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Revitalizing the Art Salon with Julie Wheat and Douglas Balentine

April 4 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Charleston-based artists Julie Wheat and Douglas Balentine took part in an Artist Residency at the Chateau Orquevaux in the Champagne-Ardenne region of France. The owners of the Chateau have created a unique residency format with 20+ artists a month staying on the property, creating, and sharing their work in an effort to revive the spirit of the art salon and the concepts of art criticism and fine art as accessible to the wider public, rather than craftsman trade only to be patronized by nobility. The Louvre now holds many original artworks from Chateaux Orquevaux, which shares ties with both Denis Diderot and Antoine de Saint-Exupery. Wheat and Balentine will explore the unique history of the estate, which region is also where most of the iron weapons in France were forged during the 15th century when Joan of Arc passed through the area at the beginning of her journey.

Join us at the Library Society to hear a discussion moderated by Nicki Clendening between Wheat, and Balentine as they explore their experience at the Chateau, view the work they created (landscape, portraiture, nudes, and botanicals) and photos of the surrounding estate and small village nearby.

Tickets$10 – Members or $15 – General Admission

Purchase tickets HERE.

About Julie Wheat

Julie Wheat has 20+ years of combined experience in a variety of disciplines including brand and product development, art direction, interior design, photography, painting, drawing, graphic design, curriculum development, restoration, renovation, preservation, curating, and museum installation. Ms. Wheat has worked as a professor in the Arts, in public, private, non-profit, and military sectors as well as in fashion, film, television, print, hospitality, and retail industries.  She has degrees in Fine Art, Education, Educational Technology, and Finance. She is certified as a Superintendent of Schools and Fine Art educator; both a Wendell Foundation and Getty Scholar, and former Fulbright candidate. She was a pioneer in both distance learning and itinerant work methods helping to brand and develop working standards for implementing them nationwide through the public education sector working with New York and Nevada States and Princeton University.  Her unique talents, educational background, and work experience ranging from the factory floor to the boardroom.

About Douglas Balentine

Parsons alumnus and Charleston native Douglas Balentine showed proclivity for drawing since early childhood. Recognizing this, his father, the late Neuropathologist, Dr. J Douglas Balentine, M.D., frequently took the youngster to his laboratory where he encouraged him to draw skulls, skeletons, and brains from life.

His grandmother, the late Emily Whaley, author of the best selling  ( Mrs. Whaley and Her Charleston Garden ) was a ubiquitously creative soul whether at the easel, at the piano, in the garden, at her writing desk, in the kitchen, or teaching dance. The whiff of turpentine and oil paints was ever present in her home and she encouraged the young Douglas to depict the beaches, marshes, clouds, and ever present shrimp trawlers. She enjoyed painting all of her life, though for her art was one of many talents she employed, none to the exclusion of the others.

From 1977-1978 the family lived in Paris, France where Dr. Balentine conducted research at the Sorbonne’s Pierre et Marie Curee University de Medecine. This was a particularly formative year for the nine year old Douglas with the innumerable stimuli of daily life in Paris, being in an international school with classmates and new friends from all over the world, and exposure to Art in the Louvre Museum. Dating from this year was his first museum copy (in colored pencil) of Gericault’s The Charging Chasseur. His mother encouraged him to draw cathedrals and Roman ruins on their excursions outside Paris.

After the family’s year abroad, Douglas continued to fill up sketchbooks and fill closets with paintings throughout elementary and high school which ultimately lead him to art school.  While a student at Parsons School of Design in NY and at The International School of Art in Umbria Italy, some of his first works were purchased in Charleston, New York, Italy, and France.

In the late 1990’s Balentine moved back to Charleston from N.Y. where he continued to show his work and execute commissioned pieces. Reviews of Balentine’s earliest shows noted his “emerging and surprisingly maturing talent”, “promise of thematic content”, and the “sumptuousness and strength of his draftsmanship”- “Balentine’s drawings are just plain sumptuous”- Nicholas Drake of The Post and Courier. “Balentine is dealing with the largest problems of being human in this sometimes confusing world… in this world of splash and dab, it is a rare treat to see an artist’s work which is attempting to deal with the big issues”- Charles Statts, Post and Courier. “Balentine develops a haunting image that depicts light with great elegance” -Michael W.Haga assistant dean and adjunct professor of Art History at The College of Charleston School of the Arts, Carolina Arts.

Notably, his drawing “The Venus of Sullivan’s Island”, was purchased along with the painting “A Quiet Presence” (for which it was a study) by the head of acquisitions and  was featured in Lines of Discovery; 225 years of American drawings https://www.tfaoi.org/aa/6aa/6aa362.htm  published in 2006 by the Columbus museum, Columbus Georgia. “which owns one of the most important collections of American drawings in the southeast.”

Concurrent with his Art and Classics education, Balentine has since the mid 1980’s  been a student of Chinese martial arts, beginning his training in Shaolin Kempo between Charleston and N.Y. in 1986 and earning a black belt in that system in 1991. In 1988 he began studying Taoist meditation, Yang style Tai Chi, Nei Gong, and Kung fu under Master C.K. Chu in N.Y. where he became interested in the Taoist maxim  “the soft overcomes the hard” or to “be like water”. In 2003 he began studying Wudang  Kung fu, Taiji, and qigong with Master Zhongxian Wu (18th generation Wudang Long Men Pai / Dragon Gate Lineage) and later with Master Zhong Xue Chao (15th generation Wudang Sanfeng Pai lineage) of whom he is a disciple.

In 2019 while training in China at Master Zhong’s  school at the Ning Xu Quan Taoist temple in the Wudang mountains,  Balentine was featured on China’s National news during a regional Kung fu demonstration in which he performed Ba Xian Gun (Eight Immortals Staff) and was interviewed about his interest in and study of Taoist culture and martial arts. On this stay he also began a series of portraits of the Wudang Taoist kung fu masters of Purple Heaven Temple, including the Grand Master Zhong Yun Long.

Balentine primarily works on commissions in painting, drawing, and sculpture in Charleston with related excursions to Italy, France, Greece, and China. He occasionally teaches art privately and has recently been asked to teach Wudang Taiji and Gongfu by his Master Zong Xue Chao in order to share and promote these Taoist arts with the west as he continues his study of them.

About Nicki Clendening

Nicki Clendening has made a career out of a passion for art, design, and antiques. In 2009 she co-founded Scout Designs, creating residential and commercial interiors which effortlessly incorporate a wide range of styles and design elements–modern, traditional, and vintage–to achieve spaces that are both adventurous and timeless. In 2011 Scout Designs was named one of Trad Home’s Top 20 “New Traditional” Designers to Watch, and a “Rising Star” by the International Furnishings & Design Association in November 2012. She has been profiled in Garden & Gun, AD.com, Vogue.com, 1stDibs and featured Lonny magazine, Time Out New York, and Interior Design, and on numerous sites from Curbed to Daily Candy, Style Court and Apartment Therapy.

With an art history degree from the College of Charleston, Nicki has traversed the globe curating one-of-a-kind finds sourced from trips to antiques markets across France, Italy, Spain, and beyond for her interior design projects and BEETLE, her online store. She previously worked for Artisan Books and Workman Publishing and has consulted for 15 years with Rizzoli International Publications to secure media attention for the fashion, design, and lifestyle books.

A devoted New Yorker for the last 23 years, Nicki lives within walking distance of the city’s legendary Museum Mile, which provides a constant source of inspiration for her work.