Regional Update Issue 98: Nashville

By Bridget Bailey



Painting from Main Squeeze by Eleanor Aldrich, 2019, mixed media on canvas. Photo by Bridget Bailey.


Nashville’s art scene has been particularly vibrant during the first quarter of 2019. The Wedgewood-Houston area has been host to a multitude of shows, namely Zeitgeist’s Land Derived Sentiments, on view March 2 through April 27, in which numerous local artists responded to nature poems by visual artist and organizer of the show, Patrick DeGuira. Participants have responded to the texts using photos, paintings, and sculptures, hard and soft. Poems are displayed beside each work, offering an interesting interplay of verbal and visual, a real-time illustration of DeGuira’s book of poems.


Across the street, Channel to Channel hosted a show of paintings by Knoxville-based painter Eleanor Aldrich. Aldrich’s work offers rich texture, figurative reverence and whimsy but, above all, a gridded elegance. Aldrich depicts figures sitting in lattice-backed beach chairs, in hammocks, in positions in which they are subjected to a grid through layers of sediment and caulk. The show, Main Squeeze, runs through April 20th.


In the space formerly occupied by Mild Climate (that will continue as a nomadic curatorial entity,) artist David Hellams is cultivating a space for the Crappy Magic Experience. The space’s current iteration has seen Hellams’ found paintings for sale at an increasingly discounted rate until they reach the point of no sale; they are then painted over by Hellams, transforming into entirely new works. Viewers/participants have enjoyed perusing, purchasing, and witnessing the tabula rasa process. His plan is to continue to use the space for Crappy Magic iterations and to host shows by other artists in coming months.


Fort Negley Visitor Center is currently host to portraits by artist and “genealogy enthusiast” Shayne Davidson. His work depicts Civil War soldiers of the 25th United States Colored Troops, inspired by a found photo album and accompanying Davidson’s book, Civil War Soldiers: Discovering the Men of the 25th United States Colored Troops, many of whose descendants remain in Tennessee. The show, Seventeen Men, is on view until June 19.


At the Frist Art Museum, the main gallery is concurrently hosting two exhibitions from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond: Impressionist paintings in Van Gogh, Monet, Degas, and Their Times: The Mellon Collection of French Art, and a collection of hunting scenes in A Sporting Vision: The Paul Mellon Collection of British Sporting Art. The Impressionist works are rich in beach, urban and rural scenes as well as interiors and tablescapes, while the Sporting exhibition boasts hunting hounds and horses. Both shows run through May 5th. Upstairs, Dorothea Lange: The Politics of Seeing, is on view through May 27th, offering glimpses of life in America in the Dust Bowl. In the Conte gallery “Connect/Disconnect: Growth in the “It” City features work by 50 local photographers, capturing life in Nashville in the here and now, on view through August 4th.


Bridget Bailey is an artist and educator living in Nashville, TN.