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The November Art Crawl brings a light touch to darkening days

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In a song that takes its title from this month, Tom Waits sings, "November has tied me / to an old dead tree. / Get word to April / to rescue me." Perhaps I'm the broody type, but I relish the melancholy pleasures of " ... wet boots and rain / and shiny black ravens / on chimney smoke lanes." Besides, if it all gets too heavy, this month's Art Crawl offers plenty of colorful characters, responsible messages and even a feast for the senses.

In the Arcade, Twist Etc. will host A Beast of a Feast. Just in time for Thanksgiving season, Feast features a full table setting crafted by ceramicist Amy Krimsier Sterling. The plates, platters and bowls are adorned with the artist's sculpted creatures. Rhonda Zayas' illustrations decorate the walls, hanging like the unspoken thought bubbles that often crash our holiday gatherings.

Twist Gallery exhibits Fashioning Friendship — a collection of work by the artists behind the feminist fashion blog the show takes its name from. Natalie Finkelstein and Laura K. Alger explore their ambivalent attraction to fashion — and their unabashed love for Taylor Swift — on their Tumblr blog, which features images of much of their work. Alger's illustrative drawings would be right at home in a just-for-girls indie zine, while Finkelstein's work incorporates sewing and decorative flourishes that speak to traditional gender roles and domestic crafts.

At Coop, artist Jung A. Woo's Green Revolution combines plastic bottles, organic matter and video to address the way we use resources to idealize the natural environment. The most interesting aspect of Woo's Revolution is the way the work calls the artist's own process into question, implicating Woo in the same cycle she sends up. Art with a message can get preachy and insufferable in a hurry. Here's to hoping this show is as ambivalently compelling as Woo's statement makes it out to be.

Blend Studio opens a show of new work by Nashville artist Josh Worman this Saturday night. Worman has environmental preoccupations of his own, and this exhibit should be a cool complement to Woo's exhibit at Coop. Worman's work asks questions about global capitalism and the production of commercial goods and materials, but it also examines how art is commodified and how the values of raw materials are changed when a work of art is sold. I don't know exactly what Blend will display, but Worman is a multimedia creator who works in a variety of disciplines, and his funny, punning text-filled drawings and paintings would be a great amuse-bouche for viewers sampling his work for the first time.

Marleen De Waele-De Bock's BelArt Studio and Gallery is presenting an exhibition of her recent printmaking projects. The artist specialized in printmaking when she was training in Belgium, and she's currently a member of Nashville's Platetone Printshop. Of the images I've seen, her black-and-white linocut prints are the most compelling. The rough designs evoke the woodcuts that linoleum prints evolved from, and the narrative scenes they illustrate inspire closer inspection.

The Saturday night exhibit I'm most excited about is Andrea Jacobson: Paintings at 40 AU in The Arcade. The artist combines contemporary palettes and lines in her obstinately painterly oil portraits. In Jacobson's best work, raw, unfinished canvas provides the negative space for portraits that comment on materials and artistic traditions in an effort to revivify paintings as the substantial objects they are, as opposed to merely the images they present.

Along Fifth Avenue, Jack Hastings and Arlyn Ende's The Essence of Our Ticking premiered at Tinney Contemporary at the October crawl, and will remain on display through Nov. 10. Writer and artist Hastings' sculptures explore the meeting of art and architecture, while Ende's multimedia designs are abstracts that often find their inspiration in Hastings' poetry.

The Rymer Gallery will also be holding over their October exhibition. Unaltered and Enduring was jammed at the last Art Crawl. If you couldn't find your way into the gallery in October, this Saturday night will offer another chance to see Natalie Dunham's materials-inspired sculptures and Luke Hillestad's latest paintings.

Open Gallery presents Jerkwater Burg — a collaboration of Nashville artists organized by Blacktooth Records. The show is a multimedia exhibition that promises "something new, something strange," while simultaneously quoting '60s Zen guru Alan Watts in a head-scratcher of a blog post announcement. Who is it that said, "all is vanity"?

Cynthia Tollefsrud's exhibition of new paintings at The Arts Company explores the end-of-the-world mythology surrounding our current calendar year. If you're not sure what to expect in the coming months, Tollefsrud seems to suggest keeping your eyes peeled for giant sock monkeys. Perhaps the coded messages in Jane Braddock's text-filled paintings — which are also on display — will offer a clue? I guess we'll find out on Saturday night. See you at the crawl, crawlers.


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