Nashville’s Tennessee Art League, a participating member of Nashville’s Gallery Crawl, offered a new selection of art during its February reception for new exhibits. The mediums of choice for this month’s galleries vary greatly but all have the common thread of being used to great effect. Texturing, layering and skillful application of color including dynamic black-and-white imagery are vibrantly displayed. Techniques of watercolors, oils, acrylics, pen and ink, textiles and photography are all given ample exposure.
Jason Saunders, Tennessee landscape portraiture artist, continues to hold sway in the Premiere Gallery. Tennessee’s landscape is beautifully rendered in muted pastel-like tones. Many of his work will strike a familiar cord with the viewing public. Presented here are images only glimpsed as we drive along our many roadways and country lanes. Saunders has stopped to actually capture those unique images for posterity. Pastured cattle, old country barns in afternoon sunlight, serene countryside visions, stoic farm settlements, the very hue and flavor of Tennessee are captured for prosperity.
Walk around the corner and enter the Ethel Smith Gallery, where exceptional visual imagery works its magic. First up is a three dimensional work by Carrie Duborg. This acrylic/mixed work, titled Lavender Fields Forever is quite stunning. Next set your eyes on Rosie Morton’s optical illusion, Native Winds. The repeated strips of imagery trick the eye-brain connection but eventually the brain overrides the disconnect to comprehend the image being presented. The vibrant colors holds the viewer’s attention while comprehension settles in. A cleaver work and one that is fun to come to an understanding of its creation. The viewer will notice a plethora of imagery featuring flowers, blossoms and representations of the like. Widely spaced and individually unique, this is a flower show unlike any other you will have seen before. Take pause at So In Love, for instance. While not a floral image, the icy blue of Snowbound will feel quite in tune with our recent weather condition. It is nicely contrasted by Grady Ezell’s Autumn watercolor.
The three dimensional imagery has several applicants this month. Carrie Duborg is joined by fellow painter Rhonda Warnick in the 2nd floor Member’s Gallery. Warnick uses an oil/mixed application. Her Robbing the Barrel is another ‘trick of the eye’ construct that is applied to great effect. The vinter’s draft of aging wine being tested for ripeness is visually intriguing. The flow of the draft into the tester’s goblet is all the more fascinating as the brain becomes aware that that hand is not flat to the canvas, or is it the drafter’s tubing that is floating above the canvas.
The beauty of the TAL Gallery is its three floors of exploration and delight. Its gathering of art includes Susan Walker’s acrylic ink on canvas, Roaring Fork Tranquility. The Poston 3 Gallery on the third floor features photographic works of members of the American Society of Media Photographers. Sunset on Old Ford by Janie Haynes and Smoke 7 by Chris Hollo are particularly interesting counterpoints. Two more eye-catching works are Target and Girl in Blue.
Back in the Members gallery on the second floor you will be amazed by Bob Jones’ fascinating pen and ink collection. These pieces defy belief that a human hand spent the endless hours to create such rich and detailed photographic effect. Miles is a two-face photo-like study of the famed trumpeter; Native Australian, African Beauty and The Miner are all equally breathtaking. Enter the room to your immediate left from Jones’ corner and you will be confronted with Mark Evan Ivie’s Final Port and Faith Heitzer’s Sailor’s Delight. Tranquility in opposition to itself might be one description of these works. The eye is amused while the brain registers a mild panic. Enjoy the rush.
Returning to the Members’ gallery, find Ev Niewohner’s Cool Jazz, a dazzling study of blue that grabs hold and locks you in place. Faith Heitzer also offers a special study here. Monet After Scuba Class is both subtle and amusing in its juxtaposition of a Monet-famous scene and the revelation of considering what lies beneath. Turn around and go right to encounter another Ev Niewohner’s offering, Giants of Jazz. Ask about his Brubeck’s Take 5. Katherine Hayes counters Ev with her watercolor rendition called Yesterday’s Bridge, a rustic memory recollection to be sure. At the end of the hallway Mar Augelli offers two tantalizing works. Escape is a stark, dynamic black and white study which compels examination. Then you face Pieces, another black and white work, however here you will be called upon to name the face and names will pour forth as you contrive to give ownership to the young man in the work. Hemmingway? Elvis? Jagger? Just who are we viewing here? If you’re very lucky, maybe Mar will share the secret.
While February is only twenty-eight days this year, art lovers are strongly encouraged to allot as much time as possible visiting the TAL Galleries. Winter’s chill has no dominion here. Roam the floors and drink in the elixir of well executed art available for your perusal. Twenty-eight days for sixty days of wonderment and marvel. You’d best get a move on, pilgrim!
The Tennessee Art League is located at 808 Broadway in downtown Nashville. George Anderjack is the executive director. Participating and non-participating memberships are available.
Encaustic instruction by Faith Heitzer and portrait paining on oil instruction by Jean Gauld-Jagerare offered this month. Contact TAL for more info at 615-736-5000. Visit the website at <www.TennesseeArtLeague.org>. Gallery hours are Tuesday thru Saturday- 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. TAL is closed on Monday and Sunday.