There are few – if any – artists who have had more of an impact on Greenville’s artists than Carl Blair.
For the past half century, Blair, a retired art professor at Bob Jones University, has been a stalwart of the Greenville arts community and an inspiration for generations of students and other visual artists.
That influence and inspiration is recognized in the current Metropolitan Arts Council exhibit, “Artists Touched by Carl R. Blair,” a show featuring 55 works by artists influenced or inspired by Blair.
Amy Price Panosian has taken several of Blair’s classes.
“Some of the many phrases Mr. Blair said that influenced me are “the whole is greater than the sum of the parts” and “art is 90 percent perspiration and 10 percent inspiration,” she said in her exhibition catalogue tribute to Blair.
“I wish I could take a class from him again,” she wrote, “27 years later.”
Blair’s barnyard animal sculptures inspired Raymond Giddens to try some whimsical garden sculpture of his own.
“I loved the whimsical wooden pieces of Carl’s I saw at his home during Open Studios and at the Greenville art museum,” Giddens said. “My garden sculptures are usually powder coated with translucent color to allow the polished metal to gleam through. I then paint some detail work and clear coat the entire sculpture.”
Diane Kilgore Condon said in her tribute that she briefly considered transferring from Bob Jones University in her sophomore year. Blair, her professor, listened as she worked through the pros and cons. After a few conversations, he told her, “Well honestly, I don’t see you as much of a quitter.”
“I wasn’t. And I didn’t – and it’s probably the reason I’m still here,” Condon wrote. “Trude Heller, Greenville’s first mayor’s wife, and Holocaust survivor, spoke at my daughter’s school…Among the things she said was that she always wants to tell the stories of the people who helped her.
“Carl Blair helped the trajectory of my life form and went on to inform my character and my work,” wrote Condon, founder of the ArtBomb.” He is responsible for a great deal of what is lovely in my life.”
The exhibit runs through April 15.
Artists Touched by Carl R. Blair
What: Exhibition of artists who have been influenced or inspired by artist Carl R. Blair
When: through April 15, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: Metropolitan Arts Council, 16 Augusta St., Greenville