| On Exhibition | May 2 â€“ June 15, 2015
All the Lights in My House by Rocky Horton | Seed Performs | May 2, 2015
Be My Blood Brother by Nathan Sharratt
SEED SPACE ART + TECH LAB
WHAT DOES THE ARTIST DO WHEN IT GETS DARK? Rocky Horton’s installation All the Lights in My House at Seed Space looks like something you might see in the home improvement section of Lowe’s. Only an assortment of mismatched lighting fixtures illuminate the gallery. As the title suggests, these fixtures are all the lights from the artist’s house. For the duration of the exhibit, Horton and his family will go without all of these lights. In addition, the only lights used in Seed Space will be these lights. Ranging from a floor lamp to a bathroom vanity, the fixtures reflect the condition of their native environment. The chandelier, for example, hangs at the same eye level as in Horton’s dining room. A light bulb is out in a white, owl-shaped table lamp. A few of the hanging glass pendants have a little bit of dust on them. Reflexive in its reference to the role and life of an artist, the work’s symbolic display breaks down the barriers that often exist between an artist’s personal and public life. When Marcel Duchamp submitted his readymade work “Fountain,” a urinal that he found and placed in the Society of Independent Artists exhibit in 1917, it marked a change in what was commonly understood as the role of an artist. As Duchamp explained, “it was always the idea that came first, not the visual example.” A notable shift from the Renaissance, artists were no longer soley defined by the tangible objects they produced. Throughout art history, light, among other things, serves as a symbol of life and knowledge. In defining the role of artists today, how better than to broadly describe what they do as “shedding light on” or “illuminating” new ideas? Explaining his work as “a manifestation of a desire to share, to sacrifice, and to act benevolently as well as address ideas of history, myth, and poetry in art,” Horton’s readymades present a contemporary perspective on the changing role of artists. While All the Lights in My House is an act of benevolence, it also tells an intriguing story. Who is this mysterious artist who gave up all his lights? What does he do when it gets dark? Whether it’s the notion of artist as genius and supernatural, or starving and tortured, there has always been myth associated with the profession. Although myths still remain, some of the mystery surrounding artists has dwindled as a result of technology. The prevalent do-it-yourself method of culture today has changed the role of the professional at large, including artists. How art is made, funded, and consumed has all changed due to the ample resources available. Never is the DIY trend felt more strongly than by walking through the aisles at Michael’s, Ikea, or Lowe’s. Now, almost everyone has the tools necessary to be their own interior designer, furniture builder or artist. Taking a cue from the DIY movement, Horton shapes his own myth through a unique act of sharing intimate and personal objects. As an artist, his role is defined by giving, illuminating.
Photo courtesy Andri Alexandrou.
LOVE LETTERS TO THE ARTISTS Dear Rocky, All this month, I have thought about you and your family in your house without lights. I’ll be sitting at my desk at night writing in a notebook, or removing skewed stitches from a quilt under two bright lamps. And there you are. You, your wife, your children, sitting in darkness, while the lights from your house brighten the gallery at Seed Space -- all of them burning together. Some dusty or filled with dead bugs, a cobweb here and there. And I imagine where the lights belong. The chintzy chandelier over your dining room table, the ceramic owl lamp on a living room end table, the vanity lights above your bathroom mirror. I think about what you told me: about Fra Angelico in Florence, painting his humble frescos in the dormitory cells of the friars, bringing each of them, in their meekness, closer to Christ. I like to imagine all of you spending these weeks without lights in a meditative reverie, sitting cross legged in the living room. I know this is not true, but that doesn’t make the sacrifice any less potent. And I have to ask: how much can we learn about you? How much can we learn about anyone? A family in the dark. Small children switching on lights that aren’t there. They live by the sun and go to sleep when it sets, and you and your wife do what? Watch movies? Make love? Sit with your sins in the darkness until you fall into deep, lightless sleep? Sincerely, Erica
Photo courtesy Erica Ciccarone.
Dear Nathan, You came on the heels of another heartbreaking encounter with my parents -- perhaps the last one I’ll allow. My mother is mad, and a drinker. She had just left Nashville in fits. You were handsome and attended by two women. Dressed in blood-stained white, you sat at a small table across from an empty chair. When I approached, you said, “Would you like to be my blood brother?” I nodded, and you began the ritual. With a syringe, you drew blood from a glass jar marked “Mother.” How could you have known my heartbreak and desperation? You mixed it with a palate knife, sticky dark red on the shiny white table. You drew the knife across your palm and handed it to me. I did the same. And then, my blood brother, you took my hand in yours and held it there. Your eyes were so warm and purposeful and assuring. I suddenly felt embarrassed and like the fraud we all know we are. But I could feel your pulse in my hand, and your life became my life, and my life was going to be OK. When you asked me my name, it got caught in my throat. We put our bloody thumb prints on a receipt, and you sent me off. It has been years since I’ve felt so much intimacy with any actual member of my family. One of your attendants asked me to write something to you on an iPad. I wrote about my mother, and when I walked away, I realized that I am a fool. Your blood brother, Erica Erica Ciccarone is an independent arts writer in Nashville, and is the current Seed Space writer-in-residence.
You Can Take It With You With Beth Reitmeyer, the theme of an artist’s generosity continues at Seed Space. Her performance consisted primarily of the act of giving away. Stationed within Track One, she obtained some 70 small jars from friends, painted them each uniquely, and offered them up to those passing through to carry with them on the art crawl. There wasn’t any dance or stage, just casual conversations with those drawn to the glowing patterns of red and green coming from the lanterns. Much like Horton’s “All the Lights in my House,” the significant action happened less in the space of presentation, and more in its dissemination. Reitmeyer’s lamps attracted the attention of artisan craftsmakers in the neighborhood, of children and artgoing passers-by. Such a simple gesture with no expected return conveys Reitmeyer’s suggestion – that art is illuminating, yes, but that it is something that can have as much impact in diffraction as it does in its ability to bring people together for a common cause and outcome. What you gain from experiencing art will travel with you, she seems to be saying, and this is indeed a small and impactful subversion that can over the long course of time change society for the better. If only for one evening, it made the night a little brighter.
SEED SPACE ART + TECH LAB
Artists + Curator + Writers ANDRI ALEXANDROU is the program director at Seed Space. Her independent photography and writing has been published in the Nashville Scene, NYCnash.com, and Native Magazine. She holds a BA from Vanderbilt University. RACHEL BUBIS is an independent arts writer, curator of Seed Space, and gallery manager at E. T. Burk. Her writing has appeared in Nashville Arts Magazine, Nashville Scene, Native Magazine, Art Now Nashville, Art Art Zine, Nashville Wire, and Examiner. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Art History from Rollins College. ERICA CICCARONE is a writer living in Nashville. She contributes art criticism to Temporary Art Review, Nashville Scene, BurnAway, and Nashville Arts Magazine, and has published fiction in Epiphany, ThisRecording, and H.O.W. Journal. She taught English composition and literature at Borough of Manhattan Community College, Berkeley College, and John Jay College of Criminal Justice. She blogs about art and culture in Nashville at NYCnash.com. She holds an MFA from the New School Creative Writing Program and a BA in English from Loyola University New Orleans. ROCKY HORTON was born in Arlington, TN, in 1973. He holds a B.S. in Art from Harding University and an M.F.A. in studio art from West Virginia University. He is currently a Professor of Art at Lipscomb University in Nashville, TN. BETH REITMEYER is represented by Zg Gallery, Chicago. Her work has shown in The Elizabeth Foundation, New York, Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, the Ragdale Foundation, IL, goldenPARACHUTES, Berlin, and Kentucky Library and Museum, Bowling Green, KY. She holds a BFA from Penn State University, an MFA from Northwestern University, and participated in the Post Baccalaureate program at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago. NATHAN SHARRATT is a conceptual extended-media artist living and working in Atlanta, GA. Nathan studied Film and Animation at Pratt Institute and received a BFA in Sculpture in 2011 from the Savannah College of Art & Design. His solo exhibition, Come Inside. Me., was curated by Dashboard Co-Op and received several critical awards. He was named an Artist To Watch in 2013 by The Atlantan, is a Hambidge Fellow, a 2012 visiting artist for the Center For Chemical Evolution, a Walthall Fellow, and was selected for the prestigious Studio Artist Program at the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center. His work is in the permanent collection of the High Museum of Art and other private collections.
| Upcoming Exhibitions | August 1 Estell and Bowen Voyager One September 5 Jana Harper The Cloud Story Project October 3 Eric Dickson Wars and Rumors of Wars December 5 Jeff Schmuki and Wendy Deschene Plantbot Genetics December 5 Magmart Videoart Festival FOODS Seed Space is a lab for site-specific installation, sculpture and performance-based art in Nashville. We support our program in three specific ways. We bring in nationally recognized art critics to write our exhibition essays. We host regularly scheduled public talks. We facilitate meetings among artists, critics and curators. Through these means we aim to foster an exchange between a growing network of local and national artistic communities, which we believe is one of the best ways to support the careers of emerging artists. Located in the Track One building in the Wedgewood Houston neighborhood of Nashville, Seed Space is supported by the Nashville Cultural Arts Project (NCAP), and is made possible with grants from the Tennessee Arts Commission, the Metro Nashville Arts Commission and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.
The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts Director Adrienne Outlaw | Curator Rachel Bubis | Programs Manager Andri Alexandrou email@example.com | firstname.lastname@example.org | email@example.com www.seedspace.org
Published on Jun 15, 2015
Rachel Bubis and Erica Ciccarone write about Rocky Horton's "All the Lights in My House" and Nathan Sharratt's "Be My Blood Brother" perform...