Perambulating the Bounds

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Nashville Visual Arts Events Jan. 30-Feb. 15

If you have time and energy to think about anything other than Super Tuesday, it is of course the beginning of the month, so there’s art openings to distract you from whatever scares or excites you most about the country’s political prospects. But do vote, if you haven’t already.

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Jan. 30

Libby Rowe, Pink, Belmont Leu Gallery. This show opened a week ago, but they held the opening reception this afternoon. I think most of Libby’s pieces I’ve seen involve fabric—there was a series of pseudo-circus side show posters printed on canvas hangings called Circus of the Unremarkable (e.g., “Jojo the Dog-Faced Dog”), and at least one piece that was a modified apron, and it seems like I’ve seen something else like that from her (I think). They are funny and well-done. The Belmont show includes an even broader range of media—video, drawings, photographs, and installations from a series that deals with femininity and the physicality of being female. It looks like it will bring together a lot of pieces that Nashville audiences have seen in isolation. The Belmont space gives artists an unusual opportunity to stretch out and express the range of their ideas in a body of work, and Libby is playing out a lot of ideas in this series.

Feb. 1

Centennial Art Center, Tom Turnbull and Elizabeth Wise Turnbull is a potter showing porcelain wall pieces and ceramics, and Wise is a painter of dreamy domestic scenes.

Feb. 2

Estel, Desi Minchillo. I’m a sucker for work like this, dense and colorful. Minchillo cuts up bits of paper and other stuff into Pop Art shapes like flowers that she bunches and stacks up to create continuous washes of color and a three dimensional surface. She was formerly an architect, and she builds up a topographic space like an architectural model where sections of foam-core or cardboard build up the contours of land and the massings of building on it. Which is not to say her pieces are involved with rigid geometries—no, the opposite, the colors coalesce like flocks of birds with amorphous boundaries.

Tinney + Cannon Contemporary, Tony Hernandez Hernandez is a well-received Atlanta artist. The work at Tinney+Cannon is a series of melancholy pictures of children, isolated in abstract space. He’s inspired by images of children in the camps during the Holocaust. Even though the paintings don’t have obvious indications of their link to that time and place, the association makes intuitive sense. One of his paintings was the cover from Train’s album Drops of Jupiter: it has a kid wearing a crown and holding a dove.

Twist, Scot Simontacchi and Julie Lee Julie more visible lately as a singer and songwriter—she’s put out a couple of CDs on her own, records and performs with Sarah Siskind in the group Old Black Kettle, and Alison Kraus cut a couple of her songs on her last album. But I first got to know her as a visual artist, constructing sculptures and shrines and things in between out of found objects. She’s back in that mode of course for the show at Twist, although there will be a performance. Scott is a musician and I gather a photographer as well—I’m not familiar with his work, but it looks like he’s making stuff that moves towards Julie’s aesthetics in this show.

TAG, Josh Keyes, John Casey, David McClister. Starting in February, for the next 6 months Jerry Dale McFadden takes over the Dangenart gallery on the second floor of the Arcade (don’t worry, Daniel will be back). For his first show there we brings back a couple of his artists from California. Keyes paints scenes of animals in surreal urban environments, and Casey does drawings and sculptures of mutant creatures which often look like elaborate sock puppets or Mister Potato Head dressed up. With them is McClister, a Nashville photographer, who has created a narrative called “They Love By Night” from staged “crime scene” photographs that tell a sort of story about people mutated by radiation from atomic weapons experimentation.

Arts Company, William Buffett, Nicole Katano, Javier Barbosa, and art books. Buffett is a painter based in Nashville who has dedicated much of his work to New Orleans and its music. Carlton Wilkinson used to carry his work at In The Gallery. Barbosa creates prismatic abstract paintings, and Katano is a photographer of flowers, plants, and outside scenes put together into diptychs and triptychs. Some of her work has been published in book form, which will be featured in the gallery’s selection of art books.

Rymer, Laurie Hogin, Trevor Nicholas, Frank Webster The gallery’s show this month features Frank Webster, who paints empty spaces from the contemporary landscape—empty skies, empty walls, marked by minimal features.

Art Rogue et al. And don't forget Matt Mikulla at Art Rogue, (fov), Bart Mangrum, etc.

Feb. 7

Vandy Fine Arts Gallery and Sarratt Art Gallery, Oswald Guayasamin, Of Rage and Redemption Guayasamin (1919-1999) was an Ecuadorian painter and graphic artist who cultivated a classic Latin American modernism informed by a strong social consciousness. Vanderbilt organized this show, the first survey of his work in the United States. It came about through a nice bit of serendipity that brought people from Vandy into contact with the artist’s family (I think it was his son, but don’t hold me to that). After the show runs at Vandy, it is touring for a couple of years to galleries across the U.S., including the gallery of the OAS in DC. It’s not every year that Vanderbilt originates an exhibit that generates that kind of interest at other institutions.

Watkins, Dave Plunkert Lecture Watkins is hosting a lecture by illustrator Dave Plunkert. whose portfolio includes a lot of biggest magazines in the country like Newsweek, Time, Sports Illustrated, and the New York Times.

Feb. 8

TSU Hiram Van Gordon Gallery, Call and Response Another imaginative exhibit at the TSU gallery. This time the gallery asked several artists and some students at McKissack Elementary to respond to the gallery’s collection of African art. The respondants selected works from the collection to display, along with their own work, creating new contexts to view the work. It sounds like a great way to draw attention to their African art collection. This might be time to say, or repeat that interesting things are happening at TSU. The gallery program is notably revitalized under Jodi Hayes’ leadership, and the TSU students in the Frist show this Fall constituted one of the strongest cohorts when you compared the schools (I know you weren’t supposed to do that, but I couldn’t help it).

Watkins, Annual Juried Student Show The annual juried show is the best way to figure who the current Watkins students are and some of what they are trying to do. This year the school is renaming one of the show's awards in honor of Will ClenDening.

Greg Pond and Pradip Malde, Artists' Forum, Frist Center Colleagues at Sewanee who show work frequently (but not frequently enough) in Nashville--Pradip is a photographer with a strong philosophical bent, which he shares with Greg, who starts as a sculptor but ranges into video, sound art, and programming, combining them in all sorts of ways. Greg definitely has a lot to say and draws on a broad and vital body of ideas and knowledge. I haven't talked to Pradip and have only heard him speak once, but I imagine he can hold his own. At 6:30 in the Frist Auditorium.

Feb. 9

Ruby Green, Traci Molloy, JoseX, Joon Sung The featured artist is Traci Molloy, with two bodies of moody work. One is a set of black and white photos overlaid with lines of text and numbers, like some sort of conversion of image into code. In the hallway gallery there will be a series of cards drawn by an illustrator during his commutes on Chicago’s El from 1967-70. I don’t know how Ruby Green got it hands on these, but they sound pretty cool. Joon Sung has videos showing in the gallery’s theater space.

Dr. Sketchy’s Anti Art School, Five Spot A hipster life-drawing class—the Nashville Roller Girls model, there’s beer and a DJ, and goofy contests and prizes. This is part of a national network of events that started in Brooklyn and spread to places around the country that look to Brooklyn as the epicenter of their cultural world, like East Nashville.

Cumberland Gallery, Paper Goods, Don Porcaro This month at Cumberland includes a group show of gallery artists doing work on paper and sculptures by Don Porcaro, who combines stone, ceramics, and electrical and plumbing supplies, all painted with vivid colors. He was one of the artists who contributed to the Peace Tower at the 2006 Whitney Biennial.

Feb. 10

Downtown Presbyterian Church, Emancipation Conversation. With the usual caveat, this is my church, DPC is doing their annual Lenten Art Show. This year the theme is Emancipation, and the opening is going to be on Sunday the 10th, at noon or so I think. (I guess a lot of the work is going to be up the week before for the Art Luck pot luck supper before Art Crawl.) We’re doing the Thursday film series again this year, featuring among other things George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead. You can ask Tom Wills what it has to emancipation, but his selections always make sense when you see them. And we’re also having a concert on the 21st that’s part of the God in Music City series sponsored by Vandy’s Center for the Study of Religion and Culture, with which Dave Perkins is affiliated.

Feb. 13

Student Art Alliance, City Hall Rotunda, Murfreesboro A group exhibit by MTSU’s student art association. Like the Watkins juried show, this should be a good opportunity to get to know the work of some of the MTSU art students. It’s a relatively big program, and each year some of the students are very good.

Feb. 15

Frist, Monet to Dali. An exhibit of late 19th and early 20th century paintings and sculpture on loan from the Cleveland Museum of Art. I’ve never been to that museum and don’t know what the highlights are, but it looks like most of the big names are represented: Monet, Van Gogh, Degas, Gauguin, etc.


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