Although several galleries are featuring strong solo shows, a considerable number of metro Atlanta galleries are continuing the summer tradition of presenting group exhibitions. While these have customarily consisted of the entire range of gallery artists, the groups have now become much more differently defined, as these notes will indicate.
Anyone who was intrigued by the work in the recent Spruill Gallery exhibition Matri-ARC by Lauren Betty, Linda Mitchell, Corrina Sephora, Susan Ker-Seymer and Marinelly Piñango can see a more comprehensive selection of their work at Gallery 378 through July 30. Coterie is based on their conversations as a critique group of artists at the Goat Farm Arts Center.
In addition, those who missed Eleanor Neal’s remarkable exhibition In Autumn, I am the Color of Mahogany at Hambidge Cross-Pollination Art Lab are given a second chance in Coterie to see a wide range of her “eco-prints”; they incorporate fluid networks of Spanish moss and other plants from the Georgia landscape. The other artists are exhibiting a very different body of work from the pieces in Matri-ARC, installed in sometimes provocative juxtapositions.
At the downtown space Cat Eye Creative for the remainder of the summer, Refresh reflects the philosophy of gallery owner Adam Crawford, who regularly curates exhibitions of emerging artists, each show designed to appeal to a range of audiences interested in acquiring affordable, interesting art representing a variety of aesthetics.
One of the stronger moments of Refresh and of the preceding show, Lucy Luckovich‘s Cherry Picking series of oil paintings, consists of subtle subversions of the still-life genre. The punning title alludes to the choice of an obvious still-life combination — fruit, fabric and light-reflective objects — designed to show off rendering skills. In this case, though, the works undercut or defeat the usual expectations for what only seems to be an ordinary arrangement of objects.
At the opposite end of the geographic and socioeconomic spectrum, a Pop-Up Shop in Town Brookhaven (closing soon, on July 24) has been setting out to attract casual passersby to a variety of art, mostly tailored to its likely audience. Sabre Esler’s installation After the Rain is one of several more challenging, though scarcely controversial, exceptions, combining as it does a recording of John Coltrane’s music with an abstract hanging sculpture related to the structure of Coltrane’s composition.
The odd dynamics of summer exhibitions mean that Thomas Deans Fine Art is exhibiting a fine range of gallery artists through August 20 in Summer Pleasures, but not taking advantage of the attention that Christopher Le Brun’s major show at Lisson Gallery in London ought to bring to Deans’ own inventory of Le Brun’s work. It’s scarcely the first time that an Atlanta gallery hasn’t been positioned to wrest maximum publicity out of their association with an internationally celebrated artist.
Dr. Jerry Cullum’s reviews and essays have appeared in Art Papers magazine, Raw Vision, Art in America, ARTnews, International Journal of African-American Art and many other popular and scholarly journals. In 2020 he was awarded the Rabkin Prize for his outstanding contribution to arts journalism.