Homecoming: The Art of Leo Twiggs and Jonathan Green
This program documents the pairing of two remarkable exhibitions that formed the visual arts component of the 2004 Spoleto Festival USA. Set against the backdrop of the dual exhibitions at the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, SC, Homecoming explores insights into the works of artists Jonathan Green and Leo Twiggs. Both African Americans, both visual artists, both sons of the Carolina Lowcountry—Twiggs and Green share an indelible bond, reflected in their works.
Both Jonathan Green and Leo Twiggs celebrate their heritage while exploring various truths of human experience through art. Yet, their works are decisively different.
Green is perhaps best known for the bold, flat, brilliantly colored images expressive of his Gullah heritage. He utilizes repeated and contrasting figures and patterns to create strong visual rhythms. A full time painter, Green lives in Naples, Florida, in a setting reminiscent of his beloved Gardens Corner, the rural SC community where he grew up, and which figures prominently as a source of inspiration in much of his work. His pieces are collected internationally and have come to symbolize Gullah life. " Rhythms of Life: The Art of Jonathan Green" was curated by art historian Roberta Kefalos for the Gibbes Museum. It explored works by Green from the late 80’s to date.
Nationally renown as a leading African American artist of the post-1945 generation, Twiggs is well known for his pioneering work in the application of the batik process in contemporary American Art. His muted palette and amorphous figures suggest layers of both texture and mystery. Like Green, Twiggs also uses the imagery of his childhood in nearby St. Stephen, SC as the setting for much of his work. Spending his lifetime as an educator, he retired as the Chair of the South Carolina State University Art Department and is now artist-in-residence at Claflin University in Orangeburg. "Myths and Metaphors: The Art of Leo Twiggs" was a retrospective of works spanning the artist’s 40-plus years of creative output. It was organized by the University of Georgia, curated by Dr. Marilyn Laufer.
While this documentary offers the chance to visually explore select works from the exhibitions, it also offers a personal and intimate glimpse into the artists’ psyches. The Spoleto pairing represented the first time either Green or Twiggs had mounted a show in the Lowcountry area of their respective births. Thus, it represented a homecoming in terms of a physical return to the source. Our camera accompanies each artist to his respective home and records each man’s individual attempt to come to terms with the influences of birth, life, community and struggle, as embodied in remembrances of home--and as reflected in images on canvas.