Nashville Arts Magazine | August 2O1O
In The Gallery
Didier Lourenco at Gallery West Tucked away in an intimate, contemporary art gallery in Nashville is one of the largest collections of Spain’s bestselling artist, Didier Lourenco.
Gallery West owners Brenda Linscott and Tige Reeve first met Didier Lourenco (pronounced Did-e-a Low-ren-so) in New York City nine years ago when they immediately fell in love with his remarkable paintings that capture everyday scenes, which he depicts with his unmistakable and life-enriching touch. His paintings celebrate a variety of settings from terraces overlooking the Mediterranean to a festive street corner in New Orleans during Mardi Gras. “Didier is one of those unique artists who truly has the ability to transport the viewer into his vibrant world. Each visit holds the promise of a new discovery, and that is what we love about his work,” says Linscott.
The thought of collecting these small moments is what motivates me to go to the studio every day and try to stop time on canvas.
Didier Lourenco’s work perfectly encapsulates the influence of his relaxed Mediterranean lifestyle over his art. “I would like to live life at a slower pace, have time to take in everything that surrounds us: light, color, fragrance, landscapes, thought, the cat, the moon, the dog, the woman, the bar, the taste, the child, the sea. The thought of collecting these small moments is what motivates me to go to the studio every day and try to stop time on canvas.” Didier Lourenco was born in 1968 in Premia del Mar, Barcelona. At the age of 19 he began to work in his father’s print studio, where he learned the art of lithography. He began to paint on paper and canvas, taking over a small corner of the studio. In 1988 he had his first solo exhibition at Vilassar de Dalt and printed his first lithographic edition. Lourenco received numerous awards and had many solo and group exhibitions in Spain. In 1995 he moved into his own studio in Premia del Mar, Barcelona. Currently, his days are full of painting, travel, and wildly successful solo and collective exhibitions. Didier’s work can be found at Gallery West, 265 White Bridge Road, Nashville, TN 37209. www.gallerywestnashville.com
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Carreons de Nuit, Oil on canvas, 34” x 67” $7,600
Te Espero en la Cama, Oil on canvas, 40” x 40” $6,800
top right: right:
Chez Mon Ami, Oil on canvas, 59” x 45” $8,900
Patio Frente al Mar, Oil on canvas, 43” x 32” $5,900
below: Col. Leccionista de Papallones, Oil on canvas, 42” x 56” $7,600 below center:
Nit i Pati, Oil on canvas, 43” x 57” $8,300
Pareja y Banco, Oil on canvas, 36” x 46” $6,100
Nashville Arts Magazine | August 2O1O
Today, we live in a world that the dreamers at Fisk strove to create. Facing adversity or misunderstanding, they dared to believe the absurd: art, literature, and music might just change the world. Lucky for us, they were right.
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Winold Reiss, Zora Neale Hurston, 1925, Conte crayon on board
below left: right:
Alfred Maurer, Woman in Red Dress, 1916, Oil on canvas
Marsden Hartley, Movement #6, 1916, Oil on composition board
below center: Stanton MacDonald Wright, Spring Symphony far right: Bernard Karfiol (1886-1952), Nude and Figure, 1924/5, Oil on canvas
to consummate a deal to sell a one-half, undivided interest in the Stieglitz Collection. The lot of paintings that was once seen as the jewel of the campus is now the object of intense debate. Nashville Arts Magazine has made the conscious decision to focus our exploration on the history of the Stieglitz collection rather than the current legal debate about how it should be handled. Our hope is that readers will get to know the vast storehouse of visual arts at Fisk and take advantage of the fact such treasures are here in Nashville. This article is not an endorsement of university policies. Rather, it is a call to Nashvillians to visit a truly world-class collection of art on permanent view just beyond the downtown perimeter. American photographer Alfred Stieglitz was a great collector of art. He introduced U.S. audiences to both European modernism and African art. Upon his death, he left his wife, painter Georgia O’Keeffe, the difficult task of separating his collection into a series of charitable gifts. She chose the Library of Congress, the National Gallery of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and, astonishingly, a historically black university in Tennessee that is to this day smaller than most high schools. In 1949, Fisk University became the unlikely beneficiary of one of the most high-profile collections of twentieth-century art. Victor Simmons, guru of all things Fisk-related, explains that the connection between Georgia O’Keeffe and Fisk University began in the Harlem Renaissance. For those unfamiliar with the term, the Harlem Renaissance refers to a flowering of African American literary and artistic culture in New York during the 1920s and 30s. Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, Duke Ellington, Arna Bontemps, among many others all bear associations with the movement that was first known as “The New Negro Movement.” Through a series of friendly connections, Fisk University became the Southern epicenter of the extended Harlem Renaissance. Simmons explains the origins of the Van Vechten collection: “It’s a wonderful story of people of like mind and like spirit—people trying to enact social change with art as its vehicle. It was born in the mind of Carl Van Vechten, and its roots lie more deeply in associations and friendships of the Harlem Renaissance.” Carl Van Vechten, a white American photographer, was a great patron of the Harlem Renaissance. He was friends with figures such as muralist Aaron Douglas and Charles Spurgeon Johnson, the first African American president of Fisk. Simmons refers to Johnson as “the architect of the Harlem Renaissance.” It was through Johnson and Van Vechten that O’Keeffe and Stieglitz became supporters of this movement and, later, Fisk University itself. Simmons 24 | August 2O1O | Nashville Arts Magazine
Nashville Arts Magazine | August 2O1O
left: Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Le Chapeau Épingle (The Hat Pin), 1898, Color lithograph on paper below left: Gino Severini, Femme et Enfant (Woman and Child), 1916, Oil on burlap right:
Charles Demuth (1883-1937), Calla Lilies, 1927
Pablo Picasso, Tête de Femme, 1904, Oil on canvas
Georgia O’Keeffe (1887–1986), Flying Back Bone, 1944
explains, “One of the wonderful things about having the Stieglitz collection here at Fisk is that it shows you in demonstrable terms these connections. At the same time Stieglitz is on 5th Avenue, the Harlem Renaissance is taking place up on 125th Street, and they share between them Van Vechten and O’Keeffe. We are not taught about those connections in school.” Fisk’s heyday saw Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston visiting the campus on a regular basis. Current Fisk University president Hazel O’Leary shares that the university considered hiring Hurston, but her sharp attitude and carefree manner foiled any such plans. Painter Aaron Douglas established the art program and completed the breathtaking series of murals that adorn its former library. Visitors can view his paintings, a portrait of the original Jubilee singers commissioned by Queen Victoria, and a stunning series of portraits by German modernist Winold Reiss on a walk through the campus. President O’Leary sums up the power of the Fisk art holdings: “They capture the culture of a region, of a nation, and of a people.” Walking through the Van Vechten Gallery, one sees works by the great hands and minds that shaped twentieth-century art. They are connected through conscience to the burgeoning of Harlem Renaissance art in the post-reconstruction South. Ken West, vice president of communications and public relations for the university, elucidates, “Fisk was founded as a social experiment by northerners who wanted to ensure that previously enslaved African Americans would be in a position to benefit society after a horrific national conflict. In that same spirit, O’Keeffe gave her paintings and those of Alfred Stieglitz to Fisk in order to challenge segregationist social norms and in benefit of the progress of American society.” Experiencing the collection, one senses the power of the art and the excitement of the times that brought it here. Fisk University was founded on dreams for the future. From the era of slave spirituals to the progressive agenda in the age of modern art, the hope of a world just out of reach nurtured the young college. It is that filament of hope or of as yet intangible dreams that makes the kernel of any important art. Today, we live in a world that the dreamers at Fisk strove to create. Facing adversity or misunderstanding, they dared to believe the absurd: art, literature, and music might just change the world. Lucky for us, they were right. The Carl Van Vechten Gallery is located on the campus of Fisk University at 1000 17th Avenue North, Nashville, TN 37208. Gallery hours: During the academic year, Tuesday–Saturday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Summer (May 10 through August 10) hours are Tuesday–Friday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. For more information call 615-329-8720 or visit www.fisk.edu. 26 | August 2O1O | Nashville Arts Magazine
Upon his death, Stieglitz left his wife, painter Georgia O’Keeffe, the difficult task of separating his collection
into a series of charitable gifts. She chose The Library of
Congress, The National Gallery of Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and, astonishingly, a
historically black university in Tennessee.
Nashville Arts Magazine | August 2O1O
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Cindy Wunsch A Self-Portrait by Kami L. Rice | photography by Brad Jones
In a paint-spattered studio in a garage behind a yellow
Victorian Sylvan Park house is where you’ll most likely find Cindy Wunsch, busily doing what she does best: creating canvases full of whimsy, poetry, and emotion. Entering her world is like being pulled into a prism of color. It is impossible to be sad around her or her work. That’s not to say that she is frivolous or lightweight—far from it. Some of her themes dig deep, putting our sensitivities on overload. Standing at a worktable in the corner of her studio, Wunsch, who seems to have an inexhaustible supply of enthusiasm and passion, explains that she includes “good energy” in each of her creations. Wunsch’s paintings are done in lots of layers to eliminate what she calls “the fear of a blank canvas.” She starts with an image using oil pastel or charcoal and then applies color. As she talks, she squeezes paint from a tube onto the canvas, using the edge of a paint chip to spread the paint. “You get a different texture using thick paper than you get from paint brushes,” she explains. She also incorporates lots of fabric into her paintings, each piece creating another story on the canvas.
I like to live simply in a complicated world. I have always been a dreamer, and I guess sometimes dreams do come true.
Many of Wunsch’s paintings include poetry that she often writes late at night. In her mind, she says, each painting has a mood, a feeling, one that changes as the painting’s layers
When We Love, Mixed media, 24” x 48” Nashville Arts Magazine | August 2O1O
Meant for You, Mixed media, 24” x 24”
below left : below :
Tangerine Dreams, Mixed media, 24” x 36”
Gratefulness, Mixed media, 24” x 36”
change. Wunsch isn’t a typical journal writer but does jot down random thoughts and store them in a folder. Before her career change from the music industry, she “had all these thoughts, but I didn’t get to hear them.” Wunsch wonders how non-artistic people process the happy and hard times of life. “I can sit here and paint or write this poetry that mirrors my soul. And then it’s done. It’s therapeutic,” she says. Sometimes Wunsch’s paintings are vision boards of how she wants her life to look or of dreams she has for herself and for other people. “I feel kind of selfish,” she says, “because most of the paintings I do are for me, but hopefully they end up translating into something for other people.” Many of her paintings become a version of a self-portrait. “The faces that I paint are more about me and how I feel on the inside and what I wish women felt more often. I find that women buy the face that looks the most like them.”
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Uncomplication, Mixed media, 10” x 20”
Find Your Beautiful, Mixed media, 12” x 12”
Most of the paintings I do are for me, but hopefully they end up translating into something for other people.
I Wonder if He Knows How Much I Miss Him, Mixed media, 12” x 48”
Nashville Arts Magazine | August 2O1O
Peppermint Sky, Mixed media, 24” x 24”
All I Wanna Do Is Love You, Mixed
media, 12” x 12”
Experiencing Wunsch’s work, one quickly sees that women’s faces and birds are recurring themes in her work, though she didn’t start out painting a lot of either. “I love birds,” she explains. “I feel like they represent a lot of light and airy stuff.” For Wunsch, birds, which can see things for miles around them, also represent a perspective ground-bound humans don’t always get. Though some of Wunsch’s painted faces may appear sad or pensive, she tries “to make the faces look open and vulnerable, as in not afraid and open to good things.” As much as her art comes from her own story, it’s clearly about helping express other people’s stories too. She describes her I Wonder if He Knows How Much I Miss Him painting and all the different ways it resonated with its viewers. For one woman it spoke of her deceased husband, for another a son who had committed suicide, for another a husband serving in Iraq. Similarly, Wunsch loves watching what happens to people who participate in her workshops when they “become unweighted” as they pour out their story on canvas. “I love it,” she says simply, her eyes widening to emphasize her delight. Wunsch says, “Now that I’m truly doing what my heart tells me to do, it’s not like I have a whole lot of security, but it all works out. And now I feel the most whole.” The uncertainty inherent in earning a living as an artist “is scary, but I think it’s more scary if you never discover who you are or what your heart is trying to tell you. I’ve finally figured out that this is what I do well.” Now that she’s found that place, there’s no longer any internal struggle, a possibility she previously didn’t know existed. Now she goes through every day wondering how she deserved this good fortune. Cindy Wunsch shows at A Thousand Faces, Art & Invention Gallery, and Bennett Galleries. www.cindywunsch.com.
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My Grandmother Told Me...1937, Oil on canvas, 7’ x 5’
Igor Babailov The Russian Connection by Sally Schloss
Before he opened his front door to greet me, I glimpsed Igor
Babailov through a pane of glass putting on his dark suit jacket over a crisp white shirt—clearly he was not the type of person to show up for an interview carelessly dressed or splattered in paint. This formality, I was to discover, was as much about being a professional as it was about good manners. Classically trained, Russian born and bred, Babailov, with his charming accent and impeccable English, was a walking ambassador for the school of art he was raised in: Realism.
We’re all just people, famous or not, rich or poor. The masters painted beggars as well as royalty.
Upon entering his Brentwood home, I found myself surrounded by walls brimming with images of people—the souls, he would say, that he’d captured through his art. We talked as I followed this burly, ginger-haired man as he toured me through a room filled with his paintings. I was struck by the combination of structure, discipline, and passion that defined both the artist and his work. Here was a man who had grown up behind the Iron Curtain, was trained in the great Russian Academy tradition, had left Moscow at age 25 right after the fall of the Berlin wall, and had managed to become a portrait painter on the world stage. His clients have included Hillary Clinton, George W. Bush, Pope John Paul II, Nelson Mandela, Vladimir Putin, Reggie Jackson, and Akira Kurasawa, to name but a few.
Photo: Anthony Scarlati
“Despite a person’s fame,” Babailov told me, “when I paint someone, ideology, looks, age, and status are unimportant. It doesn’t matter who is in front of me. We’re all just people, famous or not, rich or poor. The masters painted beggars as well as royalty.” Sitting in Babailov’s large, light-filled studio where more of his portraits climbed the walls, one of the paintings caught my eye. It was a dramatic example of Grisaille (pronounced Gree-eye)—a term for painting executed entirely in monochrome. Nashville Arts Magazine | August 2O1O
top left : right :
Portrait of an Old Man, Oil on canvas, 24” x 20” The artist with General David Petraeus
far right : below:
Portrait of Pilot Bergthor Endresend, Oil on canvas, 34” x 24”
Panorama by Igor Babailov and Sergey Prisekin, 20’ x 100’
Russian Imperial Academy of Arts. He credits the historically famous curriculum of Classical Realism as providing him with “the unparalleled skill in academic drawing which today is a fundamental challenge for many painters.” Babailov thinks that an education should not be a luxury. Everyone is entitled to an education. “Every student’s dream is to study and not have to worry about money,” said Igor. “My education was paid for by the state. The students received a stipend if they made good marks in school. I worked very hard and studied hard so that I wouldn’t have to rely on my parents. When I was about 15, I went to Arbat Street in Moscow where artists draw and sell their works. I went for a couple of hours every day and made good money. “By the time I left Russia in 1990, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, I had commissions and clients. This allowed me to earn enough to get out. Russia was in a state of turmoil. It felt like it was going to collapse completely—no food, no bread . . . people stood in line for everything. I earned 150 rubles a month (equivalent to $150). The ticket to leave cost me 2400 rubles. That was a lot of “I’ve always done this type of work,” Babailov said. “Realistic art is about capturing perfect tonal values. That’s the secret of the great portraits. In old art books, the paintings look as good in black and white as they do in color. Nineteenth-century artists took photos of their paintings to check their tonal accuracy. When I paint, I am always thinking about how light or dark a color should be.” It’s impossible not to be curious about Babailov’s background, both as an artist and as the person who left Russia and wound up in Nashville. Not surprisingly, the two are inextricably bound—his art forged the path that became his lifelong journey. “In Russia, my family was part of the intelligentsia. Both my parents were teachers. My father was an artist, and I was exposed to art at an early age. When I was 4 years old, I began to draw. At 9, I began art school. I learned by copying Michelangelo’s Slaves and drawing from live models, by making casts of the body and sculpting.” When I asked if he ever felt burdened as a child by all that discipline and hard work, he answered, “Not at all. I always loved it. It’s what I wanted to do. But where I lived felt too small for me. When I saw the high-rise buildings of Moscow when I was 6, I thought, one day I’m going to leave this town.” Babailov moved to Moscow when he was 13 after winning a nationwide competition to enter the prestigious Surikov College of Fine Arts, a visual arts school for gifted children. He went on to get his M.F.A. at the Surikov Academy of Fine Arts of the 38 | August 2O1O | Nashville Arts Magazine 38 | August 2O1O | Nashville Arts Magazine
My teacher told me something I have never forgotten and that I have carried with me all my life. He said, ‘You don’t have to have a fancy brush to paint. You paint with your mind.’
Nashville Arts Magazine | August 2O1O
commissions I needed to earn. It helped that I had some very good ones.” In leaving Russia, Babailov took with him not only beautiful childhood memories and invaluable training as an artist; he had also learned important lessons about resourcefulness. “When I grew up we didn’t have ten kinds of bread. We had white bread and black bread. Whatever you lack makes you innovative. Basic things like paint were a luxury. You couldn’t just go to the art supply store and get things. It wasn’t easy. When I was 13 or 14, I knew that the Old Masters used charcoal and white tempura. White was very expensive. As students we thought, how can we create white? We used toothpaste. There was no green and red striped toothpaste, just simple, basic white toothpaste. You mixed it with water, and when it dried it looked just like tempura. My father gave me his brushes. Students had to supply their own materials. “My teacher told me something I have never forgotten and that I have carried with me all my life. He said, ‘You don’t have to have a fancy brush to paint. You paint with your mind.’” www.babailov.homestead.com above left: Vita, Oil
on canvas, 46” x 21” The artist meeting Pope Benedict XVI above: Journey of Hope, Tribute, Oil on canvas, 38 “x 38” left: For Gold, God and Glory, Oil on canvas, 70” x 79” below: Portrait of a Spanish Man, Pastel, 24” x 19” top right:
Nashville Arts Magazine | August 2O1O
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Photo: Dean Dixon
Puryear Mims was the most important teacher I ever had—he taught me to think about form, in abstract terms. and my father were interested in. She was an advocate for the artists she really believed in, locally and regionally, and she tried to help them with their careers.” Virgil Shields LeQuire’s field was medicine, though he was “a very skilled craftsman at whatever he chose to do,” says Alan. His father even did some sculpture—on a bet. Virgil LeQuire bet Puryear Mims—“the sculptor in town” as Alan refers to his first mentor—he could win the Central South Art Competition. The prize was a thousand dollars. Virgil carved a kneeling figure in limestone and won the competition. That it caused a rift in the friendship between Virgil and Puryear is not surprising, given that Mims was a sculptor bested by an amateur. Virgil may have chosen medicine as a career, but art chose him as a disciple. A potent cause took Alan LeQuire to Rome, though it was part his doing and part his mother’s. After three years of pre-med at Vanderbilt at the urging of his father, who wanted him to follow in his footsteps, Alan sought escape by way of an exchange program in France, where, out of the sight of his parents, he soaked up French art, Mediterranean culture. After his graduation, his mother nudged a sculptor friend to see if he needed an assistant. Alan went from France to Rome to apprentice with Milton Hebald, and there he became a sculptor in body, mind, and soul. Mothers know best. The family legacy has come full circle this year with the opening of a second LeQuire Art Gallery in Green Hills Mall. The first gallery, on Charlotte Avenue, opened in 2003 and is home to Alan LeQuire’s studio. The new Green Hills gallery is being helmed by Paul LeQuire. They both feel strongly about continuing their mother’s quest to support and nurture. “Paul and I wanted to do that with the [new] gallery. One of the most rewarding parts of doing it,” says Alan, “is supporting something you care about, locally. We show artists from all over. It’s really hard to get shows when you’re first starting out. The point to me is to recognize what they’re trying to do and bring more exposure to it.” That was Louise LeQuire’s passion. She and Virgil were early supporters of local artist Red Grooms. Louise went on to write the screenplay for a documentary on Grooms, directed by Tom Neff, founder of the Discovery Channel. Neff was a former student of Louise’s. (Louise’s grandson, Andrew Rozario, was also profoundly influenced by his aunt and is now a documentary filmmaker.) If you look back even further, a powder train of synchronicity was also headed toward the creation of Alan’s best known work,
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Photo: dean dixon
Nashville Arts Magazine | August 2O1O
Bronze has its own life. It’s the only metal that has that living quality.
Libba Gillum Split Seconds of Time by Deborah Walden
Photo: John Guider
Famous for claiming, “You cannot step twice into the same river,” the Greek philosopher Heraclitus recognized that people and things are always changing. For most of our days, I think we remain unaware of the constant ebb and flow around us. We move though infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood with a sense of continuity in our self-identity and a notion of stability in the world at large. It is in rare meaningful moments that we come to terms with the fact that our lives will never be still. Nashville photographer Libba Gillum finds her voice in these moments of realization. Gillum has a way of stealing split seconds of time, of recording something so fleeting that it almost never existed. Her works possess their own sense of freedom. They have a life of their own outside of the clicking of the camera lens. One might call it transcendence. However you put it, Gillum seems capable of staging the infinite. She can capture the soul’s progress in an image that dances on the glossy page. She manipulates conditions, labors over developing, or occasionally stumbles on the happy accident to express, confess, speak to the viewer. It is here that she ceases to be a woman with a camera and becomes an artist. I recently met Gillum at her South Nashville home. It was the kind of summer afternoon where the heavy air anticipates a storm. As I sat at Gillum’s kitchen table poring over boxes of photographs, the air crackled and fizzed with thunder. Gillum’s home, though, felt like a warm hearth, a safe harbor in the storm. Her voice is slightly 54 | August 2O1O | Nashville Arts Magazine
Swayambhunath Temple, Kathmandu, Nepal. Looking at this photograph, there is a sense of the temple being alive.
Nashville Arts Magazine | August 2O1O
top: Mardi Gras beasts, New Orleans. This is a dreamscape, a call to face our demons. above:
Sadhu on the street in Kathmandu, Nepal.
This is a photograph taken at an ancient observatory in Jaipur, India. Images that create wonder are captivating.
right: This is a pilgrim womanâ€™s braids in Jokhang Temple, Lhasa, Tibet. The Tibetan people are amazing, beautiful, and usually smiling. far right:
Photograph of an icon in an old church outside of Zihuatanejo, Mexico. I took a bus by myself to a little village outside of Zihuatanejo, Mexico, and encountered a lovely old church. Inside was this icon seemingly waiting for me.
This location in Haridwar, India, is home to one of the largest pilgrimages in the world. Only Hindus are allowed on the platform below to purify themselves and be blessed by the holy river Ganges. 56 | August 2O1O | Nashville Arts Magazine
deep. It is sonorous, calming, honeyed even. I cannot think of Libba Gillum without remembering the warmth of her personality against an afternoon Tennessee maelstrom. Her demeanor seems key to the mood of her work. I think Libba Gillum’s kind brown eyes perceive grace or impart beauty where others might not look to find it. This idea of “becoming,” of change and flux in our experiences, radiates throughout each of Gillum’s series of photographs. She is attracted to moments of transition or the passage from one state to another. Costumes and religious festivals have become her playground for exploring these themes. New Orleans for Mardi Gras, South America and Spain for Carnival, Gillum has trotted the globe in search of events where people might feel drawn to step outside of themselves.
below: Entering a bullfight in Merida, Venezuela. I attempt to make sense out of a chaotic moment in time. bottom:
Street scene in Mussoorie, India.
opposite page top: Entering the Potala Palace, Lhasa, Tibet, with an altitude of 12,000 feet. This is called the roof of the world. opposite page bottom:
Prostrations by pilgrims outside of Jokhang Temple in Lhasa, Tibet. This was my first trip to this part of the world visiting sacred and holy sights. I was in awe of the scene before me.
Gillum’s art has taken her all over the world. She has photographed the mountains of Tibet and traveled to India three times. In Kathmandu, Nepal, Gillum observed a Sadhu meditating on a street corner. The man’s far-off gaze indicates his state of transport. He seems part of this world and, at the same time, to inhabit a separate mental space from those around him. Finding a holy man in rags, Gillum’s own intense gaze goes beyond the
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Libba’s works possess their own sense of freedom. They have a life of their own outside of the clicking of the camera lens.
man himself. She calls attention to the phases of human ritual that drag us outside of our everyday concepts of the world. She claims, “When you look at someone who has gone that far, it makes you question yourself a little bit.”
That “little bit” of questioning defines Gillum’s photography. Whether presenting a shot that looks impossible or capturing a scene that belongs in a dreamscape or spirit realm, she reminds viewers of the subtle transformations that make life such an interesting journey. “I like looking at something and turning it into something else. When you look at it, it throws you a little bit. Your eye wants to move around it.” Describing her photography, she hints at a life philosophy: “How it actually happens is a mystery.” www.libbagillum.com Nashville Arts Magazine | August 2O1O
Beyond Words... On June 29, I was scheduled to play in the round at the Bluebird Café with Tommy Womack, Peter Cooper, and Will Kimbrough. Since these guys are good friends and Will played lead guitar on my soon-to-be released CD, I was especially looking forward to this event. Then I heard Kimbrough had to bow out. He’d been summoned to do something with Jimmy Buffett. As every musician knows (myself included), a call from Buffett is a call that can’t be ignored. When told Kimbrough’s replacement would be The Wrights, I’m thinking, The Wrights? Who on earth are The Wrights? I soon found out.
Photo: Anthony Scarlati
by Marshall Chapman
The night of the gig, I was the last to arrive. As a result, I ended up wedged in a chair between Tommy Womack and some guy in a cowboy hat whom I assumed was one of The Wrights.
Then I noticed the threads in my mic stand were stripped. When I tried to tighten the adaptor, the boom started swinging around like a crane gone berserk. This situation, combined with my usual pre-show jitters, had me feeling a bit, well . . . testy. I immediately vented my frustration, voicing my hope that proceeds from tonight’s performance would go toward upgrading the Bluebird’s equipment (like this godforsaken mic stand!). At that point, the guy in the cowboy hat (whom I later learned was not one of The Wrights, but a guitarist-songwriter named Jon Byrd) said, “Why don’t we trade mic stands?” He then set about switching them out. I watched in fascination as he calmly secured my faulty stand with duck tape. (Why didn’t I think of that?) The way he did this, without calling attention to himself, had me thinking, Whoever this dude is, I’m startin’ to dig him. Of course, the gig turned out heavenly. Tommy sang “Nice Day,” Peter sang “Suffer a Fool” (which he co-wrote with Don Schlitz), Jon Byrd provided tasteful accompaniment on his Telecaster, and the young woman sitting across from me, Shannon Wright, sang “Since You Left Me,” which completely blew me away. In fact, every song she sang blew me away. Including a wonderfully original version of Roger Miller’s “In the Summertime.” (I later learned that “The Wrights” are a highly respected husband-wife duo. And that Shannon was the only Wright present for tonight’s performance. Husband Adam had to attend a baseball game.) By the end of the night everybody loved everybody. Shannon and I exchanged books and CDs, and now The Wrights’ last two CDs have been on heavy rotation in my house ever since. Last week, Shannon and I got together and wrote a groovy little song called “Let’s Make Waves.” Sometimes all you have to do is shower and show up. Nashville Arts Magazine | August 2O1O
Appraise It by Linda Dyer | photography by Jerry Atnip
First assumed to be a painting, this piece proves to be a watercolorenhanced print that is signed in the plate. Still considered an original work of art and a great piece of Nova Scotia’s fine arts history, this charming work on paper has a retail value of $300 to $400.
Mary Marguerite Porter Zwicker (Canadian, Yarmouth, Nova
14kt Yellow Gold and Cultured Pearl Bracelet, circa 1950. Lovely, lustrous pearls. These gifts from the seas and rivers were once the rarest and most desirable of gems. From the time of As I struggled in the dim lighting to decipher the signature on Cleopatra to the current day, they have been treasured for their this image, I heard the owner quietly ask, “Have you looked on the rarity, beauty, mystical symbolism, and even their medicinal back?” There on the back of the framed picture, neatly inscribed properties. So much information, so few words! Simply, any in ink was, “by M. Zwicker, A scene from Nova Scotia’s ‘fishing pearl grown inside a mollusk, fresh water or salt, oyster, mussel, village’ shoreline. From Grandma’s treasures…Halifax, N.S.” abalone, or scallop, is considered genuine. Pearls come in a multi tude of shapes, sizes, and luster. This fine bracelet is the product Known for her watercolor scenes of Nova Scotia villages and landof a resourceful Japanese businessman, Kokichi Mikimoto. scapes, Marguerite Zwicker was an active promoter of the visual arts in and around Halifax. Educated at the Nova Scotia College of A pearl happens when the shellfish becomes irritated by a grain Art, she also studied in the United States with the noted Germanof sand or an inserted seed. To relieve that irritation the mollusk American Abstract Expressionist painter Hans Hoffman. secretes nacre, a smooth, lustrous material which is a form of calcium carbonate. When the nacre is found on the lining of the Marguerite Porter’s marriage in 1937 to fellow art student animal’s shell it is referred to as mother-of-pearl. When it deposLeRoy Zwicker tied her to the family who founded Zwicker’s its itself around a freestanding nucleus like a bit of sand or the Gallery, Halifax’s oldest commercial fine art gallery. aforementioned inserted seed, the result is a pearl. Establishing the gallery in 1886, when Halifax was home to the second largest military garrison in the British Empire, Judson During the turn of the nineteenth century, working from earlier Zwicker recognized a need and provided for that market. His processes, Mikimoto patented a method of producing cultured target audience was Halifax’s gentry, the British officers and their pearls by inserting a round nucleus inside an oyster shell to families, and the gallery succeeded. Following his death in 1942, prompt the animal to secrete nacre. Mikimoto’s significant findhis son, LeRoy Zwicker, and his wife, Marguerite, took over the ing was that beads of clam shell have the greatest success rate ownership of the gallery, which then ran until 1968. Zwicker’s for creating the desirable round shape. That discovery became the Gallery, now out of family ownership, is still in operation today. basis of the modern cultured pearl industry. It also had a deleterious effect on the price of natural pearls, due to increased availability as well as the fact that it takes an expert to determine the difference between cultured and natural pearls. Determining the value of a pearl hinges on the following determinants: size (the bigger the better), color (white with rosy-pink undertones), luster (the denser the nacre, the better), shape (the rounder, the costlier), and origin (South Seas pearls grown in warmer Australian waters are often brighter and larger). This beautiful three-strand cultured pearl bracelet was presented in a Mikimoto box, and the quality of the pearls and construction supports that provenance. A size of over 8mm puts pearls into a premium classification. Should this bracelet composed of 8 to 9 mm sized pearls be offered at auction, the owner may expect a return of $800 to $1200. 68 | August 2O1O | Nashville Arts Magazine
Scotia, 1904–1993), view of Nova Scotia fishing shacks,
watercolor over print on paper, signed “M. Zwicker” in block.
Anything Goes What was the last book that you read?
Who would you most like to meet?
A little novel called Property by Valerie Martin. It’s placed in Louisiana and written from the point of view of a slave owner’s wife. It’s a breathtaking book.
I’m totally in love with Stephen Colbert. Do you have a favorite painter?
I have a great Decker painting over my fireplace that delights me every day. Why Nashville?
I came here for the job eleven years ago. My friends back home keep asking when I am moving back. I’m not! I really love living here. What do you like most about Nashville?
There’s an incredibly rich, creative community here. Plus, it’s easy to get around and has a great climate. What are you most proud of in your life as far as your accomplishments?
I am most proud of my children. I have two wonderful sons. What are you most proud of in terms of your career?
I have fought to put on quality television programs that make people think. I am very proud of that. Do we get the television that we deserve?
I’m not a fan of that particular phrase. It’s like asking if we get the art we deserve. What talent would you most like to have in life that you don’t have?
Photo: Anthony Scarlati
I have everything I need to become who I am.
Beth Curley, president & CEO of Nashville Public Television (NPT), has served in public
What is your most treasured possession?
That would be my grandfather’s ashtray. How has this city changed, in your perception, in the last five years?
The art scene is fantastic. There is an energy in this town that you just don’t see in a lot of other cities. What is your all-time favorite movie?
The movie that makes me laugh no matter what is Uncle Buck. It stars one of my college roommates.
television for more than thirty years. CEO since 2005 and previously NPT’s COO, Beth has revitalized the station’s What’s on your Bucket List? local programming and made it among the highestI want to travel more. I love going to the beach. Must see Venice rated public television programming in the nation. She and Florence and the coast of Croatia. created NPT’s award-winning documentary and public affairs production unit and has overseen the national What’s it like being you these days? PBS distribution of major local productions including The When you get to the top job you better have done all your thinking. Carter Family: Will the Circle Be Unbroken, Hank Williams: Because you don’t have time to think anymore. Sometimes I crave restoHonky Tonk Blues, and Christmas at Belmont. Over the last ration, and I have to put it on my calendar: “Go home and stay there.” five years, Beth has led NPT to more than fifty Midsouth Region Emmy nominations and twenty-five awards. Prior Any regrets along the way? to NPT, she served in various positions for the WGBH I have very few of them. If I could have done it all over, I would have Educational Foundation. had more children. A Boston native and graduate of Smith College, Beth What do you think would most surprise people to know about you? has numerous professional awards and is an alumna I belly dance and I like to knit. I also have a very wicked sense of both Leadership Music and Leadership Nashville. An of humor. active member of the Nashville community, she currently serves on the board of directors for the Tennessee Repertory Theatre, Family & Children’s Service, the Dyer Observatory, and Alignment Nashville.74 | August 2O1O | Nashville Arts 74Magazine | August 2O1O | Nashville Arts Magazine
My Favorite Painting
Pam Lewis President and CEO of PLA Media
Monet at Giverny Bridge by Thomas E. Armstrong When I was a young student in high school,
I ordered the Time Life series of books of famous artists which I still own and treasure in my library. A new book came each month and Monet was the one I loved the most. Years later I lived in France and was fortunate to visit the captivating gardens and home at Giverny which were Monet’s muse. When I saw this particular painting I felt that I was back there. I like the way the artist has put Monet on that famous bridge looking down at the flowers. I have the perfect place for this painting in my home. I love to collect paintings that remind me of my trips around the world. This one is very special to me.
Thomas E. Armstrong is a life-long Tennessee resident. After he graduated from high school he spent three years in the U.S. Army producing artwork for the Army Security Agency School in the division of training aids. Upon his return home, Armstrong continued to hone his artistic skills at the Harris School of Art in Nashville both as a student and an instructor. Armstrong also studied in the south of France and at Watkins Institute where he met painter and sculptress Nancy Rogers. On two occasions they took trips to France, one to visit twenty-eight museums and another to see the most beautiful part of Paris—its art and architecture. For most of his career Armstrong was an artist-illustrator for the United Methodist
Photo: jerry atnitp
Publishing House. Every year Armstrong exhibits his work at area art events, including Brentwood Academy in Nashville, the Maury Regional Medical Center in Columbia, Tennessee, and the “Fall into Art” festival in Hendersonville.
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