“Everything That Was Forever,” featuring work by South Carolina artist Christopher Rico, will be on exhibition online from September 3 to November 20. The art exhibit includes Rico’s recent abstract paintings.
“The person who stands in front of one of my paintings brings their own stories,” Rico said. “It’s an exchange and a sharing. When one has a conversation like that, one often feels out of time. So the show’s title is both lament and celebration that nothing is truly forever.”
The Artist’s Work
Rico’s paintings are bold, broad gestures in ink and acrylic paint. The titles are mostly names of ancient cities, like Dwarka and Casluhim, to allow for free association, Rico says.
“Many may not recognize most of the cities’ names, even though they were each powerful kingdoms in their day,” Rico said. “Empire is a fragile thing that presents itself as an enduring thing. So this references the show’s title again.”
Rico’s works are pure discovery and exploration, incorporating references to both eastern calligraphy and western religion. “Everything That Was Forever” spans all of 2019 and 2020. Rico created most of the work “when we all thought 2020 was going to be an amazing year,” he said.
Artwork during a Pandemic
While the exhibition wasn’t directly influenced by the pandemic, the paintings in “Everything That Was Forever” take us on a journey to discover what makes us truly human, according to Rico.
“One of the interesting things about art and about artists living in the culture,” Rico says,”is that good art relates to the time in which we discover it more than the time during which it was made.
“Because the act of creation requires me to be focused in the moment, it has the power to tell stories that are enduring and in a sense outside of time. So looking at it now, yes, I believe one could spend time with the work and feel that it speaks very deeply to being in the midst of a pandemic.
“Whatever my intentions during the making, the work is on its own now and so people bring their own meaning and, more importantly, their own meaningfulness.”
About the Artist
Rico grew up on military bases across the United States and has lived on both coasts and along both borders. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Memphis in 1995, followed by an intensive series of studio art and art history courses at PC from 2003 to 2005.
In 2016, he received his Master of Arts from Clemson University. Rico has exhibited internationally in Australia, England, and Germany; in regional art museums in South Carolina; as well as in commercial galleries in New York City, Atlanta, and New Orleans. Rico is represented by Lyons Weir Gallery and Bill Lowe Gallery.
View the Exhibit
Although closed for public viewing due to the pandemic, the Harper Center Gallery hosts four exhibitions annually—two exhibitions of work from nationally and internationally recognized artists, the Senior Art Major Exhibition, and the Annual Student Exhibition. You can view Christopher Rico’s “Everything That Was Forever” virtually from the Harper Center Gallery from September 3 to November 20.