Sunday, November 21, 2010

Painter, photographer tag team for 'Cross-Reference' exhibit

November 21, 2010

Painter, photographer tag team for 'Cross-Reference' exhibit

By MiChelle Jones

For Cross-Reference, their latest exhibition at Zeitgeist Gallery, photographer Gieves Anderson and painter/printmaker Hans Schmitt-Matzen celebrate the aesthetics of libraries along with the interplay of each other's media. The show remains on view through Saturday, and some of the pieces will be displayed into next month.

Known by their collaborative name of Hans + Gieves, the two artists first used library imagery in a series of work called "Loop." They played off each other's work, sometimes by re-photographing a finished piece to create a new one, thus creating a feedback loop, Hans explains.

They continue this to some degree in Cross-Reference. Cross-Reference 6, for example, is a photograph of floor tiles whose pattern is repeated in paint applied with a stencil. The very abstract image in Cross-Reference 8 was made by photographing that template on top of Cross-Reference 6.

A sense of place

Both Hans and Gieves say they are inspired by the stacks of books, the spines of books and the contemplative atmosphere found in libraries.

"I believe libraries are cathedrals to humanity," Gieves says. "What some people would feel when they go into St. Patrick's Cathedral is what I feel when I go into the Mid-Manhattan library; it's sort of a holy place for me."

He visits and photographs libraries wherever he travels, though he does things a little differently when working on shots for the collaborative pieces, intentionally leaving room for Hans to "play."

"The photos we selected were ones where I felt like I saw painterly marks happening in his photos in a way," Hans says. "When I walk into a library and I see all these books on the shelves with their spines with the color just rolling out in front of your eyes, it's similar to me the way a stroke unfolds across the canvas."

Hans works as an exhibition designer at Frist Center for the Visual Arts; Gieves lives in New York and does freelance lighting and visual tech for fashion shoots. The two met as students at MTSU, each drawn to the other's medium.

"I am actually more interested in painting than I am photography," Gieves admits. "If anything, I'm a frustrated painter. I've tried to paint; it just doesn't work for me."

Instead, his photographs have a painterly touch to them in the way he uses color and abstraction.

Meanwhile, Hans also takes his own photographs in addition to painting and making screen prints.

Gieves + Hans, minus Hans

A sampling of Gieves' solo work is currently on view in Twist's auxiliary gallery. The show came together quickly after Gieves dropped in on Twist co-owner and curator Beth Gilmore, his former studio neighbor.

India in the Absence is a collection of eight color photos Gieves took during a six-week trip to the subcontinent, the second in a series of journeys that began with Japan and will continue with one to Southeast Asia next month.

"Photographically, I prefer chaos and revel in the challenge of quieting it, calming it within the lens," he says. "It's not easy because I tend to go to the most populated places in the world and then photograph these huge cities without people."

Shown on dark gray walls (the floor of the gallery is also painted dark gray) and coated with gloss laminate, the super-saturated color images are bright enough to look like light boxes. "I get that a lot," Gieves says of the comparison.

Meanwhile, though India in the Absence is Gieves' solo exhibition, Hans was involved in a small way; he suggested that Gilmore double hang a couple of the photographs, thus fitting them all into the gallery.

Additional Facts
What: Cross-Reference, mixed-media work by Hans + Gieves; India in Absence, photographs by Gieves Anderson
Where: Zeitgeist, 1819 21st Ave. S.; Twist Art Gallery, Arcade #77
When: through Saturday
Zeitgeist’s hours: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday–Wednesday and Saturday; closed Thursday and Friday
Twist’s hours: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday; 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday
Admission: free
Contact: 256-4805 or; 1-888-535-5286 or