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Robert Lange Studios | Breaking the Surface
Matt Story brings his contemporary, figurative works to Robert Lange Studios in a 

series of paintings that capture the movement created by figures as they move underwater. The aptly titled, Breaking the Surface, celebrates Story’s love of motion, color, and light, especially as it exists in the underwater world. As Story says, “I was striving to put classical forms in contemporary settings in a new way. When I saw the underwater environment, I was hooked! So instead of Manet’s Olympia reclining nude on a sofa, I have her doing a backflip underwater in a bikini! (Ha! Take that École de Beaux-Arts!).” Story says that he is drawn to extreme lighting conditions, like those you find underwater. “I’ve also always been attracted to rendering extreme lighting conditions (such as with my cityscapes at night in the rain, or treed landscapes in the snow near dusk),” says Story. “And the natural light in an underwater environment is extreme, with these spectacular aberrations, the fleeting prisms and compound reflections. It seemed technically impossible at times; so naturally, I thought it was the ideal brick wall to begin pounding my head against.”

Fri. Feb. 1, 5-8 p.m. Free to attend. Robert Lange Studios, 2 Queen St. Downtown. robertlangestudios.com

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Saul Alexander Gallery | Resilient
The Saul Alexander Gallery, located at the Main Library in downtown Charleston, stands as a shining example of one of the few remaining public places in town where viewing art is not only free, it comes with no strings attached. On Mon. Feb. 4 a new exhibit, Resilient, opens. With works from artist Christopher Johnson (who works under the name Kolpeace), Resilient is presented in collaboration with the Charleston Activist Network. The show honors the memory of African-American activists who fought for what they believed in. Johnson joins members from the Charleston Activist Network in the library’s auditorium at 5 p.m. for a conversation about the exhibit, followed by a reception in the gallery from 6-7 p.m.

The Saul Alexander Gallery was created in 1998 with the help of a donation from the family of Saul Alexander, a Summerville man who supported charitable causes in the Charleston area. Megan Summers, CCPL’s programming and outreach librarian, has been the point person for the Saul Alexander Gallery for about a year and a half now. Summers says that the library gives more attention to people with a Charleston or South Carolina connection and that all mediums of work are accepted. “The gallery is an active part of the library and what we do here,” says Summers. “It’s one of the few public, free spaces to see art in the city.”

Summers says that CCPL is inspired by the movements in other libraries — ones that were specifically built to have galleries. She wants to work to offering more and more in the way of artists and exhibits, with workshops, lectures, and classes. For now, though the Saul Alexander Gallery serves not only as a space to engage with art but a space where you feel comfortable to do so. “We’re very focused on finding additional ways to engagethe community around art,” says Summers.

Learn more about the Saul Alexander Gallery online at ccpl.org

Resilient opens on Mon. Feb. 4, 5-7 p.m. Free to attend. Main Library, 68 Calhoun St. Downtown.