The city of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs presents its newest exhibition, Creek by Creek, which will be on view March 18 through May 8, 2022 at the City Gallery, located at 34 Prioleau Street.
Creek by Creek is a collaborative effort by artists Mary Edna Fraser and Jeff Kopish, underscoring the perils of plastic pollution and the importance of protecting the Lowcountry’s unique waterways.
Featuring an array of Fraser’s batiks on silk and oil paintings, and Kopish’s ceramic and found object sculptures incorporating everything from recycled plastic to actual trash, this exhibition aims to further educate the public on environmental issues through the lens of art, and to remind viewers of the consequences of their actions within their larger ecological systems.
The artists’ new work, shown here in more than 75 pieces, and their areas of ecological concerns, are being presented in concert with three area groups: Charleston Waterkeeper, the Coastal Conservation League and the South Carolina Environmental Law Project.
“My work is not what is important,” Fraser said. “It is the collective work done by all three groups. How they protect what we hold dear and show how we pass the baton to win new battles. This is an environmental activist show to encourage action and counter apathy.”
Specifically, the exhibition will focus on eight areas of concern: the endangered African American communities of Cainhoy and Phillips, the Beidler Forest Audubon Center and Sanctuary, Captain Sam’s Spit, Crab Bank, the Great Pee Dee River, Hobcaw Barony, Shem Creek and James Island Creek.
About the artists:
Mary Edna Fraser
The pioneering work of Charleston artist Mary Edna Fraser has been collected and exhibited worldwide. Her silk batiks (an ancient resist process using wax and dye on cloth) and oil paintings range from panoramic to plein air. The common thread in her career of four decades is environmental awareness. Her art has supported the efforts of Charleston Waterkeeper, the Coastal Conservation League, SC Environmental Law Project, Water Missions International, The Nature Conservancy, Sierra Club and Environmental Defense Fund. Her blog, Delete Apathy, is a venue for activism, from local to global.
NASA recognized Fraser as their Artist of the Year in 1995, and she was featured demonstrating batik in Washington, DC at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. The Verner Award was presented in 2016, South Carolina’s highest honor for an artist. Fraser has lectured internationally in Indonesia, Taiwan and Australia. Venues such as the National Academy of Sciences, Duke University Museum of Art and the National Science Foundation have hosted the artist’s more than 100 one-woman exhibitions. Additionally, National Geographic and Ted Turner have broadcast her endeavors. Beginning with the aerial viewpoint of her Grandfather’s vintage 1946 Ercoupe plane, she has captured the bigger picture. Science has become more beautiful and accessible through the lens of Mary Edna Fraser’s art.
Jeff Kopish has been creating art in Charleston, SC for nearly thirty years and has been using alternative materials and repurposing discarded objects in his work since elementary school. In college, he studied science and received degrees in bacteriology and environmental change. While there, he continuously took ceramic courses as stress relief. After college, he served as a US Peace Corps volunteer and saw how ingenious people live; necessity and a lack of resources make for creative thinking. This point of view became front and center of what he considered important. He has maintained his commitment to helping the environment by creating art with society’s debris. His giant octopus (“Pugita”) at Taco Boy on Folly Beach, SC, was made from trash from one holiday weekend. He is happily supported by family, friends, locals, tourists, architects, designers and businesses, and gives heartfelt thanks to all.
About City Gallery
City Gallery, located at Joe Riley Waterfront Park, is owned by the City of Charleston and operated by the City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs. It presents an annual program of exhibitions and events featuring the finest contemporary art from local, regional, national and international artists, with a focus on the Lowcountry. Gallery hours of operation are noon until 5 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. For more information and holiday closures, please visit www.charleston-sc.gov/citygallery or call 843-958-6484.