Slightly Askew
March 25 - May 7, 2017
City Gallery, 34 Prioleau St, Charleston 29401
Tues-Fri, 10am to 6pm, Sat-Sun, noon to 5 pm
Free admission


The City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs presents Slightly Askew at City Gallery, featuring the work of artists Rebecca Davenport and Cabell Heyward.

Opening Reception: Friday, March 24, 5-7pm
On View: March 25 – May 7
Artist’s Talk with Rebecca Davenport: Sunday, April 2, 2pm
Artist’s Talk with Cabell Heyward: Sunday, April 30, at 2pm

All events are free and open to the public.

The works of these two artists show a perspective on reality that is slightly askew from consensus views. Rebecca Davenport’s large-scale mixed media works, evocative of sideshow banners, explore the world of the carnival and sideshow, complete with its games of chance and over-the-top bluster. Cabell Heyward’s dreamlike abstract paintings present a version of contemporary surrealism, with imagery evoking a dreamlike state where reality and fantasy seamlessly meld.

Rebecca Davenport, Keechee and the Giant Vacuum, oil and mixed media on canvas, 2008

For more than a decade, Davenport has been creating works inspired by the evaporating culture of the American sideshow. She is steeped in the loreĀ and finds that the charlatans and purveyors of bunkum are still very much on the scene today. Taken as metaphor, Davenport’s work offers a cautionary tale about American society at this moment. In a reality where exaggeration and false truths are spouted with unchallenged authority, and the ultimate goal is fleecing the masses, the sideshow barker begins to look like a quaint relic of yore. Davenport’s work is rich with narrative threads and trenchant observations of the human condition.

Cabell Heyward, The Either and the Or, oil on masonite, 2014

Cabell Heyward’s dreamscapes contain bits of the familiar, but they are juxtaposed in unfamiliar ways. There is a rightness to the completed images, as if they could be no other way, yet there is also something off-kilter and unsettling. Heyward’s works evince a kind of shock to the system, and an invitation to unravel the narrative threads presented. There is a puzzle-like aspect to the series, with each new piece adding clues as to the interpretation of others in the grouping. Figures both float and anchor many of the compositions, emphasizing the fact that humans are surrounded by a landscape of images and impressions brought together by imagination.

This show is curated and organized by Mark Sloan, Director and Chief Curator of the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art.