Works by Nathan Durfee, Lillian Trettin, and Judy Mooney
May 18 – June 30, 2013
The City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs presents Tales Transposed: A Celebration of Imagination – a Piccolo Spoleto exhibition at the City Gallery at Waterfront Park from May 18 until June 30, 2013. Tales Transposed is a show of works by artists Nathan Durfee, Lillian Trettin, and Judy Mooney, and curated by Eleanor Smythe. The opening reception is from 5pm to 7pm on Saturday, May 18th. Admission is free and the public is invited. Nathan Durfee will give an artist lecture on May 26th, Judy Mooney will give her lecture on June 9th, and Lillian Trettin’s lecture will be held on June 23rd. All of these lectures will take place at 3pm on the given date and admission is free.
Tales Transposed: A Celebration of Imagination explores stories and settings drawn from literature, history, and pure fantasy — bringing together paper collage inspired by the writings of Flannery O’Connor, small-scale interpretations of Gullah vernacular architecture rendered in clay and paint; and a series of paintings centered around one dog in search of his identity and a sense of belonging.
About the Artists
Nathan Durfee grew up in Vermont and pursued a career in illustration after graduating from Savannah College of Art and Design in 2005. Currently based in Charleston, Durfee has gained recognition for his colorful and narrative paintings. He was recently recognized as the 2010 Best Local Visual Artist by Charleston City paper and has been featured in American Art Collector, Charleston Art, and Charleston Scene magazines. Nathan Durfee’s work consists of pop-surrealist narratives with a captivating use of color. He creates fanciful contemporary scenes with a diverse collection of characters in stimulating and often contrasting color palettes. In the future, he hopes to expand on his ideas and tell larger stories in his work. Durfee received the Teatrio Cultural Association book award for his children’s book Hello My Name is Bernard. His website can be viewed here.
Lillian Trettin’s paper collages are based on literature and her interpretation are of narratives and characters from Flannery O’Connor’s work. At first glance the work appears whimsical and cartoonish, but at second glance one sees a narrative that is satirical and surrealistic at times. Her use of cut-paper collages from handmade, handpainted, and commercial paper creates hard edged shapes with gestural strokes. The viewer is reminded of the work of Romare Bearden and many Dada and Surrealist artist of the 1930’s. Lillian’s narratives are based on stories by Flannery O’ Connor. The characters or personality types are reminders of the consequences of hypocrisy, self pride, intolerance and racism. Her interpretations go beyond the reproduction of the story as can be seen in various elements of her dark humor: “how could heaven exist in Ruby Turpin’s handbag”. Her website can be viewed here.
Judy Mooney’s body of work is based on the Gullah tradition of vernacular architecture: row houses, slave houses, praise houses, and Tabby houses. The archetypes constructed in clay and paint have a deep history within the African American culture. The houses are simplistic in design, typically one room with a fireplace, and yet illustrate a narrative of life for slaves in the Lowcountry during the 1800s – early 1900s. Each of theses types of buildings were used as a residence, a meeting place, or as a house of worship. Laughter, sadness, life, death, pain, healing and many other emotions are echoed in the presence of these structures. Life for many African Americans during the Antebellum South was contrasted between discrimination, ignorance, self-preservation and hope. Each building has a story to tell and its influence on modern architecture is apparent. Her website can be viewed here.