A native South Carolinian, Edward Rice is known for his evocative depictions of place. His work is based in realism, but goes far beyond the literal depiction of the observed world to become a distillation of its essential geometric forms. His excision of superfluous detail results in the creation of images that are as much a statement about the straightforward interplay of form, space and color as they are portraits of specific buildings at specific times of day.
The churches portrayed in these oil paintings — Rhems United Methodist Church and Cedar Grove United Methodist Church — were both captured as they appear in early afternoon light. Rhems is Colonial Revival with its white siding and pediment-topped portico surmounted by a multi-level tower. Cedar Grove is a more stout Gothic Revival building with tan-colored stone offset by creamy white details. The two churches were chosen as subjects both for their beauty and as examples of the congregational outreach that takes place.
These paintings symbolize and celebrate Mr. Duke's inclusion of United Methodist churches in rural North Carolina among the beneficiaries of his philanthropy. Today, the congregation of Rhems is strong and diverse, and is recognized as a Model Church in The Duke Endowment's Thriving Rural Communities initiative. Cedar Grove is a progressive example of the numerous congregational efforts to feed the hungry and strengthen communities that receive Endowment support. It is also a partner congregation in the Thriving Rural Communities initiative.