Saturday, June 30, 2012

Welcome to 21st-Century Art

Nashvillians and guests have exciting art adventures in store this summer related to two concurrent exhibitions of Thornton Dial and the Gee's Bend Quilters.

One is at the Frist Center for Visual Arts:  an original exhibition curated by chief curator Mark Scala.  Titled Creation Story:  Gee's Bend Quilts and The Art of Thornton Dial, the Frist exhibit is focused on the artistic relationships that have developed in the last decade or so since Mr. Dial and the Gee's Bend quilters have become aware of each other.

The other is at The Arts Company: curated to complement the Frist exhibit, this exhibit---Contemporary American Artists:  Thornton Dial and Gee's Bend Quilters--focuses on Mr. Dial's early drawings and the recent etchings some of the Gee's Bend quilters participated in making, based on their quilt designs.  Though some of the editions have already sold out, the exhibit includes some of the most representative etchings still available, along with a few of their iconic original quilts.

The Arts Company exhibit invites guests to experience "the art of visual improvisation" that these artists have added to the lexicon of contemporary art in very particular ways.  Both Mr. Dial and the Gee's Bend quilters have become known in the art world through the persistent efforts of Bill Arnett, a scholar in the role of art in primitive cultures worldwide, who returned to his southern roots in Atlanta to see why black culture in the south was rich in music--jazz, the blues, gospel--yet there was no clear evidence of visual art in the culture.  Knowing from his studies and experiences that it was odd for a culture not to have both musical and visual art roots, he traveled southern byroads near his home base and made ground-breaking discoveries, including Mr. Dial's work and the quilts of Gee's Bend.  He has since devoted his scholarship and other resources, including financial, to bring this particular vernacular art to the attention of the world.

"Untitled (Life Go On) 1" by Thornton Dial

Per the way human nature works, no good thing goes unpunished.  It has been a long and difficult journey to bring his artistic discoveries to the attention of the art world.  However, over the last 20 years, major exhibitions and publications have come about, thanks to Mr. Arnett's efforts.  Now there are testimonials coming from within the culture of the art world from art critics and writers who are making the case for these artists as major artistic pioneers of the 21st-century.

There is no simple and quick way to take in the scope and depth of these relatively new-found artists.  Compare it to what it might have been like some 100 years ago when people fist began to see Picasso's art.  Like his, this work is fresh, original, and pioneering in a distinctly contemporary way.  This new work shows the underbelly of American history and culture--the Achilles heel of racism and the profound effects of institutional and personal prejudice.  These are black artists who have found their way out of this maze through their artwork.  Coming out of the primitive isolated cultures of the south, artists with no formal education or training and no hope for anything better,  theses artists have defied the odds loaded against them with their sense of what art can do and be as part of their own lives.  They took the scant leftovers of their lives and made them part of their artistic practice.  They practiced their art in isolation for years, not thinking of themselves as artists and not being familiar with the art world, until their recent discovery.

Gee's Bend Quilt by Lucy Mingo

This is not artwork to be glossed over, just walking through exhibits and thinking you have seen something weird, too weird or raw to concern yourself with any further.  When you see this art, you are seeing artwork that reflects our time and place, universal insights seen through familiar cultural, political, and historical skeletons.  At first viewing, this is not necessarily pretty art.  But it is for sure fresh, original, profound, entertaining, provocative, and daunting--all at the same time.  If you truly look and learn, you will find a sense of beauty you did not know before.

These artists are now becoming part of the artistic legacy of our time and place.  It is an honor to be acquainted with them and their work.  They have added dimension and depth to our experience of what art is and what it can be about.  The high world of art cannot easily dismiss them at this point.  Nor can we.

Do your homework on these artists.  Read about them online and in books and in museums and galleries.  They are close enough to us in Tennessee--they are all from Alabama--that they are home folks to us.  Paris and NYC no longer own all there is to be said about what art is and how it works.  See for yourself while you have this special chance.  These artists and these exhibitions take time.  Make this a summer learning adventure.

Both exhibits will continue through August.  At The Arts Company, we have set up a space where you can see videos, check online sources, and leaf through the volumes that have been written about Mr. Dial and about the Gee's Bend quilters.  We would love to strike up a conversation with you.  Come see us...and the great staff at the Frist--to learn more.

Contemporary American Artists:  Thornton Dial and Gee's Bend Quilters
July 7-August 18

Creation Story:  The Art of Thornton Dial and Gee's Bend Quilts
May 25-September 3 


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A Fresh Art Summer 2012 / At The Arts Company

At The Arts Company, we know the summer will be long and hot, but we are making every effort to fill it with fresh art, cold lemonade, artists and other friends to visit with, and a special exhibit, Great American Artwork: by Thornton Dial and Gee’s Bend Quilters.

Fresh Art Summer / June 2012

The month of June is a great sampling of what we intend, introducing new work by five gallery artists, plus continuing our favorite annual exhibition—the work of Brother Mel.  We stand ready to welcome you to the special experiences we have in store for you.

We have had such fun working with each of these artists for the June exhibit:

Deciding which frames would work best to showcase Anne Goetze’s new color photographs selected from her original sepia series, Clotheslines of Leiper’s Fork;

"Blowing in the Wind" by Anne Goetze

Painting one wall to make sure Rusty Wolfe’s new Mosaics series would pop off the wall to enhance the pristine minimal background for the mid-century retro designs to which he gives new life;

"Mosaic 5" by Rusty Wolfe

Working with David Robert Farmerie, a master photographer by any definition, to present his 21st-century version of the Seven Deadly Sins, to which he is adding an eighth sin to represent the new century.  He will be inviting guests to help name the new sin.  The model for the series will be with him during the opening weekend to answer questions about how they collaborated to make this series come about.  This series was originally commissioned by The Customs House museum in Clarksville, Tennessee;

"Wrath" by David Robert Farmerie

Enjoying every new piece Wayne Brezinka, master paper-cut collage illustrator, has brought in for his exhibit over the last three months.  Some of the pieces are originals he was commissioned to do for a range of clients—from Actors Theatre in Louisville to the Boston Globe to the NY Times to new album covers for Nashville musicians.  Seeing his interpretation of a hand holding a trombone is worth a trip to the gallery;

"Pretty Baby" by Wayne Brezinka

Realizing that one of our newest gallery artists, Jerry Park, never disappoints.  He has provided us with larger images from his Workspaces series, based on dramatic images from Nashville iconic businesses such as Percy’s Shoe Shine shop, the Omohundro Water Works plant, and more.

"Omohundro Filtration Building" by Jerry Park

We will kick off the summer with our 5th Avenue Collectors Art Night, Friday, June 1, with a conversation—hosted by Paul Polycarpou, executive editor of Nashville Arts Magazine—with Wayne Brezinka and David Robert Farmerie.  They have both made work for publications, businesses, and sometimes individuals.  Both artists will be speaking at 7:15 in the gallery.  The First Saturday Art Crawl follows the next night, Saturday, June 2, 6-9 pm.

Fresh Art Summer / July 2012

New work by Thornton Dial (left) and the Gee's Bend Quilters (right)

And the month of July will soon follow, with what we consider an important exhibit, presenting recently-recognized great American artists, Thornton Dial and the quilters from Gee’s Bend, Alabama.  We first presented Mr. Dial’s work over 10 years ago, showing large paintings and his drawings from the 1990s.  We presented an exhibition of the quilts of Gee’s Bend in September 2003, hosting some 75 of the quilters and their friends for lunch at the gallery as they stopped on their way to their exhibition at the Milwaukee Art Museum.

Because the current exhibit of Dial and the Gee's Bend quilters--Creation Story: Gee's Bend Quilts and The Art of Thornton Dial--continues through September 23, our exhibit will offer an additional opportunity for visitors to expand their options for learning more about the incredible work of these major American artists whose work has just been presented in major museum shows in the last decade.  

Stay tuned to our blog and forthcoming announcements about this July exhibition.  We will be adding special programs related to the exhibit.

Fresh Art Summer / August 2012

While the Dial and Gee’s Bend exhibit will continue through August, we will also add an exhibit Upstairs at The Arts Company—presenting new paintings of Harry Underwood. Often known simply as Harry and based in the Nashville area, he has created a niche for himself as an outsider artist whose narrative paintings incorporate words.  His distinctive style is known way beyond his Nashville base.  We will schedule opportunities for visitors to get to know Harry and his work.

In addition, The Arts Company 16th Annual Avant-Garage Sale will be presented in August.  And the Dial / Gee’s Bend exhibit will continue through August 24.

A summer full of fresh, original, contemporary art, for sure, at The Arts Company.  Join us for the good times with art, artists, and friends.

The Arts Company
215 5th Ave. North
Nashville, TN 37219

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Brother Mel's Year of Art & Accolades

I have noticed of late that I am particularly attracted to artists who continue to reinvent themselves year after year, some of them decades of years, always with fresh insights.  They are not just flittering around with art.  Their lives are devoted to making art.  Their vocabulary remains consistent, but they keep seeing new ways to present their visual ideas.

Brother Mel's "Alphabet"

Cases in point:  Brother Mel, of course; April Street; John Baeder; Denise Stewart-Sanabria; Leonard Piha; and Norman Lerner.  Each of them in their own ways operate from a central compass, but are always making art about something new they are thinking.  They are not artists who simply express themselves through artistic technique.  They are artists at their core.  They think visually.

Literally, they help the rest of us see.  They make things so that we can know more.  They respect new materials and new approaches as constantly offering them new ways to present their ideas visually to those of us who are receptive.  We will be talking about each of these artist later in this year, but for now, this is Brother Mel’s month at The Arts Company.

Brother Mel "A Lifetime of Making Art" in book sconce

Brother Mel Meyer, a Marianist brother who lives in a Catholic community, has been making art large and small for public, commercial, and private spaces around the world for over 50 years.  What he has done all of those years—the variety and substance of it—you can read in a book-length monograph of his lifetime of making art

What equals his productivity throughout all of his 50+ years as an artist is matched by what he has been to accomplish in his 83rd year.  As he approaches his 84th birthday, one can simply look at the highlights of his accomplishments just within the past year to appreciate his contributions as an artist.  At the end of the book, Brother Mel:  A Lifetime of Making Art (Anne Brown, 2009, The Arts Company Press, Nashville), Brother Mel pointed out that the art he had made to that point was over, but that his expectation was that “the best is yet to come.”  Unwittingly, the best of many things unknown to him at that time were yet to come—not just his prolific output as an artist, but also the accolades in the form of high honors that have come his way in less than one year, just since May 2011.

This small update serves as an addendum to the book-length story of his life and work, designed to keep Brother Mel collectors and admirers updated on the work and life of this one artist in the short one-year span of his 83rd year. 

To sum up Brother Mel's year:

An honorary Ph.D. in fine art from St. Louis University

Brother Mel in academic attire when St. Louis University conferred an honorary Ph.D. in fine art on him in May 2011.
- A new sculpture park in downtown St. Louis devoted exclusively to his work

- Dozens of special commissions from individuals and institutions

- A museum retrospective:  Providential Journey:  The Art of Brother Mel now in progress in the St. Louis University Museum of Art

- A group of new sculptures completed and installed at the entrance to the St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

- More sculpture purchased for additional downtown St. Louis installations

- An art heist in the middle of all of this that made him feel he had “arrived as an artist,” since someone wanted to go to the trouble to steal one of his very large sculptures
- And now, in May and June, 2012, his 14th Annual Artistic Pilgrimage to Nashville, his annual exhibition at The Arts Company in Nashville

With one note added to all of this activity:  He has had seven stays in the hospital, with a couple of follow-up rehabilitation residencies.  Even in the hospital, he kept thinking visually.  Through all of the rigors of his body giving him troubles, he has remained focused on his artwork, which is his way of expressing his spiritual faith and his faith in the value of his life’s work.  His work, you might say, continues to sustain him and lift him up.

This recent small icon was inspired by the ceiling tiles in one of his hospital stays in recent months.
For Brother Mel, all of the events, accolades, health challenges, and artistic production are all providential.  Things happen as a result of what you do.  In that way, his faith is his unwobbling pivot, the center of his spiritual and artistic commitment.  His art is what he makes to express that commitment and to connect his visual ideas—whether trivial or intense—with the rest of us.

We welcome you to come sit in Brother Mel’s Reading Chair that we commissioned for this exhibition.  We might even roll you up and down 5th Avenue of the Arts in it—in Brother Mel style.

A few of these very recent tissue paintings will be part of Brother Mel's Nashville exhibition.

This exhibition offers a quick survey of the highlights of Brother Mel’s 83rd year.  And remind yourself of how neat it is to have such an artist living and working among us, eager to keep bringing new visual insights to us six days a week, 52 weeks of the year.

Brother Mel in his "Reading Chair"

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Some Firsts for the Nashville Arts Scene

The Eight Lenses and a Code photography exhibition and accompanying Festival of Salon Saturdays is now midway through a two-month run at The Arts Company.

Presented jointly by The Arts Company and South Light Salon, a group of Nashville-based photographers focused on the influence of southern light in their work, it took some three to four months of weekly meetings in advance between the photographers and the gallery to figure out how to present the art of photography in some new ways. All that time in planning has paid off.

The Arts Company has presented photography since day one, but never with the kind of consistent response and commentary this exhibition has attracted. It is hard to single out the highlights to date or to predict them for this next month. We have had unexpected large crowds for every event, plus much ado in the press on and off line. What all of this activity tells us is that there is something compelling about this series of programs.

Introducing the idea of the QR Code Reader set the series up with new ways to think about linking photography with new technology. The QR Code as part of every photographer's body of work was assumed at the beginning. How they each incorporated this new dimension to their photographs was up to each of them. Some used videos, some recordings only, and others used words and music to add to their images. Some were whimsical, some were serious, but all were inventive and interesting. That set the tone for the whole series of events.

The first preview session with the South Light Salon photographers, hosted by Paul Polycarpou, executive editor of Nashville Arts Magazine, laid out clearly the various kinds of depth of passion and intention these particular artists have brought to this exhibition.

It is a no brainer to single out the impact of Sylvia Plachy when she came as the group's legendary guest photographer for the first Salon Saturday event a couple of weeks ago to talk about her outstanding career as a photographer with the Village Voice, as well as more recently with the New Yorker and other publications. The many books of her work are now collectors' items. Her presentation transported the some 100 folks at the gallery that particular Saturday afternoon to another world. Having met her and learned from her, everyone there that day had a sense that she embodied a world of experience and insight all unto herself, fitting her life and her art together seamlessly.

The second Salon Saturday attracted some 80 guests to learn from South Light Photographer Robert McCurley about street photography in a "Taking It To the Street" session upstairs at the gallery, culminating in breaking up the group with some of the other South Light photographers and sending them out to do some of their own street photography. We hope to have some of the results up on Facebook very soon.

The good news is that we are only half way there. There is yet another month of exhibits and Salon Saturday Festival activities planned. Our Collectors Art Night scheduled for Friday, February 3, (5:30-6:45) will feature three outstanding Nashville photography collectors, hosted by Jerry Atnip, a master photographer himself, talking about what kind of photography each of them collects and why. Billy Frist and David Conrad, both photography aficionados, and Jack Spencer, a legendary Nashville-based photographer who also collects other photography he admires.

And then there is the First Saturday Art Crawl on Saturday, February 4 (6-9 pm). The entire photography exhibit will be installed Upstairs at The Arts Company, a great environment for viewing and talking about artwork. Nine folks selected for a Portfolio Review by the group will present their work.

Following that, the next two February Saturdays are filled with the last two scheduled Salon Saturdays. On Saturday, February 11, 2-4 pm, Robert McCurley will mix it up with some of his photographs, his own related poetry, and the poetry of two other Nashville poets--Randy Foster and Amy E. Hall, followed by an art film. The idea is to connect the dots among these art forms, making it another special Saturday afternoon destination for those of us wishing to cross the lines from one art form to another.

And yet, like the late night commercials say, "and yet there's more...." The Closing Celebration Event for the two-month extravaganza is scheduled for Saturday, February 18, 5:30-7:30 pm. It will be a celebration of the fact that this ambitious exhibition cycle did come to pass and did do what everyone involved with it hoped it would do--get the art of photography connected with more people.

A couple of things you should know:

All events are free, but reservations are required. We have just so much space, and that's it. See below what to do to RSVP.

If you have not read Joe Nolan's comments on the exhibit in this weeks Nashville Scene, we are attaching it here. It is an outstanding example of how a really good reviewer can help you know something about exhibits. He is a writer who looks carefully and writes well about what he reviews an exhibit. This is well worth your time. You will learn something about the exhibit and about Joe's well-deserved reputation as a reviewer. Here's the link:

The only other thing you need to know is dates and times and the RSVP reservation contact. For that, go to to find the complete schedule of events. To RSVP for any event of your choice, or 615-254-2040.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Arts Company on 5th Avenue of the Arts Since 1996

Since 1996, we have become over the years a Nashville kind of place--always welcoming outsiders to Nashville and inviting Nashville insiders back downtown. We have introduced a lot of artists and artwork, made lots of friends, and taken on a lot of Partners in Art, helping businesses outfit their workplaces in distinctive ways. We have become an artistic concierge of sorts for Nashvillians as well as visitors.

We invite you to come drink a toast with us this Saturday, December 3, 6-9 pm, to help us celebrate our 15 years of presenting art in the middle of downtown Nashville. We'll be looking back and thinking forward.

We started as a lone gallery downtown. Looking forward, we are now in league with a variety of other nearby galleries and artistic enterprises on what we proudly call 5th Avenue of the Arts.

We are 15 years in the making...and counting, thanks to our friends, artists, business partners, and other art aficionados. Surely you fit one of those categories, so come join us for more time together with art and artists in a neat city.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Butterflies and space time, new art from gallery artists, and welcoming the new Parnassus Books to Nashville--It's all in a night's work...

The Art & Science of Space Time / Tony Breuer

Tony Breuer is returning to The Arts Company in October to present his new artistic commentary on the ways aesthetics and science intersect in space time, based on the leading physical theory of our time, the theory of relativity. This year, he has chosen the annual flight of the Monarch butterfly to demonstrate artistically through his paintings how time, light, and space move in and out of each other in the midst of the annual flight of a fragile but resilient insect.

Breuer's own artist statement about this exhibit sets the stage: "This series celebrates the Monarchs fluttering through spacetime on a wing and a prayer--a miracle--definitely a miracle," noting that "The Monarch butterfly undergoes a complete metamorphosis from caterpillar to butterfly capable of flying, with no training, within minutes of emerging from its chrysalis." Breuer's attraction to the beauty, fragility, and science of his subject prompted him as an artist to portray the fragile but powerful phenomenon of Monarch butterflies. The canvases in the exhibit offer a progression of studies of the intertwining shapes of physical movement and the movement of light that surrounds the butterflies in their flight.

This series of paintings are best viewed as they were created, in a series from one to eight, with two additional pieces focused on the same subject.

Tony Breuer began his professional life as a magna cum laude graduate at Princeton University, continuing his studies in neurological research at Oxford, and receiving his M.D. at Harvard Medical School. His medical career included the practice of medicine as well as research in neurology. For a few years he practiced medicine in Nashville. In the 1990s, he joined his scientific interests with his training in art, receiving a BA from the University of Southern Indiana in 1998, followed by an MFA in painting from East Carolina University in 2003. Since then, he has continued his medical practice while beginning to develop his style and technique as a painter. His paintings are devoted to his exploration of how two-dimensional paintings can represent some of the more complex multi-dimensional realities of the physical universe.

For years now, Tony has been transitioning from being a practicing neurologist to becoming a full-time practicing artist. Early next year, his time will be devoted fully to his artwork. he particularly enjoys talking about his work and what he hopes to achieve through his painting. Don't miss this opportunity to visit with this emerging artist.

Ann Patchett moves the Mount of Parnassus to Nashville

Friends of The Arts Company will know that new bookstores don't just pop up these days. It takes thought, courage, and commitment to the value of books themselves and to the role of books and reading in the life of a community. Within the last year, Nashville has lost all Border Books locations, plus the independent Davis-Kidd landmark store. Those losses, mixed with the recession, painted a bleak picture for the future of books in Nashville. However, instead of gloom and doom, a couple of folks saw an opportunity to put together a new book store concept designed by Nashvillians for Nashvillians.

Thinking mythically, they went to the higher reaches of mythology to brand their enterprise "Parnassus Books," after Mount Parnassus, a high mountain considered to be sacred by the ancient Greeks, a mountain associated with Apollo and the Muses, symbolizing poetry. Reaching high, they are bringing the mountain to Nashville.

Only famed Nashville-based writer Ann Patchett and her colleagues could pull off such a feat. Her total passion for writing and the inestimable value of books has prompted her to provide the primary financing for Nashville's forthcoming Parnassus Books. Tagged as "An Independent Book Store for Independent People," this new enterprise is making its debut against all odds of the shifting landscape of books and bookstores.

When Patchett and Karen Hayes, an experienced and savvy book professional, met and began to talk about what it would take to pull off a new approach to developing a book store, the gods were moving fast to keep up with them. Patchett made the initial financial commitment to support Hayes' business plan, and when they added another consummate book professional, Mary Grey James, as store manager, the new enterprise was on its way.

Lucky for guests of The Arts Company, the three of them will be at the gallery during the October First Saturday, October 1. Ann Patchett will sign her own books from 6-9 pm, and Karen and Mary Grey will be there to show off the plans and to recruit new Founding Members for the new store. Part of their new concept is an invitation to all Nashvillians to become founding members.

Ann and Karen and Mary Grey are bringing the heights of Mount Parnassus directly to us right here in our own city. And they are inviting us personally to participate in this new venture. Don't forget to thank them. Come join in to show your support for this enterprising new business.

And if that's not enough, the October First Saturday promises even more new artwork and more artists to meet...

Charles Keiger, painter

Charles Keiger's exhibit of his signature magical realism paintings in the exhibit Inside Out will continue through October 15. These paintings are polished, engaging, and deeply southern in their narrative feel and content. They are like reading the best Eudora Welty short stories in a visual incarnation. You will not want to miss seeing these gems. The images will linger in your mind....

Bernice Davidson, sculpture and painting

On rare occasion, we get new work from Bernice Davidson, as her time allows in addition to her responsibilities as head of the art department at Martin College. Armed with a master's degree in art from Yale, plus a long-time residency in Tennessee, she observes nature with a keen eye and wit. She will be presenting six new pieces from her mixed-media sculpture series, 4th Dimension Sculpture.

Edie Maney, painting

While Edie Maney does not regularly showcase her paintings at The Arts Company, we have asked her to share her series of Squares, groups of small, lively abstract paintings based on her travels and observations. They will capture your eyeballs on contact, but do not overlook the titles of each piece. Each one is an intentional abstraction of something she has seen. Her work is adventurous and exciting.

Judy Nebhut, photography

We first showcased Judy Nebhut's classy still life photographs just about a year ago. She has added a few new images to her collection that you will not want to miss. She creates a variety of still lifes using ingredients from marbles to sunflowers to stacks of books and paints them through her camera lens. On first look, you will swear you are looking at a painting. She has a style all her own, and she continues to hone it to perfection. There is a classic sense of joy in her work.

And that is a lot of what First Saturdays are like every month at The Arts Company--fresh, original, and contemporary....

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Inside Out: New Paintings by Charles Keiger

Charles Keiger's paintings are great fun at first glance, and even more interesting when you try to figure out what the heck is going on. They blend a semblance of normal reality, obvious at first glance, with many mysterious and intriguing moments happening around the persons, objects, and activities presented.

Keiger paints inside out. He presents inside feelings and observations we all experience—the unspoken kind that go on inside the minds of each of us constantly—and shows how odd these feelings and thoughts seem when presented as part of the subject’s life in the real world. He often adds clues etched or carved into the frames that he builds for many of the paintings.

In each painting, people share the stage with the objects of their feelings or dreams or emotions. Keiger selects specific details from the tableaux he creates and presents them in larger-than-life images out of proportion to the setting. All of the pieces are there for the viewer to put together. A sense of fun, mystery, drama, and subtlety prevail.

Keiger builds in multiple objects or images and leaves them for the viewer to find all of the clues he painstakingly includes. It’s no wonder that his work continues to be fresh and mysterious. There’s never an answer to his work, only a continuing adventure with the clues he has left for us.

Keiger's words express it best: "As a person I am attracted to those absurd moments in life that offer a sense of clarity. Those brief occasions that occur where you say to yourself, 'I am overjoyed to be a part of thing called life.' When I paint I attempt to convey that emotional state to the viewer."

Known as a painter with a combination of southern gothic and magical realism, Charles Keiger is a painter with a southern sensibility--the isolated guitar players, the dog and pony show (above), the big piece of "Sunday night cake" in the sky, the jockey urging his horse across the jet stream in the sky like a modern-day Icarus. The more you look at the paintings, the more the connections are suggested between the paintings and the best of southern writing. Playful and serious like a Eudora Welty story, but never in the darker territory of a Faulkner story or the more sinister characters in Flannery O'Connor.

Keiger's figures are ordinary people stopped still in a particular moment while the artist shows outside what's going on inside--some fantasy or the other, or a narrative of disjointed images that express visually a state of mind or the crux of a particular situation or emotion. His style is reminiscent of Magritte, though not quite as stark. There's a whole lot of story-telling going on in Keiger's paintings.

Chances are you will be attracted to these paintings at first sight. You will be drawn to their elegance, wit, and mystery, and about how feelings often come at us in strange ways that are deeply felt, but often go unspoken. It takes a painter to show us new ways to think visually. When all is said and done, the paintings remain paintings. The narratives are never finished, only suggested. They are fresh every time you look at them.

Charles will be in town for the exhibit opening:
Saturday, September 3, 2011, 6-9 pm
at The Arts Company
215 5th Avenue of the Arts, North