Archive for the ‘Art BA News’ Category

WAG Doubles Up with Luisiana Mera and Jazzmyne Sims in December Show

Posted on: November 4th, 2014 by Caroline Davis

Watkins presents a double exhibition at its downtown gallery WAG during the December 6 edition of the First Saturday Art Crawl, with new work from junior Luisiana Mera and senior Jazzmyne Sims.

Gaby Dora and Little Lulu by Luisiana Mera Ww

“Gaby, Dora and Little Lulu” by Luisiana Mera (22’x30′, charcoal on paper)

Fine Art major Luisiana Mera’s Relevant Distance features delicately rendered charcoal drawings based on images sent to Mera via iPhone from relatives in her native Panama. Through exquisite technique, dramatic lighting and gridded and cropped theatrical spaces, Mera reframes baroque pictorial conventions to deploy a personal and contemporary narrative, creating work that is tactile, velvety and dreamlike. “We experience the world largely through today’s technologies, images that are edited and composed by others on screens and in print. What can be lost is the pre-edited, individual, personal experience,” said Mera. “The sensual quality of the charcoal medium makes it possible to convey an immediate physical experience from these detached images.”

Jazzmyne Sims, studying for a Bachelor of Arts in Art, offers pop up wood sculptures in her show, The Capricious Bend. Tension, mobility and reconstruction play very heavily in these works of Baltic birch, cherry and cedar. “Since the structures of my sculptures are constructed by the tension of the wood being bent, I tend to use little to no hardware, with the exception of clamps,” said Sims. “The installation of my work is also dependent on, and responsive to, the surrounding architecture. With the use of clamps the work is mobile and can easily be reconstructed and turned into some other structure.”

WAG–an acronym for Watkins Arcade Gallery–is located in suite 77 upstairs in the historic Arcade and is open the first Saturday evening of the month during each Art Crawl (from 6-9 p.m.), and by appointment.

Art Crawl logoWAG joins approximately 20 participating Art Crawl galleries along Fifth Avenue of the Arts and upstairs in the Historic Arcade. Admission is free, and the Nashville Downtown Partnership provides two free shuttles traveling among the venues. For more information on the First Saturday Art Crawl, visit

About Luisiana Mera
Born and raised in Panama City, Panama, Luisiana Mera moved to Nashville in 2011 to attend Watkins College of Art, Design & Film, where she is a Fine Art major with an emphasis in painting, drawing and figurative studies. Her work has been exhibited extensively on campus and at Cheekwood, Cummins Station and WAG (Watkins Arcade Gallery). She has won multiple awards including the Robb Swaney Prize for Excellence in Visual Expression and first place at the Currey Juried Student Exhibition; recently her work was selected for inclusion in INDA 9 (9th International Drawing Annual), a competitive publication of works of contemporary drawing. Visit

Jazzmyne Sims untitled sculpture

Untitled sculpture by Jazzmyne Sims (cedar, Baltic birch, 12′ clamp)

About Jazzmyne Sims
A Tennessee native, Jazzmyne Sims is a senior at Watkins College of Art, Design & Film, pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Art with a concentration in sculpture. She is heavily focused on woodworking, using clamps, tension and, in many sculptures, architecture to create her work, which she describes as “very in the moment and set type based.” She holds several scholarships (including the BA achievement award). She has recently ventured into furniture design where she is incorporating her sculpture style with other mediums.

About WAGWAG logo orange
The Watkins Arcade Gallery–WAG–is a public exhibition space of Watkins College of Art, Design & Film committed to serving the College community and the community at large through exhibitions and programs that enhance curriculum as well as engage a greater audience in the visual arts. WAG is dedicated to supporting the educational and cultural mission of the College by encouraging students to think independently and creatively about their art practice and role as critical thinkers within the cultural landscape. The venue will present shows year-round featuring work by Watkins students, alumni and other professional artists. For inquiries, contact WAG is the second Watkins-run gallery space, joining the Brownlee O. Currey, Jr. Gallery, the primary exhibiting space on the College’s campus in Metro Center.

WAG Dec 2014 LMera_JSims evite

Click to enlarge evite

Swaney Prize Shines on Film School’s Christin Sites

Posted on: April 4th, 2014 by Caroline Davis

Christin Sites, a Film School senior from Hendersonville, was awarded the 2014 Robb Swaney Prize for Excellence in Visual Expression during judging held on March 27. Established in 2006 by Mary Jane Swaney in memory of her husband, noted Nashville architect Charles Robb Swaney, the $1,000 cash prize honors a student who produced “visual designs and patterns that spoke to others.”

Swaney 2014 win group

Walter Crouch, Christin Sites, Martin Shofner, Sharon Hels

Jurors Martin Shofner of Shofner Buck Architects/Architectsure and Walter Crouch of Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis, LLP, former associates of Mr. Swaney, and Watkins alumna Sharon Hels praised the cinematography and editing major for the technical excellence, composition and visual impact of the three-minute showcase reel.  Christin is the first Film School student to receive the honor.

Each department chair nominated two students to participate in the annual competition, and the artists brought examples of their work to display and discuss.


Congratulations to all the 2014 Swaney Prize nominees!

Erin Lord

Erin Lord, Art


Emily Stout

Emily Stout, Art

Jeremy Bolden and Christin Sites

Jeremy Bolden and Christin Sites, The Film School


Alexine Rioux, Fine Art

Swaney 2014 judging

Martin Shofner discusses work by Fine Art’s Alexine Rioux

Kayla Saito

Kayla Saito, Fine Art


Xavier Payne

Xavier Payne, Graphic Design

Katelyn Pennington

Katelyn Pennington, Graphic Design


Amhad Freeman

Amhad Freeman, Interior Design

Whitney Garnier, Interior Design


Sharon Stewart

Sharon Stewart, Photography

Chelsea Wright

Chelsea Wright, Photography


Swaney 2014 MShofner XPayne

Martin Shofner with Graphic Design’s Xavier Payne

photos by Sam Angel

Painter R.H. Quaytman To Lecture January 29

Posted on: December 20th, 2013 by Steve Wilkison

Painter R. H. Quaytman, whose work addresses the critical and institutional contexts of painting, will speak on Wednesday, January 29, at Watkins College of Art, Design & Film as part of the school’s Visiting Artists Series.

Quaytman will discuss her career and creative process at 6:30 p.m. in the Watkins Theater. The event is free and the public is invited.

In her recent work, the New York-based Quaytman has placed the language of painting into dialogue with the real world contexts of the museums or galleries where it appears. Her work aligns the aesthetics of painting with more austere and intellectual traditions of conceptual art and institutional critique.

Her work is currently on display in exhibitions in Vienna, Warsaw and Paris; access her CV here via

R.H. QuaytmanThe Watkins Visiting Artists Series is an annual yearlong program that welcomes nationally and internationally recognized fine artists, designers, filmmakers, educators and critics to the campus and the community. The guest artists, whose work crosses many disciplinary boundaries, will give public presentations, sharing their expertise and perspectives on their careers and providing insight into issues facing contemporary artists and designers, as well as meet with relevant classes in which they will conduct a workshop and/or critique student work.

Watkins is located at 2298 Rosa L. Parks Boulevard in MetroCenter; free parking is available in the campus lot. For more information, visit or call 615-383-4848.

About the artist

R.H. Quaytman was born in 1961 in Boston, and lives and works in New York. She received her B.A. in painting from Bard College (1983), and attended the post-graduate program in painting at the National College of Art & Design in Dublin (1984) and the Institut des Hautes Études en Arts Plastiques in Paris (1989). She was subsequently awarded a 2001 Rome Prize Fellowship. Quaytman was director of Orchard, a cooperative gallery in New York, open from 2005 to 2008, and is currently faculty of Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts, Bard College. Her book Allegorical Decoys was published in 2008, and a comprehensive artist book of her paintings is forthcoming.

R.H. QuaytmanQuaytman incorporates optical abstractions, silkscreened photographs, diamond dust layers, and hand-painted trompe l’oeil elements into her works. Using these diverse techniques, she weaves personal, art historical, and formal narratives to explore the many contexts in which painting can be seen and understood. Presented in groups she considers “chapters,” Quaytman’s works invite the viewer to look from one painting to another, considering individual works within the context of the group.

Solo exhibitions of her work have been mounted by Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris; The Renaissance Society, Chicago; Museum Abteiberg, Monchengladbach, Germany; Gladstone Gallery, Brussels; Kunsthalle Basel, Switzerland; Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; Freidrich Pretzel Gallery and Miguel Abreu Gallery, New York; Vilma Gold Gallery, London; Neuberger Museum, Purchase, New York; and Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, among others.

In the past decade she has participated in more than 60 group exhibitions in galleries and museums throughout the world, including London, Paris, Vienna, Warsaw, Rome, Berlin, Venice, Brussels, Antwerp, Stockholm, New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, St. Louis and Ft. Worth.

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Photographer Deborah Luster Concludes Visiting Artists Series April 16

Posted on: April 2nd, 2013 by Steve Wilkison

Photographer Deborah Luster, known for the surprisingly soulful images in two documentary series about incarcerated murderers and homicide locations, will speak at Watkins College of Art, Design & Film on Tuesday, April 16, to conclude the 2012-13 Watkins Visiting Artists Series.

After a reception beginning at 6 p.m., Luster will discuss her career and creative process at 6:30 p.m. in the Watkins Theater. The event is free and the public is invited.

Based in New Orleans and Galway, Ireland, Deborah Luster is best known for two, long-term documentary series: One Big Self: Prisoners of Louisiana (1998-2003 with text from poet C. D. Wright), a collection of photographic portraits of prisoners from three Louisiana prisons including the infamous Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola; and Tooth for an Eye: A Chorography of Violence in Orleans Parish (2008-2011), cityscapes of locations in New Orleans where homicides have been committed. Monographs from these projects were published by Twin Palms Publishing.

Luster’s awards include the Dorothea Lange—Paul Taylor Prize for Documentary Photography from the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University (with C.D. Wright), an Anonymous Was a Woman Award, the John Guttman Award, the Bucksbaum Family Award for American Photography, and a Peter S. Reed Foundation Award.

Her work is included in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Pier 24, The Smithsonian Museum, Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, and other notable public and private collections. She represented by the Jack Shainman Gallery in New York. For more info:

“In Deborah Luster’s images, we are confronted with our society’s violent culture in ways that we would never expect,” said Robin Paris, associate professor and chair of the department of photography. “Her beautifully lit tintype portraits of inmates and striking black-and-white cityscapes are images which invite us to look across the expanse of experience and circumstance and imagine who these people are, what happened to them and their community, and what went wrong—and ultimately, to consider our systems of justice and class and racial divides.”

The Watkins Visiting Artists Series is an annual yearlong program that welcomes nationally and internationally recognized fine artists, designers, filmmakers, educators and critics to the campus and the community. Updates will be posted to

Deborah Luster’s appearance is the final offering of the 2012-13 series, following video and performance artist Liz Magic Laser, 3-D illustrator/animator Chris Sickels, and social practice pioneer Harrell Fletcher.

Watkins is located at 2298 Rosa L. Parks Boulevard in MetroCenter; free parking is available in the campus lot. For more information, visit or call 615-383-4848.

The Watkins Visiting Artists Series is made possible through a grant from the Memorial Foundation.