Thursday, November 6, 2014

John Duckworth at the Charleston City Gallery

The City Gallery at Waterfront Park is hosting an opening for John Duckworth's exhibit, Awake, on Friday November 7th from 5-7pm. I had an opportunity to stop by and have a peek at the exhibit and talk with the artist himself today. The transformation of the gallery will astound anyone familiar with the original setup, and his creativity in both art and design will lead you through corridors and to different levels. The strikingly tall artist now carries a full beard and plans to meditate throughout the show. Enter the front door tomorrow evening and plan to experience a provocative and thoughtful evening.

The first thing that will occur as you walk in the building is you'll be given a glowing headset. As you pass each room, you'll press a clicker to listen to a presentation or musical accompaniment that will enhance the mood. Flowing easily through Rooms 1 and 2, you'll become "Awake" and then be sent into a Paradox and Confused state. As Duckworth's combination of Eastern and Western styles intrigues you, you'll begin to wonder exactly where this is going. To be frank, it's headed somewhere beautiful and staggeringly exotic.

You'll pass through The Void, where you'll find 3D effects and landscapes. As the pieces literally pop out at your, you'll want to reach out and caress them. The serenity of this area will offer you peace as you wander through, and you'll most likely find yourself wanting to remain there for a while. However, as you enter the next rooms, corridors filled with poetic and literary references will test your sense of calm. A longing for each "page" will inspire your inquisitive nature to understand the basis for each of the individual faces. They are the perfect precept to the final rooms where exotic and intricate symbolism of stillness, death, and rebirth exists. Cicadas are used, as in the Eastern tradition, as a symbol of rebirth, change and protection of souls.'

As you enter the final destination, you will bear Witness to the sensual and interpretive visuals and sounds of the ocean. A video and musical montage allows us all to do as Duckworth and reflect upon the grace involved in all areas that embody life itself.

This exhibit is an extensive production that took Duckworth five years to create. 90 pieces are strategically placed throughout the gallery to incite an emotional response, which is handled with perfection. Having musicians, such as Quentin Baxter's added dramatic background for effects, helps to engage the audience. If you have never seen any of his artwork, this is a perfect time to browse his expansive collection. The diversity seen in this event is as impressive as it is well done. Make sure to get there early, as you might just find yourself there for the entire show.

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