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Nashville Jazz Workshop’s Jazz Party of the Year “NJW is the hub around which the Nashville jazz scene turns. There’s something for everyone.” Annie Sellick, award-winning singer and recording artist In East Germantown, just past the Bicentennial Capitol Park and the Farmer’s Market, amidst artisan restaurants and galleries, is the Neuhoff Complex—the lively home of Nashville Jazz Workshop. Founded over a dozen years ago by husband and wife team and professional musicians Roger Spencer and Lori Mechem, the Nashville Jazz Workshop began as their dream to build a school for jazz musicians here in Nashville. That dream has grown into a reality. The NJW offers classes for musicians and non-musicians, performances, and also takes jazz programs into other venues such as the Frist Center for the Visual Arts and Nashville Public Library. At the end of every six-week session, the NJW offers student performances, which are always open to the public. Their Snap on 2 and 4 series is a twice-a-month, regularly sold-out performance featuring local professionals and national talent. “One thing that made NJW a success was the students and fans who found us who now participate on our board and as part of our development,” commented Lori Mechem, Executive Director.
Melissa Delgado, Louie
Jazzmania, a new name this year, is NJW’s Jazz Party and Benefit of the Year. Current NJW president Elyse Adler and board member Elaine Wood collaborated with local visual artists who have created thirty original 5” x 7” canvases for part of the “Small Works” silent auction. These petite canvases are indeed rare—not only for their size but for being created for this event. Mechem comments that it’s a highlight to see the artists’ works at Jazzmania displayed all together. Reflecting the variety of styles and media that is Nashville’s visual arts community, artists include Tom Turnbull, John Baeder, Jane Alvis, Alan LeQuire, Ev Niewoehner, James Threalkill, Lanie Gannon, Myles Maillie, and many others. Mechem has big goals for NJW’s future. “We want to expand, have more space, and take the Jazz Workshop to the world by hosting Internet classes. No matter who comes through this town they’ll discover the Nashville Jazz Workshop.” She is right about that—just Google “Nashville” and “Jazz” and Nashville Jazz Workshop is what pops up first. Jazzmania will be held Sunday, October 16, from 4 to 8 p.m. in Jamison Hall at the Factory in Franklin, 230 Franklin Road. The event features fine food, complimentary wine, and special musical performances by acclaimed drummer Chester Thompson, the Beegie Adair Trio, and the Duffy Jackson Big Band. Tickets are $100 reserved, $75 general admission. VIP seating packages are available as are corporate sponsorships. www.Nashvillejazz.org 615-242-JAZZ (5299) NashvilleArts.com | October 2O11 | 11
Ev Niewoehner, Musical Landscape
Artclectic 2011 Celebrating its fifteen-year anniversary, University School of Nashville’s annual art exhibit, Artclectic, features a juried art show with works by more than fifty artists, special events, family activities, and more. This year, Jim Sherraden and Julie Sola of Hatch Show Print have collaborated to create fifteen unique, multidimensional pieces entitled Cupcakes and Columns, available exclusively at the Patrons Party silent auction. Throughout this four-day event, visitors will see hundreds of artworks, including paintings, sculpture, jewelry, textile arts, and more that range in price from $20 to more than $5,000. Trace and Transformation, an exhibition by featured artist Charles Brindley, will be on view from Sunday, October 9, through Sunday, November 6. To read a full feature on the artist, see page 26 in this issue of Nashville Arts Magazine. Artclectic runs from October 20 through 23 in the Tibbott Center Gallery on the USN campus, 2000 Edgehill Avenue. Admission is free. Visitors can explore the gallery and meet the artists throughout the day. For more information and a list of all events, visit www.artclectic.org
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Unmasking Mental Illness Art Benefit by Emme Nelson Baxter Creating art has long been a staple of therapy for the mentally ill. This month, art will be used to raise money to help those who are dealing with the twin challenges of mental illness and poverty. On October 13, the Mental Health Cooperative (MHC) will host an auction-style benefit featuring paintings by professional artists alongside art by MHC clients. The inaugural Unmasking Mental Illness Art Benefit will be held at the Houston Station event space. MHC sees about 17,000 patients each year. While many come through their crisis services, some 9,000 are in their case management and clinical care. All are on TennCare and battling extreme poverty and serious mental illness including schizophrenia and other disorders. “We’re not working with the ‘worried well’ here,” notes Diane Zandstra, executive director of the Mental Health Cooperative Foundation. “Aside from having issues with mental illness, they have issues with housing and food.” Pat Snyder
MHC aspires to help its clients live productively in society. For the MHC clients featured at the event, art has been a monumental part of their recovery and ability to fit into the norms of everyday living. Unmasking Mental Illness Art Benefit co-chair Stacey Pierce-Nickle had a well-defined vision for the event and has been instrumental in its execution. An artist herself, Pierce-Nickle brought knowledge of the Nashville arts scene and her experience participating in national juried shows to the planning process. “We are truly indebted to co-chair Stacey Pierce-Nickle,” said Diane Zandstra, Mental Health Cooperative Foundation Executive Director. “She dreamed big and made it happen.” Artists featured in the live auction include Kaaren Engel, Paul Harmon, Alan LeQuire, Myles Maillie, and Trevor Mikula. Co-chairing the event with Stacey Pierce-Nickle is Dwaine Anderson. Chef Jeremy Barlow from Tayst is providing hors d’oeuvres to complement the open bar. A total of 30 artists and MHC artist-clients have contributed drawings, paintings, and photography to the silent auction. Each will also have an eight-foot display panel, with 30 percent of those sales going to MHC. Plans also call for a small artisan showcase of handcrafted jewelry and clothing.
The party is set for 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Organizers are hoping to attract 350–400 art lovers to the event. Advance tickets are $35 per person or $50 per couple or $45 and $60 at the door. For more information, email email@example.com or call 615-743-1524. www.mhc-tn.org
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The Path More Traveled by Emme Nelson Baxter
n a given day visiting Nashville, Charles Brindley has a clean-cut look about him that makes you think he’s headed to a Friday business lunch at BrickTops with a gaggle of healthcare executives. He
wears a navy sport coat, white button-down, and khakis. He has a good-looking haircut and nice shoes. Even his cell phone ring has a pleasant lilt. But his hands tell another story. Spotlessly clean, the only clues to Brindley’s true profession are painfully short nails plus a few nicks and callouses from gripping Ebony and other pencils ranging in hardness from 9B to 9H. These signs indicate that this man is either a consummate worrier or that he makes his living as an artist. While the 56-year-old artist is best known for his meticulously detailed drawings and oil paintings of bony, deciduous trees, he also produces exacting studies of architectural ruins, rock formations, landscapes, and Indian burial grounds. The common denominator appears to be an attraction to structures that have withstood ravages of weather and time.
Brindley is recorder and interpreter of ruins. It’s as if fate propels him down a certain path where he discovers his subject, be it an eroded rock face or a crippled tree trunk. Onsite drawing is the bedrock of his work.
“The encounter experience is essential to the creative process. What develops from an intensity of encounter is joy—the emotion that goes with heightened consciousness, the mood that accompanies the experience of actualizing one’s own potentialities.” His paintings appear representational. Yet on closer scrutiny, they have layers of abstract elements. In other words, what appears logical has deeper meaning. This theme mimics Brindley’s life as an artist, which he says “has been based on faith, because logic doesn’t always make sense.” He is following the path dictated to him.
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That path is not one which affords exits and rest stops along the way. “You make so much of a commitment,” he maintains. “You cross the bridge, and there’s no turning back. It’s not an option. You’re invested. If that means Brindley must spend three hundred hours working on a single canvas depicting the famously gnarled Angel Oak in Charleston, South Carolina, so be it. If it means he must pass countless patient moments in a field to draw and erase lines in order to follow the exact flow of the grass over an Indian burial ground, then that’s OK too. The die has been cast for draftsman and artist Charles Brindley, and he is following orders. While he has been represented by galleries in New York, Washington, Taos, Memphis, and Nashville, Brindley has chosen to forgo representation by such enterprises. When asked how he sells his work, he replies cryptically: “I sell the work through the creative intelligence of my subconscious mind.” In translation: the buyers and commissions are sent to him from a higher power.
The Green Man, Oil on canvas, 48” x 36”
Charles Brindley’s faith in his path has resulted in formidable success. His work has been selected for five touring exhibitions to museums and art centers from the Southeast to the Midwest. The Tennessee State Museum held a retrospective of seventeen years of his work in 1998, and the Evansville Museum featured a twenty-year span of Brindley art in their 2007 exhibit. Moreover, a collection of his commissioned drawings and paintings of the Tennessee Residence made an eight-city circuit during its tour in 2006.
The meaning of creativity is lost in the idea that it is something you turn off and on like a light switch. It is an ongoing, subconscious activity that is ultimately the expression of bringing into being one’s visions and dreams.
Landscape at New Market, Oil on canvas, 30” x 54” 28 | October 2O11 | NashvilleArts.com
Ed Nash E
nglish-born abstract painter and art dealer/consultant Ed Nash works out of a 2,400-square-foot space on the grounds of the
American Business Park, one of those repurposed leftovers from
Nashville’s industrial past now home to creative ateliers. When a row of large garage doors is raised, his all-white studio floods with light, and the sound of trains going over nearby rails is sometimes intoxicating, sometimes just loud. Several pieces of 1950s and ’60s furniture, among them a swell gold armchair from the governor’s mansion, add a certain lounge flair to the space.
The studio is also full of sculptures Nash creates from industrial detritus he finds at roadsides and estate sales. Among these are a “Mad Max chess set” that includes a rusted, conical spring; a towering cabinet wrestling with a long segment of bright orange rubber hose; and a parade of smaller items carefully arranged on a three-foot-high ledge running along two walls of the studio. “I find stuff, and then I put them together,” Nash says of the collection. “Sometimes it looks right, sometimes it doesn’t, just like a painting.”
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by MiChelle Jones photography by Anthony Scarlati
Nash’s large abstract acrylic paintings line most of the studio’s walls. Other works, some barely started, are propped up in a corner. One in shades of brilliant orange-red and gold-umber resembles a landscape due to the slightest suggestion of horizon. Generally Nash builds up the surface of his paintings using pieces of board, bits of old palettes, and texture paste. He also adds layers and layers of colors, but he’s not sure about this one. He’s equally cautious about a large piece of found board onto which he has applied light layers of brown and gold, merely mimicking and enhancing the sunset-like colors of the rust coating the surface of the wood. This extra-light touch represents something of a new direction for Nash, whose Abstract Expressionist-influenced style is also a reflection of the “deep spiritual experience” he had since moving to Nashville five years ago.
Metamorphosis, Acrylic on canvas, 48” x 48”
A number of his paintings feature a small square, generally in the upper left part of the composition, a representation of his heart. In Transforming, he drops a blue, loosely defined square to the middle left of the picture and surrounds it with a swath of yellow and cream cutting through a background of cooler blues. It’s a depiction of the Spirit warming the coldness of his heart, Nash says. This painting, or rather a full-sized portion of it, appears on the cover of Nash’s recently produced book of his work, called simply Paintings. Nash says he has been wrestling with how to translate the spiritual to the canvas, not through overt symbols of Christianity, just the feeling of rebirth in keeping with abstract art’s focus on emotion.
Inspire, Oil on canvas, 40” x 20”
Transforming, Acrylic on canvas, 48” x 48” 34 | October 2O11 | NashvilleArts.com
A Sense of Wellness, Acrylic on canvas, 60” x 70”
“If you look at a Monet painting and gradually get more and more abstracted, you end up at a Rothko,” he explains. Whereas Monet was attempting to express both the beauty of the garden’s design and the quiet, restful feeling of being there, a Rothko painting, Nash says, is “pure feeling without any of the form.”
Clarity, Oil on canvas, 60” x 48”
Sense of Wellness, an arrangement of intensely bright yellows and oranges, is reminiscent of a nautical sunset by Turner, not that Turner is among the influences Nash names. Instead he points to the stylistic leanings of Clyfford Still and Richard Diebenkorn. He also cites Hans Hoffman, whose push-pull technique of creating depth in non-representational paintings he regularly employs. How artists and viewers interact with and use space is a frequent concern for him. Twentieth-century art is really all about space, he says. A painting “doesn’t stop here,” he adds, pointing to a spot in Transforming. “It goes on; there’s a space we’re
Window, concrete, 20” x 17” x 3 ½” NashvilleArts.com | October 2O11 | 35
interacting with. There’s a space that we embody, and there’s a space the painting embodies.” Transforming is one of a series of predominantly blue paintings Nash has been working on, though he says he doesn’t have one particular palette. Instead, he moves back and forth between several as something in one series of paintings leads him to explore something else. Thus, his recent work includes white paintings, a collection of yellow-orange ones, and Inspire, a spectacularly rich, red vertical painting mounted in a wooden frame with a silver finish. With its small areas of gold and little squares and rectangles of turquoise peeking through, the finished painting looks nothing like its earlier stages, when gold was the major color. Nash doesn’t always document the evolution of his paintings, but he’s photographed this one at various stages as a reference should he want to revisit the process. He also occasionally creates studies but finds that a solution worked out that way doesn’t necessarily translate into a successful painting.
Epiphany, Acrylic on canvas, 48” x 48”
“There’s a raw energy in there, a freedom you can never get back. That’s what Abstract Expressionism is about,” he says. “You can’t recreate that rawness. I’ve tried, but it never works. It becomes a different painting, sometimes better but not normally.” Nash grew up in the arty and airy Letchworth Garden City, a community founded by Quakers and the first planned suburban country town. It was also a frequent painting stop for a group of British Post-Impressionists called the Camden Town Group, whose members included Walter Sickert and Spencer Gore. (In addition to collecting the work of those painters, Nash also collects paintings by Middle Tennessee native Philip Perkins. A small gallery of Perkins’ colorful, geometric paintings from the 1940s lines one wall in the studio.)
Clarity, Oil on canvas, 48” x 48”
Nash enjoys losing himself much as his little daughter, Lylah, and her friends do when they paint with him in his home studio. “I want to make something I enjoy, that I think is visually interesting, uplifting, or inspiring,” Nash says. “There’s something in us that makes us want to create. There’s no reason why we can look at an abstract painting and say, well that looks beautiful; there’s no logic to it. But somehow there’s an organization of form and palette, composition, that somehow we’re like, yeah, that works.” www.ednashart.com
Positive and Negative, Wood, red steel, 60” x 7” x 36”
Sentinel, Wood with wheel, 51” x 36” x 2 ½”
Ed Nash is represented by Bennett Galleries, Knoxville; Harrington Brown Gallery, Memphis; Mark Murray Gallery, New York; and Stanford Fine Art, Nashville.
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photos: john abbott
A Tenor Titan at 81 by Ron Wynn
egendary critic Whitney Balliet once labeled jazz “the sound of surprise,” and no one exemplifies that more than the great Sonny Rollins. As a composer and soloist, he has
dazzled, delighted, and stunned musicians and fans with inventive passages, unusual phrases, and quick shifts from elegant to rowdy, smooth to fiery. Rollins, who returns to Nashville for the first time in nearly two decades October 14 at the Schermerhorn, is especially brilliant in unaccompanied recitals. He often turns a familiar standard into a fresh, astonishing reconfiguration by interspersing fragments of other songs, varying the pace, or subtly altering the origi-
nal melody without distorting its mood or intent. Rollins has always been willing to experiment, from pianoless ensembles to his fondness for calypsos, covering cowboy songs, or penning the lengthy, politically charged The Freedom Suite in 1958. He’s notoriously unsatisfied with his playing despite constant critical praise. Rollins has taken sabbaticals from recording and performing in the ’60s, ’70s, and 2000s, once abandoning music to study yoga, meditation, and Eastern philosophy and religion. But one thing has never changed throughout his extensive career, which dates back to the ’40s. Sonny Rollins’ work is instantly identifiable, distinctive, and original.
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James A. Crutchfield Receives 2011 Owen Wister Award by Jay Sheridan
ranklin author James A. Crutchfield, whose writing career has focused on the early frontier and the American West, is the 2011 recipient of the Owen Wister Award for Lifetime Achievement in Western History and Literature. The award is given by Western Writers of America
(WWA) as its highest honor and was presented recently at the organization’s annual convention in Bismarck, North Dakota.
Crutchfield’s latest published work, The Settlement of America: Encyclopedia of Westward Expansion from Jamestown to the Closing of the Frontier, will be released this fall by M. E. Sharpe. The twovolume encyclopedia includes essays about the trans-Appalachian West as well as the region extending to California and Oregon. Former WWA president Cotton Smith says Crutchfield “is one of those exceptional author/historians who turns earlier times into reality for all of us. We are blessed to have his talents focused on Americana, coupled with the tenacity and insight to make them into important books.” Adds WWA past president and four-time Spur Award winner Johnny D. Boggs, “Jim Crutchfield knows more about the early American frontier than Davy Crockett or Daniel Boone. The trails Crutchfield has blazed as a historian have provided a wealth of information we novelists who sometimes explore this period are fortunate to have.” Crutchfield’s fifty published books include A Primer of the North American Fur Trade; Mountain Men of the American West; George Washington: First in War, First in Peace; The Battle of Franklin: Twilight of the Army of Tennessee; The Santa Fe Trail; Tragedy at Taos. Crutchfield is also the author of several books by Franklin, Tennesseebased Grandin Hood Publishers, including corporate and university histories. His book Historic Tennessee by Grandin Hood, published in November 2010 for Tennessee Preservation Trust, includes many historic sites in Davidson, Williamson, and Maury counties. To contact James A. Crutchfield, email him at TNcrutch@aol.com.
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Photo: robin hood
Past recipients of the Wister Award include Pulitzer Prize winners A. B. Guthrie Jr. and N. Scott Momaday; Western historians David Lavender, Robert M. Utley, and Dale L. Walker; novelists Tony Hillerman and Elmore Leonard; as well as Hollywood legends John Wayne, John Ford, and Clint Eastwood.
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photo: ANTHONY SCARLATI
John Hoomes General and Artistic Director, Nashville Opera When and where are you most happy?
I have a movie room at home with a large-screen TV and a wall of DVDs and an incredibly comfortable chair. Bliss! What’s your favorite movie?
Modern Times, Charlie Chaplin. Raiders of the Lost Ark and Aguirre: The Wrath of God. What was the last great book you read?
Momofuku by David Chang, a chef in New York. Cooking and philosophy in one book. What characteristic do you most like about yourself?
My sense of humor. And optimism. Is that important in your work?
Yes, I think we should always take the arts seriously but find a way to not necessarily take ourselves so seriously. Have you achieved what you set out to achieve?
I have. I started a career in the arts, and I’ve been fortunate to make my living at it for the past thirty years. What talent would you most like to have?
Play the piano incredibly well. I can play it incredibly badly. What’s your favorite opera?
Turandot or La Bohème by Puccini.
Mr. Hoomes is the Artistic Director of Nashville Opera. He is also a freelance stage director and has directed over one hundred fifty productions of opera and music theatre in the United States, South America, and Canada. The New York Times declared John Hoomes’ Nashville Opera world premiere production of Elmer Gantry “An Operatic Miracle in Nashville.” The June 2010 Opera News feature article acknowledged, “Hoomes has proved himself one of the most interesting stage directors in the regional market today with a seemingly limitless knowledge of repertoire.”
There’s no other place like it. The artistic scene, the eclectic music. It has so much here for a city its size.
The Nashville Opera will be performing La Traviata October 13 and 15 at Andrew Jackson Hall featuring the Nashville Symphony. Other upcoming projects include Aida and Il Trovatore for Arizona Opera, Pagliacci and The Girl of the Golden West for Nashville Opera.
Are we comparable to New York or Chicago?
The level of artistry here in Nashville is incredibly high, no need to compare. What are you most proud of?
The way we’ve taken this from a fairly small company, one or two shows a year, to a company that is now recognized nationally and internationally for its excellence. How do you keep the creative vibe fresh and alive?
You can never rest on what you have done; you’ve got to be pushing the envelope and seeing things in new and different ways. I don’t want opera to become a type of museum piece. How do you think Nashville perceives opera?
We have a great, growing audience here for opera. If we can just convince non-operagoers to experience it, they will become fans for life. Describe a perfect Friday night.
Hitting one of the clubs and hearing live music. There are so many terrific clubs and music here, you can spend a lifetime doing that.
What does the artistic director listen to when he’s not listening to opera?
Mostly rock music, Van Halen, the Beatles, Rolling Stones. They were good then, and they are good now. If you could make one opera happen, the big one, that you haven’t done yet, which one would that be? The one you aspire to as your finale.
A piece by Erich Wolfgang Korngold, called Die tote Stadt. It means The Dead City. A most amazing piece. The best opera no one has ever heard of. What’s your motto?
There is no situation too sad or too perilous that can’t be handled with a manly laugh and a whip. Greatest love of your life?
My wife. I was very fortunate to find her.
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