Will South makes art, writes about it, organizes exhibitions on it, and very frequently talks about it. Art has been the single constant thread in his life. Like most of us, Will drew as a child. He simply never stopped. With a degree in studio art from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, his professional life began managing a gallery where he organized shows on painters and wrote their biographies. This led to a Masters Degree in art history, which led to a PhD from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Living in Manhattan, Will took courses at the Art Students League while steeped in art theory at the Graduate Center. Today, he remains an art historian and an artist in equal measure.
As a museum curator, Will is known for making art accessible, whether in writing, on the wall, or in public talks. He shares his passion for art freely, and sees museum work as an ongoing opportunity for public service. Back in the studio, however, he reverts to the artist who has made art his entire life, only now one who has learned a great deal from art history.
“I enjoy narrative, abstract and innovative art forms,” he says, “but as an artist myself I’m not interested in telling a story or inventing something new. What is enduring about an image is the sensuality of color, the refinement of shape, the human intelligence contained in line. The challenge for me is to edit out all but the essential. And the ongoing problem is to know what the essential is. If he or she keeps working, once in a great while an artist will touch on what it means to be human.”
Douglas Gray is a Professor of Art at Francis Marion University in Florence, South Carolina. He joined the faculty in 1997 and is responsible for teaching Ceramics, Ceramics Sculpture and Three-Dimensional Design. Before coming to Francis Marion University, he taught at Sul Ross State University in Texas. He holds degrees from the University of North Texas and the University of Louisville.
In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Doug exhibits his artwork both regionally and nationally. His work has appeared in several periodicals and books including: Pottery Making Illustrated, Ceramics Monthly, Clay Times, Southern Living and the Lark Books’ 500 Series. Originally trained in functional pottery, his work has evolved to include sculptural and architectural forms. He is particularly interested in color and surface. Additionally, he has explored various image transfer techniques on clay, a reflection of his interest in photography, printmaking, and story telling. Doug regularly shares his creative process through demonstrations, workshops, and publications.
Gallery West at 118 State Street in West Columbia will host a special exhibition of recent work by artists Will South and ceramist Douglas Gray from October 21 through November 16, 2014, with an opening reception on Tuesday, October 21, 5:00 – 8:00 pm. The public is invited to join the artists for wine and light hors d’oeuvres.