An Online Gallery!

Check out our new page featuring all work that was submitted for our 5th Annual Juried Exhibition. This show opens April 1st during Arts & Music @ Wedgwood/Houston Art Crawl. See you soon!

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Deadline Tonight

I Am The First & I Am The Last

I Am The First & I Am The Last-by Leslie Tucker

Thanks to all of the amazing artists that have applied so far! This is sure to be a stellar show! If you haven’t yet submitted your images there’s still time, but get them in by midnight tonight. Austin Thomas will be choosing those for the gallery show soon after, so we can notify everyone asap. We’ll be working to get all artists on our newly created gallery page as well. So excited to see what we all-together create!! #MakeAmericaArtAgain #Eyeminded

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5th Annual Juried Art Exhibition

Submit your finest, and let our Juror, Austin Thomas, choose the best. All artists will receive at least one image on our gallery page linked to their website or contact info.

There’s still time as Deadline to apply is February 28th. Notification for inclusion in gallery show in early March. Work needs to be delivered by the 20th of March, ready to hang. Exhibition opens April 1st during Arts & Music @ Wedgwood/Houston. “Best of Show” receives solo show.

callforentries2

 

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Sayonara 2016: A Year in Review

In 2016, Ground Floor Gallery + Studios was host to 18 different artists. The Gallery witnessed a particularly political group of shows, but didn’t we all? Looking back at our year at Ground Floor, the turmoil of 2016 can be read almost like a timeline.

r-candy-mountainmedium_large-1456253467Amanda Joy Brown explored the relationship between paint and textiles in her exhibition Resurface. She showed a body of work that included paint skins that were folded and weaved in the way one may work with fabric.

unnamed-2The Gallery’s floors and wall were transformed into interactive surfaces in Danielle McCleave’s The Touch Room. The artist’s multiple installations encouraged the audience to interact with the art as well as each other in an intimate way. A desire to reconnect was met.

No Shame in Wanting-largeHow to Love Living Things was a gorgeous show put together by artist Meg Stein from North Carolina. Her soft sculptures explore political and social ideas of domestic life, particularly “women’s work.” The titles of the work originating from poetry added another complication to the issues Stein addressed.

jovanniJovanni Luna brought paint skins back to the gallery walls in his exhibition Universal Spaces. His show featured rolls of paint skins meticulously gathered on shelves within a stretcher. Luna invited to explore the possibilities of what a painting can be.

Hargrave--Donald TrumpIn History Repeats Itself, Katie Hargrave directly pointed to our dystopian election year. She showcased a giant game of Jenga, videos of Democratic debates being balanced on balloons, and highlighted Republican speeches.

aggregateWe opened our studios for a group show, Aggregate, in October. Featured artists included: Anna Merrill, Bobby Becker, Carrie Jobe, Cassie Harner, Devin Goebel, Dez Hough, Georganna Greene, Janet Decker Yanez, Jovanni Luna, Mandy Brown, Meg McGregor, Mihail Tomescu, and Sibley Barlow.

14808074_10155462311809199_439175131_oJason Stout’s Thrown From the Storm added one final punch to our particularly political year with his complex paintings. His images explored the overwhelming noise of social issues being dished out by the media.

2016 has left everyone, including the art world with plenty to say and much to ruminate on. Here’s to the New Year and a new group of artists showing in Nashville! In the meantime, check out some of our major upcoming shows:

Art of the South 2017

Les Femme Folles curated by Sally Duskins

5th Annual Juried Art Exhibition (submit here!)

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Show and Tell

First up, join us for the artist’s reception for THROWN FROM THE STORM, by Jason Stout, this Saturday Nov. 5th, from 7-10pm. Be sure to also see all the gallery openings that night during our neighborhood’s art crawl, Arts and Music at Wedgwood Houston.

Next, Ground Floor Gallery + Studios is pleased to announce the curator for our 5th Annual Juried Art Exhibition will be NYC artist, Austin Thomas. Please see below for her bio and watch for our upcoming Artist Call. #MakeAmericaArtAgain #Eyeminded

Austin Thomas is a New York City artist, curator and community builder.  Her work has been exhibited at The Drawing Center, Murray Guy, The Sculpture Center, Art in General and at White columns (all in NYC) and internationally in Singapore, Australia, and Hungary and at the Kunsthalle Exnergasse in Vienna.   From 2007 to 2014, she directed the influential Pocket Utopia gallery, she now is director of special projects at Steven Harvey Fine Art.
She is a graduate of NYU and is represented by Undercurrent Projects located in the East Village.  In the Summer of 2016 her permanent public sculpture, Plaza Perch, for a new park in Brooklyn was unveiled.  She has also done public commissions for the Public Art Fund and Grinnell College. Thomas’s work is featured in the book titled “Living and Sustaining a Creative Life: Essays by 40 Working Artists” and will also be featured in that book’s sequel “The Artist as Culture Producer: Living and Sustaining a Creative Life,” which were both edited by Sharon Louden.

Lastly, Ground Floor Gallery currently has studios available, please contact info.groundfloorgallery@gmail.com for pricing, availability and to schedule a showing. Our studios offers 24/7 access, a supportive artist community and space to experiment.

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Thrown From the Storm, November 5th 7-10pm

Jason Stout will be showing a new body of work at Ground Floor Gallery November 5th, 7-10pm. This is a series that Jason began around a year ago after searching for ideas through some traditional still life painting. He was working on vanitas centered in a domestic setting, all of which included a cloud-filled window. Through time, the repeated appearance of these windows revealed something to Stout – a metaphor for “domestic turbulence.” He saw that our home lives can never be unlinked from the  turmoils of the culture outside. As if stepping into the painting and out of the window, Jason found a solution – clouds.memento-mori-back-room-gory

There were many political and social issues that Stout was trying to address in his paintings. Unfortunately, we live in a culture that moves on from a disturbance as quickly as it developed in the first place. The ongoing election, continued military efforts, and Black Lives Matter movement are certainly headliners in the media, but before the paint had dried on Jason’s canvas, the media had moved on. Painting takes longer to process. Clouds became a basis that allowed him to have a dialogue with these issues in a way that could keep up. They are metaphors on their own terms – fight clouds in a cartoon – as well as a form for these cultural problems to move in and out of, reacting to one another and drawing connections. Stout says, “It wasn’t about the issues, it was about all the overwhelming information and the tension and anxiety that comes from that.” He also talked about The cloud, befittingly calling it the “storage cloud super center.”

Stout said that “you hit this cloud and get spun around the edges of a square.” When looking at these paintings, this couldn’t be more true. Using a high pigment count and a sharp understanding of temperature and value push, these images vibrate almost like the work of Op Art. This makes sense after speaking with Jason. He absorbs and studies formal abstraction paintings more than just about anything else. He said, “You have to be aware of your audience, which is mainly artists, so what is their value system, how do you keep them interested?” He has successfully merged abstraction and narrative in a way you do not often see. Dana Schutz and Cecily Brown come to mind. The vibrancy and cartoon quality of his paintings make the cultural turmoil easier to stomach. At a certain point however, the formal candy that originally drew you becomes dizzying on its own account. Stout condenses the media frenzy into one swift moment.

Below, is an interview with the artist.

 

Your show is titled “Thrown From the Storm” -What is behind this choice?

I think all experiences, good, bad, young, old shape us in some fashion.  Since this series of work started as a play on fight clouds as a vehicle for metaphors of social and political conflict, the idea of a storm was always present.  But as the work developed, things started shooting out and being discarded, just like in stories from the news.  We rest on one issue then suddenly moving to the next, often with the conflict or issue being left without resolve.  Through my experience I often feel compelled or drawn into this conflict, and then thrown out when the media or nation moves, so in a sense, conceptually, thrown from the storm.  But as I’ve been making the work, that phrase kept coming up in my mind, “Thrown from the Storm…”, like a part of a song you can’t quite remember.  Then I placed it, Rimbaud!!!  It’s actually part of a line from Rimbaud’s poem The Drunken Boat, “Thrown from the storm into a birdless sky.” The poem is about pursuing life only to find out that you are limited by and bound to the conditions you are born into, your government, its position in the world, etc., and the poet’s response to that.  I haven’t read the poem since I was 20, but somehow it still resonates, and has been quite often lately.  

There is obviously something quite significant about your identity as a southern artist and your work’s identity as southern art. Can you talk more about this? What is the significance for each?

I think every artist has a conflict of sorts with where they are from.  Being an artist and being southern when I was younger seemed to be an impossibility.  It just wasn’t valued, more so, it was humored.  Not only that, I really had no other other artists to identify with.  Music however was valued, and its history, especially in Tennessee, and I always worried that the South would be purely a musical region and never invest in the visual arts heavily, because historically, that had been the case.  I remember then feeling the need to move away from that identity, wanting to be anything other than some west Tennessee kid, because there weren’t any in the art world.  But you can’t escape it, and ultimately, the things that you experience, the things that make you who you are, are the best things to make work about, because they are yours and no one else’s.  So at some point I just embraced it.

Do you have an idea of the image before the painting begins, or is it more of a set of ideas? What sort of planning goes on beforehand?  I usually start off with a set of drawings.  I’m always drawing, and when I find some drawings that gain momentum, either formally or conceptually, I develop a body.  Then I try to paint them, taking the best drawings from the set and converting them.  But I’m not bound to pure description of the drawing, and often, there are parts of the drawings that don’t translate into paintings, and those non- translatable parts are what really advance the paintings into something else.  Then I work on those, and when I exhaust the possibilities of the paintings, I take what advancements I get from the paintings and use that to start the next drawings.  Its cyclical for sure.   

There are pretty specific images and symbolism in your paintings. Is there something for you that is unifying them all or is it more of an invitation for the viewer to draw their own conclusions? I have a plan or an idea what the painting is about, but I leave areas where the viewer can infer their interpretation as well.  A lot of the objects in and outside of the storms in these paintings all have a duality, they are selected because for me they have several meanings and several purposes that are tied to our current time and narrative.  The beauty of this series is that people place different connotations on the objects and parts, and when they connect those connotations and weave a narrative with the compositional arrangement, that’s when the painting reveals itself, and the revelation is usually always different.

What role does abstraction play in your paintings?

I respond to abstraction because ambiguity is an element to the narratives, and that sometimes I just have certain instincts and interests as an artist that aren’t bound by depiction, and I obey those instincts.  Abstraction is a very basic and primal appetite, and I indulge it.  My paintings are primarily semi abstract, but I always wanted to make pictures that could be appealing to purely abstract painters and to people that loved narrative work or who responded to some imagery.  I think these paintings really balance those responsibilities well.  Plus my generation comes from a distorted period visually. From cartoons, to video games, to plastic surgery, everything is saturated, especially with television and advertising. We are definitely in a post human era.

To me, your paintings appear as though they are nebular and explosive. Is there
a reason behind this?

Sure, because it’s an extension of the metaphor.  Some of the works early on looked like explosions, and I was thinking of how the media gives a star quality to conflict.  So naturally I started thinking of nebulas, exploding and dying stars, and how the clouds could transcend to be more, how the clouds could have an extended duality to their presence and not be just earthly.  One of the contradictions of our time is that we understand more of the universe and earth than we ever have, but in contrast, there is a resentment of that understanding in some circles.  Plus we are in an atomic age, and I was thinking of that too.

These images bring to mind hip hop, graffiti, and political cartoons. Are these influences for the work? If so, why?

I grew up in the rise of rap and hip hop in the early 80’s and 90’s.  I always connected to the stories, the poetry, the attention to class issues in the hip hop.  It was new, it was fresh, and is resonated with me.  Plus there was an anti authority aspect of it made me question institutions I was taught not to question.  Graffiti was part of the visual aesthetic, plus, in some respects, the first real abstraction I experienced.  I grew up in a railroad town, and the trains that came through, usually from Chicago and other larger cities, would be covered in images and tags.  I’m sure I assimilated it somehow, though I’m not consciously aware of it when I work.

You are interested in power structures within our culture. What specifically do you think draws you to this subject matter?

It dissects everything we are, most of what we do, and how we consume.  In a capitalist society, I think we have to constantly be questioning and re-evaluating our power structures or we risk falling victim to a slumbered existence.  I would like to avoid sleepwalking.  

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Join us for Aggregate, a group show

This Saturday, October 1st, Ground Floor Gallery will be hosting open studios alongside a group show of our artists. Stop by after the art crawl when our gallery opens at 7:30. Studios  open 9-10:30.

Featured artists:

  • Anna Rainous
  • Bobby Becker
  • Carri Jobe
  • Cassie Harner
  • Devin Goebel
  • Dez Hough
  • Georganna Greene
  • Janet Decker Yanez
  • Jovanni Luna
  • Mandy Brown
  • Meg McGregor
  • Mihail Tomescu
  • Sibley Barlow
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