WhatNots (and gewgaws)
OPENING: Saturday 15 October, 5-8pm
DiaLoGue: Southern Culture and Sculpture, 19 October
Greely Myatt returns mid-fall to David Lusk Gallery for his second solo exhibition at the Nashville Gallery. The show’s title, WhatNots (and gewgaws), is Southern slang used to reference items that are not identified, but have something in common. Myatt divides the exhibition into three sets (light bulbs, quilts and handles) each a continuation of a longtime relationship to each subject.
Myatt’s long art-making career has centered on the theme of communication. His unusual choice of materials, either found or carefully constructed, provides a rich image vocabulary that often leaves the intended meaning up for debate. He says, “As an artist, I want you to care about something as much as I care. To do that I make work that is at the same time familiar, and a bit strange – mysterious and, I hope, poetic.”
The light bulb is back, after 25-years, as a staple in Myatt’s vocabulary. Recently his literal use of lights (often paired with witty text) has been a metaphor for an idea. However, in WhatNots (and gewgaws) seven light bulb-shaped woodcarvings hang in the middle of the Gallery. Each carving has a toxic lead beaded cord of varying lengths, tempting touch. While producing no light the first and last bulb cast a dramatic shadow on opposite ends of the gallery, one with a long cord, the other short.
Myatt’s interest in creating a narrative around the inherent symbolism of everyday life references his complex southern background. Once visually unraveled, opposing concepts take on witty and provocative cultural cues, igniting a storm of conversation for the viewer, without actually spelling anything out.
One long Gallery wall sports three “quilt” wall sculptures that mimic traditional patterns he found in a “How To Book” of Tennessee quilt patterns. Rooted in both the traditional and contemporary, Myatt’s interpretation of the quilt goes back to the early 1990’s. Winding Ways is a pattern selected to represent Nashville in the State Capitol Block Series published by Hearth & Home Magazine in 1916.
He says, “I have consistently attempted to combine art historical references with vernacular influences. As a native of the rural south, I have a tremendous respect for work that is made by the hand and guided by the heart and eye. But I also understand the importance of the mind in this process. To state my approach to the making of art in the simplest and most direct manner, I have used these – the hand, the eye, the heart and the mind.”
On the opposite long wall are nine tool handle sculptures. “I am extremely interested in the hand made object and use hand tools daily in the execution of my work,” he says. “This awareness of touch has made me keenly interested in the handles of various tools and implements. With these works I am attempting to find the right fit so that the works appear rather effortless. Work often implies labor; however, I want these to have a light touch.”
Myatt exhibits frequently across the US. In the last two years he has had major exhibitions at the Masur Museum in Louisiana, the Cedarhurst Center for the Arts in Illinois and the Bradbury Gallery at Arkansas State University. He is professor of art at the University of Memphis.
David Lusk Gallery is located at 516 Hagan Street in Nashville’s Wedgewood-Houston neighborhood. Gallery hours are Tuesday-Saturday 11-5. For more information or visuals please contact Amelia Briggs at 615.780.9990 or email@example.com.