Photography Exhibition at the Parthenon | May 6 – August 27
“[The South is] a transitory area where the past and the present exist in a familiar tandem.”
WORDS Peter Chawaga
The introduction to Jerry Atnip’s book of photography Gone South: A Collection of Images from the American South is a message about use of the medium on his subject of choice.
“[The South is] a transitory area where the past and the present exist in a familiar tandem,” Atnip’s introduction reads. “This selection of images is a collection of fleeting moments in this place. The moments between waking and sleep, moonlight and day, fogged and clear, where the exploration of transformations can reveal truth.”
It is in these moments that the artist, camera in hand, can make permanent those things that appear just for an exceptional moment. Things like the bursting of clouds and glistening of grass that cannot stand still but reveal the full scope of their beauty only while static.
The Gone South series lives in these transient moments. Many of Atnip’s photos, rendered colorless, capture moments that could have lived for only a second: a horse staring into the lens, a wave caught just at the moment of crashing. Others depict rural monuments that may once have stood tall in defiance of their natural surroundings but have since given way, like an overrun barn or billboard.
The style is an effort on Atnip’s part to present a version of the American South that cannot be achieved any other way. “I want the viewer to have the privilege of seeing the South in a way that breaks through their preconceived notions, to travel with me through this richly diverse landscape and begin to experience a new perception,” he explained.
Adding to the balance of permanence and ephemerality, Atnip’s Gone South work will be exhibited in a show at Nashville’s Parthenon, an homage to a temple that has stood for thousands of years. “It’s a perfect venue for this collection of images illustrating this part of the country,” Atnip said. “The visitors, numbering 300,000 a year, will see the South from a new perspective.” Visiting the exhibition promises to be an experience that lasts.
Gone South will be featured at the Parthenon, 2500 West End Avenue, from May 6 to August 27, with an opening reception on May 12. An artist’s talk and reception, led by Nashville Arts’ Paul Polycarpou, will be held on June 1. For more information, please visit www.jerryatnip.com and www.nashville.gov/Parks-and-Recreation/Parthenon.aspx.