Tag Archives: Marcia Wood Gallery

Kenney, Moneyhun, and Volta at Stanley Beaman Sears

Super convenient, super interesting art situation last night at Stanley Beaman Sears, an architecture firm in the heart of downtown Atlanta that hosts quarterly exhibits in its super fine space.

Gallery 180 at Stanley Beaman Sears, open during regular business hours.

Gallery 180 at Stanley Beaman Sears, open during regular business hours.

As explained by Burnaway, Steven Williams of Jacksonville’s Florida Mining gallery, who is the spitting image of Stanley Tucci in The Devil Wears Prada, brought three of his artists to Atlanta to give our city “a try.” Last night’s opening gathered the artists, Mr. Williams, and a compelling exhibit for a delicious, uncrowded, and memorable night of viewing.

Marcus Kenney before his work composed of box springs and vintage jewelry.

Marcus Kenney before his work composed of box springs and vintage jewelry.

Marcus Kenney gave an amusing talk about his work, and made himself accessible for chatting with all comers. The entertainment value of his work here is far higher than a Hollywood movie. Mr. Kenney’s resume is notably full, you collectors. He also shows his work at Marcia Wood Gallery.

Hiromi Moneyhun's "Doppelganger."

Hiromi Moneyhun’s “Doppelganger.”

Hiromi Moneyhun’s paper-cut works generated a lot of buzz in the gallery. Many viewers in attendance last night were architects who marveled at the extended concentration and perfectionism that Moneyhun’s work demonstrates. The conversation seemed never quite to reach the imagery that Moneyhun pursues, full of flowing hair and curvilinear garments.

Kedgar Volta’s video works stand on a firm set of ideas that Volta enjoyed discussing. The works on display are understated, stripped of color, and in this gallery, lacking sound. Better for you to visit Volta’s website and watch his work on your home system.

Not sure what we think about gathering all of these artists under the banner of “Southern artists,” though we advocate the South finally admitting the diversity inherent in its artists and art.

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Another Saturday in May

On May 17 we started with pottery at the Signature Shop and Gallery, moved on to the High Museum, and finally to the Marcia Wood Gallery.

"Saucey Pitcher," Jenny Lou Sherburne

“Saucey Pitcher,” Jenny Lou Sherburne

At the Signature Shop: We love the title of this show: “Potters of the Roan,” which is also the name of the artists’ guild in the Roan Mountain area. Searching for works that go beyond the decorative has its pay-offs. (Through June 28.)

Stoneware plate by Michael Kline

Stoneware plate by Michael Kline

The show includes works by many others. Michael Kline was a resident artist at the Penland School, and Jenny Lou Sherburne has been a studio potter for over 25 years. Mr. Kline’s blog includes a Vine clip showing creation of a scalloped rim.

At the High Museum: The big show is currently set aside for concept cars. We felt drawn instead to the new display of African masks. According to the exhibit, “Pende masks with black-and-white faces are often referred to as masques de maladie, or sickness masks. Each represents a person who has fallen into a fire and whose face is permanently disfigured. Performances of these masks promote compassion toward individuals who have suffered such calamities.”

Pende Artist, Democratic Republic of Congo, ca. 1875-1925. Wood and pigment.

Pende Artist, Democratic Republic of Congo, ca. 1875-1925. Wood and pigment.

On the question of what should or should not be displayed as “art,” Dr. Jerry Cullum in an essay at Burnaway.org explores the harmonies between showing automobiles in an art museum and the Carter Center’s showing (through September 21) of functional objects from Kongo society as an art exhibit.

Medford Johnston’s works at the High through June 8 perhaps represent aspects of a foot-borne culture from the viewpoint of an American raised in a car culture. (Johnston was born in Decatur, GA.) The Museum’s wall text: “The jagged contour of the [herder’s walking] staff in juxtaposition with the graceful poise of its owner, seen in silhouette against the horizon of East African plains, inspired Johnston’s years-long study of balance, counterbalance and dissonance in the interdependent relationship between people and nature.”

Three works from "Counterpoise," by Medford Johnston

Three works from “Counterpoise,” by Medford Johnston

At Marcia Wood Gallery: David Humphrey gave a delightfully casual talk on his paintings and sketches. The exhibit title, “Blind Handshake,” is also the title of his book of art criticism and studio art. It was obvious that Humphrey is an intellectual force. He was mostly unfazed by an overly confident and vocal thinker in the gallery’s audience. Thank goodness for Ms. Wood’s hospitality on the patio, and for afternoon sunshine.

David Humphrey at Marcia Wood Gallery

David Humphrey at Marcia Wood Gallery

Tripping and Bounding: Mary Engel at the W Hotel in Midtown

Spend a little time in a hotel lobby and you can feel like you just took a good, long trip.

That’s true even when the hotel lobby exhibits the same design sense as the typical drab room in a chain hotel.

An Engel animal, at right, prepares to bound into the W Hotel's lobby.

An Engel animal, at right, prepares to bound into the W Hotel’s lobby.

No fear of that at the W Hotel in midtown, which is now hosting an exhibit of Mary Engel’s sculptures.

The midtown W’s lobby and restaurant area struts some wild stuff. The ceiling swoops, the walls glow with multi-colored lights, and the furniture suggests a space odyssey.

An art patron admires an Engel work on display near the hotel's front desk.

An art patron admires an Engel work on display near the hotel’s front desk.

Engel’s work on display is her signature animal sculptures, where the surface of the animal is covered in small objects like coins or miniature toys. She has an elephant done up in bullets.

Bronze works by Engel seen in the foreground here, on a hotel patio, with mural by Molly Rose Freeman in the background.

Bronze works by Engel seen in the foreground here, on a W patio, with mural by Molly Rose Freeman in the background.

Engel’s sculptures are beautiful, and usually convey a gentle quality crossed with a great, confounding level of surrealist detail.

Right now, the lobby at the W in midtown is a really good trip.

Mary Engel’s sculptures are on display at the W in midtown through December 21, 2013. Marcia Wood’s Gallery arranged the exhibit.

Duncan Johnson’s Wood Paintings at Marcia Wood Gallery

Duncan Johnson’s works on display at the Marcia Wood Gallery put me in that certain mood when walking out into the woods, for no other reason than to be among plants and animals, and noticing that I hope to find some treasure there, some little lost cache of jewels, or a gold coin, or a letter from Walt Whitman. All of the things in the woods are jewels in themselves–if you know something about them. When it comes to gold coins, though, you don’t have to know anything. It’s gold and you’ve hit paydirt.

In that act of finding, there’s also the beauty of a story. “I was just walking along in the woods enjoying the trees and plants, and I saw this glint of light on the ground.”

Johnson’s works are composed of wood that he has reclaimed, not from the woods, but from landfills and construction sites. He forms the found wood into rectangular strips and assembles them into flat collages. He adds straight pencil lines and nails. If you look at photographs of the works, they look like patchworks of varying rectangles that either have painted surfaces or the natural wood surface.

Bend, by Duncan Johnson, 2012, 24 x 21

Bend, by Duncan Johnson, 2012, 24 x 21

At first they seem impenetrable, like a color field. The opportunity for play comes when you look at the work in person and see the variations in grain patterns, the paint in its varying styles and states of decay, the natural wood punctuated by knot holes and nail holes and perhaps gunshot holes. Portions of the works, with their colorful stripes, sometimes resemble flags.

The wood that provides the material for these pieces is of course three-dimensional, but Johnson has made these pieces flat like paintings. On the other hand, the pieces are three-dimensional in one important way: beneath the knot holes and nail holes the viewer sees the darkness of space rather than the material to which the wood strips are attached. As I wandered visually among the knot holes and bullet holes, the faded colors, the flecking, I imagined I could peer into those holes and see something behind or under the surfaces. What would I see? Surely it would be some of my fellow human beings, having some sort of drama, or making something.

Colorcode, by Duncan Johnson, 2012, 48 x 60

Colorcode, by Duncan Johnson, 2012, 48 x 60

This brought to mind Leo Steinberg’s theory that some of the work of Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns reflected a desire to use the picture plane differently. Instead of using the picture plane to serve as a kind of window onto another world, it would serve as a work bench that can hold any conceivable object and explore any operational process. Steinberg called this the “flatbed picture plane.” The work bench analogy is critical. In referring to Rauschenberg’s “Bed” of 1955, in which the artist had applied paint to his own bed and then hung it on a wall, Steinberg says, “The horizontality of the bed relates to ‘making’ as the vertical of the Renaissance picture plane related to seeing.”

Johnson’s work plays out this theory. In the colored rectangles and rusted holes where bolts and nails once fastened together the pieces of a house or an office floor, it is possible to peer into the making of human wooden structures. This includes the ideas that guide those acts of making: Johnson’s superimposed geometrical lines and shiny nail heads suggest a reference to design drawings, the process of preparing to build, to occupy and to “civilize.”

Firetower, by Duncan Johnson, 2013, 18 x 16

Firetower, by Duncan Johnson, 2013, 18 x 16

What is also present that is not manmade is the wear and tear of time that is visible on these flat surfaces. What time does, what time works upon objects, is intensely present in the beautiful breaking down of old maroons and yellows, the tiny bloating of ambient moisture in natural wood, and the holes that form where the wood is weak.

I am glad I wandered into the woods and discovered Duncan Johnson’s work. It has the capacity to suggest both an exploration of the manmade and also an exploration of what is not.

Duncan Johnson’s work is at Marcia Wood Gallery through May 25, 2013.