The unusual suspects convened at Robert Lange Studios Thursday night for a combination preview party/benefit/lovefest for Redux. Since Redux is a nonprofit and easily one of the best things going for artists in Charleston, it is constantly in need of grants and donations, especially after its recent growth spurt. As part of our thriving arts community, the Langes feel a social responsibility to give back, which they do in spades, with paintbrushes and big hearts.
At their consistently fabulous shows, RLS puts out fashionable cocktails as well. Gallery owner Megan Lange, who is also a board member at Redux, expertly mixed up a punch bowl of “Kewey Dira,” a lovely pink concoction of La Bubbly, vodka, Chambord, black cherry soda and “real” ginger ale with fruit bobbing around crushed ice. They have a tradition of naming the cocktails after friends, mixing up the first letters for fun.
Elise Testone skateboarded to the gallery’s entrance on Queen Street in a black sequined dress with guitar in hand. She played her inspired original songs and covers in the back room with the cushy leather couches and the iconic swing. Daniel Crider accompanied Testone on the cajón, an Afro-Peruvian percussive box that you sit on to play. In this intimate environment with its sexy lighting and surround of lushly-colored paintings, the songsmith’s beauty really shined. Her cover of Radiohead’s “Black Star” was like a hipster’s lullaby. “Blame it on the falling sky” will be in my head for weeks.
Robert Lange takes a new direction with his work in this show, In Harmony, dropping the trompe l’oeil style for a new play on realism. He says, “This new body of work is as intimate and close to my heart as any paintings I’ve ever made.” He used friends and family as models and the combination of foreground and background to create “something new in the subject matter that exists between them.” Masterful technique helps draws the eye and mind further into the paintings, making an image of a moth and a hallway mysterious, touching on the transcendental.
Megan sank into the couch to listen to Elise sing for a bit and after she took in the scene and a breath of relaxation, she raised her cup and pronounced, “I think we should do this every Thursday.” Agreed.