Want to see what happens if you pursue your heart’s desire? Check out Nancy Mitchell’s most recent handmade, hand painted sculptures at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina’s Walter Greer Gallery, sponsored by the Art League of Hilton Head. Her show is inspired by the Savannah Carnival, put on annually by the Shriners.
Made from clay, wood, and painted with acrylics, each work is an exquisite, detailed creation, comprised of many meaningful levels, and signifiers. One will observe something new on each viewing of the same piece, and feel the same childlike delight as though seeing it for the first time.
A surprising pleasure; some of the larger sculptures move with motorized parts for an enchanting display, such as the “Country Carousel,” and “Country Ferris Wheel,” (see close-ups below).
And, each one tells its own story.
Like the girl playing guitar in the sideshow sculpture (see close-up, left) inspired by Mitchell’s daughter, real-life musician, Hannah Wicklund, singer in the rock band, The Steppin Stones. Or, the man selling cotton candy, in “Cotton Candyman,” (wall sculpture, below right), based on the Italian vendor who worked the cotton candy stall.
Unique angles, whimsical characters, and bright colors hold the gaze as all the details come into focus, as in the sculpture, “Tough Crowd” (below, left). This work provides a rarely explored glimpse of the carnival audience enjoying the show. A true joy to behold.
Such it is also, for the tall man on stilts, making balloon animals for kids (right), in the cleverly titled, “Things are Looking Up”.
There are multi-textural, multi-layered works that tell several stories at once. And you don’t have to be privy to all of them to appreciate the piece in its entirety. “Rock and Roll Funhouse,” is one such sculpture (below). To see what Mitchell has added to the guitar’s fingerboard and head stock, you’ll just have to check out the exhibit this month. Believe me, nothing disappoints.
Mitchell will gift 5% of the proceeds of her sculpture sales to the Shriners Hospital fund, in honor of Mark Bradley, Jr., a childhood friend of Hannah’s, who played drums in her band when they were kids. After being in a plane crash years ago, he sadly passed on in a Shriners Hospital burn unit, after being treated for three months. The donation is also a nod to her uncle, who was a Shriner, and is in recognition of the Savannah Carnival, which the organization sponsored annually.
Nancy Mitchell’s, “Life is a Carnival,” show of original, hand made sculptures, presented by the Art League of Hilton Head, can be viewed in the Walter Greer Gallery at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina this month.
An opening reception will be held, Thursday, April 9, from 5 to 7 pm. Dates – April 7 through May 3, 2015.; Days and Times- 10 am to 4 pm, Tuesday – Saturday; Location- Mid-island, 14 Shelter Cove Lane, Hilton Head Island, SC; Contact- (843)681-5060 for more info. Cost- Featured art is for sale, event is free and open to the public.