Downtown Presbyterian Church • Through July 26
by Joe Nolan
A new exhibition by the Artists in Residence at the Downtown Presbyterian Church opened during June’s First Saturday Art Crawl at the group’s Browsing Room gallery space in the church. The exhibition is notable for the variety of work on display, including heartfelt community portrait photography by Cassie Ponder, painting by Sarah Shearer, and intricate, abstract ink drawings by Anna Marchetti.
Cary Gibson’s untitled mixed-media collage seems to speak to religious iconography and features a figure with a warm orange halo. The lack of a title and the abstracted subject make this piece a hard one to glean much more insight on, but perhaps that’s actually the point. Of course art studios are laboratories for chance-taking and experimenting, and Gibson’s contribution to this display may just be a document of her ongoing practice, a place-keeper of her current interests, and perhaps a sign that points in the direction of new projects to come.
Hans Schmitt-Matzen has recently shown his neon sculptures and laser-cut steel designs at Zeitgeist. Algorithm is a pair of flat, steel wall sculptures that have been cut into maze-like designs recalling the fractal forms we find in nature. One sculpture is painted dark gray, and the other is white. The pieces could actually fit inside one another, an elegant statement about holistic systems that also points to the figure-ground relationship that often contextualizes the subject of a given work of art.
Richard Feaster’s Traveler is a multimedia painting featuring a ghostly black, white, and gray cascade of dripping textured shapes. Feaster has done more formal studies of drips, but I find his organic, imprecise panels like this one to be the most powerful and attractive.
Variety is an inoculation against boredom, but it can be distracting in an exhibition. In this show, it creates an energized space that highlights a vibrant community.
The Browsing Room Gallery is located at the Downtown Presbyterian Church, Nashville, 154 5th Avenue N., at the corner of Church Street and 5th Avenue. The 2015 Group Show of recent and new works by the Artists-in-Residence at Downtown Presbyterian will remain on view through July 26. The gallery is open to the public 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday. Guests should go to the church office on 5th Avenue N. for visitor access. For more information please visit www.dpchurch.com.