Located on one of the most picturesque streets in the heart of Charleston’s French Quarter, Revealed Art Gallery is a treasure trove of contemporary art. An open door invites passersby to stop in and admire the talent that comes to life on the first floor of this 18th-century house.
The gallery, which opened in the fall of 2017, is owned by partners Jaclyn Quilal-lan and Scott Parsons. Quilal-lan manages and curates the gallery while Parsons, a passionate creator and longtime Charleston resident, spends his time working on paintings that are displayed throughout the space.
Parsons’ lively acrylic paintings feature fanciful creatures that exist in dreamlike settings. In one painting, a sea turtle appears to be swimming off the canvas, emerging from a panorama of marsh and sky. On closer examination, the viewer notices that the foreground is not dark mud but outer space, leaving the subject suspended between two opposing worlds. In other works, Parsons introduces characters that seem to have jumped from comic book to canvas.
Parsons’ art can also be found around town, since he is often commissioned to create imaginative murals for local businesses. Just don’t ask him to explain his creations; Parsons encourages admirers to make their own interpretations.
In an area of the city where art galleries are plentiful, Revealed Art Gallery’s unique mix of mediums, styles and artists sets it apart. Upon entering, visitors are immediately drawn to the vibrant contemporary works on the walls. The gallery’s natural flow guides guests from the main showroom through narrow hallways that lead to smaller display rooms. The art on each wall is hung in a way that creates visual interest without feeling cluttered.
The gallery offers an eclectic mix of media that makes guests feel as though they are wandering through a local museum. Striking photography, carved wooden furniture and fashion-forward woven bags have all earned a place in the collection. Unexpected small items, such as handmade metal jewelry, one-of-a-kind decorative pillows and luxury candles, make for thoughtful gifts or souvenirs.
The gallery doesn’t adhere to one theme, although there is an emphasis on emerging artists, both local and regional. “The process of bringing on artists has been completely organic, and it amazes me that I haven’t had to look far to find all of this talent,” Quilal-lan says.
Quilal-lan and Parsons set out to create a home for artists who may not fit or would be overlooked in other galleries. While traditional Lowcountry themes and figurative art find their place in the gallery, the majority of the current collection is made up of bold, abstract work, such as the alcohol ink paintings of Asheville-based artist Constance Williams.
Neon pieces created by local optometrist Devin McKinney, using fire, LED lights and paint, are displayed alongside striking glass works from Asheville-based artist John Almaguer and children’s books from Charleston author and illustrator Jonathan Miller.
Quilal-lan is drawn to art that incorporates repurposed and found objects. Her collection includes imaginative lighting fixtures and tables by artist Dustin Bruckman, whose pieces include metals, wood, acrylics and found objects. Artist Matt Wilson crafts charming wildlife- inspired sculptures from scrap metal and cutlery, along with natural elements such as driftwood.
When setting the vision for Revealed, Quilal-lan says it was important for the gallery to become a part of its neighborhood. In addition to participating in quarterly art walks, the gallery hosts networking events and live painting sessions with artists. Quilal-lan hopes to use the gallery as a backdrop for collaborations with other local businesses. She also envisions the space as a unique venue for small weddings.
For Quilal-lan and Parsons, the gallery serves as a dedicated space to celebrate artists as well as a place for people, especially locals, to connect and enjoy art together.
Kaley Briesmaster is a freelance writer living in Charleston.