Nashville’s spring art season got off to a strong start – Vivienne Flesher’s paintings at Zeitgeist, Benji Anderson’s multimedia exhibit at Elephant and Mary Addison Hackett’s videos at Unrequited Leisure were early season highlights. For the month of May, the Nashville gallery scene shows no signs of fatigue, with strong exhibits opening in spaces across the city this Saturday night.
Jonathan Swinney is a Texas-based outsider multimedia artist. His extensive creative practice includes video, photography, animation and music. Swinney’s Inspired by dreamsexposure to Open gallery is a surreal display of colorful maximalism with a flair for the dramatic and a touch of irreverence. This show is a very rock ‘n’ roll event, and images of angels holding burning roses alongside roaring leopards attest to Swinney’s more high-profile work in album covers and music videos. This exhibit goes to 11.
When we talk about “artifacts” in digital media, we are talking about distortion resulting from compression. Raheleh Filsoofiit is Artifact set up at Unshared hobbiesoffers a more visceral view of compression and distortion that allows the artist to imprint elaborate patterns on the edges of unfired clay slabs by biting into them. This display includes numerous plaques marked by Filsoofi’s teeth as well as a video of his chewing performance/process. Filsoofi’s tantalizing tactics are reminiscent of Hannah Wilke’s chewing gum art and even Indigenous birchbark biting traditions – I’m always here for cross-disciplinary installations like this.
New work: Vivienne Flesher, Ward Schumaker and Matthew Schumaker open to The spirit of the times last month, and I was lucky enough to be invited to a relaxing evening at the gallery where Matthew Schumaker accompanied a gathering of music and dance performers through his music-generated video art. Perhaps it’s best to call his work digital painting, but there’s also an element of animation at play here. It’s quite fascinating, and its painterly qualities make for a fun match with the rest of the show, which features Ward Schumaker’s text paintings and Flesher’s beautiful abstract landscapes. Flesher’s dreamy paintings stand out. I love his titles, like “Bitter Tears of Love”. As I mentioned, it’s some of the best work I’ve seen this spring, and I recommend plenty of visits and viewings as the show continues through May 28. First Saturday Zeitgeist hours are from noon to 6 p.m.
Memphis based artist Greely Myatt brings its mark of monumental fantasy to David Lusk GalleryNashville outpost for the month of May. Pointing and throwing bricks finds the found object sculptor in top form after a packed schedule in 2021 that included two museum exhibitions. The works in this exhibition contain many references ranging from Mickey Mouse to Philip Guston, and they are constructed from everyday materials like broken gardening tools and discarded metal shelves. Anxious crawlers might want to make Lusk their first stop, as the gallery is still opting out of the crawl in favor of an earlier open house from noon to 3 p.m.
Sculptor Laura taller bring it To go up exposure to Cooperative Saturday evening. This show is a fascinating exploration of materials and value that focuses on the types of building materials that make up the spaces where we live and work. Bigger here refers to the straw, wood and brick of the fable of the three little pigs, but also indicates how we make synthetic materials look natural and make cheap things look more precious. Bigger creates this conversation by printing on cardboard blocks to make them appear like bricks or wood. It’s a fun exhibition that touches on capitalism, advertising, housing and status all at the same time.
Carrie Nevillegraduation thesis issue Victory Begins at Home: Color Theory in Propaganda until May 8 at Watkins Art Gallery. The show’s compelling premise is about how color can communicate emotionally, symbolically, and practically. A white wedding dress, a red fire hydrant, and rolls of yellow crime scene tape all speak to the kinds of nonverbal communication we accomplish through the use of color, and it can be a powerful tool if you try to get out the vote or foment a war.
As above, so below to modfellows‘Grassmere location wins Best Exhibit Headline this month. Nicole Kutz and LYNX invoke the Emerald Tablet of Hermeticism in this exhibit, which celebrates the harmonic correspondences between the natural and spiritual worlds. Kutz’s dyed paper abstractions are indigo dreamscapes steeped in meditative stillness. LYNX’s abstract works are rendered in an equally meditative practice, which allows the artist to make multiple small marks with a ballpoint pen to create sophisticated works exploring geometry and tone. Form over substance will be the whole of the law.
East of Nashville
In his 1978 book The reversible world: symbolic inversion in art and society (symbol, myth and ritual), Barbara Babcock defines a inverted world as “any act of expressive behavior that reverses, contradicts, abrogates, or in some way presents an alternative to commonly accepted cultural codes, values, and norms – whether linguistic, literary, or artistic, religious, or social and political” . Mundus Inversus is a collective exhibition at Red Arrow Gallery curated by a Nashville-based multimedia artist Emily Weiner with the support of a grant from the Tri-Star Arts 2021 Current Art Fund. The exhibition features exhibitions of sculptures, paintings and installations that all aim to overturn common assumptions about material value and symbolic form. Artists include Kimia Ferdowsi Kline, Sara Mejia Kriendler and Linda Lopez. Donte Hayes is a ceramic magician who can make clay look slightly shaggy, and Weiner’s contribution to the show is one of her signature works of oil painting in a ceramic frame.