An Interview with Georganna Greene


Georganna Greene has a solo show, Adagio, coming up February 10th-March 5th at Red Arrow Gallery! The opening reception will be February 10th from 6-9pm.

Below is a recent interview with Georganna:

Georganna Greene is a painter that works to bridge abstraction with landscape. In searching for the space between action painting and observation, Georganna has found a unique language of abstraction. Below is a slightly edited interview where we discuss this.


Looking at your more concrete representations in comparison to the purely abstract pieces, I’m able to learn so much about how you manage to balance the two in other pieces.


Yes. In every single painting I’ve learned so much. The brushstrokes and emotional gestures become things that I recognize. How do I incorporate these leaves with this big slap of paint? There’s just always a new way to do that. Each painting surprises me with how that balance of abstraction and realism plays out, like you were saying. I also find comfort in seeing gravity in a painting, or seeing a base. A structure or a base for the thing to rest on, who knows what it is. It always comes back to some landscape.


I bet that takes a lot of discipline to stop when you find that sweet spot and not go too far in these.


Yeah. I think I’ve painted over a lot of good paintings when I didn’t really need to; when it would have been just as fine or better to make a new painting and then do something different to it. Sometimes I just have to accept that a painting does what it wants to do and in a few months I might appreciate certain things about it that I didn’t see before. One of these went through a lot of phases. When I first made the painting it was my junior year. I made a panel and did a figure study – a close up of a person sitting on a counter, very crisp, very high definition. I ended up painting over it and I really wish I hadn’t because it was a great painting, just not my current voice. But it represented an integral part of my academic journey. Still, it has been interesting to see it change. There have been probably 10 layers of paint since then and now I finally feel it’s done!


Is that usually how you go about it? You wait for a gut feeling?


Yeah, and I think I’ve just had too many instances where I over work paintings and now I’m a  little bit more cautious about that gut feeling. If there’s any part of me that’s thinking, ‘you could stop right now,’ then I wait and let it sit. There’s something in that gut voice that still needs some space because, truly, you could just continue to work on a painting forever. That ties into another facet that I’m into right now which is plein air painting. Just getting out in nature. There’s something really cool about capturing a 30 second image with the light changing so quickly. I think in my mind it parallels with the idea of making a painting and chasing after your current mood because it’s gonna change you know? We are so temperamental, as people. I think I’ve done that a lot where I have been chasing a painting, or the painting has been chasing my mood and trying to keep up with me. I relate that to plein air because you can keep chasing the light forever, but you’ll never quite catch it. Maybe it’s better to just a let a painting be for that moment and just make a new painting for a new moment. I think that that’s an idea that is also starting to trickle into my abstract work: knowing when to take a rest.


Is there anything in particular in landscapes that you’re looking for?


You mean formally?


Yeah or just in the landscape itself, what your interest are in that area, or if it’s just a place with no meaning attached.


Thats a good question because it does really matter. I think you could turn any landscape into a painting and find an opportunity anywhere, but I’m such an inexperienced landscape painter that I really have to be looking for something interesting, or I feel like my painting could fall flat.


Sometimes I get enamored by just a color that I see in my daily landscape. I like to see diagonals and I like to see movement. Dynamic lines and forms, and sometimes if they’re not there I just have to put them in. This piece* ended up reminding me of walking at Radnor lake, those trails. You alway see fallen trees, stick piles. I’ve been out there more times than I can count. I’m still always taking mental snapshots every time I’m there. I think that that is kind of what that’s evoking for me, a forest floor, piles of old trees and sticks and things. And somehow that grey for me makes it peaceful and gives you a window to look into. None of that was planned at all. I just kind of noticed and pulled it out after looking at it for a while. That’s when I knew it was done, because it started to mean something to me.

What has you interested in plein air painting?


It’s something that has been around for so long, but that’s why I’m in interested in it. And the area that we live in; We’re all kind of taking that in whether we know it or not. We live in such a lush beautiful place. You can drive just outside of the city and you’re in rolling hills. So it’s kind of hard to not take that in. So I would say one big avenue is the land around middle TN landscape. And then that’s merging with these abstract, kind of ab ex techniques that I’m interested in.


And your interest in Abstract Expressionism?


A lot of that is from influence of Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock, Helen Frankenthaler. I’m fascinated by the way they took risks and how that was an integral part of the finished product- the risk taking. As far as landscape painters I’m interested in Richard Diebenkorn, as someone who takes the land and abstracts it into shapes and forms. You’re not always sure exactly what you’re looking at but that’s not really the point. You know you’re looking at something with depth that really draws you in. His colors are amazing. He taught as a professor as well and taught some contemporary painters that I love based out in the Bay area.


It doesn’t seem like you include a lot of narrative in your work.  Is that true or is there something more going on?


There is but it’s hard to put into words, the way I personally connect with these pieces. I’ve been focusing on more of just experimental abstraction lately, but these pieces that I had in the Julia Martin show were from a plant series I had been working on. I made 8 or 10 paintings of plants perched on window sills, playing with light and shadow. Those seemed to be packed with a lot of meaning for me like growth, the way that light illuminates parts of you but you cast others in shadow. Just that sort of symbolism and relating to it personally. They’re all scenes from my home too, so it’s my day to day existence being reflected. But it’s different with these abstract paintings. I’m still trying to chew on what it is, how I connect with them. Right now I think its the landscape that’s connecting me to them. Its evoking the places that I grew up seeing, the woods I walked through as a kid, that I still walk through.


I’m sure the growth of Nashville has come into play as well.


I’m from the Brentwood area which is why it was so woody. But yeah it feels much more urban now. I currently live in West Nashville and I’m just around a lot of people. It’s a very different experience than growing up in a small suburb. I definitely think about those ideas about Nashville and how it has been home for me and how much it has grown and become a new place. I think I’ve been countering that with these slow, meditative paintings.

That’s very interesting because your paintings do not come across as slow to me, they are very active.


I know, it’s really weird. Sometimes I’ll go through a day where I’m really feeling energized and do a lot to painting but even after that I’ll have to come back many more times and just make little marks and kind of hone in and meditate. It really is a slow thing for me which I like. The pace of life in western culture is ridiculous. I’m kind of introverted and a verbal processor, so I have to have conversations to process the things that I’m taking in and learning. That’s all honestly just too fast for me sometimes, and there’s so many distractions, that I like just being able to take my damn time when I’m painting. That’s something that has become really important.


What makes these paintings personal to you?

We are absorbing so much right now in today’s world. There’s a new crazy headline every day and everyone’s just trying to make sense of things. I hear a lot of noise through the internet, texting, social media, even the way Netflix just comes in and makes us feel like it’s okay to just watch TV for 8 hours. I don’t even think I always realize it but my head kind of buzzes from it all. So yeah I think that’s personal to me, needing to get away from that buzzing for my own sanity within the landscape itself or just paintings themselves. So it’s that relationship that makes it personal, rather than the subject or a narrative. The relationship of me letting go of what it needs to be or what it should be. And just coming and working, just making the work.


A Year in Review


As we look forward to a new year, here is what 2017 had to offer at Ground Floor:



Our 5th Annual Juried Show, dubbed Otherworldliness by curator Austin Thomas, hosted 12 artists, working with photography, printmaking, painting, and sculpture.



Art of the South 2017 presented by No. Inc, the quarterly visual arts journal of Mid-South America, chose Ground Floor as their exhibition space.



BARED, curated by Sally Deskins, featured art by selected artists from her book Les Femmes Folles.



Rods and Ribbons, a solo exhibition of Gil Given’s new work, was awarded to him after he won “Best of Show” in Otherworldliness.

This Saturday: Book Release Party


Please join us tomorrow (12/23) at the book release party for Extended Play Press’ newest book, We Love You We Know You Always Watch We Will Try to Do Better Next Year. The book features illustrations and art by 17 artists; many from Nashville, and some will be present at the party. Matt Christy, an artist at Ground Floor, has included text about Christmas that is woven throughout the book. This 44 page book may be viewed and purchased online here.

Artists included:


Alison Rhea, April Bachtel, David Onri Anderson, Jodi Hayes (with Gus & Eames), Kevin Dietz, Brady Haston, David Hellams, Benji Anderson, Morgan Higby-Flowers, Jaime Raybin, Dyl Moss, Cody Tumblin, Aaron Harper, Lain York, Matt Christy, Mike Calway-Fagen, and Ashley Doggett

Rods and Ribbons Open Through November 11th


Ground Floor Gallery is proud to host “Rods and Ribbons,” a solo show by Gil Given; a long-time Nashville artist and resident. You may have seen Given’s work earlier this year at Ground Floor Gallery’s show “Otherworldly” which was curated by Brooklyn artist and community builder Austin Thomas. His colorful, resonant piece was awarded “Best of Show.”


Walking through the gallery, Given’s new work continues that energy. Carefully-crafted, sculptural paintings of wood, rods, and ribbons create currents of movement, amplified by vibrant chromatic transitions.


Having studied Woodworking and production design for theater, Given’s work holistically engages environment and form, shaped by its connection to the environment. Some of the pieces are created to inhabit narrow, interstitial spaces; while others create a rhythmic transition from one end of a space to the other. Inspired by the Hard-Edge school of painting, his linear marks have evolved away from the structure of stretched canvas, to engage with the physical nature of supports in their environment. The walls of the gallery not only support the work, but help complete it. Shadows on the supporting walls complement the precision of the pieces, creating soft forms tinged with blues, oranges, and violets of reflected light.


Structural themes reoccur as solid painted strips of inlaid wood anchor the fragile 1/16” rods and curling ribbons of painted canvas, which extend upward and downward. Flowing from a solid core, these extending sections of pure color create a progression as the form advances and recedes, interrupted at times by a clash of complementary color. For Given, color is a way to elicit mood and emotions through cultural associations and movement. The first piece in the series, “Tang”, features a blue gradient bisected by a bright orange strip, reminiscent of the orange drink. This gradient is created by solid strips of color set together to form a transition. Rather than blending color in a traditional painterly sense, Given relies on optical mixing, using form as a way to prismatically shift through color.


Advancing and receding palettes paired with striking vertical and horizontal themes create strong pathways that guide the viewer. This idea of movement, or travel, is a theme in Given’s work. In his “Jazz” series, Given reacts to the movement of auditory cues by translating musical movement into a visual dialect. The end results are reminiscent of a multi-dimensional sound wave. The “Sentinel” series deals with travel in a less tangible sense. Painted in shades of gray, these pieces lend a stoic presence. Given describes them as guideposts, or markers. In the midst of these soldier-like pieces is a free-standing self-contained form, representing an anchor or destination.


“Rods and Ribbons” creates an environment that is open to interpretation and sensory engagement, conjuring associations and alternative interpretations. Much like the work’s relationship to the environment, the relationship to the viewer’s own history seems to be just as important.

Open this Saturday!


IMG_0363.JPGWe want to give a big thank you to everyone that came out for the opening of Rods and Ribbons as well as the amazing press we received for the event! If you missed it, or would like a chance to see it again and speak with the artist, Gil Givens, join us Saturday the 14th from 3-5pm. We will also be open during our normal open hours Tuesdays, Thursdays, Sundays 5-8pm, as well as Wednesdays 10:30a-12pm throughout the month of October.


Jazz - MJQ view 1 by Gil Given Acrylic ~ 7' x 14

“Jazz MJQ”

Solo exhibition featuring the work of Gil Given

Opens TONIGHT October 7th 6-9pm with artist reception

Ground Floor Gallery is pleased to present RODS & RIBBONS, a solo exhibition awarded to Nashville Artist, Gil Given, after being selected from our 5th Annual Juried Exhibition, Otherworldliness, as “Best in Show” by Austin Thomas, a NYC-based artist and community builder.

His most recent work, the ribbon paintings, leave the two-dimensional scope of the canvas and incorporate sculptural elements.


A New Interview Series


The first in our series of interviews with Ground Floor’s studio mates, Erin Murphy is an artist deeply invested in exploring materials and diverse methods. Despite the emphasis on medium, you can easily describe her work as poetic. She is focusing her attention lately on rubbings similar to frottage. It is not a basis for a new drawing, but rather an impression of a place, a way of memorializing. She leaves her studio to take these rubbings of places that interest her- laying canvas down and rubbing over them with either graphite or construction wax.  I met up with Erin to talk about this frenzy of new work, and we also discussed her other endeavors in drawing and painting. Below are slightly condensed portions of my conversation with the artist.

We looked at one of her pieces individually (pictured on right) to get a feel for what she is exploring:


Erin: This is taken from that border/boundary of Fort Negley. It runs from Fort Negley to the Adventure Science Center. What’s printed on top of that is what I  had wrapped around a place at the Old Stone Fort that has love trees, like those trees that people like to carve their names into. Those parts of the tree are overlaid with the boundary of Fort Negley.


(Fort Negley is a military fortification that was constructed for defense of territories in the Civil War-the largest one built in the US for that war. Old Stone Fort is a prehistoric Native American structure that was misnamed a “fort” by settlers as they didn’t know what it was. The original entrance of the fort was designed to face the exact spot of the horizon where the sun rises during summer solstice)


E: Old Stone Fort is outside of Murfreesboro. I actually went to go do boulders there but Old Stone Fort is fairly misleading with how much of the fort is left. It’s more like a place where you can stand and imagine where the Old Stone Fort used to be-when it was there…potentially? One of the only things that was visually interesting to me there were these carvings in the trees. But I’m glad that that happy accident happened.


There is plenty of meaningful contemplation to be had by taking from these two disparate places and conjoining them. In this, you could be invited to rethink politics as two histories are combined with a tragic commonality. You also could see the beauty in it, because after all, she did add love trees.


E: It makes me think of the trees as a different kind of monument. There is one that is meant to be social or historic. I think that’s what was interesting to me about doing this. I’m documenting something specific, it is the literal impression of something. They help me focus on that rock rather than a philosophical representation of a rock coming from just my imagination. I tend to romanticize objects and have a folder in my head that I usually am working from. So this has been nice to get really specific.


Sibley: So you’ve never done rubbings until now?


E: Not really. They started as a way for me to get out of my studio. And I used to do a lot of monoprinting in school so I definitely like the idea of the “one off” kind of thing. I’ve done a lot of metal casting, so taking impressions of things and making a mold. So I guess I was thinking of way to do that that didn’t involve casting. The first one  I made was when I was working at the foundry and I had a really “rustic” studio. I was an intern so I had the shittiest space in the back. I was working on these big drawings and the woodgrain on the studio wall was so prevalent that I couldn’t make drawings on them. I was getting really frustrated, and one night it was late and hot and I was getting swarmed with mosquitos so I just kind of scribbled over the whole piece. Came back the next morning and thought it was an interesting thing.

S: Are you trying to find connections between the different places, or are you just sort of looking for interesting textures?


E: I’m looking for texture and that weird gut feeling that those things are connected but not necessarily specifically. Like the connection with the boulders and love trees; they’re both these relics that nobody really cares about anymore; they’re both things that are within my path as I’m thinking about them; they’re both things you come back to later and see the process of wear or change. That’s what I really enjoy about the work, these things come together and each lend meaning to other aspects or shift  your perspective on the thing you’re looking at. But there are other things I really like about it; it kind of feels like water or almost an abstraction of something, like there’s a sense of movement to it but they’re both really still solid objects.


S: Yeah when I first saw it at a glance I thought it was an abstracted chinese landscape scroll.


E: Yeah I like that scroll aspect of it. When I first started them I was using canvases that matched the size and shape of the objects.


They are also an excuse for me to be allowed to come in and poke around old buildings. They let me in the Belcourt before it was refinished. And I think I wanted it to be some kind of preservation, like I could be precious with things and memorialize them, but that’s not the feel that these have. So I kind of gave up  on sort of cataloging these things, there are much better ways to do that. And because a lot things are too fragile for me to do this with. In the Belcourt there was some plaster and paint that was coming off and the friction would actually damage them. I don’t want to have to break the thing I’m taking an impression on so that kind of limits what I can look at to things that are hardy and can stand the test of time.


S: So it’s wax that you’re using?


E: It’s construction wax that they use for metal and wood at constructions sites so they know where everything is going. It’s pretty hardy. The color makes them come out looking kind of like blueprints which was a mistake. They ran out of black and blue was my only option. I was doing a large ceiling with the help of a friend and they said “Oh it’s like a to-scale blueprint of the building,” and I liked that.


I like when things turn into other things, that’s always a very exciting potential of art for me is sort of  that it can break those rules and it doesn’t have to be one thing. It can break rules that you can’t really break in the real world. It can kind of move into a mysterious or fantasy space.


Erin is also doing rubbings with graphite, and experimenting with their shape. She has constructed wire sculptures to aid in the exploration of how shape and placement can alter the experience of the rubbings.



Erin is also working together with another artist to produce an artist’s book, and aiming for completion this fall. Her drawings that will be included are small and intimate. They are saturated with detail and mirror her larger bodies of work through their themes of nature and deterioration.


E: I feel like these are almost…personal. Drawing for me is a lot easier to make more intimate to me, probably because of scale. I can work on them anywhere and work on them for a really long time. And I think they help me think about what I want the other work to feel like. I started making these a long time before I started making the wire structures. I think I end up looking for material that feels like the line that I want or the movement I was getting at.

We also talked about her paintings, which are equally as intimate and saturated. You could describe these paintings as poetic unironically, and I think this comes from its sincerity. When made honestly and free from influence outside of the artist’s gut, a painting can warm you. A painting can take what the artist has given it and bounce it right back onto your chest.


E: Painting let’s you work out things, things that you wouldn’t expect. There are mysteries. I still find that really gratifying, not knowing where something is going and getting comfortable with that. I’ve come to a point in my life where that is what art is for, for me. And it is also fun to sometimes make things you can explain to people.


S: Is there any explanation for these paintings? Or are they just paintings?


E: They’re just paintings. I think of them all as excerpts from fictional landscapes. They are excerpts of this weird glowing watery world, but they don’t have specific narratives. They’re almost storyboards for something. Like if you’re looking at a movie and flipping through the inspiration sketches and they’re just trying to create the atmosphere for where all these activities will take place. They’re just trying to create this weird world. They’re all in this one really specific environment.