Wade Lawrence, December 2004
Opening December 2, 5-8 pm
Featuring realistic and figurative works depicting various angles of the Lowcountry, along with more impressionistic and experimental paintings
Oversized leather couches and polished hardwood floors create the backdrop for The Robert Lange Studios Fine Art Gallery's first exhibition titled "Ordinary Extraordinary." The new gallery opened this week at 151 East Bay St.
Featuring realistic and figurative works depicting various angles of the Lowcountry, along with more impressionistic and experimental paintings, such as larger-than-life Marilyn Monroe portraits and French country interiors, the exhibit is ongoing through January.
"This is a gallery filled by Lowcountry painters who have New York backgrounds," says Robert Lange, the gallery's owner and one of the five featured artists in the current exhibition.
Lange, 24, says his work resides in the small genre of photo realism and notes he is obsessed with the tiniest of details. This means he tackles his ivory canvases with the smallest of brushes, often consisting of only three or four nylon hairs. His subject matter varies, but is said to reflect the little objects that make the entity of life itself so stunning.
Explaining his background, Lange says that he studied under the rigid traditional teachings at Pinkerton Academy in Derry, N.H., and then attended the widely known Rhode Island School of Design, where he found himself discovering new perspectives of the world at large. It was in Rhode Island that he was awarded a four-year scholarship based upon the contents of his portfolio.
"I found myself to be the luckiest of art students," he says, "I was taught in the tradition of realism, and then I was fed the postmodern contemporary theory that the Rhode Island School of Design is so well known for. In the end, I feel as if the combination has allowed me to complete some pretty great paintings."
Lange spent much of his college career showing his work in galleries in Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Maine, and took part in a project that developed three contemporary urban galleries in Providence, R.I.
Deciding to turn away from the New York arts scene, Lange and his fiance, Megan Sobchuk, drove south with Porter, their Cairn terrier, and finally decided to disembark in Charleston less than a year ago.
Almost immediately, The Charles II Gallery on Queen Street decided to display Lange's work.
Charles Wolf, owner of The Charles II Gallery and president of the French Quarter Association, says, "I am pleased to have had the honor of introducing to the city the hyper-realist work of Robert Lange. Collectors, both national and international, have recognized his phenomenal talent, and Robert has quickly brought us a number of new clients."
Wolf adds, "Having represented hundreds of artists, there are only a handful that I would confidently recommend to clients as having true investment value, and his is one of the most exciting easels in town to watch."
Recently, Lange finished a body of work consisting of five portraits, each painted in a similar hyper-realistic fashion and each taking about 150 hours to complete.
Four other artists also have their work at the gallery. They include Alan Hall, Lange's mentor, who offers a contemporary approach to traditional realism. Also included are the haunting photographs made by Wade Lawrence that are said to appeal to "ghost chasers." In contrast to the lush Lowcountry scenes painted by Tiffany Maser are the realistic portraits by John Duckworth.
"Each artist's work is starkly individualistic in its presentation," Wolf says. "But all of the artists that Robert has chosen have had formal art training in college."
Gallery hours are 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week.