tales from the little pink house
Monday, March 15, 2010
Sunday, March 07, 2010
A new month, a new moon, and new artists on the scene
Filed Under: Uncategorized by Adventures Inside a Bright-Eyed Sky Mar 05, 2010
Inspired by art? By all means, come one … come all to Nashville. Nashville is not just a place where you are quick to see aspiring musicians and songwriters play their latest tunes as they walk across the street at all times of day and night. No; if you haven’t noticed yet, Nashville is becoming something much much more. It is slowly becoming the epicenter of visual art in the South. It is a place where young and old artists are coming together to call home all the while helping promote each others’ works, hopes and visions.
That being written, this weekend holds another handful of treats if treats are what you are seeking. Well-known artists Sydney Reichman and Kaaren Hirschowitz Engel will be present at the Centennial Art Center tonight from 5-7pm to display new pieces, answer any questions from the audience, and also give everyone a free glimpse into their creative process by offering the visitors on hand hands on demonstrations on how they done it! It sure sounds like a great appetizer for the other creative happenings to prepare for tomorrow.
What creative happenings am I typing about? Well, within the First Saturday Art Crawl, I instantly gravitated towards three specific things that I am very excited about to share with you personally (if reading about them on the internet via a story on Examiner is personal for you). The first attention grabber, not shockingly, came in the arrival of another fascinating installation at Twist Gallery. Oliver and Lucha is a wonderful wedding of puppetry and printmaking. Combining Oliver’s take on illustrations, paintings, and creative puppets matched alongside Lucha Rodriguez’s print work will make you believe you just walked into a room where Dr. Seuss, Shel Siverstein, and Jim Henson all worked on the same project. Yep, you could call it magical.
After Twist, head on over to The Rymer Gallery once more to introduce yourself to Layered: new works by Dan Addington. Not only will you be pleasantly surprised by such an introduction, but you will surely be in awe of the new series beside Layered that was put together one of my local favorites, L.A. Bachman called The Big Break Up: This is not a love story. Inspired by continental movement, all of the materials used in Bachman’s latest series were provided by the Professional Development Support Grant she received for 2010.
And speaking of professional development, please put your hands together and feet in motion in order to welcome and attend one of my family friend’s Nashville art debut within a group exhibition at the Davis Art Advisory/The Showroom. After growing up in parts of Kentucky, moving to Chicago for a bit to share her art and talents with the windy city masses, Amanda Sears is happy to call Nashville her home and base (home base if you will) to launch her next creative moves as an artist, actress and fashion stylist. Feel free to stop by any time between 6-9pm so you can catch a glimpse of this newly arrived talent and excitement surrounding a much awaited arrival on the art scene.
So if the above is not enough to get you excited about art in Nashville for the weekend ahead, then this might be the wrong Examiner page for you. No matter what you get into, be safe and be kind to one another. And don’t laugh at that guy singing his song and playing his guitar while crossing the street … try joining in and singing along!
Friday, March 05, 2010
Oliver and Lucha at Twist
It Takes Two
Stumbling by Oliver and Lucha's MySpace page — yes, people still have those — is an experience that could be described as “horrifically cute” or “painfully colorful.” Sounding equally inviting and protective, Twist curator Beth Gilmore laughs, “Wait until you see the gallery!” A pair of Georgia peaches, the two-headed-girl-monster that is Oliver and Lucha combines installation, drawing, sound, sculpture and puppets to express a range of ideas inspired by everyone and everything from Doctor Seuss to stuffed animals and bubble gum. Attempting to create greater connection with their audience, the pair often incorporates scratch-and-sniff elements, touch-friendly textures and wearable art into their tripped-out, candy-coated affairs. We won't give away any secrets, but be prepared to check out some totally tubular sounds at this eye-popping exhibit.
Thursday, March 04, 2010
One thing you'll never find a shortage of in Nashville: someone with a story. Maybe it's how they got here, maybe it's what they did once they arrived. Maybe it's the reason they decided never to leave. In this issue — our second annual People Issue — you'll meet people whose stories will make you lean a little closer and listen. We found a professor who'd risked life and limb to embed overseas, a country singer-turned-baker, an overnight sensation and a guy who can fix damn near anything. In between, we uncovered experts, characters, and movers and shakers we'd heard about but never met (or stumbled upon without realizing it). Together, their stories form a road map to a city you can spend a lifetime getting to know. Whether you've been here six months or six decades, let us introduce you.
The People Issue 2010
Ke$ha - The Pop Sensation
Bobby John Henry - The Baker of Music Row
Chris Scruggs - The Duke of Music City
Brent Stewart, James Clauer, Michael Carter, Ryan Zacarias, Brooke Bernard - The Gang of Five
Beth Gilmore - The Southern Belle
Ed Amatrudo - The Foreclosure King
Katherine Carroll - The Battlefield Professor
Jared Miller - The Philanthropist
Sarah Chrosniak - The DJ
Max & Ben Goldberg - The Dynamic Duo
Kasar Abdulla - The Advocate
Nashville's Dead - The ‘Dead’ Beat Kids
Charlie Southgate - The Music City MacGyver
Nick Raskulinecz - The Producer
Bob O'Dell - The Star Salesman
Kent Marcus - The Rock Rainmaker
Ted Swindley - The Director
Zeneba Bowers - The Violinist
Chris Johnson - The Big Dog
Jeff Yarbro & Sen. Douglas Henry - The Opponents
Beth Gilmore - The Southern Belle
Published on March 03, 2010 at 4:13pm
It's getting harder to find a true native Nashvillian these days, but artist and Twist Gallery co-owner Beth Gilmore is the real deal. Actually, she represents the third generation of her immediate family to operate a business in downtown Music City, which might help to explain her strong sense of place and the historical awareness that informs her work and her life.
Other historically minded locals are likely to have met Gilmore, since she's led tours at the Belmont Mansion for 12 years now. On special occasions, she even dons period dress and assumes the role of the estate's original matriarch, Adelicia Acklen — to whom she actually bears an uncanny resemblance.
Even just chatting over coffee, she's effusive about the mansion's legacy. "They were out here in the middle of nowhere displaying classical art," Gilmore beams. In our media-saturated environment, she observes, we tend to neglect the decorative arts. "But if you're a visually oriented person living out in the middle of a deer park, you want those statues, you want those crazy wallpaper designs!"
Belmont supports present-day art, too — they've hosted a show of Gilmore's paintings and prints in one of the mansion's unrestored rooms. Her senior exhibit for Watkins, where she expects to graduate in May, will feature imaginative re-creations of artifacts lost from the mansion since its original sale in 1887. Delving into letters, diaries and old newspapers for information about Belmont's former contents, she hopes that bringing attention to the missing items might contribute to their eventual recovery.
Gilmore is also artist-in-residence at the Downtown Presbyterian Church, where she keeps a studio and curates shows. The role dovetails nicely with her gallery work, since the church is just up the block from Twist's home in The Arcade. A church residency may seem unusual for a visual artist, but Gilmore — as always — brings a historical perspective to bear. "Medieval artists worked for churches," she laughs. "Even if they didn't always get to sign their work."
Despite an eye on the rearview mirror, she's not one to pine for the good old days. Gilmore is optimistic about today's art world as well as Nashville's downtown revitalization, and not without reason. She founded the thriving Twist Gallery with cohort Caroline Carlisle in 2006, joining the cooperative-minded Art at The Arcade community and other area galleries for events like the monthly First Saturday Gallery Crawl.
Twist is making its mark with exhibits and installations by emerging artists, both from Nashville and from further afield, and with live music and a separate "boutique-style" selection of affordable artwork.
Threads have a way of crossing in Gilmore's life. A childhood home on Acklen Park Drive seems to resonate with playing the part of Adelicia Acklen as an adult, or with keeping a studio at Downtown Presbyterian, where the bell given by Mrs. Acklen still rings every Sunday. Perhaps it's like what Gilmore said about her senior show: Maybe these connections emerge when we just start paying attention. —RUSSELL JOHNSTON
Photographed by Eric England at the artist lofts in the Downtown Presbyterian Church.
Wednesday, March 03, 2010
Strange Cocktail: Watkins mixes Faculty and Student Work
Filed under: Uncategorized — nashvillecritical @ 11:49 pm
Though Twist is one of the most exciting galleries in Nashville, this month’s exhibit of Watkins faculty and students failed to live up to the high expectations that accompany the Watkins clan. The work itself was not all bad; however, the manner of presentation left much to be desired. The show, which was inaccurately dubbed Watkins Five + 5, was actually Watkins Five + 6. The show featured the work of five faculty members: Brady Haston, Ron Lambert, Terry Thacker, Kristi Hargrove, and Derek Coté. The faculty then chose six students to join them in the exhibit: Lauren Willis, Clayton Lancaster, Robert Dunn, Claudia O’Steen, Alexis Hicks, and Timothy Marchbanks.
Upon first entering the gallery, the extreme variation of media, color, form, and presentation made my heart race. I love nothing more than to see a display of experimentation and rule breaking. My brow began to furrow as I made my way through the front room; it was difficult to link all the work together. There seemed to be no cohesive theme running through the exhibit aside from the fact that everyone gathered in the same building on Rosa Parks Boulevard everyday. A great tool for helping the viewer connect the dots between a broad range of work is a statement from the group or curator. It is true that with group shows involving that many artists, it is not logical for everyone to have a statement beside their work, especially in this case when each artist is only showing one or two pieces. Nonetheless, a simple one page group statement near the beginning of the exhibit would have done wonders for the viewers’ ability to tie the work together.
The first set of work I saw in the gallery was the group of hand-sized geometric sculptures by Alexis Hicks. The four tiny contraptions were made of paper reinforcements, the doughnut shaped white stickers you use to repair your paper when it pulls out of a three-ring binder. They were displayed on a large wooden shelf that competed with the delicacy of the sculptures. Though the little shapes, collectively titled Preventable Accidents, probably took a while to make and are quite crafty, the conceptual substance was hard to find.
After having heard Kristi Hargrove’s artist talk at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts recently, I was thrilled to see two of her drawings up close and personal. Hargrove, the well-read professor packing a bag full of mom issues that she often addresses in her work, is an extremely careful artist. Every mark is deliberately psychological and completely calculated. Hargrove said of the drawings, “This current work questions boundaries and limitations. I’m pressing the physicality of the paper to the point of exhausting the surface.”
The results are fleshy organic drawings that suggest the inexactness of the body. With a ballpoint pen, she pushes, pulls, and presses the backside of the paper to manipulate the surface of the front. “I’m finding the place where the tenderness and sensitivity of the paper mimics the pliability of my skin,” explained the artist. Her simultaneously delicate and heavy-handed graphite drawings are beautiful, sensual, and tortured. In pristine condition, the excavated drawings were the highlight of the show.
Terry Thacker, whose rumored brilliance precedes him, displayed three untitled mixed media collages and one unframed painting. All four pieces were brought together by a rich blue color, while the topless frames segregated them. His work has an accessible, immature quality that reminds me of his former student Matt Christy’s exhibition last month. In an interview Christy once told me that Thacker had greatly influenced his work. One can definitely see the influence.
Switching dimensions, faculty member Ron Lambert’s well-crafted polygonal model of a scarce environment bearing only two trees commented on the relationship between nature and technology.
Student Robert Dunn’s video titled (F)utility depicted a person wearing a bright pink jersey and a bedazzled helmet poorly chopping wood. The footage then played in reverse as if to “un-do” all the work that had just been done.The video was successful in that it was attention-grabbing and prodded the viewer to watch the entire awkward display of masculinity. However, the video could have stood on its own without the physical objects being present right next to it. Displaying the outfit used in the video did not necessarily contribute to the work.
An Easily Distinguished Set of Characteristics Suggesting a Type of Relationship between Individuals
I visited the show twice, once during the crowded Art Crawl and once entirely alone a couple of weeks later, to fully interrogate the work. Funny thing, during the second visit I noticed a sound installation existed in the back room of the gallery that was almost entirely drowned out and largely overlooked during the Art Crawl.Derek Coté’s cringing installation had an extended but necessary title, An Easily Distinguished Set of Characteristics Suggesting a Type of Relationship between Individuals. One speaker repeats in an obnoxiously cheerful female voice, “Hi, how are you? How’s it going?” while out of the other speaker drones a lifeless male voice spouting fractions of narratives such as, “One day, a French boy asks his dad for ten dollars.” Between the speakers were juvenile scrawlings made in pencil by the public. The experience of standing with your head between the two speakers was priceless. The urge to pull out my hair competed with the desire to numbly stand there and listen to several hours of the simulated conversation. The Canadian-born Coté received his Masters in Fine Art from Virginia Commonwealth University and has an impressive oeuvre in sculpture and installation. His work alone is worth the trip downtown.
Overall, the work in this show was hit or miss. There were definitely some gems in the gallery that made it worthwhile. The Watkins Five + 5 exhibit is up through March 4th at Twist Gallery in the Arcade on 5th Avenue.
Check out www.twistartgallery.com for more information and a list of upcoming exhibitions.
by Sara Estes
Arts Writer, Nashville Pix, www.nashvillepix.com