Michael Grines and Vermont College MFA Work in the Arcade
When: May 17-25
Given Brother Mel’s birthday party at The Arts Company and the Central South Art Exhibition at the Tennessee Art League on May 5, I didn’t have a chance to fit all the shows I wanted to mention into my Crawl Space column. If you made the First Saturday Art Crawl, these shows might be worth a second look. If you spent the night pickling yourself in tequila and karaoke-singing “La Bamba,” you’ve got some catching up to do. While Michael Grine spent 20 years working in graphic design and printing, a quick once-over of his website indicates he’s been showing his personal art only about four years. Most of Grine’s shows have been in bars, tattoo parlors and Untitled events, so showing his new exhibit, Halt!, at Picture This on 5th in The Arcade is kind of a big deal for the artist. Grine’s work features thick layers of painterly abstraction poised between the purposeful composing of graphic design and the artist’s obvious attraction to let-it-fly, paint-splatter expressionism. For May, Twist Etc. continues its What Not: A Craft Show from last month, but a new exhibit opened in their main space Saturday night. Twist Gallery is currently hosting Locality: MFA Work From the Vermont College of Fine Arts. A number of Nashville’s better artists — including Twist’s founder Beth Gilmore — have pursued their advanced degrees through a low-residency program at Vermont College of Fine Arts. With a gallery at her disposal and an MFA in her sights, Gilmore invited a number of her classmates to show their goods in Nashville. The participants are based in cities all over the country, and the exhibition’s title refers to the artists’ focus on their local surroundings for their work in the show. San Diego artist Michael Ruiz’s work deals with the invisible and anonymous people who live and die crossing borders. In the show’s signature image, all the subjects have been erased, leaving only a landscape full of ghostly silhouettes. One of my favorite pieces in the show is Colin McFee’s assemblage of Disney dolls outfitted with treble hooks like fishing lures. It might sound simple, but the piece is a laugh-out-loud satire on the Magic Kingdom’s penchant for luring little girls into stereotypical anti-feminist consumption of the big rat’s princess iconography.