Joe Walters’ Lowcountry Art Debuts The Jasper’s Collection
The Jasper’s peninsular location is in the epicenter of Charleston’s rich and varied arts district. To celebrate regional artists, The Jasper is collecting and installing an array of their exciting works throughout the residential and office interiors. The Beach Company is curating The Jasper’s own collection in consultation with Mark Sloan, who served as the highly acclaimed Director and Chief Curator of the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art for 26 years. Mark is introducing contemporary artists juxtaposed in this “historic district” context, encouraging viewers to look forward and backward simultaneously, and ponder the contrasts. The Jasper collection is debuting with the first installment by Joe Walters, a national artist who happens to live on James Island.
Joe was commissioned to combine elements of the Lowcountry marshlands into an inspiring art piece. Arts writer Andrea Bejarano wrote that Walters’ work “examines the human connection to the natural world as well as the life cycle of germination, growth, death and decay.”
“His work is fascinated with representing vegetation, such as fallen leaves or branches one would see on a quiet forest floor,” she wrote. “These frozen moments in time represent a kind of romantic or fantasy approach to an eternal natural cycle.”
In the center of the lobby’s three-panel Charleston green bookshelves, you can spot indigenous critters like the otter, periwinkle, marsh crab, magnolia and monarch butterfly. Joe’s art is traditionally site-specific, he accommodates the space with the environment as his muse.
Joe has been a resident of the Lowcountry since the mid-1990s and he currently resides on the tidal marsh where he witnesses inspiration in his backyard like the dolphins and otters that congregate in the biodiverse waterways.
The texture of this art piece has a rusted, corroded metal effect as if it’s been left out in the Lowcountry waterways and dug up for display.
“The art’s intentional scaled discrepancy where a shrimp is the same size as a dolphin is meant to represent an interdependency of species in ecosystems,” Joe said.
The artist says he’s been interested in subjects that have an archeological context since he was a kid. He appreciates old things, and this art piece reflects the patina of age that he treasures.
“Joe uses a grid to create a gathering of marsh animals or fauna,” Mark said. “They’re presented in such a way that is scientifically, archeologically and taxonomically for you to study and learn from.”
Joe was inspired by elements from nature to infuse his art with a juxtaposition between earthy and metropolitan environments. This particular work creates an opportunity for residents to engage with Charleston’s culture and history, reflecting on the beautiful surroundings and creatures who make our city feel like home.
“There’s a natural history component of his work that looks at the nature of man’s propensity to use systems of classification to understand the world around us. In a way, it’s a critique or an artistic representation of the human capacity for taxonomy,” Mark Sloan said.
The piece stands out from the wall in a multi-dimensional sculpture with a variety of creatures of the Lowcountry mash. The sun-filled lobby provides the perfect vantage from which to observe this museum piece. The space will soon host a variety of additional elements from Charleston’s rich history and the visual arts.
This is just the start for The Jasper’s ongoing search for the art that will create a dynamic experience for each guest. Mark Sloan will continue to coordinate the collection of exquisite pieces through his independent consulting business, Curioso. We look forward to sharing more of our art with you as we introduce the artists behind these provocative works!