Con­tem­pla­tive ex­hibits soothe stresses

The Commercial Appeal - Go Memphis - - ARTS - By Fredric Koep­pel Spe­cial to The Com­mer­cial Ap­peal

Ifwe­mea­sure the be­gin­ning of the hol­i­day sea­son by the first time we hear “The Lit­tle Drum­merBoy” is­su­ing fromthe speak­ers in­abig- box­s­tore, then we have been deep into Yule­tide since be­foreThanks­giv­ing. And Christ­mas is a week from to­day, and the shop­ping is not fin­ished, and the traf­fi­conPo­plar­be­tweenOakCourtMal­land Fayet­teCounty is­manic, tor­tur­ous and im­pass­able.

Let’s pause­amo­ment or two in the rush to Get Ev­ery­thing Done On Time and Per­fectly and seek respite in the quiet aura of art gal­leries and mu­se­ums and gaze at some ex­hi­bi­tions that may bring calm and tran­quil­ity toyour feveredlives of goals and obli­ga­tions. At least mo­men­tar­ily.

First, drive down to Flicker Street, un­der the Po­plar Viaduct, to DLG- TEMP, and look hap­pily at “Sea­sons Greet­ing,” a sweet, whim­si­cal and touch­ing show of the Christ­mas cards that artistTedFaier­scre­ated for sev­eral decades. Faiers, who died in 1985, taught at the old Mem­phis Acad­emy of Arts from 1952 to 1977. A mas­ter of or­ganic and ge­o­met­ri­cal ab­strac­tion and dis­play­ing a deft touch for the wood­block print, the artist made th­ese Christ­mas of­fer­ings as greet­ings for friends, with no thought of pieces that would even­tu­ally be sold at a gallery. The sizes vary slightly, though all are small, usu­ally 4.5- by- 7- inches or 5- by- 6- inches; they di­vide about equally be­tween hor­i­zon­tal and ver­ti­cal for­mats.

While not all of the cards de­pict pre­cisely sea­sonal mo­tifs, they in­clude plenty of snowflakes, pine boughs, holly branches and “Ho Ho Ho” el­e­ments to qual­ify. Oth­ers are sim­ply fun and fan­ci­ful, like win­ter po­ems by Dy­lan Thomas trans­muted into vis­ual prop­er­ties. Al­ways, the color is bright, un­ex­pected, poignant years of the artist’s gen­er­ous and play­ful vi­sion, the lit­tle wood­cuts em­body all the feel­ings of am­bigu­ous plea­sure, joy and­me­lan­choly thatDe­cem­ber brings.

Far­ther east, at L Ross Gallery, Matthew Hasty presents “The Fleet­ing Hours,” a show of re­cent oil- on- can­vas land­scape paint­ings that en­cour­ages med­i­ta­tion and con­tem­pla­tion in­awell- earned­pause fromthe sea­son’s head­long rush. Hasty spe­cial­izes in low hori­zon­lines that build lay­ers of sky above trees and fields. Th­ese skies, cap­tured at all times of day but par­tic­u­larly dawn and dusk, re­veal in­fini­ties of cloud con­ti­nents ren­dered in gauzy blues, mauves, pinks, laven­ders and pur­ples, all across the spec­tru­mof sky­ward hues and tints. Of­ten work­ing with a loose, sweep­ing brush, Hasty not only re- creates the sublime as­pects of the Southern land­scape to­ward a tran­scen­dent state. His abil­ity toac­com­plishthis feat is true whether he works in large scale, as in sev­eral paint­ings that mea­sure 48- by- 60- inches, or on a lesser scope, as small as 10.5- by- 13 inches. In all, there’s a feelin­gof­grandeur andquiet­ness.

In Mid­town, at Mem­phis Brook­sMu­se­u­mofArt, theDec­o­ra­tive Arts Trust cel­e­brates its 35th an­niver­sary — and an­tic­i­pates the mu­seum’s 100th an­niver­sary in 2016— with an ex­hi­bi­tionof­more than100ob­jects placed in­group­ings in the gal­leries with the per­ma­nent col­lec­tion. Art­fully dis­played, and ac­com­pa­nied by per­ti­nent his­tor­i­cal and artis­tic in­for­ma­tive la­bels, the ex­hi­bi­tion of­fers a unique view both of the dec­o­ra­tive arts, in­clud­ing fur­ni­ture, sil­ver, quilts, house­hold items and cloth­ing, and of the ef­forts of DAT to ac­quire th­ese ob­jects for the mu­seum. trans­for­ma­tions in style in English and Amer­i­can fur­ni­ture in the 18th and 19th cen­turies and per­haps not so sub­tly at the end of the 19th cen­tury, as the French in­flu­ence brought­more or­nate lines and or­na­men­ta­tion. Still pow­er­fully ef­fec­tive are the fron­tier ob­jects of early Amer­ica, as in a se­ries of sugar chests­de­signed­not only top­re­serve the pre­cious com­mod­ity but also to lock it away. Don’t miss a throne- like and surely un­com­fort­able side chair de­signed by Frank Lloyd Wright and, for a lo­cal touch, a crazy quilt cre­ated bymem­bers of the Snow­den andOver­ton fam­i­lies, long prom­i­nent in­Mem­phis.

Ad­mit­tedly, we don’t have a large amount of time to spend look­ing at art at the end ofDe­cem­ber, but it­would­be­good­for our phys­i­cal and psy­cho­log­i­cal well- bring to take a break from the hol­i­day hurly- burly and in­dulge in a lit­tle calm­ness and

Matthew Hasty, “At­mos­phere I,” oil on can­vas, 48- by- 60 inches.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.