BAA Gallery showcases watercolorist, potter

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“Water & Earth” will be the focus of an upcoming exhibit at the Beaufort Art Association Gallery at 913 Bay St. in Beaufort.

The watercolor and pottery work of artists Daniel McSweeney and Wayne Chambers will be on display from Sunday, Jan. 8, to Sunday, Feb. 26. An opening reception will be held from 5-7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 13. The public is invited.

Also on display will be the work of 65 other local artists who are members of the gallery.

A native of Crewe, Va., Chambers spent much of his life in Richmond, Va., working for Phillip Morris USA. He said he was so impressed with Richmond, he started painting its cityscapes and skyline views.

“I had a one-man show at the Ross Building in downtown Richmond in the early ‘80s,” he said. “The Retail Merchants’ Association bought my entire show.”

Following that, he became a resident artist for the association for 15 years, documenting historical Richmond through his paintings.

In 2000, he visited Savannah for a three-week vacation and painted many of its historic buildings. He painted the famous Mercer House, and landed a contract with the owners.

Subsequently, he moved to the Savannah area, where, he said, “Everywhere I look, there is a painting!”

McSweeney grew up playing in the riverbeds behind his house in rural Virginia, where his love of clay began. As he played, he noticed the different properties between plain dirt and thick, malleable clay.

In high school in Columbia, he learned how clay, combined with heat and fire, makes “something everlasting.”

Wayne Chambers’ watercolors are often depictions of local scenery.
Wayne Chambers’ watercolors are often depictions of local scenery.

From there, he went to the Kansas City Art Institute to formalize his skills.

He returned to South Carolina to make pottery and clay sculpture his own way, mixing his own clay and glazes, and even digging clay from local riverbeds for some of his work.

He uses porcelain and stoneware clay bodies, and his reduction process allows for richer glazes and variations in the same glaze.

McSweeney has exhibited his work in the Midwest and throughout the Southeast.

He also is a talented pottery instructor, having worked with children and adult students at his own galleries, The Art Garage in Columbia, and Spark Studios and Gallery in Charleston.

He has also been a working instructor at the Kansas City Clay Guild, Columbia Parks and Recreation, Blythewood Parks and Recreation and the Artists’ Loft School in Mount Pleasant.

He has a studio in downtown Beaufort, where he holds classes and continues to share his love of clay with his students.

Chartered in 1957, the Beaufort Art Association is a tax-exempt membership organization. There are around 175 local artists who are members.