Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Nashville Scene critic's pick ... It's Not Hellfire at Twist Gallery

It's Not Hellfire at Twist Gallery
Do the Twist
Joe Nolan for the Nashville Scene

Consistently the best venue on the Crawl, Twist kicks the year off with a mythological menagerie. Jessica C. White's narrative drawings find furry friends like bunnies and deer taking on the role of mythological mouthpieces, speaking deep moral truths to our uncertain times. To her credit, White's animal oracles don't go for cheap laughs or creep-show schlock. Her picture-book renderings provide a believable setting for their asides, which, at their best, are touching and heartfelt. In the Arcade 73 space, Nashville's Matt Christy returns from his well-received show at The University of the South in Sewanee. Recent Christy shows have included everything from baroque, pop-culture collages to porno-inspired paintings. We're not sure what's on for tonight, but a typical Christie show is half eye candy, half creepy juxtapositions…and half sublime insight. You do the math.

Opening reception 6-9 p.m., Jan. 2, as part of First Saturday. also there will be a second opening reception on January 9th from 6-9 pm

Monday, December 21, 2009

Matt Christy... Wrench Rupture Suture... in Twist 58 ... January 2010

Twist Art Gallery presents: Matt Christy Wrench Rupture Suture in Twist 58

opening January 2nd from 6-9pm as part of the First Saturday Art Crawl in Nashville's Historic Arcade and the 5th Ave. of the Arts
Show runs January 2nd - 30th, 2010

Matt Christy is a writer and an artist from Nashville. He graduated from Watkins College with a BFA in Fine Arts. He has written criticism for Number: an art's journal. Matt might someday pursue a Master's degree in art criticism and critical theory.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Tennessean: Sarah Shearer's portraits at Twist 58 question feminine ideals

Sarah Shearer's portraits at Twist 58 question feminine ideals

DECEMBER 20, 2009 The Tennessean

Sarah Shearer: Seven Questions, currently on view at Twist 58, explores the nature of beauty, superficiality, strength, happiness and other ideas in two series of female portraits.

Shearer created a special little world for the show, starting by painting the gallery floors bright pink — a hue somewhere between bubblegum and Pepto Bismol.

The paintings are "pretty feminine and introspective," Shearer says, "so I thought I might as well go with that. It's pretty bold."

Shearer's combinations of texture and pattern are equally bold. In her larger paintings, she positions a woman (or women) staring confidently from the canvas, against striking backgrounds of stripes or elaborate designs rendered in turquoise, gold and other vivid colors. These are made by spraying paint through fabric as a stencil.

Shearer also employed this stenciling technique on the gallery's large windows, creating a white, frosty base over which she painted her name in a flowing script. The resulting signage gives the gallery the appearance of a little boutique. Indeed, it's similar to a hair salon a few doors down.

The smaller paintings in the show are Shearer's newest. They complement the more reserved larger works with harsher, more forceful images and rougher textures built from layers of rubbery, dried latex paint.

Sarah Shearer: Seven Questions remains on view at Twist 58 in the Arcade through Saturday. Gallery hours this week are 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursday and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday. For information, call 1-888-535-5286 or go to www.twistartgallery.com.


Monday, December 14, 2009

Family members branch out with Three Ways Different at Twist Art Gallery

December 13, 2009

Family members branch out with Three Ways Different at Twist Art Gallery

By MiChelle Jones

It's not immediately obvious what Dona Berotti's glass and copper sculptures, Cristina Viscu's graphite drawings and Rob McClurg's ceramic pods have in common. Yet Three Ways Different, on view at Twist Art Gallery through Dec. 26, not only works as a cohesive show, it's also one of the most interesting gallery exhibitions of the year.

The show's theme began taking shape four years ago, when husband-and-wife artists McClurg and Berotti became host parents to Viscu, a young artist from Moldova who was at the time an exchange student in Berotti's advanced placement art class at Hillwood High School. Viscu is now a junior at Watkins College of Art and Design, where McClurg is a sixth-year faculty member.

Pieces in an exhibition

"There was kind of a joke in the family that there was a Cris way, a Dona way and a Rob way, because we all thought very differently," Berotti says. For Father's Day, Berotti and Viscu presented McClurg with a card that said "way." "Then Cris came up with the title for the show, Three Ways Different, because we were all living in the same household, but we all perceive and work in different ways."

Close inspection of Berotti's glasswork reveals textures reminiscent of antique tin ceilings. Indeed, she uses ceiling material when constructing her molds. Viscu's snippets of portraits are at once exquisitely rendered and sketch-like.

For the past few years, McClurg has been making ceramic forms inspired by seeds. They vary in size (the largest are about 22 inches long by 11 inches wide) and the finishes range from smooth and shiny to rough and splotchy, painted to resemble natural clay. Some of the pieces resemble chess pieces, others bear a passing resemblance to sperm, and the largest forms are gourd-like and sometimes contain clay beads that rattle when shaken.

Happy accidents

The second room of Three Ways Different has a more spontaneous, experimental feel than the first. This is partly because while the artists had developed a loose plan for the first room, the second space was more of a work-in-progress during installation.

Two works in particular resulted from late-night improvisation: a piece combining elements of all their work and an interactive piece that took shape when they hung another glass sign — reading "What Are You Looking At?" — over a small settee found in the gallery.

"That happened at 2 o'clock in the morning," Berotti says, laughing. "The whole (idea) with that question was to deconstruct the scene. . . . Are you looking at the art? Are you looking at the person sitting on the couch? Is the person sitting on the couch part of the piece, which they do become. Then the piece becomes constantly changing, because someone new is sitting on the couch."

Berotti says the inclusion of the settee makes the piece, which felt incomplete on its own.

"That was just a very fortuitous thing . . . and apart from that, I will do that if I ever show that work again."

Partners in art

In contrast to the subtlety of that piece is the kinetic feel of the installation on the adjacent wall. McClurg's pods march diagonally toward the ceiling from a small heap on the floor. A glass baby bottle by Berotti is inverted over the pile, spilling copper wire intertwined with Berotti's own hair. Tiny snatches of Viscu's drawings are mixed in among the pods.

"We wanted to do a last piece that was all of us together — a collaborative piece," Berotti explains. "And also that happened late at night. That was actually the play part of the piece, the play part of the exhibition."

"Dona is the catalyst on that," McClurg says. "I would have just gladly closed the boxes back up and said, 'Look, I'm tired, I want to go home.' I did actually say that."

But Berotti prevailed, and the three played around with the arrangement. The following morning, just hours before the opening reception, Viscu and her roommate tweaked the pods so the curly ends were angled, creating the illusion of movement.

Though Berotti and McClurg have curated shows as a team and also worked together on pieces, Berotti describes this as their "first big, major collaboration." It is also an artistic expression of the bond they share with their former exchange student.

"We're still a family," Berotti says. "Even though Cris is not with us, she's still a part of our family."

Additional Facts
What: Three Ways Different, ceramics, glass and pencil on paper by Dona Berotti, Rob McClurg and Cristina Viscu
Where: Twist Art Gallery, Arcade No. 73
When: Through Dec. 26
Hours: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursday–Friday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday
Admission: free

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

It's not Hellfire: drawings and prints by Jessica C. White... January 2010





Jessica C. White at Twist Art Gallery #73 : January 2010

Similar to the way animals were used in folktales and ancient mythologies to explain the mysterious world of the past, I create images with animals that attempt to make sense of uncertainties in our world today. Children’s book images, medieval bestiaries, and folk tales inspire my investigations both visually and textually. Much of my exploration revolves around good versus evil, right and wrong, justice, and wonder.

I relocated to Asheville, NC after graduating in the spring of 2009 from University of Iowa with an MFA in printmaking and a Graduate Certificate in Book Studies. There, nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, I established Heroes & Criminals Press, a fine press following in the tradition of artisans in the crafts of printing and bookbinding, but with the driving principle that “small animals make first paths” - ordinary people can make a big impact on the world through simple, everyday actions. Through the press, my goal is to create my own work as well as to act as a vehicle for emerging writers. Along with printing and binding, I continue to explore ideas through painting and drawing.