Thursday, November 04, 2010

November's First Saturday Gallery Crawl promises new exhibits galore

ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT » ART November 04, 2010 Nashville Scene

November's First Saturday Gallery Crawl promises new exhibits galore
Crawl Space
by JOE NOLAN

Not only is there art at "The Crawl," there is an art to navigating it. This month, the downtown migration of art openings and exhibits features new faces, a local art celebrity and a whole handful of shows opening under one sometimes-overlooked roof. But armed with a game plan, you can negotiate the high points with the dangerous grace of an art-drunk drift racer.

You've come to the right place!

The big news at November's First Saturday Gallery Crawl is the debut of COOP, a new curatorial collective that will program half of the new Twist Etc. space at 75 Arcade in the coming year. The group's first effort is "Wraslin' With God," a performance piece by Reverend Ethan Acres of the Church of the Holy Fool. Acres' work evokes religious ecstasy from the absurd, borrowing tropes from that cuckoo corner of Christianity that includes drive-thru churches, JumboTron sermonizing and heavy metal for Jesus. Hey man, you had us at "ecstasy." Acres' performs promptly at 7:30 p.m.

COOP plans to present new and under-represented artists, and their non-commercial agenda is a nice fit with Twist's mostly art-for-art's-sake programming. Twist's new show of photographs by Shane Doling is a great example. Holiday Child is a series of narrative outdoor images that feature a hooded man dressed in a suit and tie. The hood casts Doling's subject as both a blinded captive of a kind and a masked killer of a sort. Doling has also worked with video, and the viewer can think of these images as stills from an unseen film about both the loss of innocence and the endurance of wonder. It's the kind of work that resonates with the interior landscape of an attuned viewer, even if it clashes with the couch.

On the other side of 5th Avenue, Tinney Contemporary opens a new show by New Orleans artist, Sidonie Villere. Villere's multimedia paintings are covered in unlikely textures, but it's her minimal, organic sculptures — often resembling stones or bones covered in gold leaf and steel spray paint — that we really want to get our hands on.

If you didn't see Whitney Wood Bailey's cave art-inspired, psychedelic paintings at Rymer Gallery in October, you have a second chance this month. Half of her show stays up while Rymer makes room for Sound Spectrum, the latest exhibit by Herb Williams. One of Nashville's most popular artists, Williams has had a busy year. His Plunderland exhibit in New York's Rare Gallery was a room-sized installation that signaled new heights for the artist's craft and concepts. Spectrum is a homecoming of sorts that finds Williams exploring the parallels between social networking and mixtape culture. This time around, his ubiquitous crayons are cast as compelling, colorful negative space.

The Arts Company opens with two new painting series that take their cues from a particular pop-cultural artifact. Denise Stewart-Sanabria paints hyperrealist canvases and, while we usually prefer more abstract work, the subject here makes her stuff look good enough to eat. Stewart-Sanabria's twin exhibits, Donuts Behaving Badly and Seven Deadly Sins, read like a food-porn double feature that aims to decide the Dunkin' Donuts vs. Krispy Kreme debate once and for all. The gallery will also feature Chris Beck's found-object work. The artist's Real Housewives of the 1950s is an exhibit of multimedia, metal wall-sculptures that nod to both folk art and mid-20th century Life Magazine photography.

Don't forget to stroll a few blocks up Broadway to the Tennessee Art League to check out their reception for no less than five new gallery shows. Our favorite is Kristina Lyle's exhibit of cut paper collage paintings opening in the TAL's Ethel Smith Gallery.

The fall will always be the best time of year for gallery crawling. The weather is perfect, the art is at its best and everyone tends to become a busier browser once Halloween has come and gone and we begin sliding down that slippery slope toward the hectic holiday season.

No pressure.

Happy crawling!

Email art@nashvillescene.com.