Wednesday, April 27, 2016

more art shenanigans (with awards and doughnuts)

Lander once again participated in the Collegiate Art Invitational Exhibition at the Spartanburg County Public Library Headquarters this year.  Each year, universities in the upstate area of South Carolina are invited to select 6 students from their department to exhibit.  We chose our 6 students and headed out to the reception and awards ceremony a couple of Saturdays ago.  We've developed the tradition of meeting for dinner before the reception and grabbing a few doughnuts at Krispy Kreme afterwards.

This year we decided on Wild Wing Cafe in Spartanburg for dinner.  There were some friends and family in tow, including my family.  This meant entertaining Blue and Violet with Snapchat while we waited at the restaurant.  

 Which eventually led to using the faceswap filter on Katie and Jim with terrifying results!

 I had good intentions of getting a photo of everyone's artwork.  Let's see how I did.  That's Ramey's photo above Metal Megan's steel sculpture.

 And there's Bolt's ceramic brains.

 Katie's graphic design self portrait.

 There's Chelsea and Buttermilk who came along to support their art friends.

 There's Olivia with her painting of herself.

 And there's Kristen with her drawing of Jamea.  That's all 6!

And during the awards ceremony Metal Megan racked up yet another award in her sculpture career with a Merit Award for her sculpture "Restore".  Way to go Megan!

 After Blue and Violet scarfed down some cookies, brownies and strawberries at the reception, we all moved down the street to Krispy Kreme to watch the doughnuts being made.  I took advantage of the signage on the wall to make this statement about myself.

 And this was Jim's prompt response to my photo!

 And this was everyone else's response to us in general.

 It looks like G ducked out of the photo before I took it, but Blue and Violet jumped in with everyone.  

I'm always proud of our students in these exhibits.  It's great to see their work side by side with the work of students from other universities.  It's also good to take home awards!  So proud of all of them.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

sculpture deathmatch 2016!

The Sculpture Deathmatch (copyright) has become an academic tradition at Lander University.  Each spring we set aside a Saturday and choose two teams of sculptors to do battle.  Each team has 12 hours to design, create and install a public sculpture on campus.  We begin at 9:00 am and the teams must have their sculptures installed by 9:00 pm.  We invite everyone to come out and hang with us during the day and we have food and snacks and sculpture giveaways.

9:00 am is very early for college students who have given up a day of rest to participate in the Deathmatch.  For their sacrifice they are given a healthy dose of sugars and carbs to get the day started.

This year's teams were divided by age and experience.  Team Srotplucs (sculptors spelled backwards) is on the left and they are the underclassmen spanning from freshmen to juniors.  Team Firesquad is on the right and they are the seniors, most of them with several sculpture classes of experience.

Before the sun was even out on the sculpture patio, the teams were scavenging their recycled sculptural materials and developing their plans.

We hoisted the official Sculpture Deathmatch flag from Singletary's window.

This year both teams came up with plans fairly quickly and made the most of their morning gathering materials and beginning work on their armatures.  Lunch time seemed to come quickly and the $75 worth of pizzas were devoured quickly.

Spencer is a technical freshman and he got to learn how to weld and use the cutting torch.

Bolt got another shot at Deathmatch fame with her second consecutive Deathmatch.

And Buttermilk got to weld again!

Rashaad was back in his element in the sculpture room.  He's been away in ceramics too long.

Braden and Metal Megan put on their problem solving faces as they worked out how to make steel fire.

Slagle, Molly and Riiiiiiicardo came to visit and help.  Tons of other supportive students and visitors came as well.  Sorry I didn't get photos of all of them.


So these were the teams:  Team Firesquad above.  Braden, Drinkwater, Metal Megan, Erica, Calliham,'Shaad and Oscar (see the team portrait below).

Team Srotplucs:  Spencer, Dara, Buttermilk, Bolt, Mini Me and Molly.

And if you make weird faces like that when I take your team photos, you deserve to have them drawn like that in the official team portrait.  I drew Oscar from memory so he looks a little cartoonish.

As the afternoon progressed, the sculptures became more interesting.

These details can get lost in the larger images.

As the shadows grew very long, Team Firesquad carried all their pieces to their installation site and prepared to dig anchor holes.

A couple of hours later, darkness loomed over the installation of Team Srotplucs's sculpture.

After a full 12 hours of sculpting, both teams were still upright, but very, very tired.  We gathered for a quick cleanup and headed out to LaHa for a late dinner.  Riiiiiicardo's family took good care of us there.

It cannot be overstated just how difficult it is to participate in a Deathmatch.  It also cannot be overstated just how cool it is that a college student would want to give up a Saturday and put themselves through such a difficult experience.  Many of them asked off of work.  All of them sacrificed sleep and fun with their friends to do this.  And going to school on a Saturday?  Who does that?  

Team Firesquad's finished sculpture titled "Journey'.

Team Srotplucs' finished sculpture titled "Untitled"

The Monday following the Deathmatch, voting began by paper ballot.  Anyone who wanted to vote could cast their approval to their favorite sculpture.  Voting ended on Friday and the winning team was announced.  And the winner was......


Each team member gets to sign the Sculpture Deathmatch flag and they get to bask in their underdog victory for an entire year.

This victory was particularly sweet for Team Srotplucs.  The sculpture went up in the dark and when students returned to campus in the light of day, some were apparently surprised by the rusty sculpture made of recycled materials.  I was told there was some chatter on one of those anonymous social media things complaining about the sculpture and essentially saying it was ugly.  Of course, it would be the height of folly to try to please everyone, but it seems that this sculpture was knocking lightly against the boundaries of "what is art?".  One of the goals of this Team was to find beauty in what was literally a pile of scrap metal and trash.  To take that beauty and to shine a light on it for others to contemplate.  And it's perfectly fine if there are those who are not able to see past the rust and reclaimed materials.  The beauty is still there for those who wish to find it.  

Enough voters found it and were so moved to support the sculpture and it's expression of uncommon beauty.  It doesn't get more contemporary art than that!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Exhibit at Greenville County Museum of Art

Y'all, I'm having a solo exhibition at the Greenville County Museum of Art April 6 - June 5!

The exhibit is titled "Local Talent: Doug McAbee" and can be found in the Level 1 Gallery.  You can also see exhibits by Amer Kobaslija, Andrew Wyeth and Jasper Johns.  Entry to the museum is free so I recommend going every day!

Seriously, I'd love for you to go and take a selfie in my exhibit or if you're not a selfie person, just take a creative photo.  Post that photo on Twitter, Instagram or that devil Facebook thing and tag me (@dougmcabee on Instagram, @thedougmcabee on Twitter) or the museum (@gcma_sc on Insta & Twitter).  

The GCMA is located at 420 College Street, Greenville, SC 29601.  Their website is:

Let me know what you think of the exhibit.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

spring art hike 2016

Plan A for the spring art hike was to hike the 2.2 miles up to Rainbow Falls and take our time enjoying the sights in Jones Gap State Park.  We had a big group signed up and when Blue and I arrived at the park entrance, there was a line of cars waiting to get in.

 According to the Park Ranger, this happens every weekend, but it was a first for me.  Our people carpooled as best they could but we were still scattered out among 7 cars in this line.  The Ranger told us we'd be in for a long wait.  Later he came back and suggested that if we wanted to actually hike that day, we might want to think about Table Rock.
 I let everyone know that Table Rock would be a longer hike (3.5 miles one way) and everyone agreed this was an acceptable Plan B.  So we turned the caravan around and changed plans.  Cell signals were almost non-existent but we did manage to let everyone still en route know the new location.

 Table Rock was also crowded but we did find parking and after a long wait for everyone to hit the bathroom, we were ready to walk uphill.  (In a somewhat left to right order: Ashley, Blue, Armir, Cessquatch, Dylan, Ellie Dog, Metal Megan, Elizabeth, McCaylah, Dakota, Drinkwater, Laura, Singletary with 3 dogs, Ricardo, Buttermilk, Erica, Rashaad, Oscar, Cameron, Andy, Alana, Thackham and Spencer)

 When I registered the group for the hike, the park employee made sure I knew that a group had to be rescued off the trail the night before.  He told me to keep the group together as much as possible and to make sure everyone knew to stay on the trail.  Not an ominous start at all.

 We had some first time hikers and a couple who may have been less than prepared for a hike.  But everyone pushed up the hill and we only lost 3 people at the halfway point.

 This is the overlook at the halfway point.  We got such a late start that most everyone had their lunch here.

 From halfway, the trail turns and gets very steep in places.  Just before Governors' Rock there's an area where many people needed to crawl up the big rocks on their hands and feet.  

 A few people thought this was the top and were disappointed when we told them we still had a ways to go.  Ashley "The Whisk" and Cessquatch were our returning alumni for this hike.  They were pros and led the way most of the hike.  They even struck model poses to show they didn't break a sweat.

 Blue huffed and puffed a little but he did great keeping up with everyone.  This was his first time hiking to the top of Table Rock.  He seemed more interested in the rocks and sticks than in the panoramic views.

 The weather was overcast but the temperatures were perfect for hiking.  It misted a little on the way up, but once we got to the top, some light rain moved over us.  

 Everyone got their photos in and quickly took a look around from the top.

 Armir and Buttermilk are dependable hiking buddies from way back.  We let them bomb our goofy selfie.

 As the rain grew more and more steady, we grabbed a quick group photo before heading back down.

 We let most of the group start down while we walked around the lookout from the left... middle... the right side.

 Blue thoroughly enjoyed himself.  He smashed small rocks, sharpened sticks and tripped over roots.  He loves Adam and he got to talk to him about movies and video games most of the way down the trail.

 We were the caboose group to make sure everyone made it back to the parking lot safe.  We stopped at the halfway point again briefly on the way back down.

 And we stopped at a big rock to leave our temporary mark.  These were the only breaks we needed going downhill.

 We arrived back at the trail head just in time to see Andy getting out of the water completely soaked.  Andy got up late and thought it was going to be colder so he wore jeans and a flannel shirt.  I saw him coming out of the cold water barefooted with jeans and no shirt.  I asked him if he fell in and he said that he just wanted to jump in.  I asked him if he had clothes to change into and he said no.  So he drove home in his boxers and got stuck at a toll booth with no change.  Andy's great.

So we didn't lose anyone and though they were tired, everyone had a good time.  We came, we saw, and we walked 7 miles with some of the coolest students around.  Here's to a good Plan B.