What better way to celebrate our country’s birthday than with some amazing art?

‘Gradual Thaw’

On Friday evening, check out Mia Bergeron’s latest solo show called “Gradual Thaw” at Robert Lange Studios.

One of the most beautiful things about art is how personal it is, how much of the artist you really get to see.

When asked about the subject matter and motivation for the works in “Gradual Thaw,” Bergeron said: “I think I’m in a natural evolution with my work. Mostly, I have been focused on two ideas for this show. One is to really dive into my fears as a painter, and my strengths.

“When I was in school in Italy, I was constantly told I was better at getting an effect than achieving details. This was said to me as a weakness I had in my painting skills. I was also told I was a temperamental painter.

“For years, I thought these two ‘defects’ would hurt my work. In the past year, I’ve really dug into making my vulnerabilities my strengths. I think it’s sort of creative problem solving and simply being curious. Instead of denying that I am an erratic painter and that I like big, overall effects in a painting, like mood, for instance, I decided to accept those parts of me and even play them up in these paintings. I think the work looks like it could change at any moment, and the moods are very purposeful,” she said.

“The other idea I have been exploring with in my work is loss of information. The paintings in this show are the results of a bunch of questions I had with paint. I will paint a model for days and days, then slowly start to erase parts of my painting, wiping out entire passages I have worked hard on, making transitions that don’t exist. I will purposefully look to lose areas of a painting that I want to grow into something more.”

She also said that she had specific reasons why she chose the name “Gradual Thaw” for this show, choosing the name because it “represents both what happens in spring time, just before plant life blooms, but also as it relates to a mental state.”

“I had all these rules for being a person, a painter, etc. I think I’m in a transitional stage of my life, as many people are, and some of those previous rules and ideas about myself, my work, and my world are melting away to make room for new growth. A lot of the titles of paintings in this show refer to this evolution,” she explains.

Meet the artist in person 5-8 p.m. Friday at Robert Lange Studios, 2 Queen St. Call 805-8052 or go to www.robertlangestudios.com.

Dual display

The city of North Charleston’s Cultural Arts Department is doing something a little different this week with the opening of a show by father and son painters Richard and Joel Parker at the North Charleston City Gallery.

The opening reception of their show “People, Faces, and So ... Carolina” will take place 5-7 p.m. Friday with the exhibit on display for the rest of the month.

This will be the first time that the Parkers have done a show together, and it should be quite interesting as their works are very different.

The exhibit will include Richard Parker’s works from his “Lowcountry” series and son Joel Parker’s “Facebook It!” series.

“Richard’s oil paintings of Lowcountry scenes, from the sun rising over the beach at Isle of Palms to the storefront of the old Tellis Pharmacy on lower King Street, are rooted in the aesthetic of reflection and the artist’s spiritual values,” said North Charleston Arts Coordinator Ann Simmons.

“In contrast, Joel’s selection of oil paintings from his ‘Facebook It!’ series explore the idea of spectacle by presenting images of large crowds at social gatherings. Instead of depicting the event the crowd has gathered for, Joel chooses to focus on the interactions that support these large events, thus turning the audience assembled to watch the spectacle into the subject observed by the viewer. By presenting a crowd in this manner, the viewer is asked to consider how an audience participates in a spectacle while at the same time mirroring how the viewer of the artwork participates with the artwork.”

The North Charleston City Gallery is inside the Charleston Area Convention Center, located at 5001 Coliseum Drive in North Charleston.

For more information about the artists, contact the North Charleston Cultural Arts Department at 740-5854 or go to http://bit.ly/culturalarts.

Artist in residence

The city of North Charleston’s Cultural Arts Department chooses a new artist in residence each fiscal year, and they are taking applications for the 2013-14 fiscal year.

“The city’s artist in residence serves as a key resource for the department’s outreach programs, especially in the area of art instruction,” said Arts Coordinator Ann Simmons. “The selected artist will share his/her unique skills, talents and experiences by providing free visual art residencies, workshops and demonstrations to public schools, recreation facilities and community groups within the city limits of North Charleston.”

This is a part-time paid position, and interested artists should submit slides, quality photographs or digital images of their work along with a resume by July 17.

Application materials may be emailed to culturalarts@northcharleston.org or mailed to the attention of Nancy Rodriguez at the city of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department, PO Box 190016, North Charleston, SC 29419-9016. Call 740-5854 or go to http://bit.ly/culturalarts.

Call for entries

Ever wanted to design a T-shirt?

Now’s your chance as Redux is looking for submissions that incorporate the studio’s name into the design.

This is an open call for entries and all are welcome to apply.

Here are Redux’s stipulations: Submission designs should be drawn or printed on white paper, unframed, along with the entry form and $10 entry fee (cash or check made out to Redux). Fees will be used to offset the cost of T-shirts and fund prizes to the three winning submissions.

The design must include “Redux” or “Redux Contemporary Art Center” and there is a two-color maximum.

Original artwork only; no photographic reproduction. Designs must be suitable for screen printing. The deadline is July 31.

From Aug. 2-23, all the submissions will be displayed in the Connolly Studio Gallery at Redux, during which time voting will take place. There will be a reception Aug. 30 announcing the three winners: Redux’s choice, people’s choice and Connolly’s choice.

For more specifics on entering the contest, contact Redux directly at 722-0697 or go to www.reduxstudios.org.