Sculpt Mettle: Redux! A Henry G. Michaux Retrospective

Charleston, S.C.The City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs presents Sculpt Mettle: Redux! A Henry G. Michaux Retrospective, Jan. 21 through Feb. 26, 2017. The exhibition will open with a reception Friday, Jan. 20 from 5 to 7 p.m. A panel discussion on Saturday, Jan. 21 at 2 p.m. will include the curator, associate curator and catalog designer, catalog essayist, a venue coordinator and members of The Crate Factory, a group of community individuals selected specifically for the Sculpt Mettle Project. They will discuss both the artist’s work and the execution of this traveling exhibition. Both events are free and open to the public.

Image: Rhythm in Angst, Walnut/Bowling Pins, 33 x 24, 1984

This retrospective, which has traveled to galleries and museums across the Carolinas, showcases sculpture, ceramic, and graphic works created by Henry G. Michaux between the years of 1967 and 1997. This presentation is an eclectic collection which includes art pieces fabricated and sculpted with clay, wood, metals, fibers and found objects, as well as paintings, drawings and mixed media works. Dr. Michaux, former associate professor of Art at South Carolina State University, appropriates objects from one context and transposes them through creative tinkering into art objects that challenge the viewer to pause in reflective thought.

About his work, Dr. Michaux says, “A large portion of my creative energy…was given to impulses to create without any aesthetic purposes, but instead the need to build things. This motivation was comfortably enriching and generally enough to sustain an interest that would allow me to finish my projects.”

Exhibition curator, Dr. Terry K. Hunter, describes the work of Henry G. Michaux as “part of a neo-pop/junk/funk/figurative/nonobjective narrative that can fit firmly into a number of artistic generational contexts.” Michaux’s works derive their power from his keen observation of socio-cultural nuance filtered through a lens of intellectual vigor that translates complex subjects into whimsically acceptable art forms. Michaux remains true to himself as he touches those among us who are willing to buy into his aesthetic sojourn.

Image: Axiel Collage, Mixed Media, 19 x 24, 1968

The 33 works presented in Sculpt Mettle: Redux! provide a fascinating breadth of technical skill and depth of design knowledge. The works include ceramic pottery, mixed media sculptural works, as well as drawings and paintings. In this array of art objects, Michaux combines wood, rope, found and appropriated objects, assorted metals, materials and media. He experiments with and develops an aesthetic language that touches upon several modern and post-modern movements. In some instances the works are difficult to align with a specific stylistic idiom. Taken as a whole, they are solidly the products of their own time, yet they exist in a hybrid art milieu that pays tribute to the history of American art and the Arts and Crafts movement.

 

 

Image: Dr. Henry G. Michaux

About the Artist

Henry Gaston Michaux, a native of Morganton, North Carolina, is a graduate of Texas Southern University where he studied with noted artists and educators Dr. John Biggers and professor Carroll Simms. Michaux is also a graduate of Penn State University, where he studied and earned master’s and doctorate degrees during the seminal period that shaped Art Education reform and served as the foundation for the discipline-based arts education movement. Dr. Michaux is a former associate professor of Art at South Carolina State University in Orangeburg, where he taught ceramics, sculpture, three dimensional design and art history. Professor Michaux was also one of the original founders of the Sculpture Celebration in his hometown of Lenoir, North Carolina. This event is the longest-running outdoor sculpture experience in the southeast and features the largest collection of public sculpture per capita in the United States. During a career that spans nearly 45 years, Dr. Michaux has crafted a solid record of excellence in art production, arts instruction and community arts programming.