We pity the fool who misses April's First Saturday art openings
by JOE NOLAN
First Saturday Art Crawl
6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, April 2, downtown
April showers bring May flowers, but spring has already blossomed in Nashville and the first big art season of the year is upon us. Saturday's Art Crawl promises moving images, Japanese treasures, a floating butterfly and a stinging bee — no fooling!
Dance Sequence, Amelia Winger-Bearskin's new show at Twist, features a projected video/song installation alongside 200 tiny paintings mounted in water. Winger-Bearskin, an assistant professor of studio art at Vanderbilt, also has a piece in the Material Apparatus show currently on display at Cheekwood's Video Installation Galleries. Titled "AmbienTTransformation," it shows the artist revealing her face beneath layers of black paint, gold leaf and honey. If "AmbienTTransformation" is about the subconscious mind, Dance Sequence is pure id. Winger-Bearskin promises surprises for early attendees at Twist this Saturday.
Twist Etc. is teaming up with COOP Gallery to present Neon Sigh, a collaborative exhibit by Adam Henry and Emily Mae Smith. Smith is currently visiting artist-in-residence at both Vanderbilt and Watkins. Incorporating painting, sculpture, drawing and collage, Neon Sigh attempts to reorder the perception of expectation and desire, dovetailing nicely with Matt Christy's work from last month's Twist Etc. show. The curtain that separates the two spaces has been removed to create "Twistcooparcadia," spilling from Arcade 75 into Arcade 77.
Blend Studio co-founder Ben Vitualla has taken on more of his gallery's programming duties, and now he finds himself with a fight on his hands. This month's collaboration between local artists Andee Rudloff and Lindsey Bailey and filmmaker Allie Sultan is a return to form for Blend, and these ladies are ready to rumble. Composed of a number of multimedia pieces and a video installation, Floats Like a Butterfly Stings Like a Bee: Who controls Art? fits in nicely with Blend's community-conscious ethos, engaging viewers in a dialogue about creative control. Saturday's audience can purchase specially printed wooden nickels to cast their vote. The nickels can be kept as souvenirs or donated to a number of creative causes.
Last month, we mentioned that we'd like to see galleries consider leaving exhibits up for more than a month. Estel Gallery has never fully embraced the 30-days-and-out scheduling, and this month's repeat of Just So... will give art-abouts a second chance to see this group show of work by four contemporary painters: Mark Bradley-Shoup, Claire Brassil, Kelly Williams and Chris Scarborough. If you missed this in March, take advantage on Saturday. Also, be sure to stop by Tennessee Art League for something completely different: A timely show given recent events, The Dolls of Japan – Shapes of Prayer, Embodiments of Love includes 72 examples from various Japanese doll-making traditions, allowing viewers to experience the regions, culture and customs of The Land of the Rising Sun through the decorative figures.
On Fifth Avenue proper, Tinney Contemporary is opening a show of mixed-media drawings, prints and paintings by Patricia Bellan-Gillen, Stealing Stories. Bellan-Gillen sets her meticulous zoological illustrations within surreal, pastel dreamscapes. Rymer Gallery opens What We Carry, a solo exhibit by Minneapolis-based figurative painter Luke Hillestad. Hillestad often explores still lifes, but his narrative portraits are the highlight of the show. The Arts Company's From Slow Road to China to Fashion and Beyond showcases work by fashion photographer Drew Doggett placing his commercial work alongside documentary photographs from his trek through China. The gallery will also be hosting the Fifth Annual Nashville Film Festival Official Preview in their Avant-Garage space. Pop in, knock the rust off your red carpet strut, hobnob with film fest big wigs and enjoy sneak previews of this year's NaFF offerings on the big screen.
And make sure to stop at the Arcade's BelArt Gallery, which is showing Marleen De Waele-De Bock's latest creations. Her newest paintings are inspired by Nashville's recent (and lovely) springtime weather, which looks like it's here to stay, y'all.