Students studying outside the library

Wofford part of Boggs exhibition

Mac Boggs 434Web

‘2010-2011: A Retrospective” to feature variety of artwork
SPARTANBURG, S.C. – In celebration of his 40-year teaching career and contributions to the visual arts community in Spartanburg, Wofford College, Converse College and the University of South Carolina Upstate are collaborating to showcase the work of Mayo Mac Boggs, professor of art at Converse. The exhibition, “2010-2011: A Retrospective Exhibition for Mayo Mac Boggs,” will be held on all three campuses.

Well known for his abstract paintings, steel sculptures, bronze work, computer graphics and architectural designs, Boggs will display more than 100 pieces of art.

Wofford’s Sandor Teszler Library Gallery will showcase a collection of more than 50 pieces of two-dimensional works as well as selected small sculptures. “At Wofford, we were interested in showing work by Mac Boggs for a number of reasons,” says Oakley H. Coburn, dean of the library and director of cultural events. “He’s an artistic icon in Spartanburg and has participated in multi-artist exhibitions here before — notably our ‘Tribute to Trees’ exhibition after the devastating ice storm which felled 25 large trees on the campus in December of 2001. We also have an outdoor sculpture by Mac on the campus. I’d like our students to see more of his work and understand the existing pieces more fully in the context of his other work.”

Boggs’ works will be on exhibit at Wofford from Sept. 6 through Oct. 27. A reception for the artist will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 11, in the gallery. Gallery hours: Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m. to midnight; Friday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday, 1 p.m. to midnight.

For his Converse exhibition, Boggs selected 15 marble stone and metal sculptures to be displayed inside the Milliken Art Gallery. “Marble is so special because of the beauty of the crystals and its wonderful feel. It becomes such a beautiful material to work with in your hands ... very much like wood in that it’s easy to carve but you have to use the proper tool or else it will chip or bruise.

“You do not beat a stone; you caress it,” he continues. “There’s a certain type of chisel that you use for every move. With marble, an artist may use twenty different chisels for one certain area.”

The pieces will be on exhibit at Converse through Sept. 23. Gallery hours: Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, 2 to 5 p.m. The gallery is closed during school holidays. A Gallery Talk with Boggs will take place in Milliken Art Gallery at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 2, followed by a reception from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

On the USC Upstate campus, Boggs will present five monumental, welded-steel outdoor sculptures, weighing as much as 6oo lbs. Three works will be located next to the library and two on the Rotary International Peace Park near the entrance of campus just off I-585.

Boggs began his love affair with metal when he was a child. “Growing up near the railroad tracks of Ashland, Ky., I would pick up pieces of scrap metal that had fallen from the box cars, fill my wheel barrel with about 50 pounds of scrap and take it to a nearby business that was going to buy the scrap anyway from the train. They’d give me a quarter, and I’d go to the movies. We were very poor, and when you’re poor you’ll find every way you can to make a few pennies. But I was, perhaps subconsciously at the time, fascinated by the shapes of the scrap pieces.”

The exhibit will be across the USC Upstate campus from Sept. 3 through May 30, 2011. A “walk and talk” discussion with Boggs will take place from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 10. Guests should convene at the library at 2:15 p.m. A reception will follow in the lobby of the Performing Arts Center.

Boggs was born and raised in Eastern Kentucky. His great-grandfather was a blacksmith; both grandfathers and his father were welders and steelworkers. In 1969, he earned a BA degree from the University of Kentucky. In 1970, he earned a MFA degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Since 1970, he has taught undergraduate and graduate art courses at Converse. In 1994, he was promoted to full professor.

During his career, Boggs’ work has been featured in the presidential libraries of Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter. His work also is displayed internationally in permanent collections of numerous corporations. He was invited to present his Sept. 11 World Trade Center memorial, The Halo Project, at the fourth edition of the exhibition “International Biennial of Contemporary Art” in Italy. In addition, he has received many sculpture commissions for private residences, one of which is the home of author Lillian Jackson Braun.

In 1981, the city of Spartanburg commissioned Boggs to produce a bronze medallion to commemorate the city’s sesquicentennial. In 1991, he was named Honorary Artist of Spartanburg by proclamation of the mayor of Spartanburg. In 2000, the mayor proclaimed April 29 as “Mayo Mac Boggs Day.”

Boggs frequently exhibits his work and serves as a guest speaker for lecture-demonstrations. He has been the subject of many radio and TV shows, the most recent being Educational Television’s “Impressions.”