DIRECTOR’S CHOICE EXHIBITION
Gardens of the South
April 16th – May 28th, 2021
Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation (OCAF)
“Gardens of the South” is an exhibition of works on paper depicting public gardens located in Georgia, Florida, and the Carolinas. After traveling to and photographing nearly two dozen public gardens over the last five years, Smith has incorporated the photographs in his mixed-media works, bringing the imagery to life through the use of drawing and painting. With his unique mark-making, the work expresses a personal experience at each location, incorporating seasonal botanicals and site-specific architecture. His hope is to share with viewers his personal delight for these public spaces and the creative inspiration that emerges at the intersection of visual art and the natural world.
These botanical treasures are all members of the American Public Gardens Association, the leading professional organization for the field of public horticulture. Its mission is to serve public gardens and advance them as leaders, advocates, and innovators. The Association defines a public garden as “an institution that maintains collections of plants for the purposes of public education and enjoyment, in addition to research, conservation, and higher learning.” For nearly 80 years, this organization has been committed to increasing awareness and cooperation among gardens. Today, these spaces serve as living collaborators in Smith’s depictions of the southern landscape, alluding to themes of conservation, history, memory, and sensory experience.
The gardens highlighted in this exhibition are located within the Southeastern United States. Notable sites include the State Botanical Garden of Georgia in Athens, Jacksonville Arboretum and Botanical Gardens in Florida, and JC Raulston Arboretum of North Carolina State University in Raleigh. Other gardens in the Carolinas include Kalmia Gardens of Coke College in Hartsville, Moore Farms Botanical Garden in Lake City, Paul J. Ciener Botanical Garden in Kernersville, Reynolda Gardens of Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, and Columbia’s Riverbanks Botanical Gardens and the gardens of four Historic Columbia properties.
Greyson Smith is a practicing artist residing in Columbia, South Carolina. His artistic areas of focus are drawing, printmaking, and painting. Since 2010, he has exhibited in numerous galleries throughout the Southeast, including a recent solo exhibition at Columbia College Goodall Gallery entitled “Gardens of the Carolinas.” He has received multiple awards, including Best in Printmaking at the Piccolo Spoleto Juried Art Exhibition at City Gallery, and an award at the South Carolina Festival of Flowers Juried Art Show recognizing his art piece “Garden Room Design.”
Smith works in administration in the School of Visual Art and Design at the University of South Carolina. He formerly worked at the South Carolina Arts Commission and served on the Board of Directors at 701 Center for Contemporary Art in Columbia, SC. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in drawing and printmaking and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Winthrop University and is currently pursuing a Master of Business Administration at the University of South Carolina.