Saturday, March 08, 2014

ON THE ROAD TO NASHVILLE ART SCENE


Rymer Gallery - Whitney Wood Bailey - Collective Harmonies 3
Oil And Mixed Media On Canvas 54x54 2013

ModernDallas.net re-post of my article

I have been staying about an hour north of Nashville for about a week for my artist residency in Kentucky. So, Nashville art scene was calling to me all this time and I had to answer the call. I even watched the television show Nashville to prepare myself. So, today I visited art galleries with my television producer friend. We basically barnstormed the scene, but I still got a decent pulse on what the galleries are showing.

Tinney Contemporary was our first stop where we saw paintings by Jeanie Gooden and Lyle Carbajal. Gooden works resembles a common abstract style that resembles a weathered wall. However, Gooden manages to craft some Cy Twombly marks in some of the work and other pieces she has sown into the surface. Normally I don’t respond to work like Lyle Carbajal, but his collage figures with childlike constructed sensibility drew me closer. I was reminded of Jean-Michel Basquiat's work. Both Carbajal and Basquiat use simple marks to make figures and faces come alive. Carbajal raw old wood frames might have been a bit much.

We walked down to Rymer Gallery, nearby, to see Whitney Wood paintings on canvas and paper. One of the more striking shows of the day, Wood worked on large canvases that mixed washes separated with sharp lines and thick dashes of paint. The composition meandered around to give your eye very little to rest upon. I was able to stop my darting eyes by walking in close and looking at all the little details. The works on paper feel like a portrait of an abstract object, which immediately peaked my interest. Because each piece used negative space around the object, I could spend more time investigating the painted part.

One unique place was the old style Arcade. Not a place for video games, but a two-storey covered indoor walking space.. Downstairs were restaurants and shops, but upstairs was Nashville’s Art at the Arcade. Many were small little commercial gallery spaces, some connected to schools, and others run by independent artists. They were all getting ready for this weekend’s gallery walk. I was reminded a little bit of SouthSide on Lamar’s downstairs, back when they had a great deal of artists’ spaces. With such a mix of spaces in one place, I can’t say I have encountered anything like it before. I just wish more things were open before Saturday.

The Frist Center for Visual Art, Nashville art museum, was advertising a Norman Rockwell, so we skipped it. But it turns out 30 Americans is up right now too. It would have been great to see this group of very talented African American artists. I will have to try to catch it before January 12th. A few other visits around some less interesting spaces and we were out. From what I can tell, it looks to be a small art scene that has emergent properties. I see a lot of potential, but also a lot of sameness, with hints of artists with their own voices. I will have to immerse myself in the scene again soon to take another snapshot of this more than Music City.

ModernDallas.net for more pictures

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