Look Away, Look Here: New Work by David Boatwright


The City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs presents Look Away, Look Here: New Work by David Boatwright, at the City Gallery at Waterfront Park from April 6 through May 13, 2012. Presented by the City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs, the exhibit showcases sketches, paintings and murals by artist David Boatwright. Look Away, Look Here opens Friday, April 6 at 6 p.m., and the public is invited to attend the opening reception from 6 to 8 p.m.

In this retrospective, of his more than 25-year career, Look Away, Look Here showcases new works alongside studio paintings as well as the Raval murals by David Boatwright. The new works include depictions of a mythologicalCharleston to be created by the artist in two, large-scale murals on the gallery’s center walls. The public is invited to visit the gallery to watch Boatwright produce these murals for the duration of the exhibit on Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to noon. In addition, Boatwright will host an artist’s lecture on May 5 at 4 pm.; following the lecture, the public is also invited to a closing reception to view the completed murals from 5 to 7 p.m.

Mural Sketch, Boatwright

The title of the exhibit, Look Away, Look Here, refers to the subject of the murals that Boatwright will create during the exhibit. These murals will depict past and future versions of Charleston, one showing a Charleston street filled with archetypal Charlestonians from the distant past, while the other wall will depict the same locale, but projected into the future, portraying a fantasy of what the city could become. Neither era will be fixed in a specific time. Boatwright explains that the future may show some disturbing outcomes, but it will contain a hopeful element of promise, and as with all his work, will deliver the message with a dose of sly humor.

At the conclusion of Look Away, Look Here, Boatwright would like for the murals, painted on removable panels, to find a home in a public venue. The panel system while appearing to be a solid wall will break down and be easily transportable and easily reassembled in another place.

Raval Room

One section of the gallery will be devoted to Boatwright’s murals and paintings from one of Charleston’s most mysterious and glamorous bars, Raval, no longer located on upper King Street. These murals, painted on canvas, were saved, kept in storage and the paintings, which are in private collections, will be shown together recreating the atmosphere and look of that not so distant era.

About the Artist

After graduating from San Francisco Art Institute as a painting major Boatwright spent several years making short experimental films which he showed at many of the cinematheques inEurope. Upon returning to his home state ofSouth Carolinain 1977, Boatwright was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts individual artist grant to make documentary films inCharleston. He then traveled toLos Angeleswhere he became a graduate fellow at the American Film Institute, and later co-founded a film production company and directed more than 100 commercials and made several documentaries. While a filmmaker he maintained an interest in studio painting and was fortunate to return toCharlestonin 1984 as it began to expand culturally and demographically, and found he could support himself and a growing family by working as a designer, painter, filmmaker and musician.

Studio painting evolved into a subspecialty as Boatwright began creating large murals and mural-like signs on many building exteriors around the Lowcountry. In addition to the signs, he has been commissioned to make murals and paintings for the interiors of restaurants and was able to sell studio pieces to collectors and commercial establishments. Producing public murals for clients with a rigorous city approval process while maintaining artistic integrity has at times been challenging in light of Charleston’s well-known historic preservation policies which over the years, has preserved and protected the 18th century architecture in its beautiful and revered historic district. Over time his clients began to give him wider latitude, and he has been able to merge personal expression with the specific needs of a project in a balanced way and to grow as a painter through the experience.

Meanwhile, his studio painting has followed a steady path from his student days under the sway of the West Coast Funk Art movement. That is to say, he produces figurative imagery, that has a provocative edge, but still allows him to connect with his southern storytelling roots.

A Special Thank You To:

Artizom Frame Gallery, Charleston magazine, City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs, Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art, Hominy Grill, PURE Theatre, REV Foods, Skirt! magazine, and The Cut Company.

Greg Day, Lori and Joel Dunlap, Terry Fox, Barbara and Duke Hagerty, Bob Hines, Cheryl and Pat Ilderton, Hugh Jeffers, Nunally Kersh and Robert Stehling, Michael Kuffel, Tami and Frank McCann, Justin Nathanson, Kate and Lindsay Nevin, Whitney Powers, Molly B. Right, Shawn Robberson, Mark Sloan, Michelle and Michael Seekings, and Susan and Trenholm Walker.