February is only a few days shorter than any other month, but even a few lost sunrises can make the events of the first Saturday in March seem too soon. Thankfully, we’ve been anticipating this month’s events since the end of 2021, and March gallery visitors will be treated to a number of new exhibit openings that have lit up our radar.
Benji Anderson gets the March festivities started early when it opens The Fitful Portal at Elephant Gallery this Friday, March 4. We’re glad this one skips the events of the first Saturday – Anderson’s show just couldn’t have happened quickly enough. We’re planning a full exhibition of Anderson’s Etch A Sketch drawings and art, and reports that the artist is repainting the walls and floors of the North Nashville space have us expecting the kind of playful and immersive installation that the gallery is best known for. for. Anderson’s Instagram Followers (@benjianderson3) were treated to regular glimpses of what the artist could bring to the show, including elaborate and idiosyncratic scenes of magical monsters and fantastical environments, as well as colorful collections of imaginary animals reminiscent of flat compositions and Mike Kelley’s bonded felt menageries graphics. If you’ve ever seen one of Anderson’s improvised musical performances, you’ll know there’s a visionary component at work in Anderson’s sometimes frantic expressions. All of these crazy creatures and transforming landscapes come from within Anderson’s creative consciousness, but it feels like he is going somewhere far enough away to capture them in paintings and works on paper or on one of the screens of his drawing toys. Put on your kaleidoscope eyes for this one.
The people at Modfellows Gallery caught our attention last month when they opened their new satellite gallery at The Packing Plant with a strong exhibit by the East Nashville painter RyanMichael Noble. This Saturday, we have our eyes trained at Modfellows headquarters in Grassmere, where they open a wildly satirical exhibit of the Nashville street photographer Bill Gubbin. Gubbins’ show comes on the heels of Michael Ray Nott’s February epic Honkytonx exhibition at Chauvet Arts, and we’re starting to get the feeling that local street photography is a low-key trend right now. There’s an inherent – sometimes tongue-in-cheek – glamor to Nott’s black-and-white images of Lower Broadway debauchery, but Gubbins’ exhibit is a comprehensive display of colorful figures on the frontlines of the culture wars. This American carnage takes its title from Donald Trump’s unforgettable dystopian inauguration speech and the cultural divide he was emblematic of – or at least played into. Today, this often surreal struggle continues to play out in the real world in pockets of protest, in consumer goods messaging, and – primarily – in corporate media and social platforms. Local music scenes should be familiar with Gubbins’ excellent book of photographs by Frank Zappa, documenting the avant-garde recording of the mustachioed maestro hot rats LP. Gubbins brings the same sly, satirical sensibility to his snapshots that Zappa brought to his composition. A bit of irony goes a long way, but Gubbins’ detached lens only enlivens and energizes the frenzy tangled in our social fabric.
For March, Julia Martin Gallery hosts a pair of local artists whose creative practices document Nashville’s ever-changing streetscapes. Peggy SnowA decades-long painting practice leads her to bring traditions of the outdoors to urban settings where she documents golden hour moments with Nashville structures slated for demolition. Snow captured the kinds of historic architectural treasures that Nashville still struggles to properly protect, and she also immortalized cultural touchstones like the legendary J&J’s Market, freezing them forever in impressionistic applications of colorful balls of paint on canvas. . Martin and curator Daniel Lonow have paired Snow’s work with a selection of sculptures by Emily Holt, whose assemblies and figures are made of concrete, metal, plastic and wood detritus from real demolition sites. The artist transforms these found materials into memento mori, recalling lost architectural spaces and structures that continue to disappear all over our city. Saturday night’s opening reception begins at 6 p.m. and will feature live music from Ziona Riley. Rumors of a set by Snow’s longtime band Cherry blossoms are rampant.
East of Nashville
We shouted Laurent GregoryMarch show at Red Arrow Gallery in our Winter Arts Guide a few months ago, and this month’s exhibition at the East Nashville space promises to be one of the best painting exhibitions of the season. Gregory is as painterly as Peggy Snow, but he is best known for his portraits. Gregory has shown his work in venues around the world, including MoMA PS1, The New Museum, and MOCA Los Angeles, and the artist recently moved to Nashville. Gregory is also part of a small group of local artists pushing their traditional practices into the digital realm and onto pioneering blockchain platforms. Her generous application of oils brings energized textures to her expressive faces. This, combined with Gregory’s improvisational, instantaneous, single-sitting style of painting, finds these works naturally lend themselves to the artist’s stop-motion animation experiments, which have come to represent the ultimate expression of his art. Gregory brings a multimedia understanding of 21st century creativity to painted portraiture, and the results marry the thrill-seeking of a pioneering practice with one of the oldest and most universal artistic traditions. Expect to see Gregory’s paintings, abstract quilts and animations in Here for a while, not long.