linda fantuzzo     A REVIEW By JANE G. COLLINS - Special to The Item

Shakespeare has Polonius advise his son Laertes, "To thine own self be true." In the world of art, that message is a harbinger of success, especially in the two current Sumter Gallery of Art exhibits. Both Linda Fantuzzo and Candice Ivy present pieces that define their artistic perspective.

Fantuzzo's work is immediately accessible. Her colors are richly pastel, creating an immediate sense of awareness, important to her desire to "render light and atmosphere" - to create moments of time, "a poetic decay that is eloquent and personal." "Stoll's Alley" uses perspective to lead the viewer through a narrow passageway, half-defined buildings separated by shade and glimpses of light. In "Storm Memory," her technique of dry brush evokes the hushed moments of an ebbing rainfall. Her composition a pier and a small shed in the midst of murky water is intentionally overpowered by the massive clouds, the filmy texture enhanced with the acrylic on linen. By contrast, a strong, almost neon yellow shaft of light focuses attention to the side of the pier in "Port Site."

Her "Montagu" paintings seem technically reminiscent of the impressionist's desire to recreate time through glimpses of passing daylight. For the most part, her use of purple and rose and her swooping strokes of shadow transport the viewer to a vivid sensory impact. "Transitions" defines her desire to translate the metaphor of decay as change. Remnants of the building, surrounded by lush vegetation, are transported to an aura of historical energy through the beams of light. Ivy's exhibit "Black Tide" (taken from an observation by Freud about a friend) celebrates her belief that "Southern history is thick as mud, washing over its inhabitants like kudzu." This observation is almost a mantra for her creative vision. Visually, her two large charcoal drawings pull the eye into the convoluted mass of nature gone wild through time. The drawings are spectacular in depth and design, consuming space like the very vine it defines. Her conviction that Southern history's "residue remains present in the land as well as in the psychology of every individual" gains repeated emphasis in her video and previous installations.

In her 2005 Accessibility entry "Murmur," Ivy employed real soil furrows, drawings of her grandmother and time-lapse videos of her home to suggest the power of the past. Indelibly as part of her artist endeavor is also her fascination with sound as an artistic medium. In "Murmur," it was the gravelly voice tones of her grandmother. In "Black Tide," Ivy uses the hum of a train over railway ties, the haunting train's whistle and the visual rhythm of passing scenery to surround the central video, creating an hypnotic feel of endlessness. As in most of her pieces, the people are her family, part of a 250-year heritage of Southern living. The three young men and their activities are not staged, just captured as they spend time going through daily rituals. Although they may appear isolated, they are "part of a rural America, its viciousness always present but not always seen." The three dogs reflect their country home life, the snarling dog, both a reality and a symbol, adds an unheard sound.

Both artists manage to portray a positive image of time and change, a reflection of the reality of life. The exhibits will remain at the Gallery until April 16, 2010.

The Sumter County Gallery of Art is located in the Sumter County Cultural Center, 200 Hasel St., adjacent to Patriot Hall. Hours are Tuesday-Saturday 11:00am-5pm; Sunday 1:30-5pm. Contact Karen Watson (803) 775-0543 for more information.

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