Regional Update: Nashville Jan. 2019

By Bridget Bailey



Samantha Hensel, celebrating softness pt. 1, 2018, variable dimensions, mixed meida. Photo courtesy of Bridget Bailey.


As the curtain of Fall finally sweeps in—and the weight of politics is ever-present—Nashville’s artists and creatives gather together to make merry. The turnout at local art crawls has been bigger and better than ever, and no wonder, with Arts & Music at Wedgewood-Houston leading the charge. mild climate has been dancey this season with a show by McKay House and Utam Moses, What Was When, running August through September. It incorporates both footage and live performance of the two artists dancing in various spaces and bodily, sculptural artifacts (hair nests). mild climate’s current show by Caley Feeney, Loneliness Miracles and Togetherness Rituals, brings whimsical, slightly spooky, psychedelic characters with dancing dolls on a shrine-like disco platform, enshrined mango seed pods and a gallery painted to match the checkered whimsy of its inhabitants. The show runs through October.


Lipscomb University’s Open Gallery has had a stellar lineup of women painters and sculptors: Samantha Hensel’s celebrating softness pt. 1, sculptural tied pillow knots and cloud paintings made with tubular, likable paint and Nam Wonchoi’s In-betweenness, small geometric and landscape paintings, primarily blue and white with yellow-orange street line accents that seem to be about perspective and travel (of the road trip variety).


Across the street at Zeitgeist there is a show about music: Mix Tape by Vesna Pavlovic combines photographs of musicians and performers on and off stage with a sculptural boombox installation. It is immersive – as the images and texts are plentiful – and runs through October 27th. Kit Reuther’s show at David Lusk Gallery combines painting and sculpture in a playful exchange, as tall towers of packing material and Styrofoam echo the flattened, diagram-like, towering paintings on the walls. It seems to be about stacking and packing, perhaps precariously, but with a formal, stylistic coalescence. Reuther’s show, Unruly, runs through October 27th.


Unruly, indeed, seems the mashup of artists at Cheekwood Estate & Gardens at present: the museum is hosting a series of happenings in which five artists, Alicia Henry, Alex Lockwood, Jack Spencer, Vadis Turner, and student Keziah Oliver, engage in dialogue with the permanent collection. Having begun in September, the program runs through January 6th. Concurrently, Cheekwood hosts Fields of Light by artist-in-residence Gabriel Dawe, who creates rainbows of tulle and other materials described as site-specific, three-dimensional color prisms.


Painter Jodi Hayes is the first artist showing work in Lipscomb University’s new Hutcheson Gallery. Entitled God Sees Through Houses, Hayes utilizes her signature transparent layers and stripes in paintings that address surveillance in an interesting way. Across town, the Frist Art Museum hosts Do Ho Suh’s Specimens, a sculptural friend to Hayes’s work, in which items and appliances from his home space are recreated in translucent materials and drawings. All is see-through and seemingly collapsible, fragile, yet re-constructible by essence and familiarity. Suh gives a public talk at the Frist on October 18th, and Specimens run through January 6th.


An interesting foil and comparison point to the tourist attraction that is today’s Music City, opening at the Frist on October 12th, is Paris 1900: City of Entertainment featuring paintings and artifacts of all types from Paris during the Belle Époque. There will be a Family Festival Day on October 21st from 1 to 5:30 p.m., centered upon the exhibit, and a curator’s tour on November 1st at noon.  The splendor of Paris is sure to excite many Nashville natives, transplants and tourists in our growing metropolis.


Bridget Bailey is an artist and educator in Nashville, Tennessee.

Image cutline: Samantha Hensel, celebrating softness pt. 1, 2018, variable dimensions, mixed meida. Photo courtesy of Bridget Bailey.