Anderson University

Art and Design


Threshold of Perception: new paintings by Andy Gambrell

Show Dates

January 8 - February 7, 2014

Artist Lecture

Wednesday, January 22 at 7:00 pm

Vandiver Gallery
Reception to follow also in the Vandiver Gallery

About the Work

Abstract painting is not so different from classical music or jazz. Generally speaking, both artists and composers make arrangements of ingredients to provoke an aesthetic experience in viewers or listeners. This type of experience requires as much work from the viewer as from the artist. They must meet halfway between one expressing an experience of something profound yet non-verbal and one desiring to share in that experience. In other words, non-verbal art forms are not to be read. They are to be experienced.

The most common hurdle to the appreciation of abstract painting is the assumption that if the artist does not present knowledge of the traditional skills of picture making, he or she must not have those skills. It is easy to forget that while a lecture on quantum theory may demonstrate vast human knowledge and proficiency, it is not nearly so moving as the sound of a mother humming a hymn to her sleeping child. Abstract artists generally seek to invite appreciation and reflection rather than to display excellence and virtuosity. The tradition of abstraction, a tradition that flourished during World War II, is rooted in human contemplation rather than in the hubris of traditions such as the Renaissance.

Andy Gambrell is part of a long line of artists moved by meditation on things that cannot be said with words or represented with nicely drawn objects. His humble contemplation of humanity's limited capacity for understanding inspires him to paint shapes from constellations, shapes at the threshold of man's perception. His simple appreciation of the grandeur and beauty of the Southern landscape prompts him to place its color in his pictures. Most importantly, his reverence for creation is reflected in his practice of arranging colors and shapes he has found rather than presuming to have created anything himself. When the artist has arranged these pictorial ingredients in a way that prompts an intuitive recognition of wholeness, he is finished.

One might argue that abstract painting is the most significant contribution made by the United States to the history of painting. It is indicative of the freedom of its citizens and of the health of American cultural traditions. Gambrell has trained with American masters and situated himself in the international contemporary art community. Now the artist has moved home to South Carolina, the touchstone of his inspiration. Place has always inspired artists. Delacroix traveled to North Africa, Monet left Paris for the countryside, and Van Gogh followed his muse to the South of France. Gambrell's pictures represent a brand of abstraction unlike that found anywhere else. They are very much the fruit of South Carolina.

Andy Gambrell is excited to be home and to be able to share his pictures with us here in Anderson. We invite you to meet him halfway.

About the Artist

Andy Gambrell is an abstract painter whose practice is rooted in the American South. His mastery of color is tied to his role as a core member of South Florida's Miami School, a contemporary painting movement extending the American traditions of color-field painting and lyrical abstraction. This new body of work is the culmination of a journey that has taken the artist from the spiritually charged hills of South Carolina, through Miami's contemporary art scene and a career of teaching across the American South, to the establishment of a studio in the artist's hometown of West Pelzer, SC.

Andy Gambrell has lectured nationally and taught for the University of Miami, the University of North Carolina, and the Savannah College of Art and Design. He has founded and directed galleries, consulted for galleries and collectors, displayed work in over eighty exhibitions, and mentored hundreds of young artists. Gambrell studied painting and art history at Furman University, the School of Visual Arts in New York City, and the University of Miami, where he earned an MFA in painting and served as commencement speaker for his service to the art community.

Now, at Anderson University's Vandiver Gallery, Andy Gambrell's work will be on display for the first time in his home county.

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