Lesley Patterson-Marx

Hyperallergic Editor to Visit Nashville

hragSeed Space is unrelenting in its coolness. As part of its Insight? Outta Sight! series, Hrag Vartanian, co-founder and editor-in-chief of everyone’s favorite art blog Hyperallergic will give a talk Monday at the Downtown Public Library at 12:00. From the press release:

[Vartanian] has been invited as a guest commentator on Al Jazeera, WNYC, and has been quoted in the New York Times, New York Observer, Daily News, and elsewhere. His work has appeared in countless publications and he regularly lectures on the art world online. Hyperallergic is a forum for playful, serious, and radical perspectives on art and culture in the world today.

Hyperallergic brings us arts news that’s often quippy and playful, as well as thoughtful essays and reviews about art worldwide. I especially appreciate the blog’s coverage of arts activism and (unrelated), its sardonic wit. (See 20 Most Powerless People in the Art World, including art critics and artworks.)

And while you’re there, please check out Our Town, Bryce McCloud’s magnum opus-in-the-making spotlighted as the Scene’s cover story this week. (More to come on that!) Also, don’t miss Paper, Thread and Trash, an exhibition curated by NYCnash favorite Courtney Adair Johnson. It includes 14 Tennessee artists who made art books, actual and conceptual, with reused materials. There you’ll find Kit Kite’s “X Housewife Portraits” (including a stand-alone house!), paper automata by Nance Cooley, tiny harmonica books by Lesley Patterson Marx, and so much more.

Arts: Hidden Worlds

Lesley Patterson-Marx and Emily Holt’s joint exhibition Hidden Worlds may technically be in the Vanderbilt student center, but for me, it was like ascending into a dimly lit attic complete with floorboards that creaked of the past. Patterson-Marx’s mixed media pieces take on a personal quality to the viewer. Peer inside a jar at a girl and boy on bicycles, the image bent by the glass. Who are they, and why are they smiling? It could be a photo taped into your grandmother’s jewelry box.  Her paper quilts are adorned with silhouettes of family figures who might be my own.  The piece of tulle housing a dead moth could have been killed by my brother in his phase of ripping off the legs of spiders. Along with the softness of her work is an eeriness so familiar that it could only come from the shared wick of memory–the stories known only among siblings or passed down through generations.  There are missing pieces or bent facts, and every perception is skewed–but still frighteningly true.

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Lesley Patterson-Marx

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Piecing Together the Past (1), Lesley Patterson-Marx.

Emily Holt’s pieces brought me a complementary but different feeling. While the former evokes the delicate nature of the past, Holt’s wood cut sculptures speak to its vivid obstinacy. Free-standing or wall-mounted, these dream-like tableaus are made up of carved wood that is layered, creating structure and dimension. When I looked down into this free standing piece Belly of the Beast (below), I felt like a child peering into a box of malevolent toys.  Found objects are mounted here and there, and the carved edges have the delightful dual qualities of being jagged and smooth. I could easily imagine one of her month-themed pieces in my living room, next to my boyfriend’s print of the Creature from the Black Lagoon. I felt drawn to her work, as if I were edging back into my childhood, but a childhood that is warped and layered with yours as well.

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Belly of the Beast, Emily Holt.

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Submarine, Emily Holt.

Together, Patterson-Marx and Holt present a fantastic show. Think nostalgia tea with a hint of Flowers in the Attic.  It’s only up until Friday, March 28, so get on over there, new Nashvillians! Parking is a mess so grab something to eat at a nearby sandwich shop with a lot and walk over. Vanderbilt Sarratt Gallery. Sarratt Student Center. 2301 Vanderbilt Place. Open 9am-9pm weekdays and 10-10 weekends.