Arts

Where we dip into my favorite part of Nashville: its unpretentious art world.

Two Weekends of Art Crawling in July

This month, a tiny dream of mine is coming true: Nashville’s Downtown art crawl and its Wedgewood-Houston sister will happen on different weekends! Downtown kicks off tomorrow, Friday July 3 at 6:00. Make sure you hit COOP Gallery’s exchange exhibition with the New Orleans collective Staple Goods. The press release says that the collective functions out of what used to be a grocery store in the St. Claude Arts District, which shows how much the city has changed since I lived in there in 2005. (Arts district you say? Do tell!) I love COOP’s exchanges with other cities (you can read Laura Hutson’s article about its Nashville artists exhibiting in Brooklyn here), and I’m thrilled have some NOLA blood in the Arcade this month.

Earlier this week, I posted an interview with Briena Harmening, a textile artist and painter from right here in Tennessee. Harmening has a solo show at Blend called “I Bet You Think This Show Is About You,” and it will feature many of her crocheted paintings and sculptures. Also in the Arcade, Earbellum will have a group show including work from Ben Griffith. Ben brought us Tiny Galleries, which by the way is a great thing to do when you’re downtown (hint hint.) I was lucky to do a segment on WPLN about Ben, and working with him was tons of fun. He makes me happy.

The Arts Company opens Americana, an exhibition of LIFE Magazine photographers, including Ed Clark, Loomis Dean, Alfred Eisenstadt, John Loengard, and John Dominis, as well as sketches by artist and illustrator Ernest Hamlin Baker, as well as other gallery faves. WAG will have work from senior Casey Payne. Make sure to make your way over to Hatch Show Prints’ Haley Gallery, which will have monoprints by Master Printer Jim Sherraden. 40AU will have local printmakers Megan Kelley and Lindsy Davis.

Arts & Music @ Wedgewood/Houston will be Saturday July 11, and I’m looking forward to several show openings there.

It would sweet if everyone collectively is like, “It was so wonderful have two weekends of art. We should do it all the time!” (looking over at you, Zeitgeist and Fort Houston. ❤ <3) But I’ll take this month for now.

Bring an umbrella. xoxo

Julia Martin Gallery to Host Discussion on Confederate Flag Imagery in Artwork

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Sheila B., “Southern Motel.” Photo courtesy of Nashville Scene.

Julia Martin invites you to her gallery for a discussion in regard to the recent controversy over Sheila B.‘s painting “Southern Motel” (pictured above), which was removed from the downtown Nashville bar/restaurant Acme Feed & Seed at the request of the restaurant’s investor and mayoral hopeful Charles Robert Bone.

The painting in question is of a blonde, white woman with a Confederate flag bikini bottom bending over next to the Southern Motel, which advertises a swimming pool and exclaims on its hand painted sign: “Every kind-hearted soul welcome! Mean people stay away.”

Julia Martin is hosting an “open forum discussion” about the painting’s removal. She wrote in Tuesday’s press release:

I personally want to provide an opportunity for folks to see and discuss the piece first hand. And to talk about the many issues surrounding this particular situation along with the use of powerful symbols, like the confederate flag, in works of art.

I’m not sure if it’s an open forum (where visitors will be able to have the floor) or a panel (where just a select group of people talk.) She calls it both things. She’s invited Lux-o-matic, the white burlesque performer who modeled for the painting, as well as songwriter Jason White (who is white). Artist Dane Carder will be a panelist (also white and I guess qualified because his paintings reference Civil War imagery), and Nashville Arts editor Paul Polycarpou will join him (whom I love but is also white [Note: Polycarpou contacted me to say he is from Cyprus––not white––, which might make a difference to some folks.]).*** And thank goodness Martin has the sense to include one person of color in this event, the writer TJ Jarrett who will perform a poetry reading (BTW, her performance alone is worth the trip; she’s sooo good.) It’s unclear if Jarrett is intended to be on the panel; she must be because otherwise it would be incredibly awkward to have the only person of color billed to perform and not have a part in the discussion — right?.

I’m skeptical of Martin’s intentions because there are plenty of Black artists, writers, and scholars living in Nashville whom Martin could draw out if she were so inclined. Since this conversation is about Confederate symbolism in art, I’d say it’s kind of important that we hear from people of color in the arts, and a visual artist would be especially appropriate. It’s possible that Martin sought a more diverse and relevant panel and came up short, but let’s face it: she obviously didn’t look very far. For me, her choice of panelists doesn’t bode well.

I’m going to be generous and say that Sheila B. has a message in “Southern Motel,” although many I’ve talked to disagree. The message is that an establishment claims to be welcoming while it allows bathing beauties to prance around in Confederate bikinis. There’s a clash of ideologies that is not terribly clever to point out. We’ve all heard versions of it. (“Bless your heart, if you’re a Christian.) If “Southern Motel” says anything at all, that’s it.

Sheila B. has shown work at Julia Martin Gallery in the past. She paints mostly portraits of country musicians and big-bosomed women in that Americana style that Nashville never tires of: pin-up style bodies, random words associated with Southern roots, nostalgic scenes, and I’ll say it again, big-bosomed women. (Somebody pass her a copy of The Ways of Seeing, please.) So I’m not a big fan of her work, but she surely should keep doing what she’s doing because a lot of people love it. Good on all of them.

What’s not so good is her shock and surprise that a Facebook group called for the painting in Acme Feed & Seed to be taken down. I want to be 100% clear in that Sheila B.’s painting is a small offense in comparison to the multitudinous Confederate images in many, many other places. But her response to the controversy shows her to be irresponsible and tone deaf. In an interview with the Scene, she says, “My artwork, it’s pretty obvious that my message is very progressive. And it is a Southern progressive.”

Let’s hold it right there.

When the Scene asks her about her intention with the painting, she can’t give a real answer. She says:

It was a Southern motel, and it said, “Every kind-hearted soul welcome, mean people stay away.” My artwork doesn’t always knock people over the head. I like to gently prod people.

If the prod is so gentle that people don’t notice, is it still a prod? Meanwhile, I’m stuck twiddling my thumbs about how her work is progressive. Her (also unprogressive) paintings of Patsy Cline and burlesque beauties aside, in this specific painting, she’s casually dropping in a loaded symbol and not judging it. Contradiction does not equal critique. In the Scene interview, the artist says that the restaurant’s decision to take the painting down “was so far out of left field — I’ve never experienced anything like that. It was so shocking.” Frankly, it made me wonder if shirking responsibility and disavowing criticism is part of the Southern progressive mindset she touts. Sheila B. says her piece is “about the New South.” If we are to believe this, it seems the New South is not much different from the Old South. Clearly, the Confederate flag is part of the way she defines the South, and she doesn’t want to jettison it as one of the region’s foremost symbols.

Here’s what I think is the trouble with Sheila B.’s painting “Southern Motel”: her work overtly celebrates Southern culture in way that some might call playful, whimsical, and above all nostalgic. Taken in this context, it is easy to understand why some folks are not cool with looking at the Confederate flag on the ass of a white woman in a five foot tall painting while they’re eating and drinking cocktails, no matter the ironic subtext. And let’s be clear: The contradiction is present in the painting. A critique is not. Persistent racist ideologies should not be summed up as some kind of trifling “meanness.”Nostalgia for Southern roots is perhaps the main defense of those who still want to fly the flag of the Rebel army. The message in the painting, therefore, is that although there’s a bit of a paradox in Southern ideologies, it’s really no big deal. 

Her response to the controversy gets more and more disturbing. She tells the Scene:

I don’t really feel censored. I actually wanted it taken down once I saw all this stuff happening. Because I didn’t want anything to happen to my artwork. People are such nutjobs, people are so crazy in this time we live in — look at what happened last week in Charleston for God’s sake, you know, crazy people do crazy things. So for me it’s not censorship. For me, I resent being co-opted into this mudslinging — it’s someone taking advantage of a situation.

Wow. There is a lot to unpack here! First, the artist shows a disturbing lack of priorities when she says that she wanted the work taken down because she was worried about it. A worse scenario might be a family from Nashville or from out of town walking into the restaurant and feeling unwelcome because of the presence of the Confederate flag, or someone not submitting a job application for the same reason.

And I’m unclear: Is she lassoing the people who wanted the painting taken down with Dylann Roof, the radical, racist terrorist and murderer of nine innocent people? Or, is she acknowledging the absolute crisis of racism in America, even while she defends her use of the flag? Or, is she excusing the Charleston massacre as an isolated incident committed by a “nutjob,” and not a symptom of an epidemic of racism in America? I’m confused. All of these options suck. Her response is blatantly tone deaf in the same way as your white uncle who says, “I’m not racist; I have black friends.”

And how about that swimming pool in the painting? Supposedly, Jim Crow ended with the Civil Rights Act, but we saw its legacy just weeks ago in McKinney, Texas when a police officer used excessive force and brutalizing language on teenagers at a pool party. As Faulkner said, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” A Southern progressive should know this and be receptive to criticism surrounding the use of these symbols.

Stay with me; we’re still unpacking that paragraph! The “mudslinging” she’s referring to is the fact that Charles Robert Bone requested that the painting come down. It looks like Sheila believes that the FB group “Boycott Acme Feed & Seed” was started to smear Bone. (I have a hard time believing that any campaign manager would sign off on such a stunt.) But to chalk this up to political maneuvering seems to trivialize the situation. Politicians become a scapegoat for Sheila B. Casting this as mayoral mudslinging shows an unwillingness to take the critique constructively. In fact, her response is a dismissal of feelings surrounding the flag and what it stands for, even as she claims to be a progressive.

“This is a made-up controversy,” Sheila B. says.

Arist Sonya Clark unravels a Confederate flag

Arist Sonya Clark unravels a Confederate flag in her artwork “Unravelling,” which she completed in June 2015.

Actually, it’s not. The country is in shock and mourning. Activists and artists are making brave and critical statements about the confederate flag and its symbolism, like Bree Newsome who climbed the South Carolina State Capitol’s flag pole, and Sonya Clark who unraveled a flag as an artwork just prior to the terrorist attack in Charleston. Here’s an article from Hyperallergic called “How Artists Can Help Conceive of New Flags and Monuments for the U.S”, not to mention Southern artists like Fahamu Pecou, Fabian Williams, Dustin Harewood, Princess Simpson Rashid, and Overstreet Ducasse. Sheila B. would do well to consider some of their thoughtful, and in some ways monumental work and see how her use of the Confederate flag is not isolated in her own imagination or repertoire. The call to take her painting down did not happen in a vacuum, but she insists it was another display of people being “knee jerk crazy.”

I credit Martin with wanting to explore this issue as it pertains to art, but for some reason, I’m not hopeful for a very productive conversation, in part because Sheila B. doesn’t seem open to one, and in part because there’s an inherent support of the artist in coordinating such an event with a white-dominated panel. On one hand, it seems like an opportunity for people, probably majority white people, to grapple with these issues; but more so, it’s likely to do little more than give Sheila B. a broader avenue for excuses. Maybe I’m wrong about that. You can see for yourself Friday, July 10 at 5:30 (for cocktails) / 6:00 (discussion) at 444 Humphreys.

Let me conclude with one thing: I don’t tear people down for amusement or self-gratification. I invite you to try to find another post on this blog — or in my publication history — that is so negative. But I’ll die on the hill of getting other white people to examine their intentions and actions, and I’ll take them to task when they don’t.

 

Pre-Gaming Your Art Weekend

The art crawl and Porter Flea will have you busy enough Saturday, but what if you want to whet your appetite sooner? These events are bound to satisfy tonight and tomorrow.

Chad Burton Johnson. "Disdain," 2014. Mixed media on wood, 12 by 12 inches.

Chad Burton Johnson. “Disdain,” 2014. Mixed media on wood, 12 by 12 inches.

Fort Houston will have Turntable Tour #2, the second in a series of pop-ups, tonight Thursday June 4. The show will feature work by Sean Starwars, Chad Burton Johnson, and Brandon Geurts. Starwars is a pop culture-y printmaker whose work reminds me of characters from Pee Wee’s Playhouse (that’s a compliment.) I predict Johnson will be my favorite, as his work weighs heavily on social issues and includes rhinestones. Geurts’s fiery amorphous landscapes meditate on the artist’s fetishes. Starts at 5:00. Free with Cezanne’s beer.

Myles Bennett, "in the Manner of Hanon." Mixed media and textile, 93 by 53.

Myles Bennett, “in the Manner of Hanon.” Mixed media and textile, 93 by 53.

Tomorrow, Friday June 5, Courtney Adair Johnson curates a show at Track One called The Silo Room. Working from the metaphor of the silo as the working artist — isolated by nature — Johnson invites six artists to show work in order to laterally engage them in their silos. In the exhibition statement, Johnson writes,

The idea is that each department in an organization — sales, design, manufacturing, customer service, order fulfillment, technical support, etc. (artist) — is an independent vertical structure that is self-contained and independent from the others. You work in your own silo, communicate with people inside the silo (there are no windows, so you don’t even see anyone else), and have as little contact as possible with people in other silos.

The show will feature work by Myles Bennett, Nance Cooley, Justin Gill, Lauren Gregory, Andy Harding, Courtney Adair Johnson, and Kit Kite. I browsed Myles Bennett‘s work this afternoon. He’s a Brooklynite who sometimes unweaves canvases and drapes them in ways that make them seem both heavy and light, serious and lighthearted. His piece in the show will include an antler(!) Opening is at 6:00. Show will stay up for Saturday’s crawl. Free.

Interview: Marlos E’van

When I decided to start making studio visits and interviewing artists, Marlos E’van was at the top of my list. I met him at his show at WAG in January and was so struck by his work. One of the things that disappoints me about Nashville artists is how little they engage with issues that affect their neighbors. The deaths of Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray, and so many more people whose images didn’t make it to the nightly news should have all of us in a chokehold, but few artists in Nashville have been given space to respond to it, and that’s assuming there are more than a couple artists who want to.

Marlos E’van’s WAG exhibition Funkhaus, which I wrote about here for the Scene, caught my attention because he was so clearly responding to his role as an artist and the responsibilities that come with it. Marlos is the antidote for the self-involved mediocrity. He struck me as being the kind of person who cannot tell a lie to save face or make people feel comfortable. He has powerful messages about racial strife in America, police brutality, and the representation of black men and women in our culture. His work is passionate and deeply personal, yet tightly constructed to speak to viewers about issues we mostly try not to think about. Some of his compositions require a patient viewer to parse out the narrative, while others are wrenchingly plain; either way, the work and its message are impossible to dismiss. Also, he’s hyper aware of how people view his work and what assumptions they bring to that experience. In Funkhaus, he hung several “ritual staffs” like guns above a mantel. Here, he makes fun of people who call his work “raw” and “primitive” by making their critique literal.

Marlos took me through his home and laid out piece after piece on his floors, on his kitchen table, and even in his yard.

ME.Fabric

By Marlos E’van.

Erica Ciccarone: Why do you like working on fabric?

Marlos E’van: I love fashion and the way fabric feels. It offers and big canvas space, which I like. I sew them together and make them as big as possible. It gets the message across with the images and lets it breathe. There’s always fabric around here.

By Marlos E'van.

By Marlos E’van.

EC: Did you just graduate?

ME: I’m graduating this semester coming up. Then I’m getting out of the school.

EC: You get to that point where you’re ready to be through with it.

ME: Uh huh. I didn’t have time for shit this semester.

EC: How have you seen your work progress and change since you’ve been at Watkins?

ME: Definitely it got more honed in, the microscope became finer. It’s nice because I started locking down what I wanted more. It was a weird situation because what I do, people don’t know how to teach. For the longest, they tried to veer me away from it. It was like, “Oh it’s so raw, it’s so this, it’s so that.” People who were going there, the ones with all the student shows were the ones that were doing refined drawings and stuff like that.

EC: That’s disappointing to hear.

ME: It sucks. It thickened my skin though because when everybody is looking at it in the institution and saying, this doesn’t stand up to this, in actuality if you really look at the two, one is more powerful. That was one of the things I had to deal with.

ME5Studio

By Marlos E’van.

EC: What’s back there? Tell me about that one.

ME: That is one of the first big paintings I did when I got to Nashville. It was dealing with family on the left and then that’s me with the pink hat on, offering a rose to my Venus. It’s really dealing with the objectification of women, that’s why the dollar bill is on her head. I was thinking about how Cezanne and all of them constructed women or people in pastoral scenes but then censoring it too as well. It’s like, no, she’s not an object, but what do you see her as? That’s my hair right there, too.

ME4.Goddess

By Marlos E’van.

EC: What’s that over there?

ME: That’s my primitive dog. It pops up in my work.

EC: One of the things that I’ve been thinking about a lot and trying to write about is how I feel like Nashville has this much better art scene now than its ever had, and lots of artists being able to show their stuff, all the new galleries that have opened. But in large, I don’t see a lot of work that’s responding to social issues. Where I do see it is coming from students: Alanna Styer’s photography, that whole “in Living” show. Your work, London Thomas’ work at TSU…so it’s not all that surprising that it’s younger artists who are reflecting the society back to us because I think that’s very traditional, but it still disappoints me that more artists aren’t engaging with social issues and racism and systems of oppression.

ME: It’s definitely disappointing.

EC: Do you have any thoughts on that?

ME: I’m driven to do it because I’m still susceptible to being a victim of this. I can be pulled over at any time and get my brains bashed in. I’ve been in those situations of being pulled out the car by a cop because I had dread locks. Automatically, “Where’s the dope at?” Plenty of times. As far as people not doing it, well, people have gotten fat and comfortable. It’s like, Am I gonna risk giving up my 58 inch flat screen to say something that’s real? A lot of people don’t want to do that once they get comfortable. With student artists, we’re at the point where we don’t have shit right now. We don’t have big fat cribs and all the cars and shit. We don’t have anything to lose anyway because we’re out here living it. So shit, we’re talking about it. At least that’s where I’m coming from. I risk it all to make a damn change. I can’t help it.

By Marlos E'van.

By Marlos E’van.

By Marlos E'van.

By Marlos E’van.

EC: Is this a shopping list?

ME: Yeah. If you notice a lot of things that are happening are when people are doing regularly, ordinary things. Travon Martin was going to the corner store. I still don’t understand how [George Zimmerman’s] walking around.

EC: He was just arrested again for beating the shit out of someone.

ME: I heard he got shot.

EC: It’s crazy. I feel like everything else he does since then is flaunting the fact that he got off. Are you religious?

By Marlos E'van.

By Marlos E’van.

ME: I’m spiritual. Not really religious.

EC: Did you grow up in the church?

ME: Yeah I did. Southern Baptist. All that good stuff.

ME9

By Marlos E’van.

Religion and crosses are in my work, but it’s coming from the idea of how even with hangings and slavery, it was always backed by religion according to the oppressors. It’s a pretty interesting notion. I’ve got my black athletes.

By Marlos E'van.

By Marlos E’van.

By Marlos E'van.

By Marlos E’van.

ME: That’s Roy Jones. He’s 48 and still boxes. These pictures are from his prime. Have you heard of Floyd Mayweather? He was 100 times better and actually fought. This dude was unbeatable.

EC: Why do you think you’re drawn to athletes in your work?

ME11

By Marlos E’van.

ME: The idea of having it all. And being a price tag. Look at people behind him holding his belts for him, but then as soon as you’re done in people’s eyes, there you go. Isolated. Sad. Colorless. It happens so many times. I use Mike Tyson a lot in my work. It definitely happened to him.

By Marlos E'van.

By Marlos E’van.

ME: This [below] is something I’m probably gonna make into a big painting.

By Marlos E'van.

By Marlos E’van.

EC: Pastels are a good medium for you. When you’re making pieces like these, do you knock it out in one shot, or do you come back to it?

ME: For these, they were knocked out in one shot. Pretty much in one sitting. I try to do a series of drawings at one time because it just flows.

ME12

By Marlos E’van.

In case you haven’t noticed I love prices. And Coke pops up in my work a lot.

By Marlos E'van.

By Marlos E’van.

EC: Why do you think that is?

ME: It’s what they’ve been to culture. The things that I address, for instance, civil rights themes. All these major conflicts in our history, Coca Cola has been in the background.

EC: At the end of Mad Men, they show that iconic Coke commercial from 1970. People of all different nationalities and races standing together on a hill and singing about Coke. “I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony.” It’s so ironic to me that people would fall for that. Here are these people brought together by soda, while civil rights is happening and Vietnam rage on.

ME: Coke never did shit when people were getting beat up at the lunch counters. There were Coca Cola signs everywhere, but they never stepped in. They kept making money. This is a Jeff Koons.

By Marlos E'van.

By Marlos E’van.

EC: What’s your opinion on that man?

ME: [laughs] Very shaky ground.

EC: I think he’s full of shit. I don’t understand why he’s famous. Why people like him. Why people spend millions of dollars on his work.

ME: Especially since he doesn’t touch anything anymore. He doesn’t touch the work. What the hell? Come on now. That’s why I made this. It’s a joke. But let’s find the big one I want to show you. One of most frequent things I hear is “Basquiat Basquiat,” so one day I was like, “Ya’ll motherfuckers have to realize I’m doing my own shit.” So this is my response to that. This is Basquiat passing me the torch.

By Marlos E'van.

By Marlos E’van.

EC: I love it. I love the idea behind it and the motivation. I feel like if you were a white woman painting like this, people wouldn’t compare you to him. They just want to put people in one group because categories make people comfortable.

ME: You just said a lot.

EC: Deny him. Defi him. When did you make this one?

ME: I made this in January of this year, right after my show.

We head downstairs.

ME: So this is what I’m working on at the moment, I’m making a couple flags. A confederate flag is next. A performance goes with it before I can finalize it.

EC: What is that gonna be like?

ME: It’s gonna be intense, something that people don’t want to dive into. It’ll be brutal. I just want to act on current situations in America as far as police matters, and put myself on the line on this flag during the performance, trying to make it pretty soon. I’ll keep you posted.

Marlos E'van.

Marlos E’van.

EC: Have you ever done performance based stuff before?

Yes. This trumpet was from my first performance in Nashville. You know Morgan Higby Flowers. He had this thing called No Media last year. All these performances in this basement and nobody could use a phone…

EC: That was at my house. You were there? I remember you! I’m so blown away right now. In the basement on Hamilton Avenue. I was using a cowbell or something and I had my fox ears on. You were there with a girl, right?

ME: That was Sophia. Damn! That’s crazy.

EC: Right! So you liked it?

ME: I loved it! The idea of no media is almost foreign at this point in time. It was refreshing to go back to that. It doesn’t have to be Instagrammed. It doesn’t have to be Facebooked. It was an exclusive thing for the people that were there who got to be a part of it. That was really cool. My mind is blown.ME22Trumpet

Ok so here’s my primitive dog again.. And this is my version of Mary. This is from my vampire period. Ha. Every figure that I made had these sharp vampire teeth. It was kind of reflecting the monstrosity of how vicious people can be deep down inside. Even Mary.

By Marlos E'van.

By Marlos E’van.

EC: This one I know you didn’t do in one sitting.

ME: No. A little bit longer.

EC: Tell me about this one.

By Marlos E'van.

Marlos E’van, “A la Carte.”

ME: Yep. It’s called “A la Carte.” It’s basically addressing lunch counter sit ins. There’s another piece to this that involves a performance. That’s coming up soon. Basically three figures, one is washed out in the middle. They’re sitting at the lunch counter. They’re turned around looking directly back at us before stuff gets dumped on their heads, they get called this and that. Once again, even that was on camera and that’s what the “Say Cheese” is all about.

EC: What artists do you like? Who do you get obsessed with?

ME: I really love Warhol. Hmm. Frida Khalo. I really love her. I love looking at pictures of her. She survived so much pain. I couldn’t imagine. She let that pain out on the canvas. I stay away from looking at artists too much. I don’t want to be too influenced. The 30 Americans show was awesome.

By Marlos E'van.

By Marlos E’van.

ME: So, this is 32 Batman buildings. I get so tired of seeing the Batman building in art around here–”

EC: Me too!

ME: I just can’t stand it anymore!

EC: That and Willie Nelson.

ME: Batman building! Batman building! Damn.

ME28List

ME: This is a new thing I’m doing called “Blam.” It’s kind of going off Black Lives Matter but it’s Black Lives Always Matter. I really like when they’d use that in the old Batman shows.

EC: Have you been involved in the Black Lives Matter movement in Nashville?

ME: A little. I was really into the Occupy movement. I recently talked to Martha Rosler. I was asking her about how these movements seem so microwaved. You don’t even hear about Occupy anymore.

EC: I think it kind of combusted on itself with leadership issues.

ME: Black Lives has already gone down, too, as far as always hearing it and seeing it. I start asking myself, What is it? Are these things just to sell T-shirts or are we trying to really go through with it? I asked Rosler about the difference between activism when she was really active in the 60s and 70s, and now. She was like, really it’s about the footwork. A lot of people aren’t doing the footwork.

By Marlos E'van.

By Marlos E’van.

ME: With this I broke down the word “father” and switched it around dealing with my own experiences. It’s interesting because when I was a kid, nobody knows this, he busted in my room by kicking the door in and was like, “Move all the furniture out. Paint this bedroom right now. If you spill a fucking drop I’m gonna kill you. I’m gonna blow your fucking brains out.” I was like twelve. It was crazy. It’s so weird because I hated painting at the moment under those conditions.

That’s always been an issue too in my work: black fathers and their roles.

EC: This is all really recent?

ME: Yes. I did this two weeks ago. Just woke up one morning and got to it.

EC: Do you find that you work well in the morning, or is it different for you depending on the day?

ME: It really depends on the day. I just do whatever, whenever I feel like it as far as this goes. When I feel it, I do it. When you get in the groove, you’re in the groove. People ask me, “Why do you do what you do?” It’s just cause I want to and it feels good and it’s fun.

EC: Did you see that show at David Lusk by Tyler Hildebrand?

ME: Have heard the name but no.

EC: He’s white, and I feel like his depictions of black subjects are very stereotypical and racist: big hair, big lips, looking like they don’t have a clue. To be fair, all of his subjects are down and out, but something about it seems entitled to me. I looked at his work for so long and tried to connect with it, but I just couldn’t. In general, I find it really hard to admire white artists who use black people as their subjects.

By Marlos E'van.

By Marlos E’van.

ME: Yeah. It’s also the delivery of it. Some people want to do it but don’t know how to deliver it. There’s a lot of gimmicks out there, too. That type you were saying, how many people have I seen like that: white guy or white chick, but you see the subjects in the paintings are black and it’s like, Damn, wait a minute, who did this?

EC: Or the photography.

ME: Oh my God. That’s just like looking at a petri dish under a microscope. Like people are zoo animals. You might hear a photographer who does it say, “I was done with the subjects when it was over. I don’t know what happened to them.” They just didn’t fucking matter to you. You just want the picture.

More on Memphis: Crosstown Arts

CrosstownArtsAnother stop on my tour of Memphis was Crosstown Arts. This nonprofit arts org is located in the shadow of the old Crosstown building, the 1.5 million square foot Sears Roebuck & Co. distribution center that’s been empty since 1993. It’s now in redevelopment to become a “mixed-use vertical urban village” and slated to open as such in 2017.

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Crosstown Arts is a performance site, a gallery, an after-school youth arts and literacy program, and a flea market. I met staffer Emily Harris Halpern there and she was kind enough to show me around. Crosstown is totally community focused. Halpern says that one of their goals is neighborhood revitalization, and they’re playing a part in the renovation of the Sears building as founding tenants. When Crosstown Concourse opens, they’ll move in with expanded programming, including artist residencies. They now hold an open crit each month and invite artists to bring in their work for participatory critique.DSC02990

They also rent a low-cost performance space to Memphians. Coming up, they’re hosting a book release party, a hip hop listening session, and a poetry reading series. They also make field trips. On May 31, for example, Crosstown is taking a bus full of people to Arkansas Art Center in Little Rock to see 30 Americans, the stunning, important exhibition of African-American artists that came to the Frist in 2013. Crosstown offers a bus ticket and guided tour of the exhibition for $25.

While I was there, I caught Between the Eyes, an exhibition of abstracts curated by Laurel Sucsy. It features Marina Adams, Rob de Oude, Joe Fyfe, Rubens Ghenov, Iva Gueorguieva, and some of Sucsy’s own work. Together, they demonstrate the many ways to communicate through abstract painting. I liked the work as a whole and individually. I hadn’t heard of any of the artists, and I’ve been investigating each since my trip. Sucsy chose an international roster with very different styles: from the supple, sensual bold shapes of Marina Adams (anyone else totally turned on by these?) to the dizzying geometry of Rob de Oude.

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Marina Adams, “Four Worlds,” 2013; oil and acrylic on panel, 74 by 74 inches.

 

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Rubens Ghenov, “Leafe Verse,” 2015; acrylic on linen, 20 by 16 inches.

Seeing two by Iva Gueorguieva was a real treat. “Scarlet Squall” (2012; pictured third below) got my heart pumping with its sharp shapes that crash into each other and splinter, united by a central energy that pulls everything inward. In contrast, Rubens Ghenov‘s “Leafe Verse” is a minimal and solitary beauty with great visual depth. Joe Fyfe has four pieces in the show. Constructed from materials like wood, cloth, rope, and styrofoam, Fyfe’s pieces call into question the nature of painting and prioritize process over image. In using diverse materials, Fyfe is bound by constraints, and you get the feeling that in all of his works, he’s trying to solve a puzzle. Keep scrolling for some more images of this compelling exhibition.

 

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Iva Gueorguieva, “Vanishing )after Perugino),” 2013; acrylic, collage and oil on canvas, 76 by 81 inches.

 

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Rob de Oude, “Fanning a Recurring Past,” 2012; oil and acrylic on panel, 16 by 16 inches.

 

Joe Fyfe, "Vihn Apricot Kite," 2014; object, wood, cloth, 64.5 by 40 inches.

Joe Fyfe, “Vihn Apricot Kite,” 2014; object, wood, cloth, 64.5 by 40 inches.

Laurel Sucsy, Untitled, 2015; oil on linen, 20 by 16 inches.

Laurel Sucsy, Untitled, 2015; oil on linen, 20 by 16 inches.

The Mayoral Candidates Talk Arts at Last Night’s Forum

Last night, all seven of the mayoral candidates discussed their vision for the arts in a forum hosted by Nashville Arts Coalition. All agree that arts and culture must be grown and sustained. Many discussed the fact that Nashville trails its peer cities in arts spending. The national average is $5.44 per capita spent on the arts and Nashville falls behind at $4.10. Cities like Charlotte and Austin are way ahead. Here are my take-aways from the forum.

Howard Gentry stressed arts programming in traditionally underserved communities, calling for revitalization districts. He says that “the arts and cultural aspect of the city has flatlined since 2000,” and he won’t shy away from dedicated funding. All of the candidates focused on affordable space. One of Gentry’s solutions is looking into unused and underused commercial spaces, especially in traditionally underserved neighborhoods.

Charter School founder Jeremy Kane mentioned moving forward with Envision Cayce, a revitalization project for the Cayce homes in East Nashville off Shelby Avenue. Kane talked the most about education and looking for innovative ways to involve artists with Metro schools. He also talked about the possibility of crowdfunding for the arts and noted improving public transit on his list of priorities.

Councilwoman Megan Barry discussed the Artisan Manufacturing Zoning bill that’s just been filed with council. Gentry and Charles Robert Bone agree that re-zoning is necessary to allow artists and artisans to have live/work spaces where they can legally manufacture. Barry also wants to expand the THRIVE program and is looking to Barnes Housing to continue providing affordable housing.

Bone also said he wants to provide more affordable loan options for artists: “If you’re an entrepreneur in this city and you want to start a new business, there’s 50 individual investors that I can tell you to go see; there’s 25 different funds. I think we have to be better and more creative at how we provide the same type of funding for those in the arts and those who want to pursue their creative interests,” Bone said.

Developer Bill Freeman predictably discussed his plans for building 10,000 affordable housing units over his four year term. This is a cornerstone of his campaign. Freeman favors involving the private sector and reaching out to developers across the country for affordable housing ideas. He also noted that expanding the budget for Metro schools will allow for more arts programming.

Linda Eskind Rebrovick touted her work in the technology sector as a natural bridge to the arts. She’s interested in co-housing plans that will encourage collaboration and networking amongst artists and musicians. She also wants to look into involving the city’s community centers in more arts programming.

David Fox is hesitant to promise funding without knowing where it will come from but agrees that it has to be stepped up. Barry mentioned putting more sales tax toward the arts and Kane wants to look into crowdsourcing, but no substantial plans for dedicated funding came up. David Fox also favors focusing on more incubator programs like Casa Azafran and Periscope to heed longterm results for artists and the public alike. He left early for another engagement.

If you’re interested in a rough transcript of the forum (mostly direct quotes, some in note form), let me know. 

The Memphis Chronicles: Tops Gallery and Dale McNeil

Next up in my coverage of art in Memphis: Tops Gallery is located in a basement in downtown Memphis, but like I saw in the city’s home galleries, the best art is found in the most unlikely places. Photographer Matt Ducklo cleaned out the basement a few years ago; it was no easy task. He had to remove a lot of debris and get this funky, deep dark space clean. He topped it off with a white epoxy floor that’s just bonkers. Tops is a labor of love, and any art lover’s visit to Memphis is incomplete without a tour of this singular space.

I published a short review and interview with artist Dale McNeil, who is showing Material Will – Force in Form at Tops through May 31. Head over to Country Life to check it out. Here’s my favorite photo from the visit.

Dale McNeil's Material Will - Force in Form is showing at Tops Gallery in Memphis through May 31.

Dale McNeil’s Material Will – Force in Form is showing at Tops Gallery in Memphis through May 31.

Notes on May’s Art Crawl

Let me get out of the way that I am the writer-in-residence at Seed Space and close to its staff. Two out of three of this month’s exhibitions are my favorite SS programming ever, nonetheless.

1. First, my favorite things. Seed Space was lit up by Rocky Horton‘s “All the Lights in My House.” Horton de-installed literally all the lights in his family’s home and brought them to Seed Space. He installed a false ceiling and hung most of them from it, including a wonderful, chinzy chandelier that is the exhibition’s centerpiece. Other lights appeared on the ground and wall. My favorite part is that Horton left the lights in the condition they were in; some are dusty or filled with the dead bugs we all collect in our respective homes. I like this honesty. It tells me something about his life and family, and much more about him as an artist. It’s a sacrifice, for sure, and the piece is only a piece in this context with all of the related parts. I got to talk to Horton, who verified that indeed, he and his family will be without lights for the six weeks of the installation. I love knowing that part of it, imagining this family of five living by the light of the sun alone. I’ll have more to say on this soon.

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2. Also at Seed Space, Nathan Sharratt performed “Blood Brothers.” He was set up in Track One down the hall (adjacent to the entrance, which made for a beautiful framing.) Dressed in blood-stained white, Sharratt sat at a small table across from an empty chair. When I approached, he said, “Would you like to be my blood brother?” Of course, I obliged, and Sharratt began the ritual. He drew blood (OK, it’s not really blood) from a little glass vial marked “MOTHER” and mixed it methodically on the table with a palette knife. Then, he drew the knife across his palm; I did the same, and our hands met in the center. And that moment lasted for at least a solid 30 seconds. First I felt embarrassed — when was the last time anyone looked at me so intently? But gradually, I relaxed into it and Sharratt continued to stare purposefully into my eyes. I thanked him (like an idiot). Now blood brothers, Sharratt and I made bloody thumb prints on a “receipt.” He said, “Thanks for being my blood brother.” He pinned my receipt to the wall behind him with the rest of his blood family, which was quickly filling with thumb prints.

In all honesty, it was more intimate than any moment I’ve shared with a member of my biological family in many years. I hung around watching the performance for a while. People who originally declined participation also hung around, their curiosity increasing as they witnessed strangers interacting with Sharratt. Some of them eventually sat down across from him. It was as if their desire for communion outlasted their skepticism. It was beautiful.

3. Wendy White’s show up at Sherrick & Paul right now is gorgeous. I got to write about it in this month’s Nashville Arts. It was a huge honor. Go see it.

4. I didn’t make it downtown and am sad I missed James Connolly at COOP Gallery. Connolly is a new media artist who bends old audio/visual equipment into instruments. From what I hear, his two performances were awesome. Does anyone have a clip?

5. Fort Houston showed “New Nashville Photography,” a group exhibition of photos by Beth Gorham, Bradley Marshall, Casey Carter, Chris Donahue, Evan Hickman, Holden Head, Jamie Donahue, and Shawne Brown. Very little struck me here. I liked Casey Carter’s photos of people in Murfreesboro well enough; her racially mixed subjects seem to be having genuine interactions. But overall, the show was not compelling. I’ll admit that I have a very difficult time describing why I do or don’t like certain photography. I’m working on that. I know that I like it when I want to see through the photographer’s eyes all the time. It’s a rare and exceptional experience.

6. Cody Tumblin showed “Bits and Pieces” at the Packing Plant. He arranged his dyed and sewn textile paintings on cords that stretched across the narrow space like clotheslines. I loved how his pieces were all two-sided, and it was fun to see people duck under the lines to get a peek from the back of the room. Tumblin’s dyed fabrics tell a richly pigmented color story, many of them relying on vertical lines and grids (a theme in the venue’s recent programming, it seems.) The clothesline install gave it a weirdly residential feel in the raw space of the Packing Plant, a nice contrast.

Cody Tumblin. The Packing Plant. Nashville, TN.

Cody Tumblin. “Bits and Pieces.” The Packing Plant. Nashville, TN.

7. “Projected Nostalgia” also showed in Track One. Organized by Seed Space as part of their NFA program, it featured work by student artists from Vanderbilt, APSU, and Lipscomb. It’s a tough space to show art: it’s dark and stony in there, but knowing this didn’t make it any less underwhelming. So much of the work was the same: the fact that there were two piles of dirt by two different artists and another pile of bricks and stones baffled me (didn’t they talk before installation?). There were softer materials, too: wall sculptures of yarn and stuffed animals did not transcend the materials, and try as I might, I couldn’t coax meaning out of the armchair erupting with latex tumors. Add a belly button projected on a bedsheet to the mix, and you get pretty much what you expect from an undergraduate show of a dozen artists. The exhibition might have benefited from some context: artist statements or at least some short blurbs may have provided access to meaning; the physical list of works was a map that I couldn’t figure out. Maybe they needed more supervision. Maybe the space was just wrong for what they were doing. In any case, I’m sure better exhibitions are in each of their futures.

8. Jessica Wohl’s work at Zeitgeist though. It needs its own post, coming soon.

Wendy White’s Upcoming Show at Sherrick & Paul

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Wendy White, “Vanity,” 2015; acrylic on canvas, gold mirrored PVC frame

Wendy White will show new work in “Double Vanity” at Sherrick & Paul. White lives in Chinatown, New York City, and the world through her eyes is full of complexities and contradictions. She draws from her surroundings, and we can envision her neighborhood in her abstract, often huge, always flat acrylic paintings. She’s inspired by signage in Chinatown, where words in English, Cantonese, and graffiti slang are layered on top of one another. Fragments of text and graffiti tags often appear in her paintings.

“Double Vanity” follows a recent show at David Castillo Gallery in Miami, where White fused large inkjet prints with acrylic paintings that observe athletes on the field and the emotions they enact. Circling around gender and performance, White plays with this idea in a way that is both serious and fun. She extends this investigation by going into the home and reflecting on the domestic spheres of woman and man. “Double Vanity” is site specific to Sherrick & Paul. White will be carpeting the gallery in white, using the center, free-standing wall to separate the gendered realms of domestic bliss. I had the opportunity to interview White on the phone for an upcoming article in Nashville Arts. She described the show to me as “funny and pop culture inspired” with a decorative palette that tells a color story. The white carpet will give it a time capsule feel, she said, and she’s taking advantage of the warm Sherrick and Paul atmosphere in the old May Hosiery mill. White originally worked in textiles, and this is the first time they’ve come back into her work — a fun coincidence given the setting.

“Double Vanity” will open Thursday, April 30 from 6 – 8 pm. White will lead a walk-through at 5 pm. Sherrick & Paul is also open for first Saturday art crawls (and there’s a great one coming up.)

Interview: Shana Kohnstamm

Welcome to a new NYCnash feature: interviews with artists in their studios. These are long-form Q & A’s that let me pick into the brains of artists that interest me. Expect many more to come. Interviews are conducted in person and lightly edited for clarity. 

I’ve known Shana Kohnstamm for several months now — since she started working in a studio at Ground Floor Gallery + Studios last year. She gave me a lesson in needle felting once and I created a baby Creature from the Black Lagoon. You really have to try it to fully appreciate how Shana works: She felts or tangles wool fibers using small barbed needles. It takes thousands of stabs just to make a golf ball sized sphere. Read on for her story.

Shana Kohnstamm in her studio, holding "Homage to Tanning's Cousins."

Shana Kohnstamm in her studio, holding “Homage to Tanning’s Cousins.”

Erica Ciccarone: I know your first love was painting. Can you talk about your transition to wool?  

Shana Kohnstamm: It was a surprise. It was not intentional. I like to take workshops and find out different methods of how people do things. I took a two-day felting workshop at the Frist, and had a little wool left over that I played with it at home. I’m the type of person who will get super geeked out about a new thing and want all the toys and all of the tools. I was very cognizant of how much money I was going to spend. Wool is cheap so I bought a couple ounces of wool and a needle for $5. I played with it and it didn’t work. I had a friend come over to teach me needle felting and within five minutes of watching her, I was like “Got this. See you later.” It was really exciting. I bought a little bit more wool and a little bit more and the transition from painting to felting really took about eight months. I was doing both for a while, and I had a gallery in Knoxville show both mediums; it was my only solo show that showed both painting and sculpture. Then I really didn’t paint again for a while.

I can paint with the wool, and faster. I can lay different colored bits of wool down and visualize it before I even start doing the work. I can lay the color down and say, that needs to go over two inches and just pull it up. I got all of my painting needs fulfilled and then sculpture just excited me in a whole new way. I certainly did not expect to find a new mode of working at 40.

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EC: So much of your work has an other-worldly quality, evocative of mythical sea creatures or scientific anomalies.  It always makes me wonder: what were you like as a child?  

SK: I was very quiet and I spent a lot of time drawing. My mom didn’t buy me coloring books. She would give me blank paper and let me go. During the time I was four or five, my brother was one and two, and he was a handful. My mother was happy I could entertain myself and be self-sufficient. If I had my crayons and paper, she didn’t need to watch me. I remember by kindergarten, I was already “the artist.” I was good with that. I wasn’t athletic, I wasn’t tall, I wasn’t especially smart; I wasn’t dumb but my label was, “She’s the artist. She knows that.” If the new kid would come into school and be able to draw, I would get upset. It was my identity. I had to prove that I was the best at it. I would learn what they could do — bubble letters or cartoon characters — and I would do it better. That was how I built my skills and identity later on.

I was showing my work to a friend recently and she said, “I feel like I have some kind of window into your brain.” I said, “These things don’t live in my brain. I don’t know what’s going to happen.” I have no clue. It’s a surprise to me. Painting was the same way. I would put color on and play this push/pull game, and it was a dialog between me and the piece. It’s the same with sculpture. I have to be a little more certain of the direction. Trying to retrofit a sculpture to fit in lights or to solder is a pain. You have to cut and modify and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. I have to have some kind of direction, but a lot of times, they’re doodles or accidents.

Shana Kohnstamm. "Quiet Rattle," wool.

Shana Kohnstamm. “Quiet Rattle,” wool.

EC: Do you think of them as living creatures?

SK: Some of them have more life than others. Sheebie Geebie is definitely other-worldly. This one, “AG Pod,” was done under the instruction of a fantastic felter named Andrea Graham. We did a web workshop. That was a transitional piece for me that took me from hobby level to professional finished level.

Shana Kohnstamm. "AG Pod," wool.

Shana Kohnstamm. “AG Pod,” wool.

EC: There’s a really stunning balance between the beautiful and the bizarre. Some of your pieces like “Heliotropia” and “Quiet Rattle” produce a weird and satisfying discomfort for me. They’re a little bit sexual sometimes. Does that surprise you?

SK: It surprises me which pieces evoke that.

Shana Kohnstamm. "Helitropia," wool.

Shana Kohnstamm. “Helitropia,” wool.

EC: This one totally does it. 

SK: See that one I don’t get it from. That’s “Heliotropia,” the seed that carries it’s own light. My paintings are like that. Some people would just look at it and say, “Too much” and put their hands up over their face. Other people would look at the paintings and say, “I wanna fuck it.” I’ve had that especially from other artists. The paintings are juicy. They’re super slick. But these sculptures are fluffy. I guess it brings out a different sexual nature, something soft and tactile. You want to touch it but don’t know if you can.

EC: And this one? The two beings intertwined [pictured below in back row.]

SK: This is called “Homage to Tanning’s Cousins” based on Dorothea Tanning’s sketch. She was the longest lived surrealist and is my personal hero. She did some textile work in the 70s. Needle felting wasn’t around then. She did these life sized sculptures and you could tell where the armatures were and they were very clunky. I wanted to take her sketch and realize it for her as my thank you. She passed away two years ago at 102. This is my homage to her work. It’s three pounds of wool.

In the studio of Shana Kohnstamm.

In the studio of Shana Kohnstamm. Nashville, TN.

EC: Do you aim to use only wool or do you build on other forms?  

SK: I’ve started to working with mixed media, which is exciting. I was a purist when I was a painter and I started off as a purist with the sculpture. But I like incorporating media into these. One of my dear friends is an art conservator and she used to yell at me about using crappy paint and crappy surfaces. I started using really great paints and grounds and was obsessed with their longevity. This is wool. It’s not going to last forever. It’s freed me up because I’m thinking, “Who cares? If they last a lifetime, great. If you put them in the sun they’re going to fade. They’re not going to be permanent.” I like using acrylic polymer on some of them that’s turning them into plastic, and they will last. But I never would have put all of this work together if I hadn’t given up my idea of longevity and legacy. I’m having a lot more fun. I have a hard time seeing my work as a collection because it’s only five years old. I’m not doing series; I’m doing individual pieces and each one is an experiment. I’m driven by the material; how far can I push this? That alone is an interesting dialog for me.

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EC: It must be a dream to ship.

SK: I have carried an entire show in two Rubbermaid bins that I carried at the same time.

EC: You use Instagram and social media to network with other soft sculpture artists. How has that influenced your practice?

SK: It’s influenced my practice because it’s such an open community that we share techniques and suppliers. I love having that interaction. There are three or four needle felters in Nashville, maybe, that I know of. But I don’t know anyone that does it as art making. I feel like this is a continuation of a lifelong career and a change in medium. I don’t have the support here. As a painter, I could invite a dozen painters in ten minutes to come take a look and see what I’ve done. It [social networking] is encouraging in a way I did not anticipate. Being an active part of the community, I enjoy letting people into my process and sharing my knowledge. It makes you the expert when you share at that level. It’s not a giving away. If I can make better work and I can share that, and then they can make better work, it helps everybody.

EC: Tell me about the show you have planned for Ground Floor Gallery in the Fall.

SK: That is all about social networking. I created a Pinterest board of all the artists I wanted to see in person. As part of my lease agreement with Ground Floor, I get a solo show at the end of a year’s lease. I have a show at Nashville International Airport in December. The idea of doing two consecutive shows was not appealing. I asked Janet [Decker Yanez] if I could do a soft sculpture show, and she was into it.

I sent out an invitation in February to 16 artists from all over. I got back acceptance letters. I didn’t let them know who I had invited, and that’s part of it. Some are emerging and just out of grad school. Some are internationally known, award winning artists. I felt like everyone’s work was going to compliment and raise up the integrity of the show. I made sure to invite more than just felters. I opened it up to mixed-media and embroidery. It’s a sculpture show called “Touched.” People can’t help but touch this work. I have work coming in from the U.K. and the Netherlands. This is such a high-class group of artists. I want to make sure that I represent them as best as I can in this space. I’m obsessed with this show right now.

In the studio of Shana Kohnstamm.

In the studio of Shana Kohnstamm. Nashville, TN.

EC: You were accepted to the Arts and Business Council’s Periscope program. Can you tell me about that?

SK: They accepted 20 applicants. Sixteen of those are visual artists. It’s been fascinating to meet other folks also working in Nashville who I didn’t know already. It’s a business program that’s developed for artists. I’m learning how to think about my work as the buyer. How do you get your potential client first to know that you exist? Then, how do you get them interested? Once people see my work, they’re fans, but they have to see it first. How do you engage that person? If they desire it, how do you turn that desire into an action? I don’t have a shop. How is someone going to know how much it costs or how to buy it when I don’t have it listed for sale? I’m re-working my mental conditioning. It’s been good and challenging. I’m working from the same problems from a different angle.

EC: Where is your favorite place to see art?

SK: My favorite place to see art is at other artists’ houses. Not their work; the work they collect. I love seeing art in the home, because that’s really where we want art to go. A gallery is a temporal experience. It’s there for 30 or 90 days and it leaves. Hopefully some of the pieces go to homes. To go into an artist’s house and see the pieces they’ve chosen for their space is really exciting to see. What’s in your dining room, what’s in your bedroom, what’s in your bathroom? I have art in my bathroom. I started collecting very small art. My first piece I bought for $5. Then there’s trades and barters and a lot of stuff I bought. The kitchen is where I hang my friends. I forget what I have sold and given over the years. When I go to someone’s house and see one of my own pieces, it’s a shock. It’s delightful.

In the studio of Shana Kohnstamm. Nashville, TN.

In the studio of Shana Kohnstamm. Nashville, TN.

EC: Where can people see your work?

SK: Right now, they can come to the studio. I’m available if folks want to come during the week or in afternoons to see my work. I’ve been invited to participate in Nashville Collage Collective at Turnip Green in May. I got a piece accepted in Number Presents: Art of the South. This is called “Aculeus,” and it won the award of merit in Fine Contemporary Craft of the Southeastern U.S. at Art Space over the winter. With Number, Wayne White was the juror. He did the set design and puppetry for Pee Wee’s Playhouse. Look up his film Beauty is Embarrassing. You will fall in love with him. I’m waiting to hear back on a couple more juried shows. I got a random email from the Mobile Museum of Art in Alabama. They’re doing a regional exhibit at the end of the year called “Size Matters.” They wanted small art. I’ll send them a couple old paintings and a couple new small sculptures. It will be my first museum show. “Touched” is going to be here in October, and my solo Nashville Airport show will be in December.

To learn more about Shana Kohnstamm, visit her website and Like her on Facebook. Learn about “Touched” and explore the artists.