Through our complicated history, through light and shadow, we have persevered – humanity intact.
Art is the reason.

A Glimpse Into Studio 1 with Visiting Artist Madame Magar

My residency as a Visiting Artist at the Gibbes Museum is inspired by the miniature portraits in the Permanent Collection. The miniatures have been a source of inspiration for many years, recalling my early days in Charleston visiting the mesmerizing miniatures’ charming gallery. As a dress maker and textile artist, art evolved through my cloth and materials scraps that were too beautiful and labor intensive to discard (hand dyed with studio grown indigo and indigo discovered in the woods). Therefore, I began creating scrap silhouettes, hand stitching portraits of inspirational women.

My portrait passion started as a child – vivid memories of having my paper cutout portrait from the fancy department store (as I look back I think it was Roses), very excited and dressed up. The black paper portrait is displayed in my Gibbes Makeshift Studio/Shop amidst my haint blue shrine, draped beside my indigo vat, cleansing the room’s aura.

A vat of indigo dye and a photo of Louise Nevelson, one of Magar’s inspirations.

My first days in the Gibbes Studio were spent “setting up shop” – installing a shop area displaying miniature ring baskets (inspired by the miniature portraits and Mary Jackson’s beautiful big sweetgrass baskets) and Louise Nevelson-inspired head scarves hung from the walls with blue tape.

Magar’s large portrait of Eliza Lucas Pinckney

I’ve also installed textile art from various projects throughout the years; having such an enormous space to display pieces and being surrounded by them makes me revisit each project. I began stitching enormous portraits (visions of grandeur): Eliza Lucas Pinckney sewn at The Charleston Museum to raise awareness and funds for her gown that needed restoration; a Nina Simone Portrait created for a gallery storefront in Tryon, NC, her birthplace home; a tobacco and indigo dyed Darla Moore picnic blanket created for Artfields, stitched in a storefront window. (By chance, all the names in this first women’s series names happened to end with A; this was not thought out: Eliza, Nina, Darla…)

Portrait of Corrie McCallum

Timing was of the essence; I was ready to scale down a bit, to create miniature scrap silhouettes. My subjects are inspirational women artists with common threads to Charleston and the Gibbes: Louise Nevelson from the inspirational show A Dark Place of Dreams, Corrie McCallum, a Charleston artist (who was married to William Halsey and who taught at the Gibbes), and celebrated Charleston artist Elizabeth O’Neill Verner. If time allows, I will create miniatures of modern Charleston women artists such as Kat Hastie, Vassiliki Falkehag, and Jill Hooper…and will be taking custom orders for miniature scrap silhouettes!

Hope to see you at my Madame Magar Makeshift Shop/Studio thru December 22!

Studio hours: Wednesday 4-8PM | Saturday 10:30AM-1:30PM | Sunday 1-3PM

-Guest blogger and Visiting Artisit, Madame Magar

Top Image: Madame Magar and her large scale work of the flag of South Carolina.

Published December 13, 2018

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