Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Anson Record - Wadesboro native St Lewis artwork in museum for sixth time

A portrait of museum namesake William Hayes Ackland by Wadesboro native Louis St. Lewis was commissioned by the The University of North Carolina’s Ackland Art Museum in Chapel Hill. It is his sixth commissioned work.
An artwork by noted artist and Wadesboro native Louis St. Lewis has been recently acquired for the permanent collection of The University of North Carolina’s Ackland Art Museum in Chapel Hill.

The work, a portrait of museum namesake William Hayes Ackland was commissioned by the museum as part of the Enduring Likeness / Counterlives / Warhol Big Shots exhibition. This acquisition marks the sixth permanent museum collection for the artworks of St. Lewis, and his first in his home state of North Carolina.

St. Lewis, a 1979 graduate of Bowman Sr. High School, is represented in many notable collections, including The New Orleans Museum of Art and The Ogden Museum of Art (a Smithsonian affiliate and the largest museum in the world dedicated to the collection and promotion of Southern art and artists). In addition, notable collectors include HRH The Prince of Kuwait, couturier Christian LaCroix, author Danielle Steele, Lawrence Wheeler, director of the N.C. Museum of Art, and VOGUE editor-at-large Andre Leon Talley, who has referred to St. Lewis as “the most stylish man in the South.”

“Growing up in Anson County was a great inspiration for me,” St. Lewis states. “Every landscape has its own spirit, its own atmosphere, its own sense of place or 'terroir' as the French would say, and I will always think of Anson’s as being very special. The way the light hits the pines, the brilliant green of unripe persimmons or the subtle shades of sunset on our gentle hills, all these things made an impact on how I view the world and interact with color. I feel quite fortunate to have experienced the childhood there that I did.”

Since departing Wadesboro and attending the North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, the artist has exhibited nationally and internationally with showcases at both the Toronto and San Francisco International Art Fairs, as well as numerous solo exhibitions in Paris and New Orleans, where he now divides his time. Voted “Best Artist in the Triangle” 10 times, St. Lewis is often called upon as a juror and critic, and is head Juror of Raleigh’s ARTSPLOSURE Art & Jazz Festival twice as well as The Visual Art Exchange and a juror for the Emerging Artists Grants of the Durham Arts Council.

Internationally recognized artist Judy Chicago awarded Lewis first place in the 51st annual DAG juried art competition, where she stated that “the artwork of Louis St. Lewis sets a very high standard for creativity in North Carolina,” and that his current body of work was “The strongest sculptures I have seen in a decade.” Perhaps noted art scholar Mark Sloan of the Halsey Gallery at the College of Charleston said it best: “If talent were electrical current, Louis St. Lewis would be HIGH VOLTAGE”.

St. Lewis is the son of the late Frank and Ruth Lewis. His sister is Lynn Lee of Wadesboro. Locally, the artist is represented by Broadhurst Gallery in Pinehurst and Allison Sprock Fine Art in Charlotte.