BARED curated by Sally Deskins
“Lee’s Lace,” egg tempera on panel, 24″x18″, 2016 by Susan Jamison
“Who am I?” Bronze and etched mirror, 11x6x6, 2014 by Belgin Yucelen
Come see these lovely ladies, and many more TONIGHT between 6-9pm.
BARED based on the anthology, Les Femmes Folles: The Women 2015 curated and edited by Sally Deskins, explores the gendered narratives that clothe and fashion the body as well as gender subversion and the traditional male gaze and will feature the following artists:
Kathy Crabbe, Courtney Kenny Porto, Libby Rowe, Chuka Susan Chesney, Stacy Howe, Teresa Dunn, Cathy Sarkowsky, Bonnie Gloris, Rosemary Meza-DesPlas, Susan Jamison, Susan Detroy, Evelyn Katz, Belgin Yucelen, Suzanne Proulx, Lauren Rinaldi, Amy Cerra.
No. Inc. presents Art of the South 2017
Opens Saturday, June 3rd 6-9pm during Arts & Music at Wedgewood/Houston
“Ribbon Snake,” tea-stained cyanotype, 40 in X 30 in by Jaime Johnson
We are pleased to be hosting our region’s annual Art of the South, presented by NUMBER: Inc., a quarterly visual arts journal hailing from Memphis with coverage throughout AL, AR, FL, GA, KY, LA, MD, MO, MS, NC, OK, TN, TX, SC, VA, or WV.
Join us Saturday, June 3rd, 6-9pm for a show that appears to be a cross-section of the contemporary rippling of art scenes across the southern region.
This show was curated by Mark Scala, Chief Curator at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts. Scala received an MA in in art history and MFA in painting from Virginia Commonwealth University. Having spent the better part of his life painting, Mark is himself an artist. His interests and exhibitions have focused on representations of the body in contemporary art.
There are 28 artists displaying at Ground Floor Gallery + Studios and the L Ross Gallery in Memphis simultaneously.
Artists showing at GfG include:
Amelia Briggs, a painter who has recently been working on bulbous “inflatable” appearing surfaces. Amelia has definite interests in children’s imagery and expression.
Brent Dedas, works in mixed media and recalls the intensity of abstract expressionists. His work explores dichotomies such as science and art, or destruction and creation.
Donald Furst, a printmaker who depicts architectural scenes at night. Many of his compositions focus on interiors that include an opening door.
Jamie Johnson, a photographer currently teaching at Ole Miss. Using cyanotype photography, she explores female identity.
John Jackson, a figural painter drawing from the neo-expressionists. His paintings center around our current relationship with technology. The work represented in this show differs greatly from this and marks his way into abstraction.
Joseph Holsapple, an artist who makes still life paintings of domestic items. He fills his images with childhood objects and leaves bits of the image unfinished, evoking the nature of memory.
Katherine Wagner, a pattern-based painter who takes cues from the loud patterned fashion of the 80’s. Much of her work is based on personal childhood experiences with visual pattern.
Lauren Yandell, an artist who works in graphite, collage, and installation while finding a balance between nature and geometry. She marries realism with the raw quality of drawing.
Lester Merriweather, an artist and curator that works in collage. Lester focuses his attention on racial relationships, capitalism, consumerism, and the myriad of ways these things intersect.
Michael Nichols, creates unearthly portraits using buon fresco, air brush, and silverpoint. His curiosity in introducing old and ancient mediums to contemporary art is reflected in the ghostly images he creates.
Tori Tinsley, works in both sculpture and painting, creates surreal figures that morph into and out of each other.
Virgil (Cayse) Cheatham, a graduate of Yale University who currently lives in Atlanta, GA. He divides his time between creating erie landscaped-based paintings and working at the Zuckerman Museum.
If you can’t make it to the opening night of Art of the South, stop by during our regular gallery hours to check it out! We will be open Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays, 5-8pm.
Otherworldliness: 5th Annul Juried Show, curated by Austin Thomas.
March 27-April 28th
Please contact us for appointment or join us for opening night, April 1st, 6-9pm.
“Otherworldliness” – Ground Floor Gallery, Nashville, Tennessee
March 27 – April 28, 2017, curated by Austin Thomas
This exhibition presents examples of many typologies with an emphasis on artists from Nashville, other parts of Tennessee and elsewhere with photography, painting, printmaking and sculpture. I have chosen painterly work with a focus on what I believe represents a feeling of otherworldliness. There is a painterly vibe in the exhibition. Some of the works are almost divine. And the overall choices are not devoid of political content.
Whether painterly or politically-titled, as in Robert Fields’ piece (“Let it be an arms race.” — Donald Trump), all of the participating artists are present in the timeless inner territory that is of the artist where one attempts to build upon understanding and knowledge to expand meaning.
Frances Ashforth affirms our desire for an inner landscape as she teaches us through her monotypes about water and its importance in our lives. Ashforth’s work, represented in this exhibition with a unique water-based monotype titled “Playa 7,” is bathed in blue, revealing to us the spirit of nature itself. Nature is powerful and we are its student.
As students, we take notes and have homework. Mariel Zuchman’s watercolor and pastel artwork is a lesson in the transformative power of thinking and making visual thoughts on paper. Zuchman may make art to visually understand her thoughts.
Small ideas render deeper meaning in Carl Gombert’s kaleidoscopic rubber-stamped drawings. His themes, motifs and symbols are set to repeat and his images reveal patterns with each color and stamp change.
Using one color and repurposing one material, black rubber, Dusty Mitchell’s piece cleverly hit the mark with our #MakeAmericaArtAgain call. His work serves as an awesome entrance into our “otherworld” as he has literally put out a welcome mat cut in the shape of the United States, but please don’t wipe your feet on your way in.
Gil Given’s three dimensional “sculptural painting” may challenge preconceived notions of traditional painting on canvas because his work of rainbow-colored acrylic paint on wood and canvas may propel itself off the wall, play a tune and dance out the room! Gil Given is an artist marching to his own drummer, as they say.
More quiet is Elysia Mann’s hand-printed rope ladder “Anteroom” which seems to hang over a wall intended to keep someone in rather than carry someone out to safety. Mann is also a poet and weaver unifying word and image together not unlike the centuries old Arabic practice of weaving the Koran into poems, called Iqtibas.
Kathia St. Hilaire’s relief print “Style,” weaves together a connectedness of personal history with communal memory into a powerful narrative reaffirming her rich present.
Andrew O’Brien’s untitled photograph from his curtain wall series reveals the appealing apparent transparency of glass. In O’Brien’s photograph the outside world seems so far away. His image is one of isolation. But we are not concerned for in this exhibition, organized around the theme of otherworldliness, we have some exuberant painting ¾ represented in the works of Brianna Bass, Amanda Brown and Katherine Wagner. This is a diversified collection of work demonstrating the mental labors of the discipline.
Brianna Bass’s painting “Hot Water” is so filled with different patterning that it feels like it is expanding and contracting at the same time. The colors Bass uses revive and restore the transformative power of art itself.
A similar feeling is garnered from Katherine Wagner’s painting which begins with patterned fabric that the artist then paints into therefore accentuating its pattern or creating a whole new experience.
The artist and the observer (sometimes one and the same) encounter each other at Ground Floor Gallery. Amanda Joy Brown, who has a studio near the exhibition space, has organized additional work in her studio leading us to the heart of this story in the central gallery where she is represented by her painting “Blueberry Snow” (a comforting title). The main story being; there is power in the individual voice of the artist where inner worlds strengthen the outer world and offer us not only hope but truth.
Thrown from the Storm, Jason Stout
“Thrown from the Storm,” a solo exhibition, by Jason Stout, opens Nov. 5th from 7-10pm. Title taken from Arthur Rimbaud’s poem, The Drunken Boat. The line “thrown from the storm into a birdless sky,” travelled round and round the artist’s brain while creating this body of work. Read below to find out more about what inspired this vibrant, in color and content, series.
My current body of work deals with the idea of the modern landscape, both formally and conceptually. In this series idyllic semi abstract representations of a natural environment exist. These landscapes are however altered by human’s existence, even though often no figure is visibly present. Oil derricks and boreholes accompany trees, bushes, and mountains, slowly taking over their position. In the foreground the top layer of earth is peeled back, exposing the polluted after effects of fracking and the water contamination that follows. An eerily placed path crawls through the composition as a metaphor for exploring a dangerous road ahead.
Cloud compositions deal with the idea of conflict and turbulence, both domestic and abroad. These clouds also double as nebulas, contracting and expanding energy around the idea of conflict. These works deal with notions of political strife coexisting with environmental concerns, and create compositions of smaller troubled environments happening in larger, yet equally troubled, ones. There are fragmented figurative elements playing in and outside of these clouds, as well as tools, weapons, and vices. These bits serve as visual metaphors that address specific narratives from our modern time. Jason Stout 2016
Jason Stout was born in 1977. He received his BFA in studio art from the University of Tennessee at Martin in 2001 and a MFA in Painting from the University of Texas at San Antonio in 2004.
Stout’s work visually deals with elements of formal and figurative abstraction, while exploring such themes as power, history, and identity, especially through the guise of southern culture. His work exists in several private and public collections, including the University of West Georgia, Jacksonville State University, and the University of Tennessee at Martin.
During his career he has participated in several solo exhibitions and has been a part of many group exhibitions as well. Stout has won both scholarships and individual awards for his work. He is currently an Associate Professor of Art at the University of Tennessee at Martin and is represented by REM gallery in San Antonio, Texas and Circuitous Succession Gallery in Memphis Tennessee. Stout was recently named TAEA Higher Education Art Educator of the Year for 2015-16 and Best of Show (featured artist) for the Art of the South 2016 exhibition.
Visit Artist’s Website for Resume and CV
GfG Artists’ (past and present) Exhibition, Aggregate, curated by Georganna Greene and After Crawl Open Studios 7:30-10:30 Oct 1st, 2016.
#Artober #Aggregate #AM@WeHo
History Repeats Itself
“History Repeats Itself” is a new body of work by Chattanooga-based artist Katie Hargrave. “History Repeats Itself” explores the 2016 election season through a series of new pieces: “Listen to Wolf” is a video installation of Bernie and Hillary trying not to talk over each other at the primary debate; “Cease and Desist Karaoke” is a custom-karaoke of songs used by past and present candidates without the permission of the musicians. Do your best Trump impression of “Can’t Get No Satisfaction” alongside Palin’s “Barracuda;” and finally the titular piece “History Repeats Itself” are a series of take-away posters of redacted speeches of all 16 GOP candidates with the duplicate words removed. Part satire, part catharsis, join in exploring the absurdity of this political moment.
What does it mean to take something apart, to put it back together, and to share what you learned in the process? I am interested in systems as broad as politics, history, our built environment, and our learning systems. The act of exploring, deconstructing, and decoding these systems is political, if subtly. We all have power; we all own this world.
I make projects using a variety of forms — installations, publications, videos, and events — that encourage audiences to become participants in research and production as a way to explore their own experiences, their histories, their challenges. My work is responsive to environments, develops over time, and is co-created with participants as well as collaborators. Together, we can begin to realize that the construction of systems is made up of collective energy, and we might begin to ask: whose energy?
Katie Hargrave (b. 1985 Chicago, resides Chattanooga, TN) is a professor of art at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga. She received her MFA in Intermedia and Drawing from the University of Iowa, MA from Brandeis University, and BFA from the University of Illinois. Her work has been shown at DIY spaces, commercial galleries, non-profits, and festivals, including Proof Gallery in Boston; Gallerie Analix in Geneva, Switzerland; the Manifesta Biennial in Murcia, Spain; the Soap Factory in Minneapolis, MN, and the Athens Institute of Contemporary Art, to name a few. She is a member of the collaborative groups “The Think Tank that has yet to be named” and “Like Riding a Bicycle.”
Solo Exhibition by Jovanni Luna
Jovanni Luna was born in Wenatchee, Washington. He received his BFA from Washington State University (2013), and MFA from Columbus College of Art and Design (2015). He is currently living in Nashville, TN.
The use of donated house paint has evolved from an economical standpoint, to a method of recycling a material that might have been forgotten in the corners of basements and garages. It is about staying loyal to a material that has allowed me to manipulate it to the extent of my curiosity.
While still maintaining an emphasis on the construction and manipulation of paintskins, “Universal Spaces” is more than just a labor intensive, process installation, it’s a physical and emotional abstraction of remembrance. Composed of multiple sculptural paintings, each space recalls the state of mind and the surrounding environment one was in during a familiar situation. Capturing every detail one can in the moment, knowing well that once you move on, all that is left is an abstraction. –Jovanni Luna 2016
No Shame in Wanting, 18” x 26” x 10”, 2016, erasers, nylon stockings, cosmetic wedges, no-slip rug mat, diapers, women’s slip, pillow stuffing, ear plugs, sewing pins, hair curlers, egg whiskers
Meg Stein is a sculptor, animator and installation artist from Durham, NC. Most recently her work has been exhibited in Portland (OR), South Carolina, Louisiana, North Carolina, Atlanta, Brooklyn, and Philadelphia. In 2016 she was in residence at Yaddo in Saratoga Springs, NY. She has been an Artist-in-Residence at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in New Smyrna Beach, FL (2014), at “Wetland” by Mary Mattingly in Philadelphia’s FringeArts (2014), a Regional Emerging Artist-in-Residence at Artspace in Raleigh, NC (2014), a resident artist at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts in Amherst, VA (2015) and an Artist-in-Residence at the Indie Grits Film Festival in Columbia, SC (2015). She was a participant in New York Arts Practicum in 2014, working with Simone Leigh. In 2012 she won the David A. Dowdy Jr. Award for Sculpture, was nominated for the International Sculpture Center’s Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award (2014), won a merit scholarship for the Ox-Bow School of Art in Saugatuck, MI (2014) and won 3rd place in the National Compact Competition at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, LA (2015). She earned her MFA in Studio Art from UNC Chapel Hill in 2014. More information is available at megstein.com. You can contact her at email@example.com.
The Touch Room
A gallery is so often a “hands off” space, but for Danielle McCleave’s “The Touch Room,” people are encouraged to interact with the artwork and each other. The culture in the U.S. in particular isn’t used to physical contact, and “The Touch Room” is built to counteract the sterility of social interaction we experience in the USA and in a gallery.
See what Danielle has to say:
“Above all, we must cherish the relationship between one human to another, and specifically the instances of physical touch. Our culture has become so cripplingly sterile and so cautious that we emphatically discourage touching each other, and encourage distancing ourselves from one another.
Humans need each other and physical interaction to survive not only mentally, but also physically. Studies have shown that a simple touch from one human to another releases endorphins and lowers blood pressure.
While I was abroad in Europe, I noticed how different their culture is from ours, and how distant Americans are from each other. The cultures I encountered encouraged touch; habitually, everyone is greeted with a kiss, and people even stand closer to each other in public places. The “personal space bubble” that America puts so much emphasis on is not as present in their culture, and they greatly benefit from this.
That’s why I wanted to create a space that would allow a sense of comfort to happen within the interactions with strangers. With “The Touch Room,” I’m wanting to pop that “bubble” by encouraging human-to-human touch, and the sensation of physical contact to promote comfort in relationships with people.
I was born in Orlando Florida, and then moved on to Dallas, Texas before coming to Nashville to study art. I have always been fascinated with the tendencies of humans and the similarities and differences between cultures. Growing up in such different, major metropolitan cities allowed me to experience both proclivities–to touch and avoid touch–and I became comfortable with strangers and large amounts of people at a young age. I continue learning about the world and the people we all share it with through my participatory artwork and projects.”
When was the last time you touched another human being? Come see and touch at Ground Floor Gallery + Studios for the opening reception of “The Touch Room” on April 15th from 6-9PM.
See below for a conversation between Sibley Barlow, GfG’s writer-in -residence, and Dani on her upcoming show.
Danielle McCleave is a young artist wrapping up her final moments with Belmont College of Visual Arts. Her current installation work explores themes of personal space, intimacy, and human interaction. In her upcoming show, viewers will no longer be viewers, but agents of an event. Danielle is setting up a space for us to engage with one another in a way that reaches beyond our everyday interaction. Below is a slightly condensed interview with the artist discussing her thesis exhibition at Ground Floor Gallery.
S: Well first of all, let’s hear about your piece. Can you explain how the idea originated?
D: My piece is basically a commentary on touch, and the personal space bubble of humans in our society. About two semesters ago I studied abroad in Italy, the fall semester of my junior year. I just really realized how small their personal space bubble is there, compared to ours here in America – which is really interesting to me. I was walking down the streets, and first of all, the sidewalks are really small there anyway, everything is small there, it’s just a tiny place. And you’re on this small sidewalk and people are just passing by you like “School’s out, school’s out!” and they bump you and touch you and they greet you with a kiss. And there’s not really a concept of a line, but it doesn’t bother anyone. Everyone kind of just touches each other and they will talk to you up close; that is their space. It’s just a different in comparison to America. We’re very distant to the point of being sterile, and I think that is hindering us a little bit especially in childcare. I nanny a lot, and so that’s where a lot of my ideas come from. Kids in America, like in a kindergarten class, if a one of them falls over I can’t kiss his boo boo because it’s “gross.” But of course, I mean, it’s a child. But the precautions and the ideas have been perverted in our society. At a baseline it’s become a little too sterile, in my opinion. I at least wanted people to realize how different it is from other places in the world. So with my piece I want to, kind of, break that bubble, in a fun and interactive way. And I like my work to be very open, I never want it to feel cut off. For example, one of the things I absolutely love is touching art. I like my art to be touched, even if at some point in the future it will physically destroy my art I think it would have been for the benefit, because at least it was able to be interacted with.
S: Did this idea hit you while in Italy experiencing that?
D: No. I just woke up one morning, like 6 in the morning and sketched this out in my sketchbook, went back to sleep, and never thought about it again until I was told that I needed to get a start on this thesis. So I just went back and worked off of that. My very first project was to have a very dark room that would have finger-like extensions or little things that would touch you and it could give the sensation of gently being touched or caressed. That evolved into this piece with the hanging balls because I wanted each finger or extension to light up as if it were your neurons lighting up when you touched them, you know, and so that’s what that turned into. I made this sort of hallway and so you can see people going through it, walking through it, but also be a part of it in the same way. The other part is a wall with thermochromatic paint so you can see your handprint, your touch on a surface, to make it sort of physical – that which normally can’t be seen. The way you touch someone and what that feels like. As if every time you touched someone, it left a handprint on their body. So I made a wall and two platforms on the ground so if you were to take off your shoes and walk on it you could see your footprints. The fourth piece is basically a giant touch lamp and it’s sort of a closet/hallway, but it’s open, and metal on all four sides. Viewers will walk inside of it but everytime you touch a side, the light will go on and off, so you can squeeze by a bunch of people in a crowd and the light will on and off.
S: And it’s going to force people to also touch each other?
D: Yes, that’s the goal. I also have another piece that is a performance piece which I am actually shooting today, and that will just show basically the same concept of visualizing our touch on people around us – using color. Each person will have a particular color and when you touch someone they get a little bit of that color, you know? That will be projected on the wall.
S: Well I’m pretty excited to see this become a reality.
D: It’s exciting but terrifying, like anything else in art. I’ve been working on this for over a year now, so we’ll see.
S: So around this time last year you started on it?
D: Yeah, I’d say so. Maybe a little earlier. I’ve been forming this piece and trying to kind bring it to life. I always feel a kinship to God in art, in that we are able to create the way God has created so we get that same experience. Artists have that same job that God fulfills. (Laughs) It is true though. It is that gift to create and make things that are brand new which is cool you know?
S: Do you find that there is spirituality in your work? Not necessarily religion but that essence of a bigger presence?
D: Yeah, I try to definitely try to have some sort of spirituality. I have a sense of at least some form of spirituality in there, partially because I do identify as Christian. I usually try to get a lot of my motivation from the religious environment. I’m a little bit of a liberal christian so I turn to nature often. I really listen to the environment and everything that surrounds me. I feel like just that spirit, listening to the world happening around us and trying to wake people up to it and draw their attention to it is what comes out in my art. At least what I want to bring out. Opening eyes to the every day of what’s around us.
S: What was your childhood experience with art like? When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
D: I was always doodling and painting. But my dad is an engineer, my mom is a teacher. My mom was always very open to it and encouraged it in me. My dad as well, but he took it more to the engineering direction. I just knew I always liked painting but I never thought of it as a career until maybe high school when I took architecture. That was more because I was thinking of the financial security of it. But when I took the class I realized how much I hate sitting there drawing straight lines. It just got really boring. My senior year I ended up winning some drawing competitions, and that encouraged me. But it was something I just had to figure out that I wanted over time and just sort of forget everything else, dive in, and make it happen.
S: Is there a part of you that is still interested in architecture? You’re pretty focused on installation work, and this piece in particular is pretty architectural.
D: No, well maybe.
S: Because you are obviously focused on people, but does the space they inhabit have significance as well?
D: I find fascination in architecture and the beauty of it. But I don’t think I would ever want to be the person behind it, designing it. I do love it on a small scale, with the installation work. I don’t have set media for my art, I just start with an idea, and then I need a way to explain it. So I pick media that suits it from that point. Sometimes it’s painting, sometimes it’s photography, sometimes it’s an installation. My concentration is on the idea. Which I also find very freeing, I don’t have to be stuck behind the stigma of, say, a photographer. That works for some people, but I’m just going to do it all, and everyone will have to be okay with it.
S: So you’re from Orlando, and you lived there for quite a while I’m assuming?
D: I lived there for the first part of my life, and then I moved to Dallas TX. Always lived in the city, always been around people. Nashville is the smallest city I’ve ever lived in. I work downtown, I love the energy of the city and being around a crowd but at the same time open space and nature. Which is interesting because that’s not what I was brought up in.
S: So what sort of influence do you think that has had on your art – being around that community?
D: I think it does have a lot to do with it. Being around that many people of different cultures and the realities of that. I never knew a stranger growing up with my mom, because that’s just how she is, everyone on the street is a friend. We would pick up random people off the street often and give them rides. I would be a two year old in the car seat next to them saying hello. You talk to everyone, everyone is family. Of course be safe, be cautious, but never assume a person is a stranger to you. I try to show that in my art or at least use it.
S: Use it as a way to connect people and get them back to that point?
D: Yeah definitely. In cities it can be very isolating and very lonely yet at the same time you are surrounded by so many people. But it doesn’t have to be that way, which is interesting. So I try to go the opposite direction, you can either embrace everyone and deal with all that energy, or let yourself be isolated. And I obviously do need that space at times to be by myself, but I get energy from people.
S: So simultaneously being alone while being amongst everyone else – that is a very interesting thing to think about. It’s very human, I think everyone finds comfort in that dynamic.
D: Yeah, it’s a really great paradox.
S: What are you going to do after this? As far as your show goes, do you feel like this will be resolved by the time you’re done with it, or is there more to explore?
D: As of now I feel it’s resolved. Partly because I’ve been working on it for a year now and it’s time to leave it alone. It is also an “assignment” as well so part of me, the rebel in me, wants to reject it for that reason. I do want to explore it more and figure out how to complete it in the way I originally visualized it. Like with any art piece, I go through so many modifications, so many trials and errors, nothing is how it was when I first thought of it. And so it is also wonderful, going through that process. Finding those issues and resolving them, and figuring out that it’s not actually resolved, redoing it, going back over everything, completely erasing it, crying (Laughs). So that process is so important, and I think it’s a really important part of my work to talk about. There are so many pieces out there in the world that have been through so much trauma in order to get out into the world, and I love that. So I think I can still go deeper into it, but not right off. I may do something else for a little while and come back to the idea at a different time, reassess, see if I even still believe in it.
Join us in celebration of studio artist
Amanda Joy Brown’s solo exhibition
February 6th 6-9pm
“Resurface” is a body of work that explores the commonalities of paint and textile. Having worked with acrylic for years, I have started to appreciate the abilities of paint to function as its own support. It has a tendency to bend and fold, stick to itself, and stretch. To be able to create a painting and then use the paint itself to further create form starts to mimic the nature of textile design and fabric. Over the past couple years, I’ve experimented by creating surfaces of transparent color, solids, patterns, and gradients. Having removed them from their original surface supports, these sheets of acrylic can be folded and manipulated like a strange fabric, in a way clothing the supports, recreating surfaces on terms that isn’t limited to the flatness of a surface or the parameters of a frame.–Mandy
In cooperation, Leticia Bajuyo and Jason S. Brown will create new work at Ground Floor from the mainstream cycle of capitalist consumerism to hybrids of landscapes that are impacted and altered by industrial processes. Together their work will combine bright industrial colors with raw earth materials. Installing the work will be a response to the space at GfG, while simultaneously advancing a shared dialogue about suburban development, land use and consumerism.
Mark is an exhibit of eleven works by nine local and national artists, is like taking a road trip through the physical and psychological landscape of the United States. A branded pig, the American flag, audio books, paintings and photographs experienced along the way display a deep concern for the vulnerable.
During the opening, 6-9pm, Saturday Nov. 7th, Mandy Cano Villalobos meditatively hand-grinds a red brick into dust, the pile of which she leaves for future visitors. The pig is also hers. Marked with designs appropriated from the Cuzco school, which for purposes of religious conversion in the 16th century, taught indigenous people along the Andes European painting techniques, the pig represents both the sacred and the filthy.
Physical and emotional degradation marks Jenny Day’s haunting landscape of empty, dark interstate bridges both cut and supported by thick bands of ochre. Red, rather than green serves as the ground. Day’s color choice shares a palette both with that of the Cuzco school and with fellow Mark artist John Bruno. The three stacked yellow circles in his painting, Disheartening Loss Means War, reads like a cautionary traffic light, warning of potential danger ahead. A piece by photographer and experimental psychologist David Pittenger continues the theme. In Reno Two PM, thick shadows playing across a sea of empty apartment balconies form a complex grid and turn the building into a cage.
Based on a road trip across America, the novel On the Road by Jack Kerouac is considered a defining work of the postwar generation. Katie Hargrave made five customized versions by recording only the underlined sections she found in various copies of the book. Anders Johnson’s painting adds to the driving experience. Housed in a factory, a police cruiser and a wrecked car sit just past the dashboard of an empty automobile.
Flags comprise a quarter of the show-more perhaps if you read the red and white lines in Bruno’s painting as a political symbol. Laura McAdams bowling ball anchoring a flag balloon symbolizes both holding up and holding back progress. Katie Hargrave joined — or divided — an American and Mexican flag with the snaking line of the Rio Grande. She took the photo in Texas. A flag also juts out over the balcony and points to a clock in a black and white photograph by Jesse Kilmon.
Should one need a respite at any point, Beth Reitmeyer invites participants to sit and snack! Reitmeyer, best known in Nashville for her interactive work and thoughtful presence in the arts scene, thankfully creates a soft space in the form of rock shaped pillows. She hopes her work will provide an area not only for contemplation, but also for conversation. Perhaps even action.
Curatorial statement by Adrienne Outlaw
A soft sculpture exhibit – Opens October 3rd 2015
“Touched” is an upcoming exhibit that features soft sculpture, a genre that straddles the fine contemporary art and textile craft divide.
Brought together by Tennessee artist Shana Kohnstamm, thirteen emerging and mid-career artists will showcase their works at Ground Floor Gallery + Studios in Nashville, TN throughout October 2015.
The 2015 invited artists are Morwenna Catt, Andrea Graham, Sonya Yong James, Shana Kohnstamm, Kit Lane, Moxie Lieberman, Kirsten Lund, Kyoko Matsuyama, Stephanie Metz, Jennifer Moss, Astrid Polman, Leisa Rich, and Zoe Williams. They come from the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and The Netherlands. Felting demonstrations and workshops will be held in conjunction with the exhibit, which coincides with Tennessee Craft Week, American Craft Weekand Artober Nashville.
The artists say…
In my current work, ambiguous sculptures express the paradox of living organisms: strength and fragility, persistence and surrender, liberation and containment.
– Andrea Graham
More Featured Artists
Statement: I make sculptures out of wool and hard feelings. Being a sentient creature is mysterious and terrifying, hilarious and gross, awkward and extremely temporary. I am fascinated by what it’s like to be a person; who we think we are, how we got here, and what we can’t know about each other. Needle or […]
Statement: Central to my work is human with his emotions, his connections with himself and nature. I’m fascinated by the interconnectedness of form and contents, of inside and out. How do we view from the outside what lives inside… How does vulnerability and strength become visible? This is what I am trying to research, find […]
Bio: Morwenna Catt has a degree in Art & Design and graduated with a Masters in Fine Art from Leeds Metropolitan University. Her current practice includes textiles, painting, drawing, light boxes, installation and sculpture. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally; notably at The Museum of Arts and Design in New York, Galerija Skuc […]
Statement: I see fiber as a basic common thread throughout the organic world. This fiber sculptural work centers on the creative act as personal obsession. This work is the beginning of an exploration of the idea of repetition and ritual experienced through the process of making. A prescribed order of assembling, manipulating, and presenting the […]
More about Ground Floor Gallery & Studios in Nashville, TN
Ground Floor Gallery is committed to providing exhibitions with depth and relevance in multiple disciplines for a diverse audience.
Ground Floor Gallery presents artists with the opportunity to exhibit their work in a collective artist community. We increase their exposure to art professionals and connect them with potential buyers. The gallery is currently accepting proposals for individual and group shows. We also have juried exhibitions and host shows curated by artists that occupy the studios. During juried group exhibitions artists set their prices and keep 70% of their sales. This allows artists to take risks that are not generally supported by commercial galleries.
Ground Floor Gallery doesn’t represent individual artists. We support our studio artists, as well as exhibiting artists, by providing creative space, professional exposure and exhibition experience.
Ground Floor Gallery’s Studio Artist, Dez has her solo exhibition:
Opens August 1st
Artist’s reception from 6-10pm
Runs thru the 29th
by Desiré Hough
A festive way to show the grim side; Death by Birthday
False hopes and expectations
Play with your emotions
Rev up your anticipation
Desire’ Hough’s solo installation, Rotting Piñata, is a birthday party that was eagerly planned but never occurred for unspoken reasons, leaving the viewer with underlying notions of death. The piñata was never hit yet is falling apart, cake never cut but not at all appetizing, wrinkly balloons at your feet, and gifts left unopened create a subtly haunting scene. The party becomes a memorial site that is left untouched in mourning.
photo of Piñata Skin, 2015, mixed media
The American landscape is thoroughly occupied. We don’t trust the spaces in between. We prefer to fill space up with things and with thoughts; we are equipped to push the empty spaces further beyond, fictionalizing and re-contextualizing space until we can call it The Frontier.
Road, bridge, gate: these are punctuations which organize the borderland. They tether us safely to a world that is contextualized. These structures connote a sense of motion and a division. They are human gestures that mark a contrast between outward and inward, here and there. But maybe, in addition to their pragmatism and utility, these structures serve as symbols, like letters or words, which estrange the empty space. Maybe their use is in fact responsible for our perception of the space as “empty”, when in truth such a word hardly applies.
Curated as a conversation between checkpoints, artists Jeremy Entwistle and Barbara Schreiber work in contrasting ways with ideas of space and sprawl. They alternately leave room for the vastness and the tension between us and the unknown; or they apply close attention to the signs and symptoms of our discomfort, such as an infrastructure deficit about which we are in denial.
Come one, come all: tall, short, young, old…or at least those willing to reach up high or crouch down low, we are helping Andee Rudloff create a mural!
Doors open Saturday March 7th at 5pm during the March Art Crawl. Painting will go until 8pm. Final touches by Andee will be done by 8:30 and completed mural will be up for purchase!
Tickets are $5 each. This provides the paint, snacks and beverages plus a 10% discount on all gallery art purchases. Buy tickets in advance or at the door. Cash, credit cards and local checks will be accepted. Groups are welcome. Children under 6 are free but must be accompanied by paying adult.
No cost to come between 8-9:30pm.
Mural Painting with Andee Rudloff. It’s too cold to do a mural outside so let’s help her complete one indoors at Ground Floor Gallery.
Andrea D. Rudloff (Andee) is a professional artist, consultant and educator. She served as the Education and Visual Art Director, successfully designing and launching all education, engagement and visual art programming for the Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center (SKyPAC) in Bowling Green, KY. In 2013, the Kentucky Art Education Association named Rudloff Museum Educator of the Year. She is on the board of trustees for the Tanne Foundation based in New Hampshire, which provides support to individual artists. Rudloff is part of the planning committee curating Bowling Green, KY’s annual Idea Festival. She served as the community relations manager, educator and curator at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville, TN. Rudloff was the curator of the Nashville International Airport’s Arts at the Airport Foundation designing new spaces and organizing exhibitions and performances during a multi-million dollar renovation. She has served as the curator for Curb Records’ Johnny Cash Collection, facilitator of the At Home Project with Judy Chicago, as well numerous other curatorial and teaching positions. Other involvement in the arts includes being appointed by Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear to serve on Kentucky Arts Council Board in 2011 and reappointed in 2014 for a three year term. She was awarded Best Community Art Energizer by the Nashville Scene. She has served as a consultant on countless public art and community art projects including the 2009, 2010 and 2011 Western Kentucky University Women’s Studies Mural Projects. Andee has been a featured community art presenter at the National Art Education Association annual conference, TeachMeet conferences, Ambition Fest and as well as several public and private schools. She received the 2010 ADAM Award for Outstanding Achievement and Support for Kids on the Block in Middle Tennessee. Andee has more than 20 years of experience as an art administrator, curator and professional artist including murals and exhibitions in Bowling Green, Ky., Nashville, Tenn., New York, N.Y., Taipei, Taiwan, and other national and international exchanges.
The Artist’s Alphabet opens 5:30-8p, Thursday, December 18th with an artists’ reception and runs through January 30th
“I have an alphabet of tricks, an alphabet of colors,” she says. “Every artist has that, and with every body of work I’m trying to enrich it with new possibilities.” Charlene Von Heyl
In this juried exhibition I chose works from artists who seem to be following their their own practice, with their own rules or “alphabet”, to quote painter Charlene Von Heyl. I generally sought multiple works per artist whose, creating a context (even if a small one) for the artist’s works.
In terms of process, several artists use cutting or sewing (incised marks on a photograph, exacto knife for masking tape, needles for thread) on a fairly conventional support (canvas, paper). But results are fresh and seemingly effects of an artist getting to know one’s own alphabet; abstract shapes taking on silhouette narratives (David Willburn), a 4×6 photograph (yeah, those real ones that we used to print) loaded with all it’s conventions of time and space masked with layers of colorful Martha Stewartlike tape (KJ Schumacher) and thin scratchy barelyvisible lines recalling mapping and geography incised on printed photographs of an azure sky (Kelly Jones).
The juried show format at Ground Floor Gallery stands for such an important milestone in a working artists’ professional life, and I loved seeing the work. Thanks to everyone who submitted and for their commitment to their practice.
Jodi Hays November 2014
Jodi is a Nashville-based artist and curator whose work is influenced by inhabited space, specifically landscape and architecture and their potential metaphors to the painted surface. She has exhibited her work at galleries and museums across the United States and Germany including at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Brooks Museum of Art and the Boston Center for the Arts. Her work is documented in six exhibition catalogues, and has been positively reviewed in publications such as Number and Sharon Butler’s Two Coats of Paint. A recipient of several grants, awards, and fellowships including the Promise Award from the Sustainable Arts Foundation, Hays holds a BFA from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville and an MFA from the Vermont College of Fine Art. Hays’ solo exhibition “Painting as Archival Spelunking” will be on view at the Tennessee Arts Commission, November 2014. Her work can be found in important public and private collections including J. Crew Company, the Tennessee State Museum, and the Arkansas Art Center.
impulse: playing house as a blank artist
an audio/musical/visual installation addressing character development and anonymity.
by Evelyn Walker, Ziona Riley and Austin Hoke
The group wishes to react to the politicized decorum surrounding the act of art-making. Like other basic urges, art has been estranged from the human soul and intellectualized into secrecy. It is too often kept for the rich or the educated. It is too often encrusted with the capitalistic rhetoric of “productivity”, “creativity”, “usefulness”, “goodness”.
The group will collectively step into the identity of an artist with a well-established and successful art practice. The group hopes to gesture towards the viewer/listener and also the “artists” as participants in the structure of ideas that shapes the arts culture, and also to suggest freedom from that structure.
A.I.R. ReFreshed–a traveling exhibition
“The thought of curating a 32 artist show was daunting: It combined both the national and the New York artists in a group show for the first time, and the only elements holding it together was the uniformity in framed size and a loose theme, a litmus test to see what was currently driving the work we were making,” said Janet Decker Yanez, the curator of the show and owner of Ground Floor Gallery in Nashville. “But once I had the images before me to choose from, the show took shape effortlessly. The common bond we have as women and artists of the A.I.R. Gallery translates into a show rich with feelings and contradictions and underscores how our cultural, generational and gender-style differences can approach the term ReFreshed.”
A.I.R. ReFreshed schedule:
Ground Floor Gallery
September 18, 2014, 5-8pm opening reception; show runs through October 17 942 Fourth Ave. South, Nashville, TN 37210
Curated by Janet Decker Yanez, A.I.R. national artist
Opening November 6, 2014
1065 Dolores St., San Francisco, CA 94110-2924
Curated by Owner/Director Maya Koenig and Paula Everitt, A.I.R. national artist
The Center for Gender and Sexuality Studies
Opening January 2015
Dickinson Hall, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544
Curated by Dana Lichtstrahl, director of the center, and Paula Everitt, A.I.R. national artist
New York and National Artists: Laura Crosby (Minneapolis, MN), Dani Dodge (Los Angeles, CA), Daria Dorosh (New York, NY), Yvette Drury Dubinsky (New York, NY), Paula Everitt (Newtown, PA), Melissa Furness (Denver, CO), Alisa Henriquez (East Lansing, MI), Maxine Henryson (New York, NY), Mary-Ann Kokoska (Fort Collins, CO), Nancy Macko (Upland, CA), Carolyn Martin (New York, NY), Louise McCagg (New York, NY), Catherine Mosley (New York, NY), Melissa Murray (New York, NY), Sylvia Netzer (New York, NY), Ann Pachner (New York, NY), Meghan Quinn (Los Angeles, CA), Sally Resnik Rockriver (Chapel Hill, NC), Ann Schaumburger (New York, NY), Kathleen Schneider (New York, NY), Barabara Seigel (New York, NY), Julia Kim Smith (Baltimore, MD), Patty Smith (Philadelphia, PA), Joan Snitzer (New York, NY), Erica Stoller (New York, NY), Nancy Storrow (New York, NY), Liz Surbeck Biddle (New York, NY), Jane Swavely (New York, NY), Gladys Tietz Mercer (Kappa, IL), Erin Wiersma (Manhattan, KS), Joo Yeon Woo (Boulder, CO), Janet Decker Yanez (Nashville, TN).
A.I.R. Gallery is located at 111 Front Street, #228 in the DUMBO neighborhood of Brooklyn. Gallery hours: Wed. -Sun., 11am to 6pm.
For more information please contact the Director, JoAnne McFarland at 212-255-6651 or firstname.lastname@example.org
A.I.R. Gallery – Celebrating over 40 years of advocating for women in the visual arts.
Rock, Paper, Plastic
by Heidi Martin Kuster
In this exhibition I have borrowed the sing song phrasing of a familiar childhood game to step back, be present and look forward.
ROCK – Examining a rock, it’s morphing form, and all it’s surface marks is a way to look into the past. A pebble in my hand holds the memory of a hike, a conversation with my son, a breathtaking, time stopping vista. It records hard evidence of our earth’s evolution from millions of years ago.
PAPER – Paper is where I record life in the present. It is the current process, the response to memory and commitment to the ephemeral moment. It will degrade and pass. In the scheme of earth’s historic changes it will be an instant, quickly disappearing into the fertile compost of time.
PLASTIC – Plastic bags represent the ambiguity of the future. I stuff them under my car seat, in my purse, thinking what they will become. They are procrastination in it’s purest form. Will I use them again and again, will I pretend they are recyclable, or will I create something from them? They become, for me, the perfect admission of how my choices will inevitably impact the rock I live on for my children and their future.
Utopia: Can it Stay Dream?
Exhibition by Culture Laboratory Collective
Opens July 5th and runs thru July 25th.
Utopia (or the less common spelling “Eutopia”) implies a unified system nearing perfection, a social design operating efficiently and fairly. Housed within the language of Utopia/Eutopia are the opposed meanings “good place” and “no place,” a contradictory warning admonishing the nobility of Utopian pursuits.
Often envisioned as an ideal place, a Utopia must be constructed to encompass all aspects of contemporary life. However, elitist ideas are commonly employed in Utopian design, signaling notions of intellectual escapism and pre-suppositions that abstract humanity. Currently, community based systems are offering undirected Utopias, circumventing imposed institutions by offering a less perfect, infinitely fluid, and more immediate gratification; a mass-backed redefinition of “good.” Yet, there remains a dream of the perfect place or person, a possible nostalgic future designed outside of cynicism with intellectual optimism.
“The only barrier to human development is ignorance, and this is not insurmountable.” ~ Robert H. Goddard, The Ultimate Migration, 1918
The digitally-communal, geographically disconnected, band of artists called Culture Laboratory Collective offer reflections on Utopia; a presentation of aesthetically designed trials with a shared aim to edify humanity and/or question social norms.
The international collective, started in 2009, includes members Piotr Chizinski (New York City, NY), Sarah Haven (Seattle, WA), Brian R. Jobe (Knoxville, TN), Shreedpad Joglekar (Manhattan, KS), Ryder Richards (Dallas, TX), Sue Anne Rische (Dallas, TX), Ian F. Thomas (Slippery Rock, PA), Dryden Wells (Jingdezhen, China), and Jonathan Whitfill (Lubbock, TX). They have exhibited more than a dozen times in areas as diverse as China, New York, and Texas.
Meet of the Matter
The exploration of the space where the physical and immaterial elements of reality meet is paramount to my art. This threshold is a delicate construction of dualities and dynamic elements, impossible to fully define or comprehend. My art comes from a complex development of research and experiences towards this philosophy.
As daunting of a task this investigation is, an intuitive and conceptual exploration of underlying structures and cause-effect relationships of the material world is where the creative process begins. Areas of study include architecture, art theory, ecology, anthropology, mathematics, Eastern philosophy, quantum physics and personal experiences. These various subjects appear to share a common thread throughout, though an essence at best, with the synthesis existing in a space that is simultaneously physical, abstract and metaphorical. The resulting art acting as a physical manifestation of a personal narrative from this investigation.
For The Meet of the Matter, the work comes from two primary sources; the writings of French philosopher Gaston Bachelard and quantum physics. Whereas the bridging of the micro and macro scale of cosmic laws rely on abstract scientific research, Bachelard’s observations of spaces that house intimate memories speak to the observable foundation of human condition. Bachelard realized this as a philosopher of the scientific process before focusing on the art of poetry later in his career. Nevertheless, the discovery of the new mathematics, spatial dimensions, dark matter and sounds of interstellar space from NASA’s Voyager spacecraft add an increasingly complex and provocative layer into the structure and origins of the universe, exposing even more of the vast unknown.
Jake Weigel is an artist and currently Exhibitions Coordinator and Lecturer at Mississippi State University in Starkville, Mississippi. Originally from Wisconsin, he received his BFA in Studio Art from the University of Minnesota and MFA in Sculpture from the University of Mississippi.
Weigel has exhibited widely in the United States and has received awards for his art and research, which includes a broad range of subjects from art history and anthropology to quantum physics. He has written reviews for Number, a quarterly arts journal in Memphis, Temporary Art Review based in St. Louis (temporaryartreview.com), and Mississippi Modern out of Jackson, Mississippi (ms-modern.com).
March 1-April 25th
Daigh pieces torn maps and newsprint together into whimsical plant and animal collages. Yanez cleverly invites the viewer to consider the changing form of female breasts in her installation Chest Bored. Cracks, folds, tears and wrinkles co-exist in a tactile banter between four artists all considering space, time, and personal history through recycled media. Written by Heidi Martin Kuster
December 7-Janurary 17th
Past, Future or Present
When all else fails where do you turn for comfort? The past to remember the good times, the future for hope and inspiration, or the present to live “in the moment.”
Visit Ground Floor Gallery + Studios, December 7th, from 12-8pm during AM@WeHo to explore all of these options. See the past and present works of Amanda Brown, Heidi Martin Kuster and Janet Decker Yanez as they open their studios for mini-retrospectives and participant in the futuristic photo booth being created by Erica Ciccarone and Tony Youngblood.
Opens Saturday November 2nd 6-9p during Arts & Music @
Featuring the work of:
Juried and curated by Libby Rowe, Assistant Professor and Area Head of Photography at University of Texas @ San Antonio
As the juror for this exhibition, my primary objective was to identify work that was both high quality and that held conceptual interest. These goals were compounded with my assignment to find a theme that held the chosen artwork together as a unified group. In searching through the artwork submitted for this exhibition, I was struck over and over by pieces that, in one way or another, touched upon the conventional references to the human condition.
While all of the artists in the exhibition met my criteria for inclusion, specific pieces come to the forefront of my thesis. Jake Weigel’s Collection of Black Holes holds my attention in its reference to our need to collect, categorize, and define our world into submission. There is a diabolical impulse beneath this whimsy in the artist’s insistence that even something as intangible as a black hole can be quantified and made into an object, a tchotchke for its collector to display as proof of their ability to control what cannot be seen.
States of being: frailty, conflict, perseverance, wonder and contradiction come to a head in the work of Liz Clayton Scofield, Julie Cowan, Richard Brouillet, and Miriam Norris Omura.
Kelly Hider, Nathan Madrid, Cathleen Windham, Denise Tarantino, and Ryan Hoevenaar seek to delineate our environment and our relationship to our place in this world.
The need to communicate a narrative of our existence is evident in the work of Chris Burks, Fotios Zemenides, Laney Humphrey, Elysia Mann, and Ross Turner.
An ultimate need to create, which is at the base of the human condition, encompasses the work of Aletha Carr, Liz Heller and Mary Robinson.
The work of these artists presents an exploration that suggests at our core, we are all merely playing at the role of being human.
E(labor)ated Surfaces opened September 7th and ran through the 27th.
Pandora’s Box Unhinged-a variation on the ancient myth, one that still involves hope.
Solo exhibition of Amy Hutcheson, Finalist-From the Ground Up, Ground Floor Gallery’s 1st juried exhibition, curated by Janet Decker Yanez
In a last ditch effort before finally “growing up”, PINK LEMONADE finds three artists revisiting childhood and adolescence, along with the unrivaled wonderment it encourages. Michael Hampton, Robert Grand, and Aaron Harper work from classic cartoons, forgotten toys, 90s pop culture, and their dad’s favorite rock bands. However, their interpretations and juxtapositions bastardize these loved relics and icons – whether by emphasizing their hidden aspects or by subtly sexualizing them. PINK LEMONADE serves as a reminder that no matter how hard you try to look back, the trappings of adulthood have already poisoned the well.
IDLE HANDS opens April 20th 6-9p
curated by Willard Tucker
Artists: David Anderson, Zack Rafuls and Brady Haston
Nervous and out of sorts, IDLE HANDS showcases a body of works that confuse aspects of religion, sexuality and power to provoke the mythic fantasies that underlie social control. This tabooed cultural nexus that subliminally conditions ultra-primal motives of self-interest at the center of the civilized order produces a context of moral uncertainty for artistic action. As an effort of social reclamation, these marks, acts, and gestures trace cross currents of desire back to their source in daily ritual and routine.
Ground Floor Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of Baroque Times curated by William Stewart and Willard Tucker
Opens at March 22, 6-9pm
additional showings by appointment March 23
An exhibition of selected works by Watkins affiliated artists: Terry Thacker, Patrick DeGuira, Robert Grand, William Stewart, and David King. Swapping themes of masculinity, work and pleasure across a dialectic of sensual desire and rugged utility, this collection investigates aspects of the historical Baroque, a time bolstered by ecclesiastical excess and emotionally saturated in self-glorification. Sacred and profane gestures of productivity and decadence invite exploration into such unlikely frontiers as belly button rings, motorcycle mayhem and the queer affects of baseball memorabilia.
________________________________________________________From the Ground Up (FtGU)–a juried exhibition
From the Ground Up–Opens January 19, 2013
From the Ground Up, a common idiom that means developing something from a simple concept to a more complex reality, is the inspiration for Ground Floor Gallery’s inaugural juried show. Artists chosen interpreted ‘From the Ground Up’ using a metaphorical meaning or a literal representation.
Curator Elizabeth Schlatter, Deputy Director and Co-Curator at the museums of the University of Richmond, in Va., selected the work.
- Finalist given a solo exhibition. Both Elizabeth Schlatter and Ground Floor Gallery Founder, Janet Decker Yanez, selected award recipient.
Opens January 19th 6-8p
What does “from the ground up” mean anyway? I imagine several of the artists who submitted work for consideration for this exhibition asked themselves that same question. Sometimes it’s easier to find meaning by examining the opposite of an expression. For example, one rarely hears “from the ground down.” Initially this phrase suggests a negative movement, to a sublevel, which hardly has the positive connotations of “up.” Yet this is a culturally defined preference. For example, a root system or rhizome (1) is an exceptionally complex subterranean system that today acts as an apt metaphor for communication and interpretation.
Nonetheless, we seek to move upward, not downward. And upward, of course, is completely relative. Because by “up” we usually mean the opposite of towards the center of the earth. The “up” in Santiago, Chile, is not the same direction as the “up” of Nashville, Tennessee. Rather, “up” suggests fighting gravity, which offers countless metaphors for nature, life, and spirituality.
In their own statements, a few of the finalists in this exhibition graciously provided the meaning of “from the ground up” as it related to their art. For Robert Bruce Scott, his piece “Footprints On The Moon (a thinking man’s game)” is about the quest of learning and experiencing beyond what is presented by humanity as being known. “Onwards and upwards” is a phrase that he, and we, have heard so many times that it becomes something of a platitude uttered when in need of false optimism, which in many cases is sufficient enough to continue back onto that train of progress called daily life. The desire for more, to be lifted off the ground, and in fact, to lose direction altogether (perhaps another meaning of Scott’s column of globes) requires a confidence and willingness to risk failure and falling back to earth.
For Shana Kohnstamm, the “ground” is both the source from which her seed-like forms grow, and the place in which she finds herself as a relative newbie in the field of sculpture. Her felt-made creatures have legs or supports to rise up from the foundation, and possibly to move them to another location if endangered. They aim towards the sun (2) to complete their life cycle—a fantasy imbued with color and texture thanks to Kohnstamm’s choice of materials. And that choice, a recently made one to turn from painting to sculpture, specifically soft fiber art, has resulted in the artist changing directions and rebuilding her artistic practice anew, from the ground up so to speak. Although the direction of down, into a complex root system, might make for an interesting analogy considering her focus on flora.
Amy Hutcheson’s paintings start from both the “ground” of an idea and the meaning of “ground” as a term related to the surface of two-dimensional art. Hutcheson layers drawings on top of each other, forms are made and erased, structures emerge, and glimpses of objects tease the viewer into thinking that something concrete is being described. Is that an artist’s palette? A tin can holding brushes? Part of a guitar? A wine glass? Or are they just shapes? Is there a story being told or is this just a collage with random elements? And notice how easily we use directions incorrectly. The layers are on “top” of each other, but actually, the layers are not vertical, but arranged in the dimension of depth, both literally with layer upon layer coming out from the ground of the painting and also compositionally. There is no “ground” in Hutcheson’s paintings aside from the canvas itself, and her interplay of illusion and abstraction ensures this conclusion.
As highly autobiographical structures, Randy Purcell’s sculptures suggest that the ground is his childhood and “up” is the word that follows “grown.” But the adult referenced in these pieces is, of course, not just the artist’s father, but also the adult artist reflecting on his past through clouded lenses. The forms in the work provide just enough clues to reference the homes that Purcell’s dad built, and thus the construction (pun intended) of the man that Purcell became.
I’d like to thank Janet Decker Yañez for the opportunity to jury this exhibition for the Ground Floor Gallery, for the chance to learn about work being made by the talented artists who submitted to the show, and for the occasion to slow down and really consider the phrase “from the ground up.” I won’t use it so casually in the future.
- My apologies for this overused but nonetheless applicable term. See “rhizome (philosophy)” at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhizome_(philosophy)
- The title of one of Kohnstamm’s works, “Heliotropia,” refers to the word heliotropism, which means the directional growth of a plant in response to sunlight.
N. Elizabeth Schlatter is Deputy Director and Curator of Exhibitions at the University of Richmond Museums, Virginia, where she has curated more than 20 exhibitions, including the group exhibitions “Art=Text=Art: Works by Contemporary Artists,” “LEADED: the Materiality and Metamorphosis of Graphite” and “Form & Story: Narration in Recent Painting,” as well as solo shows of work by Andreas Feininger, Hans Friedrich Grohs, Sue Johnson, and Fiona Ross.
Gallery views of Libby Rowe’s Living in Two Worlds
View of Ann Catherine’s installation
A snapshot of David King’s video that was exhibited at October 5, 2012