Tag Archives: Art in the suburbs

In Norcross: Open Exhibition at Kudzu Art Zone

As we have bragged before, we are not afraid to leave the vibrant tumult of the urban core to find art in the metro’s extremities. We devote today’s blog to a visit to Norcross and its gallery/studio space called Kudzu Art Zone.

The Zone currently hosts a juried exhibition that was open to all Georgia artists. Professor Craig Dongoski of Georgia State University, a multimedia artist, served as juror for the open competition.

Openness can be wild and chaotic. Judging by the work selected for exhibition, Dongoski must have been overwhelmed with flower power in the work submitted. There are lots of studies of flowers and fruits on display. Does everyone who thinks of Norcross think of agriculture, wild plants on the borders of pasture land, or the flowered surface of swamp ponds?

What caught Dongoski’s eye as meriting awards were mostly not flowers or even landscapes, but dreams.

The blue ribbon went to Ed McGrath’s painting titled “Whaling Town.” The style resembles that of Mattie Lou O’Kelley, with its compressed perspective, and numerous routine events occurring all at once in miniature and rudimentary forms.

Ed McGrath, painter of "Whaling Town"

Ed McGrath, painter of “Whaling Town”

Mr. McGrath was present at the Zone when we visited, and he requested that his work not be photographed. He said his wife had urged him to make the painting, and it was a gift to her, and she did not want it to be photographed. He said he has made many more pictures in the same style and has never shown them publicly.

The red ribbon was awarded to Don Dougan for his three-dimensional work, “Verdigris Dream: Two Natures.” Dougan’s representation of eery feelings that lurk beneath a soothing surface has the power to haunt, and also the power to amuse with its silly collection of found symbols.

"Verdigris Dream: Two Natures," by Don Dougan, 12.5 x 30 x 4, Mixed media, copper, found objects

“Verdigris Dream: Two Natures,” by Don Dougan, 12.5 x 30 x 4, Mixed media, copper, found objects

The white ribbon was awarded to an artist identified as Vision Bear for the painting titled “Ocelotl Dream.” This work is packed with imagery suggestive of dream-journeying and ritual objects, its colors pulsing with heat and alchemy.

"Ocelotl Dream," by Vision Bear, acrylic on canvas

“Ocelotl Dream,” by Vision Bear, 20 x 16, acrylic on canvas

Several honorable mentions were awarded. Here is a tip of the hat to one of the fans of flora, Mary Jane Warren Stone.

"Water Garden," by Mary Jane Warren Stone, watercolor

“Water Garden,” by Mary Jane Warren Stone, 34 x 48, watercolor

Kudzu Art Zone’s Open Juried Exhibition is on display through July 19, 2014.

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Revealed: Potters Around Atlanta

After visiting the American Craft Council’s Craft Show last weekend, we want to share some images from the Show of ceramic art by potters in the Atlanta area.

Cups by Barry Rhodes

Cups by Barry Rhodes

Barry Rhodes is based in Decatur.

Vase and pitcher by Nancy Green

Vase and pitcher by Nancy Green

Nancy Green’s studio is called Wolf Creek Ceramics, and is located in Watkinsville. She can be found on the Long Road Studios website.

Vessel by Timothy Sullivan

Vessel by Timothy Sullivan

Timothy Sullivan owns Creekside Pottery, located in Marietta.

Pedestal by Beth Tarkington

Pedestal by Beth Tarkington

Beth Tarkington is based in Marietta.

Lora Rust of Avondale Estates also exhibited her work at this show. Her website is lorarust.com.

Pottery in a Glass Tower World

Atlanta is no New York City. Also, Atlanta is no Asheville, North Carolina.

While metro Atlanta’s population is about 5.5 million, and Asheville’s is about 433,000; and while Atlanta’s gross domestic product is about $269 billion, and Asheville’s is about $17.2 billion, . . . .

. . . Atlanta doesn’t measure up to Asheville for ceramic art. Unlike Asheville, we don’t have places like Blue Spiral Gallery or the Folk Art Center. We don’t have the pottery studios, such as East Fork Pottery.

But some cool stuff is on view in Atlanta, even apart from this weekend’s craft show at Cobb Galleria.

Mark Hewitt is a potter in North Carolina, and his work is in the collection of the High Museum. If you prefer not to wait till the High decides to display it, you’d better get to the Signature Shop and Gallery in Buckhead.

Maria Martinez was a Pueblo Indian from San Ildefonso, New Mexico. She and her family of potters made big names for themselves through methods surrounded by the rituals of life in a reservation village. A place in Avondale Estates called Ray’s Indian Originals offers Martinez work for sale.

Another place for fine ceramics is Mudfire Gallery, also a busy studio, near Avondale Estates. Jeff Campana’s work is on display there. He has a distinguished resume and currently teaches ceramics at Kennesaw State.

See you at the craft show.

Looking at Atlanta’s Art with the “Creative Class”

On the subject of exploring for art in Atlanta, the first question is, What do you mean by Atlanta? Well that question is related to our identity at Atlanta Art Blog. On our “About” page we make reference to “metropolitan Atlanta.” That means we go outside the Atlanta city limits. We venture into Decatur. We sneak into Jonesboro. We’ve heard that there may be some art in Chamblee, hidden behind some antiques.

Poster by unknown artist. Private collection. Location: Sandy Springs, white couple 40-45 years old.

Poster by unknown artist. Private collection. Location: Sandy Springs, white couple 40-45 years old.

In the snow-induced apocalypse of January 28, 2014, it became very clear to the world that our “area,” that is, the “Atlanta area” is divided, as Maria Saporta reported. She’s talking about politics. It’s also true that we’re divided by race, and divided by socio-economic class.

Is the Atlanta area divided by art? Good question. In wealthier households you might expect to find higher-end art. The more interesting question would be, how does socio-economic class affect how a household views and uses the art that it has?

RA MIller, "Blow Oskar," image courtesy of ramiller.us/art.html. A version was observed in PIne Hills home, white couple 50-60 years old.

RA MIller, “Blow Oskar,” image courtesy of ramiller.us/art.html. A version was observed in PIne Hills home, white couple 50-60 years old.

Richard Florida has gained renown in recent years for his socio-economic studies, and his identification of something called the “creative class,” as distinguished from the “working class” and the “service class.” Florida defines the creative class as the people “who work in science and technology, business and management, arts, culture, media, and entertainment, law and healthcare professions.”

In a story last year, Florida used census data to show that in Atlanta, members of the creative class “make up 36.3 percent of the metro’s workers (above the national average of 32.6 percent). They average $73,272 in wages and salaries, better than the national average of $70,890, and over $25,000 more than the average wages ($46,442) for the metro.”

Al Jacobs, "Kosher" (detail). Private Collection. Location: PIne Hills home, white couple 45-55 years old.

Al Jacobs, “Kosher” (detail). Private Collection. Location: PIne Hills home, white couple 45-55 years old.

So where is this creative class? Answer: north. Florida mapped out, by census tract, where each of the classes resides in metro Atlanta. You can see the map here.

Of course it’s highly significant that the classes are somewhat separated from each other. The area directly southeast of downtown (around East Atlanta) is clearly a place of the creative class, but most of that class lives to the north of middle Atlanta, ranging from midtown Atlanta into a wide swath from Kennesaw to Suwanee and up into Alpharetta. Combining population density with this class-based map, the center of the creative class may be around Dunwoody or Sandy Springs. (In case you were wondering, Atlanta Art Blog’s offices are not in a creative part of town.)

It so happens that we checked out some of the art we saw in the homes of the creative class over the past several weeks. For the sake of having fodder for speculation, this post includes images that we observed.

Lyndon House Arts Center’s “Big” stuff, plus art of Ossabaw Island

We promise not to stray from the capitol very often. That was our promise when we launched the Atlanta Art Blog. But the fact is, the term Atlanta covers a multitude of suburbs.

On June 15, we opened our eyes in Athens (no one calls it a suburb), where the Lyndon House Arts Center hosted an opening reception for an exhibition of work by a handful of artists with southern connections: Duane Paxson, Scott Stephens, Judy Majoe-Girardin and Briana Palmer. This show is apparently entitled “BIG,” which refers to the larger scale of the works.

"Memorial to a Slug," by Duane Paxson

“Memorial to a Slug,” by Duane Paxson

We viewed the work on display in the Center’s Atrium gallery a bit after the lunch hour. The Atrium insisted that its own personality be heeded, dressed in the splashy orange glow of the mid-day sun as it poured through the glass ceiling and electrified the brownish orange wood floor of the gallery.

Perhaps all of that tinted sunlight was appropriate for the artists’ biological references: Briana Palmer’s work referenced cell biology, Paxson insects and slugs, and Majoe-Girardin and Stephens the arboreal realm. Paxson’s large sculptures hung from the ceiling and managed to command both awe and a childlike curiosity.

"Behind the Dunes," by June Ball

“Behind the Dunes,” by June Ball

One can almost escape the Atrium’s orange light in the upstairs gallery, where the Ossabaw Artists’ Collective displayed extensive and perhaps repetitive portrayals of skeletal beach trees, driftwood, herons, and saltmarsh moonrises. Notable works included certain oils by June Ball in which a sky’s freedom is so vividly re-created, and works by Paula Eubanks in multiple media that see Ossabaw as not just an island landscape but a place that holds a human history that is worth the struggle.

“BIG” works are on display at Lyndon House Arts Center through September 27, 2013, as is “Ossabaw Island: Holy Ground.”

Art in Clayton County: Nice Bricks

You would travel a long way for the sake of art, wouldn’t you? To Paris? To Tokyo?

To Jonesboro, Georgia?

The Arts Clayton Gallery in historic Jonesboro held an opening reception on Friday, June 7, for a showing of several artists’ work. The gallery is on Main Street just down from the beautiful old train depot. The gallery’s interior is an architectural beauty, especially the sexy brick walls.

Gallery staffer Courtney Hurst, at far right, hosted a busy night of art lovers.

Gallery staffer Courtney Hurst, at far right, hosted a busy night of art lovers.

Our favorite piece among the paintings, photographs and ceramics on display, was a photograph by Marla Puziss, who had alerted us to this Jonesboro event. Titled “Fisherman’s Wife,” and apparently shot in Spain, the piece shows a young woman sitting at a boat launch with a baby on her knee. An honest, intimate moment.

Arts Clayton Gallery’s website is not currently updated, but it’s nice to know the Gallery recently hosted the quilts of Gee’s Bend. If you call the Gallery, I’m sure they’ll let you know how long the current show will be up.