From the “Van Gogh Busses” to this year’s themed gallery cocktails to the raucous and rockin’ “late party,” Nashville’s art scene puts on the ritz for Artrageous, a yearly gallery hop charity benefit for Nashville CARES.
"Glitz and Glam of the Roaring Twenties" is the theme of this year’s event, which opens the doors to nine galleries scattered about town. As in years past, attendees can continue the fun donning their own costumes in addition to enjoying facets of the celebrated era, varying from Cotton Club to Silent Movies at each participating gallery. Each venue will also feature — thanks to one show sponsor, Absolut Vodka — themed martinis.
Through ticket sales to the multiple-gallery hop, the 21-year-old extravaganza has raised more than $2 million for Nashville CARES, a Middle Tennessee AIDS support, education and awareness agency. In addition, each of the participating galleries will contribute 10 percent of the night’s sales to the charity.
The quirky East Nashville outpost of Art and Invention is featuring Charlotte, N.C.-based, Vietnamese-born artist Duy Huynh. At once whimsical and ever so slightly melancholy Huynh’s glowy-acrylic paintings portray a geographical and cultural displacement, much like his own life. Other local and international artists from locations as far flung as Peru complete the gallery show, as well. Plus, the night will launch Art and Invention’s annual, affordable, kid-in-a-candy-store variety of handmade artisan holiday gift offerings.
Studio B, in the 12th South district, is new not only to this year’s event, but to Nashville as well, having opened its doors just last spring. Featured artists include local modernist sculptor Victor Schmidt and New York painters Steven Miller and Moses Hawkins. While Miller’s abstract paintings are colorful and feature bold, black “raucous” lines, Hawkins soothes the viewer with almost melodic washes of color and sweeping lines.
Tucked catty-corner from the popular Sylvan Park district, LeQuire Gallery will feature the eponymous owner/sculptor himself. Taking gallery space opposite Alan LeQuire is another Nashville-born sculptor Somers Randolph, who has claimed romantic Sante Fe home since about 1997. Randolph, back for the first show in his hometown in more than a decade, sculpts one-of-a-kind exotic marble abstracts, which perfectly contrast LeQuire’s bronze, highly figurative low-edition works.
Over in Green Hills, tucked inside Corzine & Co. and Richters Jewelers, The Richter Gallery is a rare find in Nashville — rare because it is the only gallery featuring exclusively fine art photography and notables. The night’s spotlight will be on legendary 85-year-old Herman Leonard who will unveil his famed Iconic Memory series capturing ‘40s and ‘50s jazz greats, including Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Armstrong and Billie Holliday. The photographer is acclaimed for his finesse with lighting to capture rare moments of beautiful human emotion.
Also in the Green Hills hood, Bennett Galleries is featuring painters Kris Prunitsch and Trevor Mikula. Opposites in style, the two have rented studio space in the same building for years. Mikula’s multi-layered work is charmingly captivating while both child-like and sophisticated. In contrast, Prunitsch creates enchanting, ethereal, earth-toned works on canvas, wood and paper.
Downtown, a stone’s throw from the Frist Center for Visual Arts, Tennessee Art League (TAL) serves as home for both professional and emerging artists. The biggest draw for the night’s event is local abstract painter, Edie Maney, as popular and colorful in person and as on canvas. TAL will also feature watercolors by former graphics illustrator Ralph Langreck and a member show of amateur and formally trained artists plus works by homeless people served at The Campus for Human Development.
Sharing space on the second floor of TAL, the Plowhaus Cooperative will present its popular SNAP (Society of Nashville Artistic Photographers) "Clothespin Show," featuring unframed pieces by 21 local photographers.
Around the corner from TAL, Estel Gallery owner Cynthia Bullinger takes her partying seriously. The featured group show is “extremely sensual,” not to be confused with “porn sensual,” explained Bullinger. National and local artists include Marcelo Halmenschlager, a homosexual who, fearing his safety, fled his Brazilian homeland and now lives here under political asylum. His figures, indeed sensual, portray zodiac figures morphed into human forms. Tim Yankosky is a San Francisco-based artist, whose emotionally visceral and thought-provoking series depicts caged birds. Also featured are “symbolic magic realist” painter Rodney Wood; “The Judgement of Paris,” a Salvador Dali print, and local faves and Estel regulars Harry Underwood, Daniel Lai and others.
At matriarch Anne Brown’s The Arts Company, Appalachian-rooted-turned-Los Angeles-success painter April Street stars again as the gallery’s Artrageous premiere artist. And if by rare chance Street’s fantastical, brilliantly colored abstracts aren’t enough to captivate the viewer, gallery-goers can still scrutinize the stunning work of legendary black and white photographer of the American West, Ansel Adams, along with his student-turned-coworker, Bob Kolbrener.
Fifth Avenue’s latest gallery newcomer, The Rymer Gallery, is spotlighting gallery curator and another local favorite Herb Williams, a.k.a., “the crayon artist.” Also featured are the eye-catching abstracts of notable Outsider artist James Pearson, plus the figurative paintings of Gabriel Mark.
Both gallery owners Samantha Richter and Jeff Rymer, of their respective self-named galleries, are champions of Artrageous. Richter serves on the NashvilleCARES board and Rymer has been an active fund-raising volunteer. Each see the event as an asset to the community.
“Artrageous gets people aware of the growing art scene in Nashville,” said Richter, who remembers when the event only had a handful of galleries for its annual tour.
And, added Rymer, “The idea of tying visual arts to NashvilleCARES’ No. 1 fund-raiser is brilliant and important for what it provides to the community.”
For ticket information contact artrageous.org.
When: gallery tour 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday; late party 10 a.m. to midnight Saturday
Where: gallery tour is at various galleries around town, late party is at Limelight, 201 Woodland St.
Cost: $85 for gallery tour and late party; $150 for gallery tour, late party and bus ticket
Art and Invention, 1106 Woodland St., 226-2070, artandinvention.com
Studio B, 2814 12th Ave. S., 385-3600
LeQuire Gallery, 4304 Charlotte Ave., 298-4611, lequiregallery.com
Bennett Galleries, 2104 Crestmoor Road, 297-3201, bennettgalleriesnashville.com
The Richter Gallery, 4003 Hillsboro Pike, 463-2744, richtergallery.com
Tennessee Art League, 808 Broadway, 736-5000, tennesseeartleague.com
Estel Gallery, 115 Rosa L. Parks Blvd., 251-8997, estelgallery.com
The Arts Company, 215 Fifth Ave. N., 254-2040, theartscompany.com
The Rymer Gallery, 233 Fifth Ave. N., 752-6030, therymergallery.com