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"Fable" at David Lusk Gallery

The folksy and fantastical group exhibition Fable at David Lusk Gallery in Nashville gathers a roster of artists offering varied interpretations of the lessons found in a thrift store copy of Aesop’s Famous Tales. While we think of them as children’s stories in the twenty-first century, these ancient tales were originally aimed at adults. Aesop’s stories are packed with animal characters, and Fable is similarly populated by a magical menagerie of cats, birds, lions, and snakes. Terry Lynn’s Brer responds to Aesop’s lessons with a reference to the more modern—and strikingly more Southern—trickster tales attributed to Uncle Remus. Lynn’s large painted collage pictures a man in a rabbit head mask surrounded by a bunch of bunnies. In Leslie Holt’s paintings Slow and Steady and Fast and Foolish, “The Tortoise and the Hare” is illustrated in a diptych. Like shadow puppets, embroidered details give shape to gesturing hands that appear to cast the black-threaded shadows of the titular racers against overlapping fields of color.

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A Group Show at David Lusk Gallery Is a Visual Treasure Trove

Huger Foote — son of legendary Civil War historian Shelby Foote — took inspiration from the tendency for fables to be told from an animal’s point of view, and made photographs with that perspective in mind. In his three untitled photographs — each of which echoes the artist’s time spent under the tutelage of William Eggleston — details like a scrap of snack-cake cellophane share space with power lines, which share space with ragged strips of asphalt and bundles of pansies. There is no hierarchy of visual information in these shots — it’s all just blocks of light and color.

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Close Look: Pinkney Herbert at David Lusk Gallery

Splitting his time between New York and Memphis, Herbert is inspired and activated by place. The exploration and movement between two drastically different environments has shaped the core of his practice for over thirty years. His dynamic process employs mark-making and layering to integrate digital prints, graffiti-like gestures and bold color into dynamic compositions.

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State of the Art: David Onri Anderson

Certain artists have a shamanistic temperament that shows up in everything they create. David Onri Anderson is that kind of artist. It’s not that he’s an oddball — though he does make the cut as an eccentric figure with his flowing hair and wire-rimmed glasses — but David has all the earnestness of a young artist transfixed with the ordinary. His work isn’t overly concerned with form or even color — he once told me that he had a habit of selecting color palettes based on what was available. The resulting paintings are intuitive and effortlessly symbolic. A similar dynamism colors everything David creates. Even the basement of his home, which he’s converted into a subterranean studio, feels surprisingly airy and full of light. Regardless of his esoteric ambitions, David remains firmly grounded in his practice — a rare and covetable combination.

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Studio Visit: Maysey Craddock

"The works in Edgelands mine the in-between spaces in the diminishing wildernesses of southern wetlands. They chase captured moments in the life cycles of forests, marshes and estuaries, illuminating transition and transformation in a dissolving world. Forming and unforming, these spaces unfold and regenerate ceaselessly, fragmenting into reflection and continually settling into new iterations of themselves."

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7 Stops at Pulse Fair 2019

Unusual to the eye and truly unlike any other art we saw at the fair was a showcase by Tennessee-based David Lusk Gallery, featuring the works of artist Greely Myatt. Based on the late paintings of Philip Guston, Myatt presented a return to a body of work he worked on years ago called “The Waiter and The Gang.” Along the wall of the booth were eight of Myatt’s sculptural pieces—made of found materials from his home like wood from a tree in his yard and nails from his house—and a larger piece on its own in the front of the booth. Gallerist Lusk was there to explain Myatt’s works to us, commenting on his fascination with works by Guston and other artists before him, while reinterpreting something dear to him in these works—his dog.

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Nashville 2019: A Case for Political Art

A darker, more disquieting form of social commentary was voiced by up-and-coming artist Ashley Doggett. Her September exhibit at David Lusk Gallery titled Kept Inside: His Vices unapologetically portrayed the painful truth of white supremacy and its legacy. Accepting the artist’s role as a historian, Doggett creates provocative and explicit imagery of historical slave narratives with chains, tears, and blood. Regardless of the aggressive nature of the subject matter, her imagery is not violent. You see the result of oppression: portraits of hurt but hauntingly composed subjects with titles such as ‘Disgraced’, ‘Abuse’, and ‘Beaten’. Connecting the past to the present, her figures are covered with a transparent substance, staining and weighing them down – an invisible hold that has not yet been completely released.

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