This July David Lusk Gallery Nashville presents Really?, a group realism show featuring works by Beth Edwards, Rocky Horton, Bonnie Maygarden, Luisi Mera, and Mary Sims. Each of these artists meticulously tackles representation through their own unique visual language. Made on paper or canvas, each piece is a window into a realistic version of reality as they know it.
The term “Representational Art” implies recognition and the portrayal of someone or something. Ranging from the depiction of toys and flowers to figures, each artist in Really? arrives at their imagery through a painstakingly precise process using the traditional mediums of charcoal, oil or acrylic.
Alabama native Beth Edwards’ oil paintings strive for a hyper-realistic depiction of a kitsch toy or landscape. The Huntsville Museum of Art recently purchased two of her paintings after hosting her solo show this past April. The shapes in her paintings are true and immediately recognizable as a doll, tree or flower, but have been elevated to a more praised OBJECT through Edwards’ use of hyper-color and intense lighting. In Meadow lush candy-like flowers and greenery partially disguise a playful rubber duck perched on mossy green hill as a bumble bee hovers near. Her scrutiny to detail offers utterly luminous celebrations of a dramatic world where the artificial and organic merge.
Rocky Horton, a Nashville-based artist and professor at Lipscomb University, raises questions of sincerity and authenticity as he explores the relationship between art and contemporary culture in his oil paintings. The near-blinding light emanating from the painting, grand format, and masterful technique reveals a work that puts image and object in conversation with each other. In Fiori 2 brilliant flowers abound in a bouquet mirrored across a diagonal as leaves and smaller flowers creep out of the black expanse, pushing the bright hues to the edge of the canvas. A response to Jan Brueghel the Elder’s Flowers in a Wooden Vessel (1606-1607), Horton’s painting is expressive of a desire, and perhaps need, to be moved by great works of art.
Born, raised, and now residing and working in New Orleans, Bonnie
Maygarden references digitally-created images and reacts to a digitally-defined culture through illusory paintings that elevate the contradiction between the immediacy of an electronically produced final product and the care and tradition of a hand-made work.
These textural paintings walk the line between Photoshop filters and sculpture, and are influenced by both the photorealist and West Coast minimalist movements. Mellow Yellow’s reflective properties and color transitions melt over the manipulated canvas’ folds and rolls.
Luisiana “Luisi” Mera was born in the Republic of Panama and currently lives and works in Nashville, TN. Today’s abundance of images and accessibility to different modes of taking a picture no longer requires us to contemplate an image seriously or for any length of time. Mera references photography to capture and instill nostalgia; her charcoal drawings slow us down in a time of immediacy, instant gratification, and information. We constantly look at things and document them but fail to recognize them as impactful moments. Los Globos y Las Cebollitas captures a balloon salesman passing through a bustling street, his tower of Mini Mouses obscuring one another and looming above a crowd unaware of their presence. These balloons, eerily tethered together but still afloat, represent Mera’s preservation of a moment’s inherent quality to stand alone in a snapshot but is no doubt part of something much greater than itself.
Mary Sims (1940-2004) was the first woman accepted to the printmaking department at the University of Iowa and studied further in Rome and at Tulane University. Her stylized oil paintings, produced from meticulously built and photographed settings, are chock full of flowers, fabrics, knick-knacks and spunk. With an affinity for eyes, forms and textures, Sims’ paintings pushed the boundaries of the canvas and created another reality. In Ship of Fools, five figures confront the viewer with penetrating, knowing eyes that initially distract from the floating pair of hands and masks scattered throughout; the canine captain looks ahead in distress as he guides his entertainers through a marigold abyss. Sims’ stage includes a cast of characters unlike any other.
David Lusk Gallery is located at 516 Hagan Street in Nashville’s Wedgewood-Houston neighborhood. Gallery hours are Tuesday-Saturday 11-5. For more information or visuals please contact Amelia Briggs at 615.780.9990 or firstname.lastname@example.org