‘Sacred Windows’ Artist Carol Ezell-Gilson’s art inspired by area’s houses of worship, Charleston’s landscape

REVIEW BY KELUNDRA SMITH Special to The Post and Courier

As the sun shines on the canvases and church bells ring in the background, the experience of viewing this work is divine.

Carol Ezell-Gilson began painting images of stained-glass windows in 2000, her first being a panel for St. Michael’s Episcopal Church.

For her “Sacred Windows” exhibit in the Drawing Room at Dock Street Theatre, Ezell-Gilson has displayed 12 of her acrylic works, on view through June 30.

Inspired by Charleston’s landscape, she paints wisteria, palm tree beaches and oak trees draped with Spanish moss.

“Sanctuary,” a piece modeled from a window at the Circular Congregational Church, centers on an upside-down, olive-green triangle with a red border. From the triangle, flowers resembling Gabriel’s Trumpets flourish against a salmon-colored background. The triangle is embraced by three deep blue, rounded, concave forms. It’s more Georgia O’Keefe than church window.

The colors of “Festive Swag,” derived from a window at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, seem to move within the confines of the glass’ rigid, black lines. Columns anchor the left and right sides, while purple- and cranberry-colored ribbons ripple across the canvas. Woven flora cables meet in the center at two violets. The background panes use shades of green, with bits of yellow, giving the effect that the sun is trying to burst through the canvas.

The effect of movement also can be found in the berry-colored, angel wings in “The Empty Tomb.” The tomb is barely visible in this piece, but the solemn, peaceful facial expression of the ivory-skinned, yellow-haired angel says everything. The angel is floating above the tomb in a flowing, gold-and-cream garment, which is cut off by the black pane lines.

This exhibit, part of the Piccolo Spoleto Festival, is free and open 10 a.m.-2 p.m. during the festival, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. afterwards. For more information about the artist, visit www.ezellgilson.com.

Kelundra Smith is a Newhouse School graduate student.

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