Exposition Art Blog

William M. Halsey - Abstract Expressionism Painter


 William M. Halsey (1915–1999) was an influential abstract artist in the American Southeast, particularly in his home state of South Carolina
"A native of Charleston, South Carolina, William Melton Halsey broke away from the conventions of most local painters to become a pioneer of modern art in the South. As a boy growing up during the heyday of Charleston’s early twentieth-century artistic renaissance, Halsey’s first art lessons were with one of that movement’s leaders, Elizabeth O’Neill Verner. Following two years at the University of South Carolina, Halsey pursued further artistic training at the school of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. There, he studied traditional line drawing with Alexander Iacovleff and color theory with Karl Zerbe. In 1939, Halsey was awarded the institution’s highest honor, the James William Paige Fellowship, for study abroad. Originally scheduled to travel to Europe with his new wife, fellow artist Corrie McCallum, the onset of World War II necessitated a change of plans. The couple set sail for Mexico instead, an experience that ignited a lifelong passion for travel. In Mexico City, Halsey absorbed the culture, color, and texture of the country.
Halsey returned to the American South in 1941 and settled permanently in Charleston in 1945, convinced he “could be vastly more useful in [his] native state than any place else.” He touched countless students as a teacher at the Gibbes Art Gallery, the Charleston School of Art, and as the founder of the Studio Art Department at the College of Charleston. During his more than forty years as an educator and mentor, he was also represented by a gallery in New York City and exhibited his increasingly Abstract Expressionist paintings, collages, and sculpture throughout the country. Although Halsey departed from “the prevailing influence of the Old Charleston picturesque,” he credited his hometown as a source of inspiration: the decaying stucco buildings literally showed up in his work. He painted “furiously” on canvases built up with gesso, sand, marble dust, found objects, and fabric. Though he prized color above all else, he also appreciated the physical act of painting and often laid a picture flat on the ground in order to free his movements."(thejohnsoncollection.org)


Kengiro Azuma - Japanese Contemporary Art


 Kengiro Azuma (1926 - 2016 ) was a Japanese Italian sculptor, painter, and teacher. Azuma was born March 12, 1926 in Yamagata, Japan to a family of bronze artisans.When he was 17, Azuma joined the Imperial Japanese Navy as a Kamikaze pilot, but the war ended before the time came for him to sacrifice himself. World War II and the discovery of the emperor's humanity had a great impact on the Japanese people. For Azuma personally, it created a spiritual void that pushed him towards art.
From 1949 to 1953, Azuma studied sculpture at the University of Tokyo. In 1956 he moved to Italy after receiving a scholarship from the Italian government. Azuma studied at the Brera Academy in Milan where he was a student and eventually the art assistant of Marino Marini. In 1966, his work was exhibited as part of "The New Japanese Painting and Sculpture" at the MoMa in New York.Wikipedia



William Scharf - Abstract Expressionism


William Scharf (1927-2018 ) is a painter whose subject is color. Scharf, a late-generation Abstract Expressionist and who apprenticed in the studio of Mark Rothko, applies paint in translucent layers to achieve depth and luminosity. He creates groups of paintings around the theme of a single color, working in a variety of scales and using shapes both geometric and biomorphic. Series have been dedicated to blue, silver, and gold, but black and white appear with the most frequency. As he explains: “Very young children discover how dark marks on white paper or white chalk on black become adventures; explorations of a kind that could haunt and obsess the entire life of a painter.”