Perambulating the Bounds

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Nashville Visual Arts Events Mar. 1-15

I think writers as naïve as me are tempted to believe that if someone ever reads anything you wrote, then they read all of it, and track what you write from piece to piece—so you’d better not recycle an idea or phrase from one outing to the next. Or maybe it’s as a reader from time to time I notice that recycling. The point of this is that I was tempted to say “those of you reading my pieces in the Scene will know the high regard I have for Sam Dunson’s painting.” Well, let’s not worry about whether you, dear email recipients, have tracked on this, but we will make a fresh start. I think Sam has a good claim on being the best painter in Nashville (there is competition for the title, I’m happy to report). I think he does a remarkable job of drawing a bit of hip-hop aesthetics into some of his work, and he’s got a lot going on in the response to and use of narrative. When he comes out with a new body of work, this should be of interest to everyone in Nashville. And this month he’s got new work at TAG Gallery (operating out of Dangenart’s space on the second floor of the Arcade). To me this is a big deal.

OK, in addition to the openings listed here, Kaaren Hirschowitz Engel has hung up a bunch of her paintings-turned-to-something-like-sculpture-or-at-least-objects high in the rafters of the Arcade. The official opening is later in March, but I gather the pieces will be there this weekend.

As always, if you have an email list 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 To get taken off the list, email to that effect at the same address.

And—check out my wife’s excellent review of Lauren Kalman’s show. Maria is a remarkable person. A great writer, and perceptive to a degree that still thrills me after many years.

Mar. 1

TAG, Sam Dunson, Jason Lascu, and Robert Vore. OK, I’ve covered Sam Dunson’s work in the opening paragraph. Enough said for now. Also on tap at TAG are sculptures from Lascu and charcoal drawings by local artist Robert Vore. Robert’s drawings look appealing from

(fov), Teresa VanHatten-Granath VanHatten-Granath is chair of the photography department at Belmont. This show consists of mixed media books and digital images. The books address childhood/motherhood in ways that look like they contain a lot of good contradictions in tone and emotion. I’m looking at one image that includes a composite figure that makes nude flesh look like meat as well as a human form.

Estel, WJ Cunningham. Portraits by this painter from Madison (TN, not the People’s Republic in Wisconsin).

Twist, Rachel Hall Kirk, “The Big Payback” Kirk is teaching art at Austin Peay and has put together an installation for her show at Twist. I don’t know much about the show from the description.

Arts Company, Nelson Grice, Calvin Morton, Hollis Bennett, Kimiko Grice makes raku-fired clay sculptures that mix animal forms with obvious signs of constructedness. The piece in the PR shot, a pig with 4 legs attached like bedposts, has oddly loving details as well as a broadly humorous character. Bennett and Kimiko are both photographers, Kimiko here with a series about New Orleans, Bennett with American landscapes, maybe a lot of what I think of as road pictures. Calvin Morton is a painter, and this series has to do with smoke in the environment and the landscape.

Rymer, Brett Eric Osborn Osborn is Rymer’s featured artist this month. From what I can tell he’s on faculty at SCAD and does dream-like images of people and landscapes in the Midwest.

Project A, Kathryn Fortson

Art Rogue, Tinney-Cannon, et al Dont' forget Matt Mikulla at ArtRogue, Bart Mangrum, etc. on gallery crawl night. Susan and Virginia are extending their Tony Hernandez show for another month.

Mar. 2

Diane Getty, Marnie Sheridan Gallery, Harpeth Hall Getty uses quilting techniques, stitching, and painting to make fabric pictures, some of natural scenes, others more abstract.

CRAFT: A Creative Community A group of local artists/artisans, bringing Nashville into the world of DIY crafts, holds its first monthly sale/fair of the new year in the parking lot of Lipstick Lounge from 11-5 on Sunday.

Mar. 7

Centennial Art Center, Dawn Hale, Lucian Nicholson, Mimi Walsh Dawn Hale does cut paper pieces, often with architectural themes; Nicholson makes sculptural chairs and lighting out of twigs and found materials; and Walsh works in enamels, colored glass fused to metal, which makes for lovely, vividly colored surfaces.

Terri Jones, Watkins I saw an installation by Jones at the 2005 Atlanta Biennial that was really good. In a way the core was a series of delicate, minimal gesture drawings mounted in two-sided glass frames that were installed to form their own diagonal element through the space. She drew the rest of the room into the composition with minimalist sculpture elements and material use to define lines and forms at various points throughout the space. Here’s a review I did of that piece, Now that I think about it, this show could be the other big deal this month.

Mar. 8

Cheekwood, Painters of American Life: The Eight. The 8 would be Arthur B. Davies, William Glackens, Robert Henri, Ernest Lawson, George Luks, Maurice Prendergast, Everett Shinn, and John Sloan, the major painters of New York before Modernism really took hold, also known as the Ash Can Painters. They used the techniques of Impressionism to depict real life of the day. I think of this as art of greatest interest to historians as documents of life of the time. It’s also art that a lot of American museums have a lot of, and this show is mostly drawn from Cheekwood’s collection.

Mar. 12

Roger Shimomura lecture, Vanderbilt A painter and printmaker who has dealt with visual stereotypes of Asian and Asian American people and the political and social events that drive them. The lecture is at 7 P.M. in Room 103 of Wilson Hall.

David Berman reading at Watkins. Berman is a poet and the leader of the Silver Jews. Last album was great. There’s a reception at 6 and then he’ll do a reading at 7. If I’m reading the press release correctly, this is his first reading in Nashville.

Mar. 14

TSU Hiram Van Gordon Gallery, Cutie Pie. This is a show Jodi Hays put together last year that as the name suggests explores the idea of cuteness, and that certainly is a common/important (you pick the adjective or replace with one of your choosing) trope in art today. The artists include Mark Hosford of Vanderbilt, and his little kids and dolls in cartoonish but gory settings give you an idea of what the show is working on.

Untitled, Active Ingredient This quarter the show is at the Limelight in East Nashville, and in a new twist Untitled is hooking up with the Dr. Sketchy’s group to do a life drawing session during the show, featuring some of Nashville’s burlesque queens as models.

Mar. 15

Cumberland Gallery, Billy Renkl, Ken Rowe, Ann Wells Three very solid artists. Billy Renkl does drawings with collage, the elements taken from maps and books. The incorporation of maps and books is something I distrust a little—the material is inherently interesting, which means an artist can skate by without much to say—you’re distracted looking at the map, or at least I am. But Renkl has sold me sold with a lot of his work—the pieces in the Frist’s Fragile Species show come to mind (here’s an old post on them–this and the Terri Jones item are reminding me of a time when I was actually posting reviews on the blog, during my initial enthusiasm about the venture. Oh well). Ann Wells’s stoneware sculptures are refined objects that retain some of the form of vessels. And I don’t know if Cumberland has shown Ken Rowe’s sculptures before—they are extremely detailed depictions of strange scenes like a kid poking at the decayed corpse of a critter or people in bunny costumes.

Estel, Daniel Lai. Daniel Lai shows up this month not as proprietor of Dangenart but as artist in his own right. The show will include both his portraits made by burning canvas, and sculptures. The title of the show is “Icon,” with portraits of Western cultural figures Daniel did not encounter growing up in Malaysia. Daniel seems like a total insider to Nashville art by now, but by virtue of birth and background, he has the capacity to look in on American culture as an outsider as well.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Nash Vis Arts Events Feb. 15-29

I have a suspiciously small number of openings for events the rest of the month. That can mean only two things—I’m missing a bunch of stuff and/or I’m going to have a lot of stuff to get into the March 1 etc. listing.

Myself, I’m going to be off in Scotland playing with the Cherry Blossoms at the Instal festival. I haven’t really comes to terms with the idea that I’m kinda of going to be sharing a bill with John Butcher and Donald Dietrich (of Borbetomagus). And Alan Silva.

As always, if you have an email list 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 To get taken off the list, email to that effect at the same address.

Feb. 15

Mark Hosford and Bill Fick, Vanderbilt Studio Arts Building Gallery Mark’s world in prints, drawing, and animation consists of cartoons of creatures that are hybrids between bugs, monsters, dolls, and children engaged in hard to define but usually gruesome actions. Fick, a professor from Duke, definitely is a kindred spirit, with a similarly cartoon-based style. His monsters seem to be taking shape from primordial processes or melting back into a more elemental stage. The opening runs from 5 to 7 on the 15th.

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 the Cleveland 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.

Feb. 16

Finer Things, Benefit Show for Arrowmont Finer Things is sponsoring a one-week show of work by resident artists at the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg. Arrowmont is one of the country’s absolute leading centers for teaching “crafts” disciplines—like the Appalachian Center for the Crafts, it’s a program of truly national stature. Arrowmont has a residence program for five artists working in wood, ceramics, fiber, printmaking, and metal, and Finer Things will have work by them. You can see profiles of the artists and some examples of their work here.

Feb. 29

Cutting Fine, Cutting Deep: Cut Paper Works, University of the South Art Gallery Sewanee professor Julie Puttgen (who had a show at Ruby Green around the time she started at Sewanee but who doesn’t seem to have been in evidence much in Nashville since) organized this group show. On one level, it is as advertised, a show of works that involve cut paper. It brings together artists from the U.S. and Switzerland—Puttgen was born in Switzerland but grew up in the States. The Swiss are all artists working within a traditional handicraft practice of papercutting called Scherenschnitt. Several of them create very intricate variations on folkloric images. The American artists are all definitely engaged in contemporary art, setting up a dialogue with the traditional practice.