This month’s First Friday art walk at the Pendleton Art Center in Ashland will center around the work of artists who have never been to Ashland.
Pendleton artist Andrea Prince has curated an exhibit called “Structure,” a national invitational show featuring the works of seven of her associations in the art world, all of whom are award-winning artists known nationally and internationally.
“I chose them because their work demonstrates structure in a unique way,” Prince said.
Not all of the artists will be in town during tonight’s opening at the center, but most will make a trip to the area during the run of the exhibit and will speak at local schools.
Artists whose work will be part of the show are:
‰Alonzo Davis, whose paintings and prints include indigenous textiles and organic matter such as hides, leather, bamboo, wax, copper and twine.
Davis was an art professor of Prince’s at Memphis College of Art.
“ I agreed to be in the exhibition because of (Prince’s) connection to art work that is spirit based through abstraction,” he said. “Her ability to see this in my work in that light and my following her work and development makes me pleased to be invited to participate. I will be sending three small 10" x 10" pieces from the recently completed ‘Kumasi Gold Meets New Mexico Series.’”
The series is inspired by trips to Ghana, West Africa, “where I met Ashanti people wearing ceremonial gold mined in the Kumasi region of that country the works are miniature abstractions of my reflections on that part of the world. Although one of a kind, each of the Kumasi Gold paintings, features a square gold interior mounted on onto an adobe-textured box form. To most of these artworks I affix small adornments for added dimension.”
‰Susan Maakestad, a professor of art at Memphis College of Art, where she has taught since 1997. She said she will present an oil painting.
“I was thinking about the Mississippi River as seen from a distance, with an architectural feature blocking part of the scene. I was also attracted to an extreme of near and far,” she said.
“Juxtaposing architectural features with abstracted landscapes is a long time interest. For many years I worked with a window shape in the paintings, suggesting man's separation from nature,” she continued. “More recently the geometry occurs within the painting itself as I paint abstracted roads, bridges, underpasses. The canvas itself is a type of structure that painters either work with or against. My work is small in scale so that one is always aware of the edges of the painting.”
‰Pinkney Herbert, who has taught at the University of Memphis, University of Tennessee and Helsinki Academy of Fine Arts, Penland School of Crafts and the Memphis University School.
He will offer a piece called “Tower” for the exhibit.
“For a month during the spring of 2011, I was painting and drawing at an artist retreat in Auvillar, a Medieval town in Southwest France. I was inspired by the brick and stone structures that French farmers built to house and raise pigeons for their eggs,” he said. “Many of them were in a state of decay.” He said the “Tower” series consists of abstract drawings responding to this architecture that no longer served its initial purpose. “My imagination infused a new energy into the structures,” he said.
‰Sarah Hardesty, with whom Prince was in residence with at the Vermont Studio Center. Her contribution to the show will be “Nine Lives,” a wall installation made of wood planks anchored to the wall and cascading down while being held by string and thread.
“In terms of structure, I am often thinking about things being held together, and what assists and disrupts stability,” Hardesty said. “How these things relate to safety and security and to pulling one out of a rut, or stagnancy.”
She said she also will show small-scale drawings on paper.
‰Todd McDonald, who Prince said “plays with the duality of our contemporary experience by creating ennvirons that slip into the virtual space of video games and computers.”
An oil painter, McDonald said he has recently used two methods.
“One avenue exploits the surface, material and history of oil painting to describe the nuanes and cues of post-digital abstration. The other mode explores the use of the non-traditional material of duct tape as an image-making device. The physical character of duct tape as a manufactured, relatively low quality material can emphasize the constructed nature of our environments and images.”
McDonald will present a gallery talk at 11 a.m. during Second Look Saturday.
‰Megan Olson, whose works have been seen in solo and group exhibitions in New York Miami, Chicago, New Orleans, San Francisco, Germany and Switzerland.
Olson studied at The San Francisco Art Institute and the New York Studio Program. at The Pendleton Art Center, she will display oil paintings and drawings.
The late art critic Hilton Kramer wrote in the New York Observer in 2005 that her works “depict the dynamic processes of nature with a precision, stability and concreteness that are traditionally reserved for the painting of inert, three-dimensional objects.”
Olson said the piece Prince chose for the exhibit is called “Accidental Winter.”
“It represents some of the formal contraditions mentioned by Kramer: it is both still and fluid. The structure has the abstraction of something imagined, while retaining the materiality and detail of something real,” she said. “The title refers to both the intuitive process of abstract painting and the structured organicism of nature simultaneously.”
‰Lisa Alembik, a professor at Agnes Scott in Georgia and is director of museums and galleries. She recently organized the “Quadrennial: Great Decatur 2010” and “My sweet, sweet...”
Alembik’s artwork focuses on cultural ideas of landscape, home and the fleshy body that are influenced by the migrations and atrocities of modern history.
Her contribution to the show will be an installation piece.
Prince said she wanted to bring the artists to the area to bring a little bit of the national art scene to Ashland.
“These new and exciting ideas should be shared with everyone,” she said. “A venue like the Pendleton Art Center is perfect for that. It’s free and it’s right in the middle of downtown. It gives us as a community a chance to support local artists and the national and international art scene at the same time.
“I hope everyone will come out to see the show. It’s artwork they’d see at Chelsea Galleries in New York City, in Los Angeles and at hot art fairs like Art Basel (Miami).”
The musical performer at the Pendleton will be Scott Milem, xylophonist.
Other events planned during tonight’s First Friday art walk are:
‰The Highlands Museum and Discovery Center will host National Juried Art Show 2013 through the end of September. The museum is at 1620 Winchester Ave.
‰The Upstairs Gallery, at 1428 Winchester Ave., will be open during First Friday.
‰The Thoroughbred Gallery, at 1430 Winchester Ave., will be open during First Friday.
LEE WARD can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 326-2661.