Sunday, May 31, 2015

"Art of the South": Wayne White and Number create an exhibit

Art of the South  2015 

May 20 – July 31
Memphis College of Art
Hyde Galleries

477 South Main
M–F, Noon–5pm
Sat, Noon–7pm
We headed down to Memphis for the opening reception of Art of the South 2015. I needed to pick up a rather large artifact for a commissioned piece on the way, so we made a detour off I-40 to load it in the van.  Predictably, I saw something cool on the way. I was hoping it was an adult book store or something else of a scandalous nature, but we had already passed one of those, so figured there is only so much call for that business plan. It was only a thrift store in a zebra striped trailer on a gravel road. Only as in "only one".  With pink trim. You can't find these just anywhere.
Knoxville had a definite presence in Art of the South, which is pretty cool since the regional exhibit was open to artists from Florida to Texas. Knoxville artists Brian and Carri Jobe just happened to come to the reception, talking about their new project, Locate Arts. (Brian, below, with the papers in hand). It is a very cool project- I'm excited about it.
This exhibit was put together by the independent arts publication Number , which covers Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi, and occasionally Northern Alabama. It is a fantastic regional art publication based in Memphis that has been in publication for over 25 years. (Yes, I often write reviews for them-since I think 2007. A couple of computers ago. My connection to them was in no way connected to me being in the exhibit, though. Is this a disclaimer?)
You never know where people come from during receptions- there were a bunch from New York I met that were hanging around with my plywood drawings. I swear, I should have brought my real camera. Even iPhone pics can be rather blurry at night. Just for that, I think I'll post a better
pic of my piece below the gallery image:
People # 49, 50 charcoal and pastel pencil on plywood
Denise Stewart-Sanabria People # 49, 50 charcoal and pastel pencil on plywood, better pic

Gary Monroe of Knoxville had one of his huge new Comedy County Cocke series drawings selected.
Briena Harmening, an MFA recipient from UT Knoxville, now living in Nashville, had one of her crochet text pieces there.
Shana Kohnstamm, another UTK grad living in Nashville makes amazing felted sculptures. This one is based on a species of shrimp that is more scorpion than anything else. 
Kohnstamm “Aculeus”
Wool, wire, carnelian, garnet, glass beads, acrylic polymer.
11″ x 11″ x 6″
Shana and I hung around talking about materials and paper making with Arkansas artist, professor, and farmer Melissa Cowper-Smith. She grows her own cotton that she creates hand-made paper with. Really awesome, super organic looking paper.
Cowper-Smith Porch Fire, 2015, Digital print on homegrown and homemade cotton paper, 18 x 24 inches
You can't have an exhibit of Southern regional art without a Herb Williams crayon sculpture-this one suspended.
I really really like this- the idea was amazing and yes, people thought they were some kind of stone. Noooo- found erasers!
Barb Bondy: Value ll: 42 Found Erasers in the Scale of Grey
A couple more pieces I really liked, below. If you are familiar with the juror, Wayne White (bio below), you can really see the connection between the work selected and his own passions!
Andrew Blanchard  Dixie Totem Vlll  Screen print
Bethany Taylor  Sleeping Through the Dream  unwoven WalMart American flag blanket

Wayne White is an American artist, art director, illustrator, puppeteer, and more. Born and raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Wayne has used his memories of the South to create works for film, television, and the fine art world. A graduate of Middle Tennessee State University, Wayne traveled to New York City where he worked as an illustrator for the East Village Eye, New York Times, Raw Magazine, and the Village Voice. In 1986, Wayne became a designer for the hit television show Pee-wee’s Playhouse, and his work was awarded with three Emmys. In Los Angeles Wayne continued to work in television and designed sets and characters for shows such as Shining Time Station, Beakman’s World,Riders In The Sky, and Bill & Willis. He also worked in the music video industry, winning Billboard and MTV Music Video Awards as an art director for seminal music videos including The Smashing Pumpkins’ ‘Tonight, Tonight’ and Peter Gabriel’s ‘Big Time.’
More recently, Wayne has created paintings and public works that have been shown all over the world. His most successful works have been the world paintings featuring oversized, three-dimensional text painstakingly integrated into vintage landscape reproductions. The message of the paintings is often thought provoking and almost always humorous, with Wayne pointing a finger at vanity, ego, and his memories of the South. At Rice University he built the world’s largest George Jones puppet head for a piece called ‘Big Lectric Fan To Keep Me Cool While I Sleep.’ In 2012, Filmmaker Neil Berkeley chronicled Wayne’s art and adventures in the irreverent and joyful documentary film, Beauty is Embarrassing.

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