UNCP Fills Martha
Beach Chair in Art Department
continuing quest or mission is to visually articulate the culture of
the rural Southeastern United States. I am trying to interpret and to
create a visual language to express this way of life." - Tarleton
Blackwell, Martha Beach Chair of Art
was never any doubt that Tarleton Blackwell would grow up to be an artist.
He grew up the youngest child in a family of artists.
Mr. Blackwell, who
was recently named the Martha Beach Endowed Chair in Art
at UNC Pembroke, said he and his three siblings were inspired by a father
who was a master bricklayer and an uncle who is revered for his work
as an embalmer.
To some, these may
be unusual sources of artistic inspiration, but not so for a youngster
growing up in rural South Carolina.
"I grew up
in a pretty small place, but I have come to realize that it is a wonderful
place to live and create art," Mr. Blackwell said. "It took
me quite some time to see the beauty that was all around me."
Mr. Blackwell grew
up in Manning, S.C., which he says is centrally located about an hour
As for his uncle,
the mortician, Mr. Blackwell, the painter, has nothing but admiration.
"He was well
known for his restorative art techniques," Mr. Blackwell said.
"He took it to the level of an art form, just as my father did
with brick masonry."
And Mr. Blackwell
knows something about both art and embalming. He is a master painter
and a licensed embalmer.
Members of the UNCP
Art Department courted Mr. Blackwell over a several year period.
I had my second show (fall 2001) at the university," he said. "Professor
Ralph Steeds saw my work several years ago in a Charlotte gallery show,
and after a second show in Pembroke, I was invited to apply for the
Martha Beach Chair."
Art Department Chair
Paul Van Zandt said Mr. Blackwell is a great asset to his department
and its students.
is a very talented painter and a great teacher with a genuine concern
for the artistic development of our students," Mr. Van Zandt said.
"I am very excited to have him join the faculty of the Art Department."
He is a 1978 graduate
of Benedict College and received both the Master of Arts and Master
of Fine Arts from the University of South Carolina.
In 1990, he received
his Associate of Science degree in Funeral Service from Gupton-Jones
College of Funeral Service in Atlanta. He serves as funeral director
and embalmer for Blackwell and Jenkins Funeral Home in Manning.
Mr. Blackwell is
a former art instructor for Clarendon County School District Two, South
Carolina State University, Williamsburg County Schools, the Columbia
Museum of Art and the South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts.
He has been the
recipient of many awards and honors, including the 1994 Southern Arts
Federation/ National Endowment for the Arts Regional Fellowship in Painting.
Mr. Blackwell has been named an "Outstanding Young Man of America"
and an "Outstanding Professional South Carolinian in the Field
work has been displayed in over one 170 solo and group exhibitions including
the Horwitch Lew Allen Gallery, Santa Fe, N.M.; College of Santa Fe,
Santa Fe, N.M.; Hampton University Museum, Hampton, Va.; Katharina Rich
Perlow Gallery, N.Y. City; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City;
Albany Museum of Art, Albany, Ga.
His art works are
represented in numerous corporate and private collections including
the Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte; Greenville County Museum of Art,
Greenville, SC; Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, GA; and the Columbia
Museum of Art, Columbia, SC.
He had a show, Jan.
17- March 9, at the City Art Gallery in Columbia, S.C. Recently, one
of his large-scale works was hung in the U.S. ambassador's residence
in Lagos, Nigeria. Another is in the South Carolina Statehouse.
Mr. Blackwell draws
inspiration from his rural surroundings for subjects of his painting.
Family portraits, hogs, dogs, historical images and other animals and
objects inhabit his work.
His "Hog Series"
is now over 20-years old and contains 250 pieces. Just as the hog was
once the staple of rural Southern diet, it forms the core of Mr. Blackwell's
with hogs goes back to the time when my family raised them commercially,"
for his show at City Art Gallery calls him, "the celebrated interpreter
of the myth of the rural South."
"My own visual
language expresses the cultural of rural South Carolina," he said.
"I employ an impressionistic style with Baroque composition."
He said his major
influences are Spanish painter Diego Velasquez and American portrait
artist John Singer Sargent. He admits to a twist of surrealist Salvador
Dali and some other influences as well.
in art should be self-satisfying, he said.
"I never look
at art as work," Mr. Blackwell said. "It is a pleasure."
His joy of expression
will be passed along to UNCP art students in his beginning and advanced
painting classes in the spring semester.
to University Newswire