Month: February 2017

Artist Spotlight: Anna Jaap

posted by – 02/28/17 @ 3:16pm

deep_blue_sea_48x48_acrylic_and_graphite_on_canvas_2016_jaap_copy_web-800x800 Anna Jaap received her BFA from Lipscomb and began as a printmaker before turning to painting and drawing. Today she employs a combination of these disciplines as she lives and works in Nashville. Although her work is fluid and constantly changing, they are all united by their reflection of the natural world and element of beauty.

Jaap’s newest series, Graffito, reflects intimacy of hand-written text. Each work is layered with repetitive writing to create woven environments akin to nests and forest floors. Inspiration for the series was drawn from the intimacy and connection that is inherent within hand-written texts. She explains, “I cherish letters and know the handwriting of people close to me as well as I know their faces. I’d been exploring ways of creating pattern in my work, and one day it came to me – this idea of layering script into organic color fields. So intimate and universal, all at once. It took my breath away.”

Each painting typically begins with a word, phrase, or poem fragment relating to nature. Color plays off of the text and Jaap graffito_series__snowfall_and_moonlight_48x48_acrylic_and_graphite_on_canvas_2016_jaap_web-800x800achieves a visual balance of color, forms and gestures by way of conversation with the canvas. Because each layer is thin and transparent, every mark and gesture is pivotal to the final piece. Whereas her previous series have dealt with botanical and organic forms in a literal representative form, Graffito explores pure emotion and pure beauty.

When Jaap is creating art, time slows down and she is able to step outside herself. She describes the time in her studio when everything comes together as “pure magic”. Ultimately, Jaap loves sending something beautiful and nurturing out into the world and wants the viewer to be able to wrap themselves in something precious and simply be. Her work is a fearless tribute to all things beautiful, and viewers are reminded that beauty is not only an enjoyable element in our lives but also a fundamental necessity.

Claire Morgan: Stop Me Feeling

posted by – 02/24/17 @ 2:54pm

Stop Me Feeling is Claire Morgan’s inaugural solo show in the United States. Frist Center curator Trinita Kennedy discovered her work at Art Basel Miami and organized an exhibition of six recent works by Morgan, showcasing an intricate installation, cabinet sculptures, and works on paper and canvas.

This Is Breaking My Heart, 2015

This Is Breaking My Heart, 2015

Born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and currently living and working in Newcastle, England, Morgan has lived in many urban areas and developed a curiosity as to how animals adapt to our own manufactured world.  Her work ruminates on our complex relationship with the natural world.  She is able to create breathtaking encounters between humans and animals, and life and death.  Refusing to prescribe a precise message about her artwork, Morgan invites viewers to contemplate these ideas of beauty and destruction, environmentalism, artificiality, and transience.

Appropriate for Music City, Morgan often borrows titles and lyrics from songs and poems for her artwork. The Exhibition’s title Stop Me Feeling finds its roots in a song made famous by Johnny Cash.

Her signature works include organic and inorganic elements, such as taxidermied animals, insects, bits of plastic, and dandelion seeds.  She then creates a three-dimensional geometric shapes of varying scales utilizing nylon thread.  Within these complex and colorful geometries, Morgan creates a narrative with animals wandering in and out of these etherial forms.

Within You, Without You, 2015

Within You, Without You, 2015

A self-taught taxidermist, Morgan finds animals after they have been killed or died from natural causes. Curator Trinita Kennedy takes note of “The reverence with which she preserves the dead animals through taxidermy,” and how it “sharply contrasts with the carelessness of other humans toward them while they were alive.”

Within You, Without You is a cabinet sculpture displaying a small dunnock bird hidden among a jungle of brightly colored polythene. This foraging bird that often depends on camouflaging itself within trees is left feeling oddly vulnerable amidst this safely dense, yet threateningly colorful environment.  The sculpture’s title is borrowed from George Harrison’s song on the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album

If You Go Down To The Woods Today occupies its own entire room at the Frist, featuring a muntjack (a tiny deer native to the UK) following three butterflies into an overwhelming geometric cloud of orange polythene suspended on nylon thread.  The massive installation’s title features borrowed lyrics from “Teddy Bears’ Picnic,” an ominous children’s song that warns “If you go down to the woods today, you better not go alone…It’s safer to stay at home.” Morgan refuses to tell viewers how to think, but successfully introduces a new perspective on ourselves and the world around us.

Claire Morgan’s exhibit Stop Me Feeling will be on display at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts from February 10 through May 7.  See more of Morgan’s work at www.claire- morgan.co.uk.

If You Go Down To The Woods Today, 2015

If You Go Down To The Woods Today, 2015

Marilyn Murphy – Realism Subverted

posted by – 02/17/17 @ 3:49pm

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In honor of Marilyn Murphy‘s 37 years of service to the Vanderbilt Department of Art, The Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery is currently exhibiting Realism Subverted – a collection of drawings and paintings featuring dreamlike scenes in which reality and fantasy are cleverly fused together.

Marilyn_Murphy_Oasis Oasis, 2009      Cumulus-Clouds-web In the Clouds, 2016

Hailing from Tulsa, Oklahoma, Murphy draws great influence from the action of wind and clouds.  This, alongside the unforgettable image of sugar cane fires in Queensland, Australia present themselves again and again in Murphy’s artwork.   Both muses are beautifully depicted in Oasis and In the Clouds, pictured above.

The Observers, 2006

The Observers, 2006

Her interest in film noir is also made apparent in the content of her artwork.  Her figures are rendered with the utmost attention paid to light and shadow, creating a mysterious atmosphere. She presents her characters in curious, investigative situations, emphasizing the acts of seeing, discovery, and creative processes.  More often than not, Marilyn enjoys creating narrative images reminiscent of film stills, often playing up an air of mystique and an aura of fascination.

As a child, her mother often took her on factory tours, of which the machinery and images of power and industrialization infiltrate her work.  She also draws inspiration from art deco architecture, and dessert cookbooks! A prolific artist, Murphy has done series upon series of dangerous desserts, floating objects, fluffy clouds, inverted architecture, complex machines, 1940’s era figures, maps, floating paper, and the looming danger of natural disasters. Wielding quite the formidable intellect and a propensity for dreaming, Marilyn is able to collage these images into spectacular works of art, utilizing everything from graphite, to colored pencils, and oil paint.

The Dunker, 2011

The Dunker, 2011

 

Murphy displays a healthy sense of humor blended together with an intense work ethic and unmatchable creative talent.  Her artwork has been shown in over 300 exhibitions internationally. It has been featured in many public and private collections, such as the Kemper Collection in St Louis, the Boston Museum School, the Siena Art Institute in Siena, Italy, and the Oklahoma Museum of Art. The Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville, Tennessee, featured a survey of her work in 2004, and she participated in a two-person exhibition at the Huntsville Museum of Art with Bob Trotman. She is represented by Cumberland Gallery in Nashville, Adler and Co. in San Francisco, Carl Hammer Gallery in Chicago, and Blue Spiral Gallery in Asheville, North Carolina.

Realism Subverted will be on display through March 3rd, 2017. The Fine Arts Gallery is located in Cohen Memorial Hall, 1220 21st Ave. S., on the western edge of the Peabody College campus. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m.

 

Artist Spotlight: Mary Long

posted by – 02/07/17 @ 12:23pm

Snow Is On Its Way 48"x36" encaustic on panel

Snow Is On Its Way, 48″x36″ encaustic on panel

Mary Long was born in Ohio and has lived in Tennessee since the mid-1990s. She grew up near Canton, where there is a crazy-quilt patchwork of rural farms and factories. “It is a juxtaposition of abandoned industrial grayness against expanses of happy saturated colors that inspires my work to this day” Long says. She is self-taught in wax encaustic techniques and has been painting with wax encaustic almost exclusively for 12 years.

Long’s work begins with a color scheme and a skeleton of a composition. The artist then describes the rest of her process as a dialogue between herself and the painting. “I begin to have a back and forth conversation with the painting until it seems that the work is final, and nothing more appears to be said.” The encaustic technique involves creating a wax medium from melted beeswax and damar resin. The paint can then be shaped before it cools or manipulated afterward. Long fuses layers together with a heat gun and selectively scrapes or incises some areas. This process is labor intensive and repetitious, but is also, in a way, meditative for her.

 

 

Having worked with the encaustic technique for 15 years, Long has learned that the painting may go into a different direction than she originally envisioned, but trying to grip the steering wheel may lead to a ruined painting.“The biggest lesson in working with encaustic paintings,” she says, “is that it is best to follow suit rather than to try to take control.”

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Snow Is On Its Way 2, 48″x36″ encaustic on panel

 

Long’s work is a representation of her instinctive response to events of the day. When she first began painting, Long’s lines were straight edge slashes which she connected to a deep hidden anger. Over time, she feels that she has become more placid just as her paintings have gradually softened.

Particularly for the works in our current show, Long presents abstract landscapes that strive to tap into the subconscious and go beyond the surface. The encaustic technique is well-suited for Long’s desire for viewers to not only feel the splendor of colors but also to form an understanding of what lies underneath. The wax medium gives the paintings slight transparency and gives the surface texture, in order that viewers may be prompted to examine the work past the bright colors. According to Long, “A painting may have happy colors, yet worried lines and distressed shapes are clues to what lies beneath.”