The 701 Center for Contemporary Art (CCA) in Columbia has named Andrew Blanchard, associate professor of art, one of three finalists for its 701 CCA Prize 2014. An exhibition featuring work of the three finalists will run from Oct. 30 to Dec. 21, 2014.
The three finalists were selected by an independent jury consisting of Barry Gaither, director and curator of the Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists in Boston, Mass.; Brad Thomas, director of residencies and exhibitions at the McColl Center for Art + Innovation in Charlotte, N.C.; and Hannah Davis, gallery and exhibitions manager at Jones-Carter Gallery in Lake City, S.C. “The jury panel selected three outstanding artists,” 701 CCA board chair Wim Roefs said. “With Blanchard and Myers, we have two artists who already have made considerable waves in South Carolina and beyond. Lindsey is a relatively new but exciting arrival on the state’s art scene.”
“Most of my success has been built in other areas of the nation. This is my home, and it feels great to be recognized here.”
The Prize’s purpose is to identify and recognize young South Carolina artists whose work is exemplary in its originality, shows awareness of artistic developments and is of high artistic merit. “Prior to this 701 CCA initiative, the state did not have a prominent event to highlight the best young talent in South Carolina,” Roefs said.
The 701 CCA Prize winner will receive a six-week, paid residency at 701 CCA, consultation services from a professional advertising and marketing firm, a solo exhibition at 701 CCA, and an ad in a national publication. “One thing that is great about this is that South Carolina has never really been my venue,” said Blanchard. “Most of my success has been built in other areas of the nation. This is my home, and it feels great to be recognized here. The 701 gallery is putting contemporary Southern art on the map – they have done some really dynamic things.”
While the opportunity is exhilarating, preparation for the exhibition has also been grueling. Blanchard’s studio flooded several weeks ago and much of his work was damaged. Many pieces he entered for the competition have since sold, so he moved quickly to assemble other work from across the Southeast and to create new art for the exhibition. In the midst of mid-term exams and parenting duties, Blanchard spent late-nights cranking out new work for the show. “It’s a great opportunity to show my students firsthand that it takes hard work and real commitment to make a career as an artist. If I’m not pursuing my art career then I’m not showing students how it’s done.”
Blanchard has enjoyed a variety of regional and national opportunities and accolades in recent months. He is one of nine notable Southern artists featured in the October issue of Atlanta-based lifestyle magazine Eidé, and he was selected for the International Painting Annual No. 4, set to be released this fall by Manifest Creative Research Gallery in Cincinnati, Ohio.
He is participating with fellow artists in a touring exhibit that launched last spring at the Upstairs Artspace in Tryon, and continues through Spartanburg, Greenville and Aiken. A professor who is unapologetic about putting his career as an artist first, he believes the success he earns is among the best lessons he can offer students. He encourages, and even demands, that his students submit their own work to juried exhibitions, art competitions and publications – again and again. Several have joined him in the spotlight.
Most recently, 2014 graduate Sam Smith was selected for inclusion in the Fall 2014 issue of Creative Quarterly, the international journal of art, photography, and design, as part of their New Talent Gallery showcasing the next generation of artists and designers. “The students I have here just rock,” Blanchard says.
About the CCA Prize Finalists
Blanchard is a Louisiana native raised on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. He is the director of studio art and an associate professor of printmaking and photography at Converse College in Spartanburg. Blanchard holds a BA from the University of Southern Mississippi and an MFA from the University of Mississippi. His mixed-process prints on wood and paper have been included in more than hundred national and international juried print exhibitions. Blanchard’s work was included recently in New American Paintings and the Oxford American magazine, which named him among the New Superstars of Southern Art.
Lindsey earlier this year received her MFA from the University of South Carolina in Columbia and in 2008 earned a BFA from the University of South Florida. She teaches art as an adjunct professor at the University of South Carolina. Her work has been included in some 20 exhibitions in Florida and South Carolina. Lindsey is an interdisciplinary artist who explores drawing, painting, sculpture and installation with unconventional materials and processes.
Myers earlier this year had a solo exhibition at the Greenville County (S.C.) Museum Art. Her work has been in 17 solo exhibitions and dozens of group shows in eight states and Greece. She was included in the 701 CCA South Carolina Biennial 2011. Myers earned an MFA from Boston University and a BFA from Michigan State University. She is the associate director at the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art in Charleston and an adjunct professor at the College of Charleston. Myers’ work appeared in New American Paintings and, like Blanchard, the Oxford American magazine in 2012 listed her among the New Superstars of Southern Art.
About the image: Genesis, Goodyear, Revelations Screen-print with wood-inlay on mounted found-wood panel “The work reads left to right, and the images were shot in MS, AL and in Spartanburg. The pulse of it tows the line between the DIY nature of Southern life (reclamation, redemption, rebuilding) and the more hopeless and inevitable (almost downtrodden and willing to accept the worse),” says Blanchard.