The gallery is closed during school holidays.
- A Gallery Talk with Boggs will take place in Milliken Art Gallery on Thursday, Sept. 2, at 6:00 p.m. followed by a reception from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
- Sept. 3, 2010 – May 30, 2011 across the campus grounds
- A “walk and talk” discussion with Boggs will take place Sunday, Oct. 10, from 2:30 – 3:30 p.m. Guests should convene at the Library at 2:15 p.m. A reception will follow in the lobby of the Performing Arts Center.
- Sept. 6 – Oct. 27 in the Sandor Teszler Library Gallery
Gallery hours: Monday – Thursday 8:00 a.m. – midnight, Friday 8:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m., Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Sunday 1:00 p.m. – midnight.
- A reception for Boggs will be held on Saturday, Sept. 11, from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. in the gallery.
For his Converse exhibition, Boggs selected 15 marble stone and metal sculptures to be displayed inside the Milliken Art Gallery. “Marble is so special because of the beauty of the crystals and its wonderful feel. It becomes such a beautiful material to work with in your hands…very much like wood in that it’s easy to carve but you have to use the proper tool or else it will chip or bruise.” Boggs continued, “You do not beat a stone; you caress it. There’s a certain type of chisel that you use for every move. With marble, an artist may use twenty different chisels for one certain area.”
On the USC Upstate campus, Boggs will present five monumental, welded-steel outdoor sculptures, weighing as much as 6oo lbs. Three works will be located next to the Library and two on the Rotary International Peace Park near the entrance of campus just off I-585. Boggs began his love affair with metal when he was a child. “Growing up near the railroad tracks of Ashland, Kentucky, I would pick up pieces of scrap metal that had fallen from the box cars, fill my wheel barrel with about fifty pounds of scrap and take it to a nearby business that was going to buy the scrap anyway from the train. They’d give me a quarter, and I’d go to the movies. We were very poor, and when you’re poor you’ll find every way you can to make a few pennies. But I was, perhaps subconsciously at the time, fascinated by the shapes of the scrap pieces.”
Wofford’s Sandor Teszler Library gallery will showcase a collection of over 50 pieces of two-dimensional works, as well as selected small sculptures. “At Wofford we were interested in showing work by Mac Boggs for a number of reasons,” said Oakley H. Coburn, Dean of the Library and Director of Cultural Events at Wofford College. “He’s an artistic icon in Spartanburg and has participated in multi-artist exhibitions here before—notably our “Tribute to Trees” exhibition after the devastating ice storm which felled 25 large trees on the campus in December of 2001. We also have an outdoor sculpture by Mac on the campus. I’d like our students to see more of his work and understand the existing piece more fully in the context of his other work.”
Born and raised in Eastern Kentucky, Boggs’ great-grandfather was a blacksmith; both grandfathers and his father were welders and steelworkers. In 1969, he earned a BA degree from the University of Kentucky. In 1970, he earned a MFA degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Since 1970, he has taught undergraduate and graduate art courses at Converse. In 1994, he was promoted to full professor.
During his career, Boggs’ work has been featured in the presidential libraries of Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter. Boggs’ work is also displayed internationally in permanent collections of numerous corporations. Boggs was invited to present his September 11th World Trade Center memorial, The Halo Project, at the fourth edition of the exhibition “International Biennial of Contemporary Art” in Italy. In addition, he has received many sculpture commissions for private residences, one of which is the home of the author, Lillian Jackson Braun.
In 1981, the city of Spartanburg commissioned Boggs to produce a bronze medallion to commemorate the city’s sesquicentennial. In 1991, he was named Honorary Artist of Spartanburg by proclamation of the Mayor of Spartanburg. In 2000, the Mayor proclaimed April 29 as “Mayo Mac Boggs Day.” Boggs frequently exhibits his work and serves as a guest speaker for lecture-demonstrations. He has been the subject of many radio and TV shows, the most recent being Educational Television’s “Impressions.”