Watkins College of Art, Design & Film presents The Spaces We Leave Empty, an exhibition of photography, video and mixed media by Watkins Photography alumnae Sam Angel, Lisa Deal, Jennifer Georgescu, C. A. Greenlee, Jenna Maurice and Abby Whisenant, at its downtown gallery WAG during the August 1 edition of the First Saturday Art Crawl.
Since graduation, the six artists have pursued photography and fine art in Nashville and other cities throughout the country; their show title refers to the photograph’s connection with reality and ultimately with an irretrievable past. It also alludes to the lives as students that they have left behind.
“Each of these women contributed in so many positive ways to the life of the school,” says Watkins Professor and Chair of Photography Robin Paris. “The work in this show demonstrates their commitment to a life of creativity and artistic accomplishment.”
About the artists:
• Sam Angel (Nashville) – samangelphotography.com
With a background in photography and sculpture, Sam Angel (Watkins ’12) often finds the two intermingling, resulting in opportunities to create objects that explore how space affects us. Her images and constructed realities examine the spatial relationships within our environments and our selves.
• Lisa Deal (Nashville)
Lisa Deal (Watkins ‘09) is a fine art photographer, mixed media artist, co-founder of Platetone Printmaking press, and an art teacher at Pope John Paul II High School. Her investigation in the design of engaging arts classes has included participation in the Harvard Graduate School of Educations’ program The Arts & Passion-Driven Learning. Her work observes reflexive resistance to impermanence. She examines the tension between the persuasiveness of stasis and submission to continuous transmutation. Rudimentary constructions and permeable figures teeter in the landscapes of her photographic and mixed media configurations, describing the effect that contingencies and proximities bear on behaviors and degrees of comfort as incubated within the body.
• Jennifer Georgescu (San Francisco) – jengeorgescu.com
Jennifer Georgescu’s work describes instinctual aspects of humanity correlating to and differing from societal structuring. With a background in painting and photographic arts, she utilizes medium format film photography, installation, and digital technology. Her projects analyze dualisms in language, relationships, mythologies and control. “I often search for the balance that exists in between these dichotomies. This is how I view humanity; always teetering on the line between fiction and reality, domination and submissiveness, self and other.”
After obtaining a BFA from Watkins in 2008, Georgescu was awarded a yearlong residency at Vanderbilt University’s Gallery F. She has received numerous awards, from Artist Portfolio Magazine, Camera Obscura Journal of Literature and Photography, and the Julia Margaret Cameron Trust. Her works have recently been exhibited in the Masur Museum of Art (Monroe, LA), the Detroit Museum of New Art, and PhotoCenter NW (Seattle).
• C. A. Greenlee (Oakland, CA) – greenlee.work
C. A. Greenlee’s art practice is interdisciplinary, immersive, and research-based. Rooted in the practices and philosophies of photography, she also makes use of other mediums such as performance, drawing, video, sculpture, bookmaking and, most recently, reenactment. A native of Hunstville, Alabama, Greenlee received her MFA from California College of Art after her BFA studies at Watkins (‘12). She works in San Francisco, teaching digital photography at the youth mentoring program First Exposures, science at Camp Galileo, and 4D design at Southern Exposure art gallery.
Statement: “My art practice shifted when I learned how to line honeybees. Beelining is a practice that uses ancient techniques to find a wild hive. In immersive and investigative ways, the process of beelining is similar to the process of art-making. I search and listen. I follow tradition with a critical lens. I honor spontaneity. One small idea strikes a cord, contracts, and expands. I research my own heritage, and study military and historic ephemera. Presently, I am feeling the tension created by making inauthenticity visible while expressing real experiences and referencing actual artifacts.”
• Jenna Maurice (Denver) – jennamaurice.com
Interdisciplinary artist Jenna Maurice earned an MFA from the University of Colorado at Boulder after her BFA studies at Watkins (‘06). Relationships, relational dynamics, communication and problems with language are the things she questions, ponders and experiments with in her work. She is interested in the human experience of empathetic response, as well as the subtleties of the body as a tool for non-verbal communication. Maurice’s current studio practice centers around dabbling in whatever makes sense for solving the problems she wants to address. Her work has been exhibited in solo and group shows, including at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Boulder, Deluge Contemporary in Victoria, Canada, and the Contemporary LivingGallery in Lecce, Italy. She is presently interim director of admissions at Watkins.
• Abby Whisenant (Nashville)
An artist, storyteller and community-builder, Abby Whisenant graduated from Watkins in 2008. She has taught photography workshops to children, teens and adults over the last ten years and is currently the Program Coordinator for the Underground Art Studio at Oasis Center in Nashville, a program she founded in 2013. As a creative professional in the youth development field, she
offers teens an opportunity to use creativity as a pathway for self-exploration, healing, community service, and transformative justice. Whisenant recently initiated an interactive mural series with Nashville artists and youth involved in the Davidson County Juvenile Court, which received funding from the National Endowment for the Arts. One of her public art designs was also selected for the upcoming round of Bike Racks by the Metro Nashville Arts Commission and is scheduled for installation at Edgehill Public Library in Spring 2016.
Statement: “Klexos is a playful investigation of impermanence and experience. While visiting my hometown of Yazoo City, Mississippi, I explore places steeped in seemingly banal memories that have followed me for years like a restless ghost. Using raw imagery void of little to no physical connection to the memory itself, I create a space to honor the ordinary places and moments in my life and project onto it a series of changing layers.”
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 WAG@watkins.edu. 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.
Also opening August 1, nearby in the Arcade at 40AU Gallery (space 69), alumna Jaime Raybin (’06) will present Composite Internet Boyfriend.
The show is an autobiographical narrative, exploring the nature of loneliness and a longing for connection: after an 11-year relationship ended, Raybin downloaded a dating app. The work includes personal writing (handwritten directly on the gallery walls) that jumps between the real world and speculation about the person on the other end of the conversation, and watercolor illustrations, as well as extended interactions with fake profiles of celebrities. A zine version of the show will be available for sale at the opening.
Raybin’s exhibition history includes Northwestern University, the University of the South, Athens Institute for Contemporary Art, the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, and threesquared gallery. In 2014 she was awarded a fellowship to attend a month-long residency program at CAC Woodside in Troy, NY. She also recently completed residencies at Grin City Collective and Tiny Circus, both in Grinnell, IA, and in New Orleans. For more information, contact email@example.com.