Month: September 2017

Artist Spotlight: Joel Daniel Phillips

posted by – 09/29/17 @ 12:47pm


Joel Daniel Phillips began his career as a graphic designer, slowly shifting toward fine art.  He earned his BFA at Westmont in Santa Barbara with a focus on graphics. Although he entered the workforce as a designer, he spent his nights and weekends drawing until he could quit his job and make his own art for a living. Since then, his work has been exhibited across the United States and abroad.  He was a 3rd prize  winner of a National Portrait Gallery Competition, has shown work in the Tacoma Art Museum, the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, the Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum, and the Art Museum of South Texas.   He is represented by galleries in San Francisco, Norway, and now Nashville!

Phillips’ work utilizes classical draftsmanship techniques in a large-scale format.  Phillips is probably best known for his monumental, hyperrealistic portraiture that aims to expose societal histories through examining the people around him.  In an article for the Huffington Post, Phillips describes, “My drawings are an attempt to play with our voyeuristic tendencies toward the indigence surrounding us, hiding in plain sight. In the portraits, the subjects cease to be dark matter in our communal space and instead are revealed to be the main characters in their own narrative.” Phillips often elevates the homeless to a protagonistic, almost heroic elevation through the tip of his pencil.  His attention to detail and intricate care in rendering not only the physical appearance of these people, but also an sentimental appearance, he successfully reveals moments of transparent human emotion.


Joel states, “A true portrait is far more than a rendering of physical form—it is the capturing of the vulnerable, un-invented narratives that make us human. Seeing and understanding these is my ultimate goal.”

In his upcoming exhibition at Tinney Contemporary, Joel takes a different direction with his work. This time, instead of creating portraiture, he has created a new body of work since relocating from San Francisco to Tulsa, OK.  Welcome to the Orange West is an exploration of abandoned signage along Route 66 that harkens back to ideas of Manifest Destiny.  These signs are contrasted with images of historical moments that identify Americas relationship with Westward Expansion and the search for power. These new drawings juxtapose the nostalgic idea of the west with a current historical and cultural examination of America’s glamorization of the past.


6 This Land Was Not Your Land


More images and information on Joel Daniel Phillips’ work can be found on his website:


New Works by Joel Daniel Phillips

October 7 – November 11

Opening Reception: October 7th6 to 9 pm during the First Saturday Art Crawl

Jeff Scott

posted by – 09/22/17 @ 2:12pm

The gallery is excited to be working with Jeff Scott, who was recently featured on the front of the September issue of the Nashville Arts Magazine.

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Jeff Scott is a prolific artist, showcasing paintings, photographs, films, and books on his website.  Scott’s work has been shown across the United States, at the Dallas Museum of Art, The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, The Smithsonian Institution, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Some of his photographs hang in the permanent collections of Ralph Lauren, Elvis Presley Enterprises, President Bill Clinton, and Disney! He has published three acclaimed photography books, including the most recent Elvis: The Personal Archives.

This book catalogues Scott’s photographs taken in the early 2000’s.  He sought permission from the Presley estate to access and photogrpah Elvis’ personal belongings. As expected, the King of Rock and Roll’s material possessions reveal a lot about his character.  Scott notes that he owned far less than what he gave to other people, and characterizes Elvis as a “generous man.”  His well-loved items showcase a lot of wear and tear. Scott says he “really loved and used his things.” He often ornamented his possessions with gold, like the telephone in his bedroom, revealing a preciousness with material objects probably gleaned from growing up poor. Scott’s photographs also reveal other curiosities: Elvis’ driver’s license expired the same year he died.

Jeff Scott’s project truly reveals the humanity behind a cultural idol.  The beautiful photographs revive Elvis through his valuables, creating a complex portrait of a legendary rock icon.

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My Summer at the Sandhills Institute

posted by – 09/15/17 @ 12:18pm

It’s so wonderful to finally be back in the gallery after a long summer of travel.  For a majority of the summer, I had the pleasure of interning with Mel Ziegler at his Sandhills Institute, an artist residency program.

Having grown up on a dairy farm, artist Mel Ziegler did not leave agricultural life behind.  His career has taken him all over the world, from New York to Brazil, but he prefers his newfound home in the Sandhills of Nebraska…


Ziegler recently purchased the Historic Davis Pine Creek Ranch in Rushville, Nebraska and launched the Sandhills Institute. This organization focuses on the creation of community engaging art in and around the community of Rushville.  Ziegler invites artists to a residency program that encourages the creation of civically engaged artwork.  The fellows are required to visit the institute a minimum of three times in order to become acquainted with the community before proposing a project. They are then encouraged to utilize the vast skillset of Rushville’s population and work together to produce artwork.  The program truly forges strong bonds between leading artists from around the world and the community of local ranchers.

As an intern for the summer 2017 Artist Residency program, I had the privilege to work with returning artists Russell Bauer, David Brooks, and Kayla Meyer, and the first international artist, Jorge Menna Barreto.  Russell is the furthest along in his fellowship, already working with a local rancher/self-taught engineer to create a kinetic sculpture. I’ve included an article I wrote for the Sheridan County Journal Star below, featuring a photo of Russell and Bob planning their project.


David spent his time exploring the community, meeting new people, and conducting research.  David actually spent a day with just the interns, where we all took a road trip up to South Dakota.  Our first stop was the site of the Wounded Knee Massacre at the Lakota Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.  There, we visited the grave site and met a woman who directed us to visit an informational sign on the historic event.  More information can be found HERE.  After our history lesson, we piled back in the car and watched the landscape change from rolling grasslands to breathtaking layered rock formations, spires, and canyons. We found the badlands!  The interns hiked to the tallest peak, while David wandered off on a bird-watching mission.  After we ran out of water, we decided it was a good time to get back in the car and head to our next stop: Mount Rushmore.  On the way, we drove through the Black Hills National forest, surrounded by massive pine trees. Suddenly, Mount Rushmore was no longer a legend from my third grade history textbook – it was a real sculpture in the side of a mountain standing before me! David even brought binoculars so we could examine the fine lines and details of the rock monument.  After a long drive home, we marveled at all of the potential adventures around the Sandhills, and our newly fostered friendship with a professional artist.

We were afforded many opportunities to explore the “wild west” with the artists.  We saw national monuments, natural wonders, and even Car Henge!


Kayla Meyer, a landscape architect, was working on a design for the empty lots next to the Main St. Grocery Store in Rushville.  Mel actually purchased the old grocery store with the intention of creating a cultural arts center for the city of Rushville! Kayla spent her time this summer exploring a local greenhouse. Russ Finch created a greenhouse that relies solely on geothermal energy that allows the growth of tropical plants in harsh climates at a low cost.  Kayla also attended Chamber of Commerce meetings and intends on helping to design new welcome signs for the city of Rushville.  Having spent most of the summer with male artists, the female interns especially appreciated having “girl time” with Kayla.  She even taught me how to use Adobe Illustrator, which gave me opportunities to create graphic designs for later projects in the summer!


Brazilian artist, Jorge Menna Barreto, immediately showed an interest in food ecology at the Institute.  He initially hoped to create a Sandhills smoothie, utilizing the local grasses, but instead produced a Stinging Nettle Powder.  Inspired by a Robert Smithson quote, Jorge said he “would let the site determine what [he] would build,” and focused on the abundant Nettle surrounding the institute.  Stinging Nettle is an abundant local plant that has been used to treat joint pain, eczema, urinary issues, anemia, and more. With the help of the interns and the Ziegler family, Jorge dried the nettle, blended and powdered it in order to make it edible, and bottled and labeled the product.  I helped design a label for the project, and was inspired by Jorge’s desire for hand drawn and intimate packaging, and how that echoed his connection with the landscape.  He intends for this project, titled Urtica Dioica, to conceptualized wild edible food to teach our bodies how to reconnect with nature around us through our digestive systems.



Between learning how to operate a ranch, fixing barbed wire fence, paperwork, cooking, cleaning, and designing, I also had the wonderful opportunity of living and working alongside Mel’s family.  They work tirelessly to operate the Sandhills Institute. Both his wife and his sons lend a helping hand to both artists and interns with day to day tasks, and they make sure everyone feels like they’re part of the family.  It was truly a unique experience, having all of the interns, artists, and family living under the same roof and sitting down together for dinner at the end of each day. I will forever be thankful for such an incredible experience.


I even made the front page of the website – Check it out!

Nano.Stasis Cosmic Garden

posted by – 09/01/17 @ 1:02pm

Nano.Stasis Cosmic Garden is the culmination of Carla Ciuffo’s two year residency at Harvard University.  In collaboration with the Disease and Biophysics Group, Ciuffo has developed a new project flaunting groundbreaking nanofiber technology in an effort to highlight a symbiosis between art and science.


Ciuffo worked closely with Kevin K it Parker, Ph. D., a Professor of Bioengineering and Applied Physics.  He has pioneered research involving a rotary jet spinning production of nanofibers and fabrics. These nanofibers are a significant step forward in the realm of biomedical engineering, having the potential to be integrated into a broad spectrum of radical new applications, from tissue regeneration to advanced performance fibers in fashion.


Ciuffo had the honor of being the first “layperson” to work in Parker’s lab.  Ciuffo has developed tiny nanofiber canvases to be imprinted with her own artwork.  Using a Scanning Electron Microscope, Ciuffo was able to create large acrylic composites to showcase the delicate and whimsical side of these fibers.


The work in Nano.Stasis Cosmic Garden lies somewhere between photography and collage.  She creates fanciful narratives that capture the fiber’s unique, delicate details and whimsical beauty.


“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

Her art challenges science to consider the role of its own narrative, as well as the visual impact of scientific images.  Science often prescribes a systematic way of thought and communication, while the arts promote nontraditional and creative critical thought.  These processes prove useful in scientific research. The combination of the two subjects is a symbiotic relationship, allowing the production of creative research and impactful work.