Fans of artist Clay Rice know him for the silhouettes he has cut at events locally and throughout the United States as well as at his studio. But where his previous work has been delicate detail cut in fragile paper, a new piece which graces the wall just outside the South Carolina State Museum's first-floor Lipscomb Gallery has a lot more toughness to it.
Steel toughness, that is.
The museum recently acquired "Lowcountry Sunrise," which depicts a coastal resident poling his boat through the marsh, rendered in shiny steel rather than black paper.
"This is a new permanent addition to the museum's collection that we commissioned Clay to do as part of the Lipscomb Corridor renovation," says Curator of Art Paul Matheny.
"We formed a relationship with him during the exhibit Southern Shadows: 75 Years of Rice Family Silhouettes, which featured the elegant silhouette art of Clay and his grandfather, Carew Rice," who inspired his grandson's art, Matheny says.
The elder Rice is represented in the Museum's collection, which also includes a couple of Clay's cuttings. But as part of the exhibit the Museum discovered Clay was creating plasma-cut steel silhouettes, one of which was featured in the exhibit.
"This was something new that was being produced by Clay and which was tied to a traditional art form, so we wanted it represented in the collection," adds the curator. "It was also something the public was attracted to during the exhibit. So we thought it would be a significant addition."
"He's done steel sculptures for a couple of years. This is not his first steel work," Matheny says. "But it is probably the largest, and we're certainly delighted we could have him create this important work. Our guests will enjoy this wonderful sculpture for many years to come.