TREASURE ISLAND

BY ELIZABETH PANDOLFI

There’s more to Pawleys Island than quiet beaches and the well-known sculpture and botanical garden, Brookgreen Gardens. This small resort town between Charleston and Myrtle Beach is home to one of the best places in the Southeast to find antique maps and prints (by people like John James Audubon and Mark Catesby) as well fine contemporary paintings and sculpture—the Cheryl Newby Gallery.

Going on its 32nd year, the Cheryl Newby Gallery is owned by none other than Cheryl Newby herself, a gallerist who began her career selling original antique prints, maps, engravings and charts. “My husband, who’s an attorney and majored in history, was extremely interested in antique maps and had collected them for many years,” Newby says. “My main interest was natural history prints—botanicals, ornithological prints and things like that. He told me, ‘If you’re going to do this gallery, you just have to do antique maps, too.’”

And so Newby did—and she’s done it well. Her gallery maintains a solid selection of antique natural history prints and maps, including original etchings by Catesby, an influential 18th-century naturalist who studied the animals, plants and landscapes of the American Southeast and the Bahamas.

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“Our maps are from all over the world, not just local or regional,” Newby says. “We do, however, try to maintain an inventory of South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia and Georgia items from the 16th through the 19th centuries.”

Newby also carries natural history prints by Audubon, George Edwards, John Gould and William Curtis, among others, as well as architectural, costume and historical prints. In her three decades of gallery ownership, Newby has amassed some very loyal customers. She says that by helping people find what they want, she has built not only a collector base but some enduring relationships.

Newby only gradually began to represent living artists. The first one she added to her roster was the late Ray Ellis, a nationally recognized landscape painter. Ellis passed away in 2013, but Newby still works with his estate to sell his paintings. Currently, she represents 16 artists, which she says is just about perfect. “It has never been my desire to have a huge stable of artists. The process is very selective, and I generally choose artists who have achieved a certain mastery and recognition in their work.”

That includes artists like South Carolina painter Mike Williams, whose semi-abstract works (particularly his “fish paintings”) are becoming more and more in demand, and James Crowley, a well-known and sought-after portraitist. Newby also represents one ceramic artist, Glenda Taylor, who creates intricate sea-life designs using richly colored glazes on earthenware.

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The gallery’s next show, however, The Power of Three, will focus on three of Newby’s four sculptors: Amy Kann, Gwen Marcus and Sandy Scott. All three women are National Sculpture Society Fellows. “They’re all very different in their styles, which I think is going to make it very interesting to see,” Newby says. The show opens April 25 and will run through May 23.

Kann, who is Philadelphiabased, works in clay and marble, and does both bas-relief and three-dimensional pieces. Her sculptures are in the permanent collections of both the Smithsonian Institution and the British Museum, among others, and vary from realistic portraits to abstract figure sculpture.

Marcus and Scott both work in bronze. Marcus, who began exhibiting her work at the age of nine, sculpts the human form, while Scott mainly sculpts animals. All three sculptors have works in the permanent collection of Brookgreen Gardens.

The diverse nature of the show is a reflection of Newby’s ethos when it comes to the artists and works she chooses for her gallery. “What we emphasize here is quality, as well as diversity,” she says. “In addition to our gallery artists, we invite guest artists once a year.”

Whatever your taste in antiques or contemporary art, the Cheryl Newby Gallery is bound to have something that appeals to you. “We just want to introduce people to as much really good art with a diversity of styles as we can,” Newby says.

Elizabeth Pandolfi is a writer and editor living in Charleston.