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Draped in Time: Spanish Moss and the Tapestry of the South

TJC Gallery, Spartanburg SC
May 8, 2024 – July 20, 2024

TJC Gallery will be closed for July 18, 5-8 pm Artwalk. Please enjoy Draped in Time Wednesday through Saturday from 12- 4 pm until July 20. 

Draped in Time, guest curated by Landon Bryant, weaves together artistic perspectives spanning nearly two centuries, uniting the South’s complex history and rich cultures under the ethereal veil of Spanish moss. Spanish moss—in fact, neither Spanish nor moss—is an enduring symbol of the complicated, dynamic, and often misunderstood identity of Southern art and society.

Like the South itself, Spanish moss is no one single thing, but exists as a vital member of an intricate biome with its neighboring flora and fauna that call it home. The biodiversity represented by this singular plant is a fitting emblem of the cultural diversity that has always characterized the region; from the Indigenous societies that made use of the herb, to the inhabitants and travelers in the American colonies (in fact it was during this period that Spanish moss acquired its name in reference to the beards of conquistadors), and culminating in the exaltation of Spanish moss as part of the visual vocabulary of modern Southern romanticism.

In the landscapes, genre scenes, scientific treatments, and conceptual explorations featured in this exhibition, Spanish moss performs multifarious roles. Sometimes, it constitutes a veil that separates social worlds, casts a moody pall, or insinuates hidden realities. In certain cases, it is a screen that attempts to hide away historical disparities the South may not wish to confront directly. Often it functions as a sort of blanket that imbues a scene with warmth, intimacy, and familiarity. But in all instances, Spanish moss is a recurrent backdrop for the many diverse and interconnected stories that the South has to tell.

Landon Bryant, based in Laurel, Mississippi, is a dynamic force in the world of social media, rapidly gaining fame as an influential Southern storyteller. You likely know Landon from his often hilarious, sometimes controversial (when it comes to sugar or salt on grits), and always insightful "let's discuss..." monologues on Southern culture. His journey, however, roots back to his days as an acclaimed art teacher whose passion for education continues, but now with a much wider audience. 

Highlights 

Featured Artists: Richard Bishop, David Driskell, Charles Fraser, West Fraser, Alfred Hutty, Helen Hyde, Corrie McCallum, Clarence Millet, Anne Munger, Thomas Sills, Ann Tanksley, William Washington, Kenneth Young, Alexander Drysdale, Lenore Hamer, Felrath Hines, Joseph Meeker, Hobson Pittman, Thomas Richards, Hattie Saussy, Alice Ravenel Huger Smith, Walter Thompson, and Eola Willis 

Exhibition Playlist