On a cold evening this past February, I paid my first visit to Southfork: a single-room gallery in Midtown and something of a sleeper among the city’s house galleries. Southfork is also (and more usually) the home of Lauren Kennedy, whose work with Ballet Memphis was recently spotlighted in the Flyer’s 20<30 issue.
Kennedy’s apartment is modestly sized and warmly decorated. The Southfork space occupies its own room, but Kennedy encourages artists to respond to as much of her apartment as they like. The signage for the Southfork’s current exhibition of two Texan artists — a tableau illustrated with portraits of the collaborators and their pseudonym, “Chuck + George” — hangs in Kennedy’s dining room next to unrelated posters and tchotchkes.
Kennedy founded Southfork in 2012 with the idea of a running a space where her daily life and her work with art can interact. “For the last show,” Kennedy says, "the artists worked a photo of my grandmother that means the world to me into their installation. I really love that.”
Which is not to say that the Southfork project is entirely dictated by the home-gallery aspect. Rather, Southfork, like Adam Farmer’s GLITCH or Joel Parsons’ Beige, provides artists who otherwise would exhibit at white box galleries or sterile museums with the opportunity to create and show work in an environment activated by a living space. Southfork has recently hosted micro solo shows by up-and-coming New York- and Chicago-based artists Jay Shinn and Heyd Fontenot.
The current Chuck + George (monikers of Brian K. Jones and Brian K. Scott) installation was originally created for a space at the University of Arkansas but was modified to fit Southfork, and will run there until the end of April. Kennedy says, “I love how [this show] fits kind of awkwardly in the space because it wasn't made for Southfork … because the images are all self portraits and the work really does feel reflective of each of their personalities and the nature of their long standing relationship.
"And,” she adds, “I love how Beetlejuice-y it feels."
Don’t miss "Cerebral Settings" tonight from 6 to 11 p.m. at GLITCH (2180 Cowden).
Brooklyn-based sculptor Esther Ruiz will present a series of “imagined landscapes” inspired by “space operas, pop culture, geometry, and the setting sun.” Her landscapes — miniature geometric line drawings and brightly colored plexiglass tableaus — are backed up by a series of star-scape murals by painter (and GLITCH founder) Adam Farmer, as well as soundscapes by musician Todd Chappell.
When I stopped by GLITCH earlier this week, Farmer and Ruiz were busy figuring out where to plug in a yellow neon orb (Ruiz, laughing: “I’m not sure if this sculpture is finished”) and how exactly the guest book — an old legal pad — should be attached to one of the walls. The remnants of last month's show by digital artist Lance Turner were mostly concealed beneath the more minimal ("cerebral") current display. Painted blue cardboard, left over from Tyler Hildebrand's November installation served as a light-blocker for windows.
Ruiz is a Rhodes graduate and Houston native who has made her mark in New York upstart galleries such Brooklyn Wayfarers and Airplane Gallery. She has also shown locally at David Lusk. Her strange, compact figurations make reference to digital odysseys and sand gardens, Los Angeles swimming pools and futuristic fictions. They bring out a clean, meditative aspect in the post-psychedelic GLITCH space.
Painter and Material Art Space founder Hamlett Dobbins has been spent the last several months in Italy, having been selected for a prestigious fellowship at the American Academy in Rome.
Tonight, Dobbins' "The Attendant," which includes he's created during the fellowship, opens at David Lusk Gallery.
Dobbins took the time to discuss his work and the fellowship with Exhibit M.
It seems as you went from working in a largely curatorial role in Memphis to being able to totally focus on your own work in Rome. How has this been for you? What are you working on? What are you looking forward to?
I've always been a person who has done a number of things: running Material Art Space, curating and teaching at Rhodes, being a parent and a painter. I'm not a parent who teaches or a curator who paints; I see all these things as one practice. I am just doing what I need to do to be a whole person living a full life in art.
That said, this time has been interesting to just focus on painting. I spend my other time with the brilliant and generous Rome Prize Fellows who are here with me. This is a magical place, it really is. I haven't made any huge changes to the work I do in the studio, aside from savoring this amazing gift of time. It allows me to take more chances, re-investigate old paths while exploring new ones. I'm looking forward to seeing the two dozen new paintings in the space there at David Lusk Gallery and seeing how they interact with one another.