Arts and Culture

Shani Gilchrist



Abstract art understood with Betsy Chaffin

Posted 11/13/2012 12:56:00 PM

Sometimes abstract art can be intimidating. I, for one, had a difficult time with many abstract works and movements until a few years ago, even with years of art history courses under my belt. I was reading an article in the New York Times in the wee hours of the morning about art collector and philanthropist Patricia Phelps de Cisneros.

Some of the works in her art collection had toured the country in an exhibition that resulted in a beautiful book of geometric abstractions called The Geometry of Hope: Latin American Abstract Art from the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Collection. It was 2:30 a.m., so why not hop online and buy the book, right? (This is where I tend to get in trouble with my insomnia sometimes.)

The book arrived and I was completely sucked in. My poor husband had to listen to me ponder for the next three days.

“I get it now! It’s a study in the mathematical shapes of nature!”

“Oh my gosh! It’s about the colors and the emotions that they convey.”

I have to admit that I was a little annoying, but the point is that by jumping into a group of works feet first I was able to begin to really enjoy myself around contemporary, abstract art.

There is an opportunity coming up in Beaufort to spend some time with some abstract works by Betsy Chaffin, who is having a show at the Charles Street Gallery. She tends to work in many different forms, from drawing to painting to three-dimensional works, as she explores man’s relationship with and place in nature.

“The abstracted forms and markings are distilled from my natural surrounding — the river, the marsh, trees, the sky,” Chaffin explains of the group of explorative works that will be on display beginning Nov. 16. “The work is an expression of a point of view, a state of mind. Is the work about reality, memory, energy or landscape? Maybe a measure of each, though there is not a specific recipe.”

Go and spend some time with this abstract exhibit. Look closely at the forms that appear on the canvas and you will see and feel their relationship to topography, plant life, and even the air. This group is sure to be a meaningful chance to experience the importance of the abstract in a comfortable setting.

For more information on the exhibition, click here.