Watkins College of Art, Design & Film marks the first anniversary of its downtown gallery WAG during the September 6 edition of the First Saturday Art Crawl with Iconophilia, featuring summer studio work in multiple media from Fine Art majors Heather Barrie, Kevin Dietz and Ashley Doggett.
The show include prints, woodcuts, etchings, photography, sculpture and mixed media that reflect an interest in symbols and iconographic imagery. All three artists create work that challenges aspects of the human norm, from fixations with the modern to the superimposed need by society to implore fetishism over distinctive, manipulative imagery – the iconophilia.
WAG’s inaugural season has presented work by students and alumni in painting, installation, sculpture, printmaking, photography, illustration, film/video, plus an original curatorial exhibition. Of the 11 shows (one ran December/January), six have been group efforts, two duo, and three solo.
“The first year of WAG has been a rousing success,” said Fine Art assistant professor Brady Haston, “because of our students’ commitment to presenting thoughtful, focused exhibitions that show real insight into contemporary art trends. The diversity of their work and its high quality have raised the profile of young artists in Nashville’s cultural scene and led to several additional creative opportunities for them.”
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.
WAG 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 nashvilledowntown.com/play/first-saturday-art-crawl.
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 [email protected]. 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.
Kevin Dietz: The work that I’ve created closely relates to the graphic narrative, metaphor, and reinterpreting the everyday through traditional methods of print and mark making. I draw a similar line through history as Ashley and Heather from religious medieval prints such as the Nuremberg Chronicles, but I also reference romantic symbolism, Guston, and underground comics from the 60′s and 80′s. The images harbor reflections from the immediacy of everyday: from the job market, academia, and the ever present tension between our social state of affairs.
Ashley Doggett: This current oeuvre has its preoccupations with the graphic narrative found in a world engrossed in modernity, racial identity, sexuality, and profound interpretations of history that challenge the audience to consider the extreme harshness of what has been accomplished in the modern American world, both past and present.
All three artists are offering the regalia of the iconic by creating the ultimate iconoclasm; by bringing forth their controversial ideals on the higher spheres of social, political, and religious institutions, they are in fact making commentary on cultural fetishism, the preoccupation of unveiling the obscure to a general audience, and challenging the social tension between race and religion.