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December's First Saturday event is the buy-local, gift-giving opportunity of the month

Crawl Space



With December, Nashville's fall art season comes to an end. This autumn, Nashville embraced Artober; wow-fest electronic music events like Soundcrawl and Circuit Benders' Ball were both hugely successful; and Zeitgeist's final run of gallery artist shows in its current space reached a new high point with the exhibit of painter Richard Feaster's latest canvases. It's a hard season to follow, but don't get the winter blahs just yet. December's First Saturday Art Crawl features artsy spaces, strange psychology and a harmonious meeting of East and West.

Tinney Contemporary hosts the expressionistic abstract paintings of Korean-born artist Hyunmee Lee in an exhibit titled Silent Gestures. The title is a fitting one, as Lee's canvases contain both energetic gestures and a Zen-like stillness. Together, these qualities reveal both Lee's espousal of Western art and her interests in Eastern calligraphic arts and Buddhism. Add to that the artist's pleasing palettes and balanced compositions and you end up with work that even people who "don't get" abstract painting will like.

The Rymer Gallery will close out the year with a two-month show of work by gallery curator Herb Williams. One of Nashville's best-known artists, Williams' crayon constructions are immediately recognizable, and the artist's best work finds him taking his expected medium in unexpected directions. Call of the Wild compares the contemporary infosphere to the hidden, wild world that exists in spectra and spaces that only animals and insects can experience. The show will be dominated by a big, boldly colored tree sculpture that enjoyed a recent tenure at Nashville International Airport.

December finds The Arts Company hosting a show of photography focused on the spaces and places where Nashville's art scene creates itself. Co-curated by Lain York of Zeitgeist Gallery and The Arts Company's own Anne Brown, Work Spaces: Artists' Studios by Photographer Jerry Park includes 40 images that capture a cross-section of studios ranging from minute to massive, from filthy to fashionable. Park has shown similar series before, but look for York's input to push this show toward documenting the studios of Nashville's contemporary fine arts scene. I'm predicting several pics from the 100 Taylor building, and I'm hoping for a shot of the urban barn where Brady and Jennifer Haston make work in their backyard in East Nashville.

Virginia Griswold's recent work includes an aperitif glass that creates an off-balance illusion — its contents tilt at an extreme angle to the surrounding glass. While artists often offer their takes on the glass-half-full/glass-half-empty conundrum, Griswold, a visiting assistant professor at Austin Peay State University, points out that both pessimism and optimism are moot in a world turned upside-down. In other sculptures, drawings, photographic images and works on paper, the artist explores the formal possibilities of various media and spotlights the meeting ground between sculpture and drawing. This looks like a cool December show for Coop, and I'm dreaming of a show next year that would pair Griswold with Nashville artist Kristi Hargrove.

At 40 AU this month, gallery director Megan Kelley and artist Stephen Zerne will team up to create Anosognosia. The show's title refers to a medical condition where a deficit of self-awareness arises from physiological damage to the structures of the brain. I mentioned 40 AU as Best New Contemporary Art Gallery in this year's Best of Nashville issue, and this December show is poised to deliver the weirdest Arcade murals since Andy Harding's Symmetry Breaking Being exhibit at Twist almost exactly a year ago.

This month, Twist will bring crawlers another Twistmas celebration. This annual holiday sale finds the boutique space in Twist's back room taking over, remaking the gallery into a one-stop arts and crafts shop just in time for the holiday gift-giving season. Featuring new faces and ghosts of Twistmas past, the show's makers include Sarah Dark, Sarah Shearer, Elizabeth Streight's Belle Be designs, Amy Krimsier, Goose Girl, and Goose and Gander baby clothes.

Buying, sharing and giving local handmade work crafted by Nashville artists and artisans isn't just a cool thing to do — it's part of the audience's role in every art scene. Creative communities thrive because of thoughtful followers and enthusiastic supporters who invest both their attention and their resources to make it flourish. Did I mention that giving someone a unique work of art or a one-of-a-kind craft piece or locally designed garments is a really cool thing to do? Every time an artist gets paid, a crawler gets some bling. Happy Holidays!


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