posted by – 06/25/11 @ 4:39pm
Carol Prusa, Self Reference; Silverpoint, Acrylic, Graphite on Acrylic Sphere with fiber optics, 8 x 8 x 7
As pieces began to pop up in the gallery for the upcoming exhibition “Silver: Points of Departure,” a show guest curated by Carol Prusa, I thought we were receiving what looked to be like a bunch of mixed media and pencil drawings. Little did I know, I was mistaking Silverpoint, an ancient drawing technique used by Da Vinvci and Raphael, for something as mundane as graphite. Embarrassed by my naivety of this medium, I decided to do some research to compensate; I found that silverpoint is a labor-intensive process that requires a rigorous application and a very meticulous method, one that you and I probably couldn’t stand, but one that some artists find quite rewarding.
Silverpoint is a style of drawing in which your tool is a silver stylus (lead, gold and other metals can be used to). The stylus leaves a luster of silver on the prepared surface that it marks. Like graphite, the marks are glinting and shimmery, yet unlike graphite, silverpoint is not erasable. And because the silver is so hard, the stylus must be pressed down with a greater effort in order to make a mark. So why do artists use a tool that is so hard to use and leaves no room for error? Because the delicacy of the fine line cannot be replicated. Although unforgiving, this tool is used to create a subtle sensuality that can be conveyed no other way.
Since the method went obsolete after Rembrandt, a resurgence of Silverpoint has washed over the art world again as some contemporary artists have fallen in love with it. Today’s artists are continually pushing the boundaries of this ancient drawing technique and “umphing” it up by combining it with other mediums. Susan Schwalb, for example, creates drawings and paintings using numerous metals and acrylic paint. Carol Prusa (above) combines graphite on acrylic hemispheres with metal leaf, video projection and fiber optics. Both artists will join in our group exhibition show this July where they will join other artists who also push through the unforgiving tool of silverpoint—bringing it’s glimmer and subtleness back to life.
posted by – 06/17/11 @ 3:47pm
Outside Tinney Contemporary at Art Crawl
As a young woman in pursuit of a career in the Arts, I was weary to attend Vanderbilt after being warned of a far from abundant art scene in Nashville, TN. After growing up in Providence, RI, having had an upbringing rich in art events surrounding Rhode Island School of Design, I didn’t think Nashville’s supposedly lackluster art scene would satisfy my craving for artistic ability. But of course, I wouldn’t be writing this blog if I wasn’t proven wrong. Not only has the Art Crawl on the first Saturday of every month become a delightfully organized event filled with friendly, unique people, extraordinary art—and of course, wine—the crawl has transformed into something more: a brilliant juxtaposition of visual and performing arts. Live performances from Hawaiian band “The Ukeadelics,” and five-piece jazz band “The Storm Kings” are already on the schedule for August and September’s crawls. The stage on which they’ll be performing? A movable performance platform that fits perfectly next to the sidewalk in a parking space on 5th Avenue North (otherwise known as “Avenue of the Arts”). It’s a great spot for vendors and local performers to contribute to the hum of the city street during those magical hours of the Saturday night crawl. I can feel it coming: Visual and performing arts will come into a perfect union on these special nights, but more importantly, the event itself will lend a hand in creating a greater sense of community and culture in Nashville. Now, not only art lovers, but art, music and performance lovers alike can together celebrate an enriched culture that has already begun to blossom in the wonderfully alive city of Nashville. Rumor has it that a shaved-ice vendor will be taking stage next Crawl, so I encourage you all to come by July 2nd for a glass of wine, a snow-cone, maybe some sparklers in celebration of the 4th of July, but most importantly, come by to engage in conversation with other artists, designers, students, musicians and performers, all in the presence of some soul-feeding music and art.
posted by – 06/10/11 @ 3:26pm
The Spark That Flamed, 35 x 83 x 2.5, Mixed Media on Canvas
As I had predicted, the June Art Crawl featuring Jeanie Gooden’s show “Sparked,” was a hit. Art collectors and college students alike strolled into Tinney Contemporary only to be pleasantly surprised by something exceptionally different this time. Something very fresh. Viewers spoke of the way that Gooden’s work was confident– her paintings reveal a fearlessness that is seen through flashes of fiery red and aggressive mark making that the artist would call “abstract graffiti.” I realized that when standing in front of one of Gooden’s towering rectangles of stunning color, I felt different. It’s an experience quite unlike examining the detail of a skillfully painted figure or object, where I can focus on some thing. When there is nothing recognizable, nothing for my mind to connect or relate to, my mind goes blank. Standing in front of Gooden’s work, I simply absorb the basic elements of the painting; I feel the color. I admire Gooden’s abstraction because, like Jerry Saltz said in The Jerry Saltz Abstract Manifesto, in Twenty Parts, “Abstraction not only explores consciousness – it changes it.” Saltz’s eloquent words are very relevant to the way Gooden’s bold colors transcend my chaotic thoughts and slip into a place of peace, as Jerry would say, changing my consciousness.
Part number six of Saltz’s Abstract Manifesto states “Abstraction exists in the interstices between the ideal and the real, symbol and substance, the optic and the haptic, imagination and observation.” Interestingly, Gooden speaks of her art as simply that: “Through my choice of color, brushes, texture or movement, I begin a dialogue that dances between clarity and confusion.” It is up to the viewer to decide towards which extreme Gooden’s abstraction leads, but if you’re like Gooden, Saltz and I, you should be able to find the serene balance that Gooden has genuinely achieved. It really is quite beautiful.
If you missed the Art Crawl last Saturday, come by Tinney Contemporary to see the show through June 18th. To read more of Jerry Saltz’s Abstract Manifesto, in Twenty Parts, go to our newly created tumblr!
posted by – 06/08/11 @ 2:11pm
Relax, 27.5” x 20” Screen print on Paper
If I were to show you the home of my dreams, you’d have to watch the Youtube video “Welcome to Cashville: The Show,” where Olivia Steele and Maximilian Wiedemann reveal a modern, Nashville home– richly decorated with a fresh mix of pop art prints, graffiti, neon lights and a great sense of humor. Wiedemann’s prints of American Express credit cards, Rolex watches and Vogue magazines seem to play off Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s soup cans and Coca-Cola bottles; Wiedemann’s message in glorifying these objects differs from Warhol however, as the pieces highlight the materialistic American way. In his 27.5” x 20” screen print on paper (above) entitled “Relax,” Wiedemann depicts a Rolex watch where, in the place of the word “Rolex,” he sarcastically places “Relax.” The interplay between the ideas of consumerism, media and pop culture bleeds through his pieces; This notion is humorously pushed further with the use of wordplay, as in one of his prints that reads, “in greed we trust,” and again in a light instillation that reads, “closer to god in heels,” — this makes me chuckle. The bright yellows and pinks simply pop in his pieces, giving the house an energetic life to it. He has plucked the vibrancy and rawness out of street art and carefully distributed it into his clean and crisp modern artwork.
Olivia Steele took words and phases that were meaningful to her and created instillations using the type of lights you see on “OPEN” signs in storefronts. The word “truth” glows almost hauntingly behind a silver sheer curtain, and her father’s handwriting spells out “See you on the other side…” in neon pink letters against a white brick wall. It’s reflection ripples and glows in the water beneath and makes me think that “the other side” is not just death, but any place in which we make a transition to. Tinney Contemporary’s new artist, Maximilian Wiedemann, and Olivia Steele have magnificently transitioned this Nashville home into a witty and vibrant atmosphere –one that I could talk forever about — but I think you’d rather see it for yourselves. Click here!