City of Knoxville Tennessee Arts CommissionAmerican Alliance of Museum


student

Ongoing

While the museum’s Higher Ground gallery celebrates our region’s art history, Currents, a new ongoing display, examines recent developments in international contemporary art. It features a selection of objects from the KMA’s growing collection by emerging and established artists currently working in East Tennessee and beyond. In this way, it represents a chronological extension and geographic expansion of Higher Ground that allows viewers to consider the achievements of area artists within a global context. As in Higher Ground, the display in Currents will be rotated periodically in order to showcase recent acquisitions.

Currents promises to serve as a vital educational resource through which area audiences can gain direct access to works reflecting a global art dialogue. It also enables viewers to examine the contributions of East Tennessee artists working today, and assess their achievements alongside those by artists from far and wide.








Media support for this exhibition is provided by:


 

Thomas Bangsted

Thomas Bangsted creates vivid, large-scale photographs made up of many individual exposures. His labor-intensive process of blending individual digital files into a single image typically takes as many as three years to complete. Last of the Dreadnoughts is one of a series in which the artist photographed surviving allied battleships from the two World Wars. He discovered that the ships had originally been painted with “Dazzle” camouflage—a special pattern designed to enable the allied ships to elude German U boats. While meticulously recreating in digital form the original camouflage patterns, the artist became fascinated by their resemblance to modern abstract paintings. Through this method of blending authentic and invented imagery into a strikingly seamless print, Bangsted underscores the increasing uncertainty of photographic information in the Digital Age.

David Bates

David Bates finds inspiration in the relationship of humans to nature. In his work he explores the cultures of the South and the Southwest as emblematic of larger American narratives. He usually paints ordinary people who work in humble professions, such as the fisher folk as we see here. To him these people embody an earlier and idealized America.

Zsolt Bodoni

Bodoni has become recognized internationally for his atmospheric, painterly canvases that evoke the violent struggles of Hungary’s past. The artist witnessed the fall of the communism in his country and the subsequent struggle to reclaim its history. His paintings depict shadowy streets, plazas, and warehouses littered with telltale remains of former regimes and signs marking the dawn of new ones. Depicting the dark interior of a massive foundry, Hall with Horses explores the practice of casting or melting down bronze sculptures by successive political regimes in order to re-write history.

Jim Dine

Dine is internationally known for his mixed media works in which he enlarges a single image from his familiar environment—boots, tools, clothing—and, in this case, a stylized human heart. He chose to mix straw with his paint in order to give the painting a sculptural surface, and to make reference to the southern Vermont landscape that inspired him.

Tomory Dodge

Dodge creates large paintings in which broad sweeps of bright pigment define primal landscapes and call attention to the physical reality of the artist’s process. For this painting, Dodge was interested in the way that prismatic colors could be used to represent in a convincing manner what he describes as the “overheated delirium” of a mirage.

Marcia Goldenstein

Goldenstein is a contemporary painter who explores power of landscape imagery to establish as sense of place and yet suggest a larger reality. One Mile is based on photographs the artist took at regular intervals on an evening walk in her North Knoxville neighborhood. She is interested in replicating faithfully in paint the abstracting effects of her camera on the landscape imagery. The stacked rows of paintings suggest a sequence of movements, as if frames in a movie. Goldenstein taught painting and drawing at the School of Art, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, from 1976 to 2014.

Charles Hinman

Hinman explores the interaction of color as it is applied to basic geometric shapes. He first achieved global acclaim during the mid 1960s for his three-dimensional paintings. They are created by stretching canvas over wooden rods. The resulting works resemble massive, faceted gems whose structure appears to vary depending on the viewing angle. Some he paints white, while others are painted several colors. In Peach Twist, the artist adds bright colors to the back edges of a white painting so that a colorful halo is reflected onto the surrounding wall.

Chris Jones

Jones creates sculptures that blend elements of the macabre and the mundane. Their complex, patchwork surfaces are composed of images from magazines, calendars, encyclopedias, and posters. This work stems from Jones’ interest in American history and life on the frontier.

Karen LaMonte

Although LaMonte’s first works were blown glass figures, she soon developed an interest in the theme of absence, and began producing ghostly cast glass sculptures in which only women’s clothing is represented. While symbolizing the female body as a vessel, the artist investigates the role of clothing as an expression of identity, and as a mediator between the human body and society. LaMonte traveled to Kyoto in 2006-07 to study the tea ceremony and kimono design. Chado stems from that experience, and reflects her new understanding of the importance of the kimono in Japanese culture. As she explains, “How the kimono is worn parallels the relationship between Japanese individuals and their society. We conceal our bodies, but also to obscure and protect our individual personalities.”

Whitney Leland

Leland has achieved national recognition for his vibrant organic abstractions. For more than four decades, he has explored the seemingly infinite possibilities offered by a limited set of variables—tangled, symmetrically arranged tentacles of color. These elements are created through a labor-intensive method of applying precise shapes of wet acrylic paint onto a flat canvas in multiple layers. Leland is one of the earliest graduates of the University of Tennessee’s art program, and studied with Walter Hollis Stevens, whose work is on view in the Higher Ground gallery across the hall on this floor.

Lauren Luloff

Luloff has achieved international attention for her ability to create delicate, expressive paintings out of non-traditional materials such as discarded fabric, glue, and bleach. Rather than using a single piece of stretched canvas, she sews and glues scraps of old bed sheets to create seemingly fragile quilt-like assemblages. Seams and wrinkles give the surface of Dark Abstraction a sculptural dimension, while areas of translucent mesh expose the painting’s substructure. Using bleach as well as oil paint, Luloff adds an overlying field of geometric patterns inspired by traditional textile designs she encountered during an artist residency in India. She often combines these patterns in ways that suggest landscape or still life imagery.

Evan Penny

Working in molded and dye-painted silicone, implanting real hair one strand at a time, Evan Penny makes figures (most often head-and-shoulders busts) at twice life size or larger. Oddly, the closer one gets to this work, the closer one looks at the details of Penny's work, the more real it appears. Penny constructs molds for the silicone by modeling clay by hand, a technique he also uses as an artist who makes props for movies. This work, a self portrait, shares with other work by Penny a sensibility that goes beyond just technological virtuosity. Through the painstaking creation of scars, blemishes and other imperfections of the body, Penny investigates human corporeality and fallibility.

Patricia Piccinini

Piccinini uses art as an arena for exploring contemporary ideas about nature. She is especially interested in modern society’s obsession with the automobile, the ways in which technology is changing society, and blurring the boundary between natural and artificial. Her works include a wide range of media, such as sculpture, video, drawing, installation, and digital prints. In addition to creating wall-mounted works like Woods using auto body materials, she is known for her hyper-real animal sculptures that suggest a genetic experiment gone awry.

Amy Pleasant

Pleasant is known for her delicately-rendered figurative paintings that suggest moments in everyday life. Here, the storyboard-like format conveys a loose sequence as if frames from a movie, snapshots from an album, or fragments from memory. The paintings are loosely based on Pleasant’s grandparent’s courtship in Knoxville’s Western Heights neighborhood during the late 1930s.

Devorah Sperber

Devorah Sperber uses groupings of ordinary objects to explore the connections between art and technology, and ways in which visible reality is perceived by the human mind. She became aware that an iconic image repeatedly seen becomes memorized to the extent that complete visual information is no longer needed for recognition to occur. By presenting images in a new medium, size, and orientation, the artist depends on audience participation through what is termed neurological priming, the ability of the viewer to decode visual patterns as an identifiable picture using mental imprints from prior viewings.

Before assembling materials into complex works of art, Sperber uses digital software to prepare her selected images—in this case, Leonardo’s Mona Lisa. After scanning an image into her computer, she reduces it to a grid of individual color pixels. The grids serve as maps for her labor-intensive process of matching each grid color using certain types of commonly available objects. The artist chose thread spools because they come in countless hues, and because of their association with issues of women’s labor. To the unaided eye, Sperber’s thread spool works appear either abstract or upside down. They resolve into something familiar only when viewed through her specially-designed acrylic gazing balls. Through this innovative approach, Sperber calls attention to the powerful hold of iconic images on the mind while creating interactive works of art that comfortably exist between past and present, abstraction and representation, and object and illusion.

Jered Sprecher

Sprecher, who teaches painting at the University of Tennessee’s School of Art, approaches his medium in ways that defy traditional notions of imagery, process, and pictorial space. His paintings present unlikely combinations of images from high and low visual cultures, whether motifs from famous paintings, architectural blueprints, or graffiti scrawls on a wall near his studio. Their original meaning and associations are often subdued, altered or lost in favor of their new role as formal devices.

The richly textured surfaces of Sprecher’s paintings are the result of his method of applying multiple layers of paint with brushes as well as spray cans. The artist also applies tape and stencils to the surface of his canvases to create precise edges that contrast sharply with loosely brushed or sprayed pigment. The resulting angular planes of color draw the eye into a fragmented, ambiguous pictorial space that appears shallow in certain areas while infinitely deep in others.

Jered Sprecher

Sprecher, who teaches painting at the University of Tennessee’s School of Art, approaches his medium in ways that defy traditional notions of imagery, process, and pictorial space. His paintings present unlikely combinations of images from high and low visual cultures, whether motifs from famous paintings, architectural blueprints, or graffiti scrawls on a wall near his studio. Their original meaning and associations are often subdued, altered or lost in favor of their new role as formal devices.

The richly textured surfaces of Sprecher’s paintings are the result of his method of applying multiple layers of paint with brushes as well as spray cans. The artist also applies tape and stencils to the surface of his canvases to create precise edges that contrast sharply with loosely brushed or sprayed pigment. The resulting angular planes of color draw the eye into a fragmented, ambiguous pictorial space that appears shallow in certain areas while infinitely deep in others.

Frank Stella

This wall relief stems from internationally renowned artist Frank Stella’s “Circuits” series, which he produced during the early 1980s. The artist assembled and painted salvaged metal scraps left over from earlier art projects to create a groundbreaking synthesis of painting and sculpture. Stella is an avid auto racing enthusiast, and the curving strips in Circuits series works such as Shards II are inspired by the shape of Formula One and NASCAR race tracks.

Charlotta Westergren

Westergren is known for her interest in painting with non-traditional materials. Here, she uses thousands of large sequins to construct a shimmering, panoramic view of an icy landscape inspired by her interest in fairy tales and her Nordic heritage.