The August crawl welcomes local faves and hosts an international art invasion 

Crawl Space

Crawl Space

March is a month, but it's also a verb. May is also "may" — an auxiliary verb. But August is the only month that shares its name with an adjective. You wouldn't say that car passing on the street is "totally July," and only the cattiest commentator would refer to a woman's brown springtime blouse as "so September." However, one could describe this month's Art Crawl as both "grand" and "inspiring admiration." It's going to be an august August. Saturday night's highlights include: whispering grandmas, bookish sculptures, the return of a New York pop-up gallery and a guy named Harry.

A stalwart of the still-missed Estel Gallery, Harry Underwood opens his first Nashville show in two years at The Arts Company this Saturday. Underwood's paintings borrow from advertising images of the 1930s and '40s, and his best work transcends nostalgic kitsch. The Arts Company will also be opening their 16th annual Avant-Garage Sale in their adjoining space next door. Expect art, books, furniture and posters priced to move.

Tinney Contemporary continues their show of contemporary realism from July. Brian Tull's paintings look like stills from a sexy, suspenseful movie, and last month I predicted they'd be the hit of the show. Tull's "For We Walk by Faith, Not by Sight" sold minutes after the exhibition opened. The New Real is worth a second look this Saturday, and don't forget to check out Tinney's back room, where Kay Ruane's graphite and gouache scenes deserve a space all their own.

Sam Dunson's Coping Mechanisms was hanging at David Lipscomb University's John C. Hutcheson Gallery way back in January. A bombastic display of intense, colorful paintings, drawings and sculpture, Coping is on my short list of the best shows of 2012, but I'm anxious to see if Dunson outdoes himself at Rymer Gallery this month. Superpower finds the artist addressing family, aging and mortality, and the exhibit's title references a Dunson family legend about the artist's maternal grandmother — apparently she could take the pain out of an injurious burn by just whispering. As Dunson relates in his artist statement: "Grandmomma could talk the fire out."

In August, Blend Studio will be featuring the work of book artist Jennifer Knowles-McQuistion. Human Rights Watch defines "honor killing" as "acts of vengeance, usually death, committed by male family members against female family members, who are held to have brought dishonor upon the family." McQuistion's show is a display of book sculptures that have been bound together to speak to the binding ties that might allow communities to abandon such destructive traditions. I saw images of the works-in-progress on McQuistion's Facebook page, and her curious forms — not quite books, but not just sculptures — may be as compelling as her themes.

Nikki Painter's Space Spells opens at Coop on Saturday night. Painter primarily makes drawings and installations, but because Coop's shows are notoriously unpredictable, I'm left to guess at exactly what she'll show. Most of Painter's work contrasts architectural black-and-white spaces with colorful, organic forms. The resulting dialogue speaks to our own internal fluctuations between logic and emotion, chaos and control. Of course, Painter is also a great name for an artist.

At Twist, Nashville natives Amanda Brazier and Patrick Brien explore similar themes from unique points of view with Curious Dwellings. Brazier uses homemade pigments in her geometric canvases, which pit ancient earth dwellings against contemporary housing. Brazier's dialogue addresses the dichotomies between handmade and mass-produced, natural and synthetic. Brien's recent show at Threesquared found his architecture-inspired work delivering an unexpected emotional charge, and if you missed that show, you'll definitely want to catch his work this time around.

When New York gallery ZieherSmith opened their Brooklyn-centric pop-up gallery in the Gulch last year, they brought a strong show and some exciting novelty to the crawl. However, I found myself thinking that some of the exhibit's weak spots could've been made stronger by the inclusion of more work from Nashville's creative community. Featuring artists from New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, London, Cologne and Nashville, the gallery's new pop-up exhibition seems poised to go last year's one better. This Saturday's show includes local heavy hitters like Patrick DeGuira, Caroline Allison and Harmony Korine, and from what I've seen, this Breadbox will be full of treats. The show will run for one week only at the ICON building in the Gulch. Be sure to check the Scene's Country Life blog for more coverage on the opening and the work. Let's have a grand Art Crawl that evokes reverence — it's August, after all.

Email arts@nashvillescene.com.

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