Perambulating the Bounds

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Nashville Visual Arts Events July 4-15

I’m going to start trying to do a twice monthly run-down of shows opening in Nashville, with some commentary on my part. To any of you with email lists of your own, feel free to forward this.

If someone wants to get added directly to my list for the email version of this listing, send me an email at

I’m not going to make any claims to comprehensiveness in these listings. This will be what I think is notable of what I know about.

If I get ambitious in the future, I might start to list shows closing. Or just do it with ones I, with my biases, think are worth running out to see. And in the future I might include some visuals, but I didn’t have time to ask permission and I’ve got to consider what that will do to the size of the email version of this.

Shows opening July 7

TAG Gallery “Lucky 7” TAG tries its best to replicate the virtues of a NY gallery here in Nashville. And if it’s summer, it must be group show season, often with gallery artists. Which is what TAG has on offer. The seven artists in this show are Lesley Patterson-Marx, Nicole Pietrantoni, Erin Anfinson, Anna Jaap, Jodi Hays, Lisa Norris, and Mary Sue Kern. The first reason to lead with this show is that all 7 are very good. But this is also Nicole’s last show in Nashville before she leaves for the MFA program in Printmaking at the University of Iowa. It’s a great move for her. The Iowa program has long been one of the best in the nation, for many years built around Mauricio Lazansky. Nicole’s work has developed consistently since she finished Vanderbilt, and getting a chance for the immersion experience of a first rate art school should be great for her. I hope she’ll keep showing her work in Nashville—she’s made a great contribution to the body of work produced in this town so far, and you want to see where she takes it. There’s something to say about everyone else here, but I from what Jerry Dale says, Lesley Patterson-Marx brought in a couple of unreasonably great handmade books for the show. She does sublime stuff in this form consistently.

SQFT Rachel Salomon A young artist from Brooklyn, like a lot of SQFT artists there’s also a Providence, RI connection (she went to Brown). There’s a strong influence of Japanese illustration in her work, and an interest in decorative patterns and design. She also works as an illustrator, with big time media clients like Blue Note Records and the New Yorker.

Dangenart Maggie Evans and Nathaniel Hester In addition to being a Savannah College of Art and Design-trained artist, Evans plays bass in a blues band, and has done a series of charcoal drawings from a stage view, from memory. The one sample Daniel Lai sent out in the PR looks like a dreamy photograph blurred at the edges. Hester is a printmaker who has done a number of book projects that marry intaglio and relief block cuts to contemporary poetry.

SooPlex “A Church, a Courtroom, and then Good-bye” This is a show of four British artists looking at country music. (One of the artists and the curator Veronica Kavass were raised in Nashville but now live in the UK.) Jonathan Marx did a good write up describing this show I’ve always be fascinated by how much Brits love country music. British fans have been a staple of Nashville’s tourism industry for a long time, you’ve got examples like Elvis Costello’s enthusiasm for George Jones, or Jon Langford’s presentation of hard core country music in terms of rock, rebellion, class politics and economic critique. The show’s title sounds like something Langford might use. So this exhibit could be pretty enlightening, or annoying.

July 13

Cheekwood Pradip Malde, “Looking at God” Malde is a highly regarded photographer at Sewanee. The opening reception for the show is Friday, July 13 from 6-8 (earlier PR said the show was opening a week earlier). According to the PR for the show, the photos show people’s faces, but the surrounding environment is obscured, putting them in an undecipherable context. You can see how that approach can be the basis for ways of understanding and representing the Divine.

In the main building, Cheekwood is showing items from their permanent collection selected by local celebrities (Chris Clark, Gordon Gee, Crystal Gayle, John and Fiona Prine, Ronal Serpas, Demetria Kalodimos, etc.). The PR on the show is all about the selectors, nothing about what art they’ve selected, which rubs me the wrong way—but they’ve probably got the right idea. The pieces will mostly be familiar, so the fun will be in the surprise of seeing what different people select. The show also points out one of Cheekwood’s challenges, which is how to keep their permanent collection in circulation given the limited exhibit space. Even with the limitations of the collection, they owe it to everyone concerned to have the stuff on view, and they also owe it to their budget. The Material Terrain sculpture show was great, but it must have cost a lot in payments to the organizers and in installation costs. So they are doubly motivated to schedule shows from the collection, but they’ve got to keep it interesting. This seems like as good a way as any to do that.

Finally, Cheekwood has their outdoor show of interactive installations for kids, this year with the theme of fairy tales and children’s stories. I enjoy seeing what people come up with, what works and doesn’t.

July 14

Estel Harry Underwood This is a closing reception for a one week kind of a trunk show of Harry’s work, which opens on July 10. The highlight should be the opportunity afforded by the gallery’s spacious walls for Harry to exhibit a monumental 8 by 11 foot mural.

Zeitgeist Greg Pond and Bjørn Sterri I suppose everyone knows Greg from his role as a key person in the Fugitive Art Center and from the work he has shown. He shows reasonably frequently, but not so often that it's easy to feel up to date with his work. He keeps pushing into new arenas (he's been doing a lot of work with sound for a few years) so each outing has something new in it. Photographer Sterri is from Norway (you might have guessed that) and is presenting a series of works that start with a process of continually taking instant Polaroids and large format B&W pictures of his family. Images are selected from across formats and years to create a complex narrative.

July 15

CRAFT: A Creative Community A group of local artists/artisans holds a monthly sale/fair in the parking lot of Lipstick Lounge, the next one is 11-5 on Sunday, July 15. I posted on this as an example of a growing phenomenon of craft production and design developing outside the mainstreams of the craft world, or becoming a third main stream.

Other announcements

Twist Gallery is going to be open by appointment only during July while Beth Gilmore is away at the Art Institute of Chicago-affiliated Ox-Bow School (the gallery will be open on gallery crawl night).

Cumberland Gallery is closed for vacation through this weekend, but reopens with regular hours on July 10.

A few Nashville people (Jacqueline Meeks, Patrick DeGuira, Jodi Hays, Kit Reuther, Jack Ryan, Gregg Schlanger) are in a juried regional show at Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, which runs through September 9.


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