For Immediate Release

Contact: Amy Mercer
Marketing and Communications Manager
843-722-2706 ext. 38


The Spoleto Watercolors of Stephen Mueller and Carl Palazzolo

From the Collection of David and Carol Rawle

(Charleston, South Carolina) – From May 24 – September 15, 2013, the Gibbes Museum of Art in conjunction with the Spoleto Festival USA will present the extraordinary body of work created in Charleston by two significant contemporary artists: Stephen Mueller and Carl Palazzolo. Since the early 1990s Mueller and Palazzolo have visited Charleston during Spoleto Festival USA and created paintings inspired by their experiences in the city. Drawn from the collection of David and Carol Rawle, this exhibition documents the collaborative relationship between Mueller, Palazzolo, and the Rawles—a relationship that continues to thrive today. Executive Director Angela Mack says, “It is extraordinarily rare to find collectors willing to create an artist-in-residence scenario for the pure joy of interacting with the creative process. We are delighted to have the opportunity to display the fruits of this twenty-year collaboration between collector and artist inspired by Charleston and Spoleto Festival USA.”

Stephen Mueller’s abstract paintings create a tension between background and foreground through the juxtaposition of delicate washes of color and bold, simplified shapes. The geometric abstractions were inspired by Mueller’s interest in Eastern philosophy. Many of the shapes evoke mandalas, Buddha, bodhisattva figures, and items associated with these figures such as lightning bolts, mirrors, and prayer beads. Mueller lived and worked in New York City, where he passed away in 2011. Carl Palazzolo’s unique paintings include recognizable imagery stripped of any context. This results in mysterious, abstract works evoking memories and dreams. Palazzolo often employs trompe l’oeil techniques to fool the eye and create a playful interaction with the viewer.

This exhibition presents the opportunity to share the story of two significant American artists creating art in the south, and the visionary patronage of Rawle, one of the major art collectors in the region. Spoleto Watercolors also matches the museum’s mission to develop innovative exhibitions that interpret the art of Charleston and the American South.

The Spoleto Watercolors of Stephen Mueller and Carl Palazzolo
From the Collection of David and Carol Rawle
is sponsored by the member auxiliary group Gibbes, Etc., the Medical University of South Carolina, the Joanna Foundation, South Carolina Bank and Trust, and the Albert Sottile Foundation.

Related Programing and Special Events:

Friday, May 24:
12noon: Spoleto opening ceremonies
1pm: Annual Fellows luncheon in Gibbes courtyard
2:30pm: Gallery talk and tour of the Spoleto Watercolors led by artist Carl Palazzolo. The tour is free with museum admission. Rotunda Gallery, Gibbes Museum of Art.

Friday, May 31:
6pm: Art of Healing – a reception and conversation between Dr. Jeb Hallet, David Rawle, Carl Palazzolo and Dr. Joseph John, Jr.
$20 members / $30 non-members
For details and to purchase tickets please visit or call 843.722.2706 x 21

Thursday June 6 and July 11:
2:30pm: Curator-led tour of The Spoleto Watercolors.
Free with museum admission

Established as the Carolina Art Association in 1858, the Gibbes Museum of Art opened its doors to the public in 1905. 

Located in Charleston’s historic district, the Gibbes houses a premier collection of over 10,000 works of fine art, principally American works with a Charleston or Southern connection and presents special exhibitions annually. In addition, the museum offers an extensive complement of public programming and educational outreach initiatives.

As the aesthetic heart of the Lowcountry, the Gibbes serves the community by stimulating creative expression, increasing economic vitality through tourism, and improving the region’s superb quality of life.

135 Meeting Street * Charleston, SC * 29401