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Corrie McCallum: Take Note


The many talents of painter and printmaker Corrie McCallum are on view this summer as the Greenville County Museum of Art presents Corrie McCallum: Take Note, a sampler of work by the Charleston artist and art educator. The exhibition of thirty-six works will be on view through September 14, 2003. (right: untitled (end of market Street), circa 1950)

The 2003 recipient of the Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Lifetime Achievement in the Arts Award, Corrie McCallum was born in Sumter, SC, in 1914. She attended the University of South Carolina, where she met her late husband, painter William Halsey of Charleston. They both attended the Boston Museum School, married, and began a life that was warmed by both art and adventure, as they enjoyed and thrived on trips to many exotic locations throughout their marriage.

Take Note includes examples from throughout McCallum's career, with an emphasis on her interests in architecture and organic forms. In works from the 1940s, we find charming and slightly outlandish watercolors of Charleston street scenes: McCallum's rendering of dilapidated houses tilts away from the gracious façades often presented by Charleston Renaissance painters. She also focuses on poorer neighborhoods, an interest which continued in later years as she brought art to the public schools of Charleston.

In later years, McCallum began exploring woodcuts and monotypes, focusing especially on organic forms. She turned to these media in part because she was raising three children, but they also serve as a transition to the highly colorful geometric paintings she pursued later in her career.

The exhibition includes a selection of prints, such as the 1962 woodcut Rain Forest and the 1963 woodcut Weavers, Guatemala. Painterly monotypes such as Green Forest and Grove (1996) are more recent endeavors, although they are vastly different from acrylic paintings she completed in 2000, such as Byzantium and Door. These latest works depart from the lyrical tone of McCallum's middle career to more abstract forms rendered in bold hues. In another way, however, the recent works bring the artist's work full circle: we find within the abstractions the architectural forms she first embraced some sixty years ago.

Corrie McCallum was honored this year with an Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Lifetime Achievement in the Arts award from the South Carolina Arts Commission.

Museum Curator Martha R. Severens will present a free gallery talk on the exhibition on Sunday, August 10, at 2 p.m.

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