Lately it seems like every time I sit down to write a Crawl Space preview, the First Saturday events continue to expand and I'm compelled to include more venues and happenings than I'd originally intended. The May scene is going to be packed with a ghostly mansion, some manly mugs, a herd of Hoosiers and a lesson in local history.
The big news on the Wedgewood-Houston side of town is Brady Haston's latest exhibition at Zeitgeist. Haston is one of the gallery's most well-known artists, and his abstract paintings of urban spaces regularly find him mentioned with, and exhibiting alongside, the best of his peers throughout the state. Haston's new show, A Brief History of Nashville, connects his reflections on the infrastructure and architecture of contemporary Nashville with his recent reading of Paul Clements' Chronicles of the Cumberland Settlements 1779-1796, a historical tome that collects letters and firsthand accounts from some of Middle Tennessee's earliest frontiersmen. Haston weaves these narrative revelations into his mythology of contemporary Nashville, attempting to orient viewers along the space-time vector of the here-and-now. These paintings also imply figures — a step removed from Haston's recent, more purely abstract output.
Haston's show is complemented by another exhibit of work that examines the attempt to locate one's place both spatially and temporally. Karen Seapker's colorful abstract canvases were among the most memorable at Coop's year-opening exhibition of new members' work back in January, and her candy-colored palette will make a great match with Haston's work. Seapker flirts with different extremes of abstraction, but my favorites find very realistic scenes bombed by bursting bouquets of multi-chrome chaos.
Kit Reuther is also an abstract painter, and her solo show at the neighboring David Lusk Gallery evidences what both Lusk and Zeitgeist have assured — that they would aim to complement each other's programming in the coming months. Nashville's art scene is still too small for anyone to play for keeps, and for the community to continue to grow and diversify, we need more pulling-together than pushing-apart. The camaraderie between Lusk and Zeitgeist is a perfect example of what I'm talking about — and the whole city should be paying attention. They should also be paying attention to Reuther's gold-leafed wooden sculptures: They're the highlight of this exhibition of objects and paintings.
Amelia Garretson-Persans has shared her ghostly fiction story Notes From the 422nd Annual Wraiths for Writing Conference as an online serial at the Scene's Country Life blog for the past year. Now, Coop and Merritt Mansion are joining together to create a one-night-only event that will transform the mansion into the setting of Garretson-Persans' spooky story in celebration of Wraiths being published on actual pages in her new book.
In the 444 Humphreys Pop-Up space, Loney Hutchins is curating a two-person installation that includes Kelli Shay Hix's cut-paper works, along with video and light projections by Josh Gumiela. Also at 444, at the neighboring Julia Martin Gallery, David Kenton Kring's Head Case features the ceramicist's darkly humorous figures — as well as his very handsome everyday drinking mugs, which are super-masculine and would work well for both black coffee or white shaving soap. If your fella needs a gift, you just found it.
Veronica Kavass has handed over her curatorial duties at the Packing Plant for the month of May to former Nashvillian Mike Calway-Fagen and his sculpture students from Indiana University. They've conceived of a group installation that will include contributions by Aaron Bennett, Cory Constantine, Iryna Hladyniuk, Ben Jaggers, Nelson Kaufman, Ryan Menary, Allison Price, Monica Slabaugh, Emma Smedberg, Bryn Taubensee, Evelyn Walker and Laura Youngquist.
The May Art Crawl downtown will be a big deal for Zack Rafuls, a Watkins junior who is bringing a solo exhibition to the Watkins Arcade Gallery. Hell Is Hot includes sculpture, painting and prints that find the artist pulling a page from French philosopher Michel Foucault and examining the way the societal and cultural systems we build around sex, technology, production and consumption affect the way we interact.
At 40AU Ann Catherine Carter's Nothing Never Happens is a show of paintings, drawings, vector graphics and prints that ask questions about how digital technology mediates our actual lives in the real world. From the few images I've seen, I like the drawings best — they feature bright, clashing colors, scratched and scrawled into designs emanating a felt presence that seems a damning denial of the virtual.
The drawings of artists Chris Scarborough, Trent Miller and Rebecca Morgan all speak to cinema, and Coop has emphasized the weird content on display in this month's show by quoting David Lynch in the exhibition's press release: "Secrets and mysteries provide a beautiful corridor where you can float out. The corridor expands and many, many wonderful things can happen." (See Laura Hutson's story on the Coop show on p. 47.)
See you on the other side, crawlers.
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