Perambulating the Bounds

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Off the Wall in Dickson

Just got a chance to see the Off the Wall group's show at the Renaissance Center.

A couple of things that seemed worth mentioning. Janet Heilbronn has really luscious paintings, one of those maybe it's abstract, maybe it's geologic sort of things. One of the paintings, untitled, has a sort of collar-formation, like some sort of sponge. The center is dominated by a brick-red color, but has flashes of blues in it. The structure is surrounded by a midnight blue background. Then the next painting over, What We Know, has really different color things go on. A diagonal line divides the painting--under the line are swirling forms I seem to remember from earlier work. On top of the line are clearly delineated pebbles with thin bright colors--it's the kind of colors that shouldn't work, but they do. This is a case where I just like what an artist is doing with color. I have a similar reaction say to James Lavadour's work when they show it at Cumberland.

I've been watching Iwonka Waskowski's work with interest since she showed some color drawings on clay board in a show at Kristi Hargrove's studio. They seemed like anatomical cut-aways, but not so much of discernable forms, and with shapes of things like teddy bears embedded. The shapes have a kind of analytical quality, like the working out of systems of shapes and relationships, but it's also very intuitive. I realize it's a way I think about the way Francis Bacon shapes images, and Iwonka's work in color has the raw meat quality that is ever present in Bacon. She's been working with these forms for I guess a couple of years now. The work at the Renaissance Center is graphite drawings, so no color. She continues working with those shapes, but in this media they have Hargravian qualities of fine detail, little hairlines and whatnot. "Tortured Madonna" takes the exterior shape of Mary with her head covered from religious paintings, and strips off the surface to show the shapes of strange organs or body structures, although the folds of cloth are still sort of present. She's also done a lot of paired images, and in this show there's two, "The Way I See It" and "The Way You See It" are very similar abstract shapes with slight variations. This is what I mean by an analytic piece, where you try out variations on the same forms and work shifts in combinations.

These are examples of stuff Iwonka's been working on for a while. The big shift is the introduction of figures with mask-like faces on a couple of these--much more literal, more explicitly figures, and a step into cartoon-inspired areas. Like with the work to date, it will be interesting to see where it goes.

I'm not going to talk about everyone's stuff because this is just a quick blog post. Quinn Dukes, Jenny Luckett, Mahlea Jones, and Jaime Raybin are also in the show. Jaime's taking images like her Milk Shelf series in a new direction with photographs inserted as vitrines in thick-walled boxes, but still working on recollections of childhood and teen-age years. Anyway, the show is up through March 14.

Maybe the best thing about this trip was seeing the new sculptures of the Jackson brothers, the 3 Dickson doctors who founded the local hospital, sold it to HCA, made a lot of money on their HCA stock and funded the Renaissance Center. The Ren Center took a wall in the rotunda area and installed three bronze busts of the brothers, looking very stern in their doctor's coats. With their uniforms it reminded me of a display honoring General Zhukov and other commanders of the Great Patriotic War.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Review of Paint Made Flesh

Here's my review of the Frist contemporary painting show that appeared in the Scene today. This really is a great show. I went back last weekend just to see the Lucien Freuds. And a lot of the others are really fine. I'm going to try to get back regularly while it's here.

Nashville Visual Arts Events February 2009

This month we’ve got a few promising things coming up. Another group show at Estel with Lesley Patteron-Marx and Desi Minchillo, another installation from Lauren Kusso at Twist.

TSU Gallery is not listed this month, but they organized the panel discussion at Vandy on the 19th, which is related to TSU’s current showing of Diva Dutch, a documentary about Aishia Cousins and a “performance sculpture” project she did. I assume it involves jumping rope, which I’ve never thought about much but I can see how it is an important performance practice for African-American girls and women. I imagine there’s a lot to work with there.

For those of you who get out of town, Barbara Yontz is in a 3-woman show that opens tomorrow night at Phoenix Gallery in Chelsea. There will also be an artists’ talk for the show on Feb. 19.

There’s probably a zillion errors and omissions this month. Let me know what you catch, and I’ll try to fix it, at least on the web site.

February 5

Zeitgeist, Georgeanne Harmon poetry reading. This reading by Georgeanne Harmon is in conjunction with the current exhibit at Zeitgeist of paintings by her brother Paul. The exhibit incorporates selections from her works into the gallery exhibition. This event is the first in a planned series at Zeitgeist which will bring in prose writers and poets for readings and discussion in conjunction with each of the gallery shows this year.

February 5

Sarratt Gallery, Rob Lambert. Photography and sculpture that moves back and forth between the landscape and abstract forms. I left this one off earlier, so I may come back and fill in some more detail.

February 6

Centennial Art Center, Members of the Plate Tone Printshop. Six members of the group will be exhibiting—Mar Augelli, Kaaren Hirschowitz-Engel, Patricia Jordan, Reesha Leone, Jenny Luckett and Jaime Raybin.

Watkins Juried Student Art Show. This is one of the best ways to see what the students at Watkins are doing. These students remain one of the most important sources of energy for our art scene—there’s real talent there, and certainly an engagement with the larger art world.

Gallery F, Unusual Sympathy. Carlin Wing and Amelia Winger-Bearskin have produced a show about Andrew Jackson, but it focuses on Lyncoya, a Creek boy orphaned on the battlefield and adopted by Jackson. Wing is teaching photography at Watkins, and Winger-Bearskin is a lecturer in video, performance art, and drawing at Vandy. This sounds like another complex show at Gallery F, with drawings, video, text, and photography. Winger-Bearskin will give a vocal performance the night of the opening, and the two artists will deliver a talk at the gallery at 3 on Sunday the 8th. This show will be the first of several parts to this collaboration.

Forest Bride at the 5 Spot. This is the group Ben and Amy Marcantel lead, mostly by setting some nice parameters for musicians to work around in. I play in it, and other folks like Ryan Norris, Jonathan Marx, Luke Schneider, Scott Martin, Joseph Hudson, and Derek Schartung, depending on what they’ve got going on.

February 7

Estel, Paper Rock Scissors. This show picks up the words in the old game, which in their various combinations determine the works involved—works made from stone, cut paper, or with any of the 3 things as subject matter. It makes perfect sense for the the artists chosen. The most complicated of Lesley Patterson-Marx’s prints usually involve cutting the paper, forming masks and cut-throughs. I haven’t seen much of Sabine Schlunk’s work yet, but one piece did involve stones collected, as I remember it, from Germany. Samantha Callahan had great cut paper pieces in a show at Downtown Presbyterian Church, as did Desi Minchillo at Estel. That’s just four out of 18 artists in that show. And one of the side galleries will show drawings by Marcello Halmenschlager—I thought his work in Estel’s group drawing show was very interesting and wonder how well it will hold up on second viewing. Also, Harry has new work up.

Twist, Lauren Kussro. This installation makes a companion to the Estel show—Kussro’s primary material is paper, printed, cut and turned into objects that she suspended throughout the gallery space. Her previous installation at Twist was dreamy, peaceful, and surreal, and it looks like this one, with the enticing title “The Luminous Bower,” will hit some of the same marks and more—this time she’s working lights into the paper forms, which should deliver a nice warm sense. MiChelle Jones did a nice preview of it in the Tennessean. Twist will complement that installation with Irene Wills’s garden and floral paintings. In their second space down the hall in the Arcade, they’ll show paintings by Duncan McDaniel.

Plowhaus at TALS, Contrast: A Celebration of African-American History. This show brings together a bunch of the Plowhaus artists with some of the Lost Boys of Sudan artists and students enrolled in the YMCA’s artEMBRACE program. The artists from these 3 groups are addressing how African-American history has influenced their lives. It’s a great way to frame a Black History Month theme, leaving room for everyone to address this history from whatever perspective they bring.

The Arts Company, John Baeder. Nashvillian Baeder has created well-known photorealist paintings and watercolors of places like diners, hamburger stands, and Nashville neighborhood landmarks. But this is a show of photographs, the prints he used as references for his paintings.

Tennessee State Museum, premiere of documentary on John Baeder. Directed by Curt Hahn, a filmmaker who among other things is documenting some of the pivotal figures in Nashville’s cultural life with his previous films on the Fisk Jubilee Singers and Sylvia Hyman. The showing will be at 3:00, and is in conjunction with a retrospective of Baeder’s work at the Tennessee State Museum.

Downtown Presbyterian Church, Elizabeth Streight and Sarah Hearld. Two photographers who literally have worked from opposite ends of the globe. Sarah’s pictures come from her travels in New Delhi, while Liz’s sensitive, caring work is drawn from the people right around her, right here. I would say Liz’s work is more domestic and intimate, but from the samples I’ve seen I’m not sure Sarah doesn’t share similar interests.

Tinney Contemporary, Lyle Carbajal, Sharon Lee Hart and Jason Lascu. Art brut paintings from Carbajal, photographs composed of composite images from Hart, and figurative sculptures in wax by Lascu.

Rymer, Doug Schatz, Dooby Tompkins, Thomas Petillo, Ted Whisenhunt. Sculpures by Schatz, pop-culture infused paintings by Tompkins, large format Polaroid images by Petillo, and sculptures from Whisenhunt.

Ruby Green, Open Studios. Ruby Green is converting its gallery space into studios for the next few months, through September. The artists with studios (right now the line up is Lori Anne Parker, Olga Alexeeva, John Newman, Susan Saruda, and Caroline Allison) are going to have open studios every month on first Saturday. This is a return to Ruby Green’s roots, which was studio space before the gallery was formed. Keeping the gallery program going was hard for Chris Campbell and the others involved, but it’s disappointing that they’ll be taking a break from putting up curated shows.

Cumberland Gallery, paintings by Xin Lu, and wall sculptures by Ahren Ahrenholtz, John Fraser, Ben Dallas, David French, Tom Pfannerstill. Xin Lu was the winner of the Hamblet Award at Vanderbilt. She uses all sorts of Chinese cultural imagery, a reflection of her exploration of her heritage. Just to pick one of the sculptors, Ahrenholtz had some really nice assemblages in Cumberland’s Small Packages show over the holidays. They had that quality of mysterious industrial formations, like fixtures in a Terry Gilliam movie. The pieces, made from common materials like rope, cloth, or nails, are slathered in white paint that gives everything a uniform surface texture and a sense of semi-firmness.

Terrazzo, Zeitgeist artists. 3 units in this new building at 12th and Division will be used as galleries for work by Jim Ann Howard, Terry Rowlett, Greg Pond, Hans Schmitt-Matzen, Megan Lightell, Gene Wilken, and Richard Painter. The intersection of real estate and art, not always benign, takes a slightly different form here where the parties pursue a mutual interest in getting the public to see what they’ve created.

MIR, Michael McKelvey

February 12

Alias concert, Turner Recital Hall, Blair School, Vandy. The winter concert by Nashville’s main chamber music group includes one of the great Bartok string quartets (#4), one of Dvorak’s string quintets, and two pieces in Alias’ series this year of works by female composers: a piece for cello and piano by Gabriela Lena Frank, which includes some improvisation, and a duet for violin and piano by Lili Boulanger, younger sister of the great composition teacher Nadia. Starts at 8.

February 13

University Art Gallery, Sewanee, Lauren Kalman. Kalman taught for a year or so at Watkins—now she’s at Brown. Though I’ve seen sculptures by her that use metal, it didn’t register on me she has background as a goldsmith. This show brings out that part of her background. She makes gold objects (“adornments” she calls them) that she attaches to her body. The objects in one series take the form of disease symptoms—cysts, tumors—jewelry as a form of disfigurement rather than decoration.

Three Squared Gallery, Erin Plew, John Whitten, and Kelly Bonadies. A show by three of the sharper students near the end of their time at Watkins. The gallery is located at 427 Chestnut Street, studio 223.

Frist Center, Medieval Treasures from Cleveland and Mike Hoolboom. The first show appears to be self-explanatory from the title—sculptures, metalwork, carvings, etc. from the period before the Renaissance. Contemporary Artists Project gallery has video from Mike Hoolboom, who combines original footage and material taken from other films.

February 17

Parthenon symposium, Bronwen Wickkiser, “From Hippokrates to Asklepios: the Medical Marketplace in Ancient Greece.” The talk will be at 7:00; call 862-8431 to reserve a free ticket.

February 18

Vanderbilt Studio Arts Building, Space 204, Clay Carroll and Ruth Stanford. Carroll’s another Hamblet Award winner (see Cumberland), now studying architecture at Harvard. This show has large-scale photos white boxes he positioned in the landscape, which he has brought into the gallery. He’s clearly interested in non-rational spaces, as he showed in his contribution to the Judy Chicago project at Vanderbilt. Stanford is a sculptor who has titled the work in this show “Cryptoecology”—her imaginary environments are dioramas placed inside the mouths of fish heads.

February 19

Panel discussion, The Image of the Black Female in Art and Education. Participants include Aisha Cousins, whose work is on display at TSU, Amelia Winger-Bearskin from Vanderbilt who is currently showing at Gallery F, and Cynthia Gadsen and Jewell Win from TSU. Jodi Hays from TSU moderates. 6 p.m. in Room 126 at Wilson Hall on the Vanderbilt campus.

Nashville Public Library, Main Downtown Library, Alan LeQuire, “Cultural Heroes.” An exhibit of LeQuire’s monumental bronze busts of singers—Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, Leadbelly, Paul Robeson, and Woody Guthrie, plus a new one to be unveiled at the reception on the 19th. These are labors of love for LeQuire. Observant Nashville frequent flyers will have seen them on display earlier on the concourse between the A/B and C terminals at the Nashville airport.