Nashville celebrates its arts community with its monthly First Saturday Art Crawl on 5th Avenue North. The concentration of art galleries makes for easy browsing and indulging in the diverse mediums and formats of the talented artists displaying works in each exhibition. Music performers are often part of the street scene during these Downtown Partnership Art Showcases and such was the case Saturday night.
Among the galleries opening their doors Saturday was new kid-on-the-block, The Tennessee Art League, at 219 5th Avenue North. The gallery is filled with a wide array of artworks which tantalize, stimulate and imprint upon the viewer. There is a wide variety of paintings, pen & ink drawings, photography, woodwork, 3-D and mobile sculptures, and small handcrafted ceramics.
November’s Art Crawl came as the winter holiday season was just gearing up. Now, with December barrelling in with cold, a stroll among the many displays helps alleviate the winter blahs. As visitors stroll among the exhibits on display, many works will appeal to the first-time buyer as affordable artwork purchases and they would be correct. Much of the works on exhibit are vibrant and impressive in color, style and presentation. Others will evoke a recollection of memories from youthful days, while still others inspire reflection and contemplation.
The entrance foyer was given to Vanderbilt student Wenhao Liu’s massive artwork, Flow. Liu utilizes over 80,000 bamboo skewers to create a wall length display of protruding projectiles much like porcupine quills. The image is at once arresting and alluring. The narrowness of the foyer helps the piece recall crowds pressing together moving in opposing directions. The natural bamboo color suggests a warmth and graceful pattern often associated with a traditional craft-based sensibility. A second artwork of over 500 black skewers accompanies the larger Flow.
John Cranshaw has a pillar exhibit entitled, Art & Guitar, which is a display of guitars used by famous music legends, many from the late 80’s and early 90‘s rock era. The guitars are identified by owner and music genre and moment in the spotlight.
Ev Niewohner has a pillar exhibit with many smaller works that celebrate the vibrancy of jazz and latin music. Bob Jones also shares a pillar exhibit which displays his music legends photography that recall many of the greats of rock and roll. Jones also has the Ethel Smith Gallery which showcases a vast array of his wondrous pen and ink portrait drawings. These are some of the most striking images on display. Visitors will find themselves captivated and rooted to this section as they strive to study each of the over fifty portraits on the wall. From Miles Davis to Native American warriors to old coal miners, Jones’ images are simply impressive character studies of people who populate the American Story.
Clarksville artist Tess Lankovich has a new work on display in the Member’s Gallery section. Tess is trying her hand with a new medium and this work suggests she is well equipped to master this medium. Her style has shifted to meet the dimensions of this new medium utilizing bolder strokes and a richer layering of paints to suggest a 3-D element of vision but not quite venture into that realm. “This Is You” is another artwork which will reward the persistent viewer with a revelation of its not-so-obvious elements and aptly named title.
Bernie Roberts offers a 3-D interactive Horse and Rider sculpture that is one of his larger artworks to date. Roberts has made quite an impact among T.A.L. visitors with his interactive mobile sculpture artworks. In past showcases he has exhibited a swing dancing couple, a bucking bronco rider and a soaring eagle. Andrew Smith offers Sea by Sea, a 3-D presentation of a field of blooming poppies under a fluffy cloud filled sky.
Cindy Billingsley presents Sandy Hook , a 3-D sculpture memorial to Sandy Hook that is compelling to study and inspiring to reflect upon. Woodwork impressario Barry Werner displays his Mozambique, a diminutive vertically opposing, multi-hued wood artwork that is dazzling and and mesmerizing to view. Connie Valedon shares her pet love with Paco Kitty, a large portrait which showcases the feline’s enchanting eyes. Peach McComb is also present with a colorful emotive abstract titled Harlem and a still life, On the Sill.
Trin Blakely offers an enchanting Stormy Barn photography piece that truly captures the titled subject. Marris Jones displays his musical legend devotion with Remembering Michael, an acrylic rendering that captures the music icon’s unforgettable profile. Terri Jordan, another Clarksville artist, continues her Spanish Ladies series with Wall Flower.
Jilene Renee picks up John Cranshaw’s guitars of music legends with her glitter on canvas tributes to Eddie Van Halen and Willie Nelson. Dina D’Argo displays several horse-image themed works that lovingly showcase the majesty of these magnificent creatures. Art lovers of all stripes will find the November exhibits at the T.A.L. offer much to enjoy and enchant.
As the holiday gift-giving gets under way, stopping in here could reward the art aficionado with a vast array of treasured gifts. The T.A.L. Gift Shop also offers a myriad of small wonders to share for mindful gift-givers. Handcrafted one-of-a kind jewelry- bracelets, earrings, necklaces, handcrafted writing instruments, scarfs and other apparel, wooden bowls and platters, sculptures and ceramic figurines, cards, posters and other unique pieces of art works.
[Photos by Turner McCullough Jr./JazzWaves Imaging Solutions]