Thursday, January 19, 2012

Waiting for tonight!

Meet the artists of This Must be the Place: Contemporary Photography in Memphis at Art After Dark tonight! We are so excited to show these local artists' work and even more thrilled that Memphians will get the chance to meet each one while taking in the sounds of the Stax Music Academy Band and eating some world-famous Memphis barbecue! Before you meet the artists, learn a little bit about them here and get a glimpse at some of their work. They are a talented group!

Mississippi native Frances Berry has been living and working in Memphis since she graduated from the University of Alabama in 2008.  Her work has been shown both in and around the Mid-South as well as in Seattle, Cambridge, Massachusetts, New York, and Paris.  Though she travels frequently, Berry gains much of her inspiration from the everyday encounters she experiences in and around Memphis.  According to the artist, “I try to make going to the supermarket a grand expedition.”  Her daily ‘expeditions’ have led to a deeper sociological understanding of the various people that populate Memphis, eastern Arkansas, and northern Mississippi.  And while Berry’s photographs capture people and places in a particular moment in time, they also stress the perpetuity of certain aspects of life in the South. 

Frances Berry, Caster Garner, 2011 Digital photograph 16 x 24 inches Courtesy of the artist

Michael Darough

A native of St. Louis, Michael Darough received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in photography from Arizona State University before entering the University of Memphis, graduating in 2011 with a Master of Fine Arts degree.  Comfortable with a camera from an early age, Darough used photography as an outlet for his inquisitive nature.  A born storyteller, he works to create visual narratives of everyday life in his works, commenting, “Initially, I might not know how a project will unfold, but what I do know is that an aspect of storytelling will be a part of my process.” Recently, Darough joined the faculty of the art department of Lycoming College in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.  

 Michael Darough Belvedere, 2011 Archival inkjet print 20 x 14 ½ inches Courtesy of the artist

Anna Hollis

In her fantastical works, Memphis photographer Anna Hollis seeks to both create and explore the world she created for herself at a young age, when circumstances led her to unwillingly mature beyond her years.  She came to depend on her fantasies as a means of escape from the reality she refused to confront.  Using the physical world as her foundation, Hollis returns to her adolescent visions, recreating them in photography by incorporating the images, objects, and people from her past into the places that define her current reality.  The present series, Hybrid, was shot in Memphis’ Overton Park. Anna is a recent graduate of the photography program at Memphis College of Art.  

Anna Hollis, Hybrid 1, 2011 Digital print 12 x 16 inches Courtesy of the artist

Jordan hood

A native of the Mississippi Delta, Jordan Hood seeks to work out and come to terms with the traditions and expectations of her family through her work.  Both in her youth and now as an adult, she has longed to escape the conservatism of the Southern farming community in which she was raised, feeling restricted and repressed by its debutante system of femininity.  However, instead of transcend her upbringing, she finds herself continually drawn back, both physically and emotionally, to the land, people, and traditions of her past.  Through the present Covered series, Hood employs the gowns that adorned her as a debutante as a blanket or shield against the reality of an independent life. Hood graduated in 2011 from the photography program at Memphis College of Art.  

Tommy Kha received his BFA in Photography from Memphis College of Art, where he was awarded the Jessie and Dolph Smith Emeritus Award. A Memphis native, his work surveys the notion of difference by mapping experiences in order to inquire, confirm and undermine his interchanging identities, informed by evidences as an American-Chinese Southerner among other nuances.  In doing so, Kha explores his so-called “Southern” cultural heritage and solicits questions of his own my own identity as a Chinese American. The photographs from his Meridiana – Finding South series determine to defy and redirect the stereotype of “timelessness” embedded with the American South. Kha is currently a graduate photography student at Yale University School of Art, and his work has been exhibited in galleries in the United States and China since 2008.  In 2009, Memphis Crossroads magazine named Kha as one of the “Top Twenty Untapped Artists.

Tommy Kha, Wetlands, Frayser, 2011 Archival inkjet print 
30 x 30 inches Courtesy of the artist
Ian Lemmonds hails from Omaha and has lived in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Seattle, but chose to make Memphis his home after seeing the movie Mystery Train. In Memphis, Lemmonds has been able to combine his love for art and his attraction to novelties and curios through photography. Using objects bought from second-hand stores throughout the South, Lemmonds creates a context in which the objects can relate to one another and to their environments.  Often using domestic references, he allows viewers to participate in the works and feel the emotions of his subjects. In doing so, he produces moments that evoke something for everyone to experience, which he likens to “the idea of the second person narrative in literature, and how it can be a more effective narrative.” 

Ian Lemmonds Eschatology: Blue Baby, 2011 C-print, Courtesy of the artist

Yijun Liao

Yijun “Pixy” Liao was born in Shanghai, China, and after studying Educational Technology at Shanghai International Studies University, worked for three years in her hometown as a freelance graphic designer.  In 2005, she moved to Memphis to pursue a Master of Fine Arts degree in Photography from the University of Memphis.  While in Memphis, Pixy became an active member of the local art scene, exhibiting her work at such diverse locales as the Medicine Factory and L Ross Gallery.  Much of her work in Memphis centered around both the isolation she felt as a newcomer in a country foreign to her and her attempts to connect with the city’s Asian-American community.  Though she graduated from the University of Memphis in 2008 and shortly thereafter moved to Brooklyn, New York, Pixy has maintained her ties to the Bluff City.  In April 2011, she mounted the solo show, “Memphis, Tennessee,” at New York’s 456 Gallery.

Yijun Liao China Doll, 2008 C-print 30 x 40 inches Courtesy of the artist

Join us at 6 pm and celebrate the show, the artists, and Memphis!! See you tonight!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Who's that Lady?

In the next few days, Memphians should notice images of 2 pretty snazzy women popping up all over town. We wanted to take some time and explain a little bit about who these ladies are and why they have temporarily moved to Memphis this winter. 

Rembrandt van Rijn (Dutch, 1606 1669) Portrait of a Forty Year Old Woman, possibly Marretje Cornelisdr. van Grotewal, 1634, oil on panel. In 1631, when Rembrandt moved to Amsterdam from his native Leiden, the city was rapidly becoming the major trading center in the Netherlands. The city’s growth and Rembrandt’s success as a professional portrait artist seemed to coincide and he had one of the most productive periods of his career. The vitality, character and expression in his likenesses earned him a reputation as one of the most sought after portraitists in the city. This portrait may have been commissioned by Peter Sijen, one of Amsterdam’s successful businessmen at the time. The sitter was unidentified for many years, but it is now thought to be Mr. Sijen’s Mennonite wife Marretje Cornelisdr. van Grotewal. A portrait in the collection of the Norton Simon Art Foundation in Pasadena, California has tentatively been identified as Marretje’s husband and may be the pair to this portrait The painting is remarkably well preserved for such an early example of Rembrandt’s work. Pigment and translucent glazes are built up layer by layer, and by using deft brushstrokes Rembrandt renders a very detailed and lifelike likeness.

Portrait of Madame Adelaide (circa 1787) by Adelaide Labille-Guiard (French, 1749 -1803), an oil on canvas measuring more than 107 x 73 inches. Adelaide, a formally posed portrait of one of the daughters of Louis XV and the oldest aunt of Louis XVI in a red, ruffled dress was painted before a shadowy wall lined with columns topped by Corinthian capitals, which would have suggested her position as royalty, and fashionable royalty at that. Princess Adélaïde wears an up-to-date high and wide coiffure and a wide cap to match over a traditional dress with bows en échelle. She also wears a fichu that blends in with the bows of her bodice. Her bodice  ends in tight elbow-length sleeves with lace engageantes that emerge below the sleeves of her coat. Her hand rests on an easel supporting an oval-shaped silhouette portrait recently unveiled by a black velvet drape, seemingly to make her a figure in arts and culture. This image is the replica of the state portrait of Madame Adelaide exhibited by Madame Labuille-Guiard at the Salon of 1787 and preserved in the Museum at Versailles.

Well, now that you know a little bit about each one, we want to tell you why they are here. Each portrait will be displayed at the Dixon Gallery and Gardens in our exhibition, Rembrandt, Rubens, and the Golden Age of Painting on loan from the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, KY. The exhibition opens January 22 and will remain open until April 15. The ladies are dressed to impress and we want to show them a good time. Come by and pay them and our other portraits and paintings a visit. We can't wait for you to meet them!

Sources: jstor, Speed website, Memphis Daily News

Friday, January 6, 2012

Change is in the air!

With each new year, individuals create new ideas, indulge in new desires, make new resolutions, and find new motivation to get things done. How long does each one of us stick with this "new" attitude? It varies from person to person and with situations and realizations beyond our control. But, every now and then, there are those who take it beyond the first few months of the new year and make changes that affect their entire life. Then, sometimes, people's original plans turn into something completely different, but it was what they really needed in the first place. The Rolling Stones' song comes to mind: You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you might get what you need! 

So, at this point you are probably asking yourself "What does this have to do with the Dixon Gallery and Gardens in Memphis, TN?". Well - quite a bit! A new overall attitude is what you can expect from the Dixon this year, along with new programs, new faces, and in some cases a new look. We hope that you love them all, but with those you don't love, we hope it leads to something different that we hadn't thought about including. Which, in turn, can give you many more options and opportunities to learn and enjoy at the Dixon. Either way, we know that it is going to be a lot of fun working it out and we can't wait to hear what you think about it all! Art History Courses, Creative Writing and Digital Drawing Workshops are just some of the exciting new programs that are happening in the next few months!

An Erica McCarren's original digital painting

Just as with any other year, changing temporary exhibitions will come and go. This month, however, brings a change in our residence as well. Selections from the Kattner Collection of American Painting will be on view in the galleries that usually house our beloved permanent collection. Selections from our collection will be on view at the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Kentucky during this time, while we exhibit work from their collection in Rembrandts, Rubens, and the Golden Age of Painting.

Rembrandt van Rijn (Dutch, 1606 -1669)
Portrait of a Forty-Year-OldWoman, possibly MarretjeCornelisdr. van Grotewal,
Oil on panel 27 7/16 x 22 in. Collection of Speed Art Museum

It's always nice to try something new. But we wouldn't be the Dixon if we didn't stick with some of the traditional things that make us who we are. So prepare yourself for change, but also love what makes you you! Join us to experience the old and new Dixon in 2012!