ArtScene: Julia Martin's Hold Me Closing Party at Ovvio Arte — and Cheekwood Shows Off Her Cool Side



Untitled, 2011, Julia Martin
  • "Untitled, 2011," Julia Martin

• Arty party at Ovvio Arte tonight! Gallery owners Veta and Theo want you to help them celebrate the success of Hold Me, a showcase of new paintings from Julia Martin. Free booze, sexy paintings, and all the art talk you can handle.

From the Critic's Pick:

One of Nashville’s most popular artists, painter Julia Martin has made a name for herself with recognizable narrative portraits that keep with the recent trends of artists borrowing from animation and aesthetics that favor a bit of cartoon embellishment over strict representation. While it is de rigueur for an artist with a recognizable style to confine and refine that style into a visual brand, Martin has slowly, consistently allowed her work to evolve past her earliest subjects while managing to maintain the mottled surfaces and muted, earthy hues that make the work unmistakably hers. Martin’s new exhibit Hold Me abandons the portrait to explore the figure. The new subject allows the painter to bring darker depth to the psychological gravitas that her earlier canvases didn’t directly address. — Joe Nolan

• There's tons of great art at Cheekwood right now, and the warming weather this weekend is a great excuse to get to Belle Meade to check it out. They may have gotten unprecedented amounts of press and ticket sales with the Chihuly exhibit last year, and the mansion and grounds may be pristine enough to warrant a big ego for the estate, but Cheekwood still keeps it real. If art institutions were like high school, Cheekwood would be the girl who's so pretty and rich that she doesn't have to be smart. But when you get to know her beyond her untouchable reputation, she's got a hell of a way with contemporary art. What a catch.

Start with Material Apparatus, a collection of video art pieces curated by Dwayne Butcher. Our favorite piece from the exhibit is Jacob Tonski's “Balance Study, Threshold.” Read about it in this week's Scene, and watch the video after the jump.

From the Critic's Pick:

When seen as a part of Cheekwood’s video installation gallery’s Material Apparatus exhibit, Jacob Tonski’s “Balance Study, Threshold” is a hypnotic example of audience engagement. The minute-long piece shows Tonski inside a five-sided wooden box that’s just large enough for him to stand in. The box is attached to a wheel, and a camera films him from a fixed point as the wheel spins and he attempts to maintain his balance — a chaotic version of Lionel Richie’s “Dancing on the Ceiling” video comes to mind. Bring your friends, because watching the audience’s natural attempts to help Tonski orient himself by swaying back and forth themselves is similar to watching people playing on an old PlayStation, jerking to the left and right as if to mimic what they’re trying to get the video avatar to do.

• And while you're there, check out the Colliding Icons exhibit in the Temporary Contemporary space next door. Jiha Moon is hugely talented, and her work depicts a new iconography for a cross-cultural, cross-generational world. Her career is still young, but we foresee big things. Colliding Icons gives you the perfect opportunity to discover an artist on the edge of breaking into superstardom. A review is in this week's Scene.

Detail from Butterfly Dream-Springfield, Jiha Moon
  • Detail from "Butterfly Dream-Springfield," Jiha Moon

From the review:

Moon makes art about America's image-laden culture that goes beyond simply combining the high with the low, the foreign with the domestic — she ignores such barriers entirely, as if they had never existed in the first place. And after sitting with her work, you might come to agree that there really isn't much difference between, say, The Simpsons and the Pennsylvania Dutch — they are both very real representations of America, presented without classification, like a forest that takes its identity from its gnarled oaks just as much as from its daisies.

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