2014 Griffith-Reyburn Artist of the Year

Coastal Community Foundation is excited to celebrate the 11th anniversary of the Griffith-Reyburn Lowcountry Artist of the Year Award and to recognize this year’s winner:

Lese Corrigan

The Griffith-Reyburn Visual Arts Fund was created in 2003 by Michael Griffith and Donna Reyburn. The fund provides an annual “Lowcountry Artist’s Award” to support the creation of a work of visual art that represents an aspect of our Lowcountry’s unique life, culture, or environment.
About the Artist
When and why did you become an artist?
I began creating at the age of 10 and 22 years later decide it was now or never time to begin my true career. There was never a questions that I would do something creative it was just a matter of chosing what manner of materials I would use.
Why did you choose to use woodcuts?
Since Alice Ravenel Huger Smith and Anna Heyward Taylor’s woodcuts of the early 1900s, there have been few to no artists using this medium to express views of Charleston and no one focusing specifically on the uniqueness of the Charleston single house and its significance in architectural history.
To use wood and ink to express the natural materials and respect for nature evident in our architecture is a tribute to the prior citizens of our town and its history. The images will be only the house not the surrounds bringing total focus to the “singularity” and majesty of the house structure.
Did you have any formal training?
I am largely self-taught besides the classes at Ashley Hall with E. de May Smith. I fell into teaching at the Gibbes Museum 25 years ago because I had a little teaching experience – so I began by teaching myself. Studying French civilization for years helped hone my eye as art was always presented in the history.
What inspires and motivates you?
The French Impressionists, the Charleston Renaissance artists and the WPA artists all inspired me. I lived across from the former Alfred Hutty home and Elizabeth O’Neill Verner’s studio as a young teenager so I was surrounded by art! The drive to express the wonderful things around us and the energy that the ocean and rivers bring us, is a constant.

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