Month: March 2016

Kuzana Ogg: About the artist of our current exhibition

posted by – 03/29/16 @ 12:31pm

At the gallery, we are currently showing Kuzana Ogg’s series, Yasna. This series exemplifies the artists ability to create intricate patterns that both contradict and complement the more obviously bold and defined geometry that initially catches your eye.

As the Ogg told Canvas, a blog by Saatchi art, the primary influences of and major themes in her work are “botanical and biological entities, urban geometry, and pattern.” Botanical themes are particularly visible in the soft, organic patterns nestled among more harsh rigid shapes that reference the geometry and structure typical of major urban centers like her native Bombay.

Perhaps the most helpful and important facet of Kuzana’s work is that of her background and her ultimate inspiration: her childhood experience in Bombay. Born there in the 1970s and residing there with her grandparents until she moved to London as a child, the city left a permanent mark on Kuzana’s artwork even when she had long since moved away. Her childhood experience determined the principles that guide her work to this day. The artist puts it best:

My early years in India were flooded with noise, color, and fragrance. My grandparents’ home in Bombay was somewhat buffered from the outside chaos of people and cars by lush gardens. This paradise of quietly growing coconut trees, exotic lilies, and always newly turned wet red earth was invaded hourly by squalling parrots and barbarous crows. Their cries filtered through the foliage as though they were the softened echoes of the havoc on the streets.

Going anywhere in Bombay requires infinite patience and time. A simple errand to get a plastic bucket devolves into an all-day affair involving epic traffic jams and monsoon-huge waves crashing over the seawall. But, even as a very small child—I was easily distracted by the lurid Bollywood billboards rushing past the car window and promises of notebooks with endpapers of fuchsia block-printed flowers and new erasers in the shape of rabbits or fried eggs.

The general pandemonium of Bombay in the early 1970s serves as a visual alphabet. Through my travels and migrations, this alphabet continues to recombine, developing into a painterly language. In any form of communication, I have found the principles of restraint and balance to be the most formidable and eloquent.

Knowing this information about the artist, about her personal history, allows the viewer to understand the work on a deeper level (which, with abstract art, can often be hard to achieve). We are honored to present this work to Nashville audiences and to welcome viewers into a more colorful and (hopefully) balanced space.

Don’t forget to stop by the gallery Friday, March 29th, during the Art Crawl to see this fantastic show!

To see more of Kuzana’s work, visit her website here.

Sculptor brings free WiFi to people of Havana

posted by – 03/24/16 @ 3:56pm

People using Kcho’s free WiFi point at his studio in Havana. Photo: Juan Suarez, Havana Times.

Cuban sculptor Kcho is working with technology powerhouse Google to help improve internet access and quality in Cuba. In a space where Kcho normally creates his work, Google has installed computers and devices that allow 40 people at a time free access to the internet. Without the space and the appropriate equipment, WiFi access in Cuba is expensive, government controlled, and hit or miss (at best). In more developed countries, internet users don’t think twice before logging into their email at work or checking their Instagram feed as they walk down the street to grab lunch; there is WiFi or cell service virtually everywhere. In Havana, though, this new space is one of the only reliable hotspots. Outside of the studio, you find people stopped at seemingly random places just because they received a blip of WiFi signal. For them, obtaining a signal is an active process. While Kcho counts the Castro brothers among his close friends, he constantly worries about whether or not the needs of all Cubans are met. His dedication to providing affordable, accessible internet, then, is a logical step to improving day-to-day life in his community.

The choice to give up his personal studio for the daily use of Havana locals (who are very likely strangers to him) is striking. The use of an artistic space for a very practical purpose embeds that practical process with more meaning, it seems. As such, the converted space begs questions to be asked:

Why not install the project in a more neutral space whose sole use is that of computer lab-slash-communication center?

Why keep the space open for such long hours every day when many artists would languish at the though of letting outsiders into their personal creative space?

Why is an artist facilitating this project instead of business or the government?

While Kcho’s space (with Google’s help) offers a practical service to Havana residents, its presence in an artist’s studio adds another dimension to the conversation surrounding the project. The artist’s attention to and passion for the project casts the issue as more of a cultural and social light; it becomes less an issue of infrastructure. If a government program had implemented the change perhaps it would have gone under the radar more. But, in this case, it took an artist collaborating with a foreign company to give the people what they so wanted and, in the eyes of Kcho, needed. Perhaps Kcho and Google’s will solve the problem enough to satisfy the community. But a lack of internet availability (and the lack of recognition of the problem by the powers that be in Cuba) could also symbolize a divide between a government and its people in terms of understanding the population’s needs.

The artist who tricked the Google algorithm showing at Biennale of Sydney

posted by – 03/17/16 @ 2:10pm


Screenshot from Roth’s “Internet Landscapes: Sydney 2016”

Evan Roth’s work often relies on the internet and its intricacies to pull off entertaining, often impressive, works of art. In works past, he’s gamed Google’s algorithm and exposed the winning moves needed to beat Angry Birds, both feats that are seemingly impossible to the everyday Internet user.

In his work for this year’s Sydney Biennale, though, he stripped down the technological requirements of his typical process by going into remote Sydney locations with just a video recorder. While viewers will engage with the work online, as they do with Roth’s other work, the videos captured in Sydney allow viewers to interact with the physical side of the internet – the man-made cables that we rely on to connect us to the internet-at-large. Roth’s videos focus in on these cable where they emerge from the ocean, which begs more questions of the relationship of nature and technology (more specifically, the Internet).

Some of Douglas Coupland’s de-recognized faces. Photo: Daniel Faria Gallery.

Other work in major exhibitions this year comment on audiences’ growing reliance on the internet and other digital systems. At the Armory Show, Douglas Coupland’s “facial derecognition software” brings Facebook’s face recognition software to a physical gallery space. However, like Roth’s work, the result of each subject’s scan (the “derecognition” of their face) can only be received via email. Both artists, then, question the role and capabilities of the internet, while still completely relying on it for their projects’ success.

For Roth, a return to more established methodologies like video recording stems from “a sense of disillusionment with the state of life online.” As he describes it, the internet is no longer as new or mysterious as it once was, so he “[finds himself] thinking less optimistically about that space.” In returning to more antiquated technologies and forcing viewers to experience nature’s slow pace compared to the digital sphere, Roth will ultimately draw more attention to all people’s disillusionment with the internet and its role in our everyday and the natural world.


Nita Ambani launches India into increasingly global art world

posted by – 03/15/16 @ 3:48pm

Nita Ambani at the Met Breuer show featuring drawings by Indian artist Nasreen Mohamedi, which she also helped fund. Photo: Stephanie Diani for the Wall Street Journal.

Nita Ambani is the matriarch of an Indian family worth an estimated $20 billion. Her husband runs the most valuable private company in India, and her family resides in a luxurious 27-story home in Mumbai. But, until recently, Ambani did not have much interest, or at least clout, in the art world as many people of her status and reputation do. However, in recent years, the former dancer has more and more frequently funded shows on an international level, including the Met Breuer’s debut show of Nasreen Mohamedi’s work.

In her biggest art-world move yet, Ambani is setting her sights on opening a museum of her own in India. The move excites many in the art world who already appreciate the support and funding the Ambanis have afforded major institutions like the Art Institute of Chicago and the Met. Notably, the Ambani family have only funded shows in international organizations because, as of yet, shows of such a high caliber could not be brought to India, which lacks an appropriate exhibition space. The introduction of a modern, climate-controlled art space like the one to be opened by Nita Ambani in 2018 is unlike any other India has seen within its borders.

The new museum will launch India onto the global art market stage in a way it’s never experienced. While before Indian artists were represented and showcased at the discretion of foreign curators and gallery directors, India will soon have a space to fill with native artists. In turn, more Indian artists may gain and benefit from exposure that a museum-caliber platform entails. Additionally, it will be interesting to see whether the Indian art market becomes as hot and attention-grabbing as its Chinese neighbors’ with the introduction of more modern art spaces like Ambani’s museum. However, while China’s art market grows increasingly saturated and crowded, India’s is just getting started thanks to Ambani’s support, funding, and passion.

To read the Wall Street Journal’s full write-up on this story, click here.