Columbia, S.C. City Art Gallery presents Blue Sky painting exhibition “Car Face”, October 1-14, 2010. A reception to meet the artist is Friday October1, 5-8 pm.

City Art presents a double feature show by artist, Blue Sky - pre-viewing two California destined exhibits - “Car Face” and “Truck Butts”.

The opening reception for the artist will be at City Art at 1224 Lincoln Street, Columbia, SC on Friday, October 1st from 5-8 pm. The exhibit will remain until October 14th. “Car Face” then travels on to Los Angeles and “Truck Butts” will follow shortly thereafter. A selection of Blue Sky’s other recent works will remain on exhibit at City Art until November 13th.

“Car Face” is an art show devoted to the relationship between the styling of cars and the features of the human face. The artist, Blue Sky, imbues rusting hulks of abandoned cars with such soulful feeling that they evoke a sense of pathos in the viewer. Of the idea and theme behind the show, he says, “You are something distinct from the car you drive. But you feel that you are the car. Driving it becomes an extension of operating our body and we adapt our identity to the car we drive.”

He’s acknowledges, “Usually if our car body breaks down, we simply buy a new one, a perfect one, with a warranty. Thus, realizing mankind’s oldest dream – perpetual youth.”

But his interest in painting them is primarily driven not by the shiny new ones in the showrooms, but by the ones he sees while roaming the countryside; “You see them beside the road, the unloved ones, old, sagging, abandoned, battered, and too far gone to repair. Some may be taken in, and travel a few more miles. Some may be hauled off to junk yards. Most will simply disintegrate into the earth.”

In 1971, describing one of Blue Sky’s earlier car face paintings, Perry T. Rathbone, Boston Museum said, “It is a poetic distillation of reality. It takes a while for the image to emerge from a pastel fog, but when it does it turns out to be the most prosaic, commonplace thing in American life – an old cast-off car on a used car lot.”

Blue Sky notes, “We seldom use sidewalks. We move in streets. We are sealed in steel. We seldom leave home without it.”

In conjunction with “Car Face”, City Art will exhibit Blue Sky’s show entitled “Truck Butts” consisting of several large acrylics on canvas and assemblage paintings depicting the rear end of the eighteen-wheelers which rumble across the American landscape as seen from a car following too closely behind, or from --- a “Car Face” --- if you will.

Art critic Donald B. Kuspit said of one of Sky’s truck butts, “Air Brakes”, (purchased by the Mississippi Museum), whereas Blue Sky “deals with the South as part of the American highway culture” as he presents “the elegant backside of a truck,” Robert Rauschenberg presents the South’s contemporary scene with “the junk culture and literal junk that flourishes along the highway. Both works are sinister.” Kuspit compares them in his essays of the Post-War period for the massive exhibition Painting in the South 1564-1980: “The potential for death is great in the painting by Blue Sky; we are following too close behind the truck, close enough to read and to be hypnotized by every detail of its rear. I find both works morbid in their physiognomy, but elegant physically.”

And Harry Lowe of the Smithsonian said of one of Sky’s Truck Butts, “The artist has taken a realistic subject and has moved it into something else. Beneath this realism is a beautiful abstraction.”

This special preview of “Car Face” at City Art offers Columbia - and South Carolina, an opportunity to see the paintings before the show travels to Los Angeles for the opening there next month.

Blue Sky’s works are in the collections of the Smithsonian, Price-Waterhouse, Mississippi Museum, IBM, SC State Museum, RJ Reynolds, Florence Museum, two Federal Reserve Banks, Columbia Museum, Bank of America, Cayce Historical Museum, Wachovia Bank, Wake Forest University, SC State Art Collection, & USC.

He has exhibited at the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art, National Academy of Design in New York, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, DeCordova, Greenville Museum, Gibbes Museum, Georgia Tech, Smithsonian, Columbia Museum, & Mint Museum.

Blue Sky (b. 1938 as Warren Edward Johnson) legally changed his name to Blue Sky in 1974. In 1975 he created the 50’ x 75’ mural “TUNNELVISION” which celebrates its 35th year in October. Sky has a B.A. & M.F.A., from the University of South Carolina and studied at the University of Mexico, and the Art Students League in New York.

Recently Blue Sky’s works have been published in the June issue of the magazine, Art E Dossier (special edition Arte e Illusione) in Florence, Italy and upcoming art history books in Greece and Belgium, recent inclusions in books in Amsterdam, Germany & a Tromp l’Oeil exhibition at the Nationalmuseum in Sweden.