Issue December 13, 2011

Art: Local artwork makes merry

Faulkner Gallery offers up ‘Holiday Artist Showcase’

With the New Year approaching, we naturally take a moment to acknowledge the people who have made the last year successful. In this spirit, Tim Faulkner Gallery has a “Holiday Artist Showcase” on view. The show features more than two dozen artists, the stable of the Tim Faulkner Gallery, many of whom have been represented in solo or group shows throughout the year. But whereas past shows have intermingled artwork, the showcase gives each artist an area where their paintings — or photographs and collages — can hang together. The brightly colored walls of the gallery create a snapshot of each artist’s oeuvre.

“We have so much space to showcase, it’s a great time to highlight everyone who has been supportive of us over the past year,” says Margaret Archambault Spivey, director of the gallery.

There is a range of work, most of it produced by local artists. Beginning with the assemblage wall hangings of Ryan Hall — who makes art from objects he finds in the alleys of the Highlands — you pass oil paintings and watercolors, move through a hallway of waxed collages reminiscent of kaleidoscopes, and eventually land in a bright yellow room standing next to the polished graphics of the street artist Denz.

Denz’s wall pieces exhibit the same style as the graffiti he’s known for. The colorful letterforms are enhanced with messages written in perfect penmanship, yet backward. A mirror is provided, which gallery-goers are encouraged to use in order to read the messages. Below the paintings are Denz-styled toasters, hollowed out of their electronics and transformed into purses. With our eyes so accustomed to seeing street culture appropriated into commercial fashion, it is refreshing to see Denz’s creativity and ingenuity applied to everyday objects.

Also in the northern room, two panels hang between windows. The daylight sun overpowers their cloudy images, but it’s worth stepping forward to investigate the works of Scott Griffin. Layered resin covers images and paint, creating a dreamy quality. A modeled depth is formed, generating a sensation of being in an aquarium, or in the theatrical worlds created in restaurants and bars of the ’50s and ’60s, when layers of bric-a-brac created themes and fantasies. It’s a far cry from the polished wood and sleek lines in vogue today.

Griffin is one of a few artists who do not live in Louisville. He was introduced to the gallery via James Russell May, an artist whose work is featured prominently in the showcase. May has lived in Louisville for more than a decade, but went to college with Griffin in Georgia. May’s paintings, both his figurative and abstract work, are done in oil but are treated in a way that creates a diffused color similar to the results from watercolor paints, with tones bleeding into one another. The works are completed with a thick glossy finish. The coating on both Griffin and May’s work shows the influences of their long friendship.

For sculpture lovers, there are the masks and marionettes of Patrick White, who also has an installation of goats, standing in a circle, in a seeming nod to horror-movie makers like Guillermo del Toro. Less foreboding are the “man jugs” of Eric Phagan, ceramic vessels with heavy use of drawing lines — almost charcoal sketches morphed into three-dimensional forms.

If you are interested in seeing the show but are busy most weekdays, you are in luck, because the Tim Faulkner Gallery stays open late on Friday and Saturday. Art lovers can stop by after a dinner downtown, and the gallery often features music, too. Functioning as a gallery as well as a meeting place, the space blends socializing and art viewing. In fact, the Zanclopera Trio will be playing on Saturday.

“The gallery makes it possible for artists to hang and sell work. It is a place where people can come, listen to music, buy and talk about the art surrounding them,” says owner Tim Faulkner.

If you are curious about what artists in Louisville are producing, are motivated by nostalgia of past visits to the gallery, or are simply propelled to see something new, head down to Market Street.

‘Holiday Artist Showcase’
Through Jan. 2
Tim Faulkner Gallery
632 E. Market St. • 851-2380
timfaulknergallery.com