ArtFields 2017

posted by – 10/11/16 @ 3:03pm


ArtFields is a public charity created by the Lake City, SC Creative Alliance, whose mission is to contribute to the area’s education and community through creative and cultural development, connecting people through the arts.

Art fields is a weeklong celebration and competition honoring artists of the Southeast. Over 400 submissions by emerging and established artists will be displayed in locally owned venues, such as renovated warehouses, upscale restaurants, boutiques, and art galleries.  The program is offering life-changing amounts of money to artists of all media who live in Southeastern states.  A panel of judges made up of acclaimed artists and educators will be evaluating the work and awarding over $100,000 of prize money up for grabs.  $50,000 for the Top Prize, $25,000 for Juried Panel prize, and two $12,500 People’s Choice.  Various smaller prizes will be awarded, including $1,000 for a portrait painting contest!

The submission deadline is November 16, 2016, and the event will take place April 21-29, 2017.

Visit for more information.

Inka Essenhigh at the Frist

posted by – 10/04/16 @ 2:40pm

In Bed

In Bed, 2005

Inka Essenhigh is a New York based painter whose surrealist paintings feature dramatic figure distortions, moody palettes, impossibly vibrant hues, and mythical landscapes.  She manages to transform simple every-day situations into extraordinarily fantastic scenes from a fictitious world. Drawing on imagination, Essenhigh creates intricately detailed topographies, pulling viewers into a whole new realm of existence.

Her influence by modern Surrealism is especially apparent in In Bed, depicting a malformed humanoid blob writhing in a sea of undulant, animated blankets, battling an army of its own inner demons.  She often includes influential, dark, psychological intimations, inviting a contemplation of the unknown. Viewers are then lent to the mercy of their own imaginations.

Green Goddess II, 2009

Green Goddess II, 2009

Essenhigh also revives myth and antiquity, often including characters of lore, gods, goddesses, nymphs, sprits, and elves in her paintings.  Green Goddess II and similar are redolent of animism. The woodlands are depicted as a sentient creature, leaving the relationship between nature and humanity equivocal.

Spring Bar Scene displays a hallucinogenic theme, casting slimy, green characters in a boozy, uncouth atmosphere. The bargoers seem raucous; they sway and carouse while the bartenders maintain a seemingly affectionate demeanor.  Essenhigh recontextualizes the bar atmosphere into a grand, whimsical new territory where her ghoulish characters are fused together and their energy animates the composition.

Spring Bar Scene, 2008

Spring Bar Scene, 2008

A selection of the artist’s paintings and drawings in Inka Essenhigh: Between Worlds are on display at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in the Gordon Contemporary Artist Project Gallery until October 9th, 2016.

Native American Artists Redefining What It Means to be “American”

posted by – 09/13/16 @ 3:43pm

Since the approval of the Dakota Access Pipeline project in July (and well before this), Native Americans have been peacefully protesting their mistreatment.  In particular, they’re working to preserve sacred and cultural sites.

At the same time, as discussed in Hyperallergic’s article, “Native American Students Fight to Remove Colonial Imagery from University of New Mexico,”  Indigenous people are rejecting labels and stereotypes perpetuated by the current Colonial American Narrative.

Cleopocahantra by Meritt Johnson

Cleopocahantra by Meritt Johnson

As art parallels history, Contemporary Indigenous Artists are growing in popularity alongside these events, such as those featured at the Cross Currents exhibition at Metropolitan State University of Denver in late 2013-2014.  More and more frequently, they are being given a voice to fill in historical gaps, preserve their own culture, and contribute to the current cultural conversation. Each artist in the exhibit explored topics of marginalization, stereotypes, and the deeper meaning of identifying as an Indigenous person in the United States.  Exhibits like this one give them a unique opportunity to draw attention to both historical and current progressions in the treatment of Native Americans.

(No)otalgia by Cannupahanksa Luger

(No)otalgia by Cannupahanksa Luger

“Being a Painter in the Digital Media Age”

posted by – 09/08/16 @ 12:50pm

Artnet news published a beautifully written recount of an interview with young contemporary painter, Jessie Edelman, on being a painter in the digital media age.

Edelman’s painting is primarily influenced by impressionism – a genre of painting that deeply inspired her upon visiting the Art Institute of Chicago at a young age.  She uses this alongside her own unique brand of figuration to express emotion and contemplation on her textured canvases.  She describes her work as “painterly,” purposely exploring the materiality of her paint, leaving evidence of human touch.  In what Walter Benjamin described as “The Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” Edelman maintains her historic roots to combat the mechanization of imagery.  As Impressionists were exploring what it meant to paint with the birth of photography, Edelman contemplates what it means to create paintings in the age of social media.  She utilizes Instagram as a source of references for paintings, in which she often depicts figures sans technology – either bored of or engaged with the scenery.


Edelman gives a mature reflection on how our phones drastically change the way we view the world.  We swipe through images, seldom ever appreciating their beauty for long, constantly cycling ahead for more content.  In Edelman’s paintings, the figures experience what she describes as “melancholia,” or a separation from the environment they find themselves in. The full Artnet article can be read here.


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Knowing her interest in how digital media affects our lives, this melancholy theme in her work leaves viewers to wonder whether their sense of detachment stems from simple contemplation, or their lack of digital media.  The paradox of social media is highlighted: It is meant for connection and sharing information, but it often distracts us from purer elements of living.  It even strips us of true alone time.  Are we truly disconnected without our phones? Has the age of digital media completely changed the way we interact with the real world?

Discovering Frank Larson: Found Photography from the 1950’s

posted by – 08/30/16 @ 2:49pm

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Upon his passing in 1964, an unopened box of Frank Larson’s negatives was left sitting in an attic for 64 years.  Grandson, Soren Larson, discovered this box, containing 100 carefully sorted and labeled envelopes.  He took on the task of digitizing the images and minimally editing them in photoshop. These images, along with their family history, can be viewed at

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Frank Larson’s photographs give viewers a unique glimpse into the everyday life of New York City in the 1950’s.

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This dedication to his grandfather isn’t Soren’s only attempt to preserve his family’s art: He also compiled a website for his own father, David Larson.  Soren recounts, “My father also used to speak with admiration about his father’s love of photography and his weekend trips with his Rolleiflex into the city to film places like the Bowery, Chinatown and Times Square.” Perhaps these trips inspired David’s career as an artist.

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Soren proudly displays his father’s body of work – a dense, philosophically themed collection of drawings, paintings, and sculptures.

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Carla Ciuffo: Bridging the Gap Between Art and Science

posted by – 08/23/16 @ 4:31pm

“As we bridge the divide between art and science, my endeavor is to show how artists use science to make their fantasies real and palpable; and how science uses the arts in the same way.” -Carla Ciuffo

Leap of Faith

As an artist in residence at Harvard University, in collaboration with the Disease and Biophysics Group, Carla Ciuffo has developed a new project entitled, “Nano . Stasis Cosmic Garden & the Little Black Dress.”  Her recent series of work flaunts groundbreaking nanofiber technology in an effort to highlight a symbiosis between art and science.

magical formula

Tarr Family Professor of Bioengineering and Applied Physics, Kevin Kit Parker, Ph.D. has pioneered research involving rotary jet spinning production of nanofibers and fabrics. His nanfibers are a significant step forward in the realm of biomedical engineering.  This technology has the potential to be integrated into a broad spectrum of radical new applications, from tissue regeneration to advanced performance fibers in fashion.

Portrait, Kevin Kit Parker, Ph.D. 

Ciuffo had the honor of being the first layperson to work with Parker’s fibers.  Alongside graduate student, Nina Sinatra, Ciuffo has developed tiny nanofiber canvases to be imprinted with her own artwork.  Using a Scanning Electron Microscope, Ciuffo is able to create large acrylic composites to showcase the delicate and whimsical side of these fibers.  She’s also been developing portraiture of models wearing sharp angled garments, inspired by Cartesian geometries, to demonstrate the concept of “neurofashion” with nanofibers.  A combination of these artworks, paired with an educational component narrating the versatile technology of the new nanofibers composes this futuristic traveling multi-media exhibit.

Confession Heart Beat

While art cannot directly communicate scientific fact, it is capable of creating dialogue.  Art challenges science to consider the role of its own narrative, as well as the visual impact of scientific images.  Art serves to recontextualize science, adding a conversation with cultural values.   Science often prescribes a systematic way of thought and communication, while the arts promote nontraditional and creative processes useful to research. The combination of the two subjects promotes their relevance and generates more impactful content.

Nano Fiber Universe


Carla Ciuffo’s “Will You Stay with Me? Until the Very End.” is currently on display as a part of the “A Decade in the Making” exhibition until September 17th, 2016. until_the_very_end_web-675x900


Tinney Contemporary celebrates 10 years

posted by – 08/04/16 @ 2:47pm


This Saturday, August 6th, Tinney Contemporary will be celebrating our 10th Anniversary by officially opening up our next exhibition titled, “A Decade in the Making: A 10th Anniversary Exhibition”. Established in 2006 by Susan Tinney, Tinney Contemporary was the second gallery to open on 5th Avenue and was a founding partner of First Saturday Art Crawl, one of the most visible and well-attended art events in the city. The First Saturday Art Crawl, a now well-known and widely celebrated citywide event, will also be celebrating its roots at its 10th Anniversary in August. In August of 2006, the first art crawl featured only a few Nashville-based galleries: The Arts Company, the Twist and Dangenart in the Arcade, and TAG. Though Twist and Dangenart no longer exists and TAG has become Tinney Contemporary, the art crawl continues to thrive and draw hundreds of visitors to 5th avenue on the first saturday of every month.

StyleBlueprintGuide_Tinney_Contemporary_PRODUCT_08-2014-1Since its founding, Tinney Contemporary has striven to present work that is collectible yet also thought-provoking. This challenge has led the gallery to exhibit work by some of the top artists in the region and around the world. Most recently, Tinney featured a three month long guest-curated exhibition featuring the work of several internationally known street artists with the goal of bringing a significant contemporary art movement to Nashville.

“A Decade in the Making” will feature works by Tinney Contemporary artists who have been with the gallery since its founding, as well as recent additions. The featured artists include: Andy Harding, Anna Jaap, Béatrice Coron, Carla Ciuffo, Carlos Gamez de Francisco, Claire B. Cotts, Dorothy O’Connor, Eduardo Terranova, James Perrin, Jane Braddock, Jason Craighead, John Folsom, Kay Ruane, Kuzana Ogg, Martica Griffin, Mary Long, Patricia Bellan-Gillen, Peri Schwartz, Sky Kim, Stefany Hemming, and Tom Brydelsky.

We hope to see you there!

Cambodian War Widows Use Art to Share Their Stories

posted by – 07/19/16 @ 12:47pm

Seven years ago, Khmer artist and poet Chath Piersath and artist Mary Oestereicher Hamill began The Cambodia War Widows Project, a project that explored photography as a form of art therapy and focused on widowed women in rural Cambodia. Today, the series of photographs, as well as paintings by Piersath, are currently installed at Sangker Gallery in Battambang.

DSC04612-e1465531333149The project stems largely from Piersath’s strong personal ties to the Cambodian war widows – he is a refugee, while his mother and two sisters are all widows of war. In 1971, Piersath was born in what is now the Banteay Meanchey Province, where he fled the Khmer Rouge by crossing the border into Thailand. At the age of 10, he reached the USA and didn’t return to his homeland for 13 years. Piersath always dreamed of returning to Cambodia and helping to rebuild his country, and in 1994 he moved back and volunteered for the Cambodian-American National Development Organization, which helps alleviate poverty. The Cambodia War Widows Project began with Piersath simply having conversations with and collecting stories from war widows in a village near where he grew up and where his sister now lives. While conversing with widows and developing ideas for the project, Piersath met Hamill, a New York-based Princeton-graduate, who first visited Cambodia in 2006. The two decided to collaborate and combine

Piersath’s plans for an oral history project with Hamill’s multi-media based practice.

In Khmer, “widow” (written “មេម៉ាយ,” and pronounced “may my”) is the same word as “divorcée,” and both are treated with equal disrespect. In the words of Piersath, “women who lose their husbands are often looked down upon. They face social isolation and discrimination.” Though it is hard to be a widow anywhere, it is particularly hard in Cambodia – society is superstitious of widows and blames divorcees for their misfortune. Widows are also discouraged from remarrying and often are forced out of economic necessity to return home and live with their families, a further disgrace. The Cambodia War Widows Project creates a community amid previously socially isolating circumstances, where widows can discuss their losses, with Piersath and among each other.


The final artworks are prints on pillows that hang from the ceiling and feature objects that remind the women of their husbands. The faint blue prints on the dangling pillows appear dreamlike and faded, resembling the memories that the objects hold for these women of both their previous lives and their deceased husbands. Piersath chose to use pillows because of their significance in marriage – during a wedding, it is Khmer tradition for the bride and groom to place their hands together on pillows and have strings tied around their wrists to bless the newlyweds. Later, when the couple shares a bed, each has his or her own pillow that, when the individual dies, is left behind empty and reminiscent of the union’s missing half.

Piersath says, “My interest is to look at how they [the widows] adjusted their lives to these losses and how they manage to survive, and what lessons other people in the world can learn from them.” The project’s installation does portray small and beautiful hints of the intimate and moving stories of this group of women. More importantly, however, the project aids in creating positive dialogue in this rural village. Although perhaps a very small act, bringing these women together, to share, connect, and build out of their loss is an empowering act that the installation only begins to capture.


Lord of the Thrones

posted by – 06/28/16 @ 11:43am

Berlin_Tomas1On June 2nd in San Francisco, Spoke Art Gallery opened up a show entitled, “Lord of the Thrones”. This show serves as tribute to the two greatest fantasy epics of all time, Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones, that have defined the fantasy genre for our time. The works featured were inspired by the works of J.R.R. Tolkien and George R.R. Martin. Over 70 internationally recognized artists were invited to participate, and they created an array of original paintings and limited edition prints that featured everything from character portraits, iconic themes and motifs to extremely detailed environments.


The major link between the two series is the incredible amount of detail that both Martin and Tolkien poured into their hand-crafted worlds. Both authors have not only created a setting, but an entire culture, filled with different peoples and creatures, each with their own language and customs. Both authors also include a complex story line and an element of the epic. Because of this abundant detail, the featured artists had a vast amount of subject matter to choose from, and the wide-ranging and beautifully rendered work of the show reflects that freedom. The pieces reveal themes of loss and triumph, knowledge and sin, but above all the power of fate.

Several of the participating artists include: Stuart Whitton, Bruce White, Geoff Trapp, Maria Suarez-Inclan, Deangus, Meghan Stratman, Nick Stokes, Allison Reimold, Rebecca Rose, Michael Ramstead, Rich Pellegrino, Ruel Pascual, David Moscati, Guillame Morellec, PJ McQuade, Jeff McMillian, Paige Jiyoung Moon, Jeremy Hush, Gene Guynn, Sam Gilbey, Monica Garwood, Alex Garant, James Eads, Matt Dye, Emily Dumas, Sandi Calistro, Adam Caldwell, Joshua Budich, Robert Bowen, Eric Bonhomme, Cory Benhatzel, Oliver Barrett, Derek Ballard, Mia Araujo, Brianna Angelakis, Paul Ainsworth, Bungaloo, Epyon5

Askew defines difference between “Graffiti” and “Street Art”

posted by – 06/23/16 @ 12:15pm


Askew, a New Zealand-born artist, has worked with both graffiti and street art. However, he considers his own work “post-graffiti”. Often tossed under the label of street artist, Askew argues that there is a definite distinction between street art and graffiti. Askew also views large scale muralism as a category of its own, rather than either graffiti or street art.

He claims that graffiti differs from street art in that it is a wholly dissimilar experience and lifestyle from street art. Askew says that young graffiti artists respond to very specific energies and situations that comprise a distinct experience that is not often found through street art. Many early street artists in Auckland seemed to have a formal art education, while many graffiti artists did not. In addition, many street artists include characters and other public friendly images, while graffiti artists tend to shy away from characters. Instead, they create the illusion of characters through the contorted shapes of the letters. However, this often leads to the public hating the work of graffiti artists, applauding the more relatable wheat paste and stenciled images of street artists.

47_askew_bushwick_2016-594pxhPerhaps the largest difference between graffiti and street art is the risk factor. Much of street art is prepared elsewhere and then applied, whereas graffiti artists create their work in the moment and with much higher risk due to its illegality. For Askew, graffiti is associated with intense pressure, high risk, violence, paranoia, loss and heartbreak. Success is fleeting, and the sacrifice is immense – there are many broken people in graffiti. Furthermore, success in the graffiti world often doesn’t transfer to success in the art world or even in society, and you get no recognition except from the few others in this small world.

Askew claims that the term “Street Art” is too liberally applied, and it doesn’t reflect the entire scope of graffiti, street artists, muralist artists and others who work outdoors. He hopes that “festival organisers, curators, galleries, academics and the media become a bit more respectful of these distinctions”.