This monthly survey highlights some of the more notable Art+Design happenings in metro Atlanta. Jerry Cullum, the winner of a 2020 Rabkin Prize for arts journalism, has written about the visual art for decades.
The rearrangement of Atlanta galleries post-pandemic, pioneered by such alternative spaces as The Bakery, continues with the recent reopening or relocation of several established commercial galleries. Although Hathaway Gallery has closed permanently, most of the galleries affected by the extended COVID-19 shutdown have survived and long since resumed regular hours. A few, such as Jackson Fine Art and Poem 88, remain on an appointment-only basis except during opening receptions for new exhibitions.
Two well-known galleries that were briefly unhoused are now adjacent to one another on Miami Circle. Marcia Wood Gallery and Mason Fine Art are staging group shows of their respective artists in independent segments of the same space. Formal opening events for both will follow as will, hopefully, website updates.
The newer Jennifer Balcos Gallery, formerly in ADAC, has staged a grand opening in its new space on Howell Mill Road with a body of work that includes Karen Schwartz’s monumental portrait of John Lewis, Jeffrey Wilcox Paclipan’s cosmic images of collaged jigsaw puzzle pieces and Sabre Esler’s striking translations into abstract wire-and-plexiglass geometry of such musical compositions as Fats Waller’s “Effervescent.” Lynx Nguyen has contributed individual works of art and a meditation space in which the walls are covered with lines of text in Bulgarian.
Shawn Vinson, who’s shown his artists’ work in various spaces since closing his eponymous Decatur Square location in 2008, has inaugurated the Waddi ATL on Waddell Street in Inman Park. The spectacular 3 SOUTHERN ARTISTS (through July 31) features new work by the well-known Ab the Flagman, little-known panorama-format paintings by the late Cabbagetown artist Panorama Ray (none of his celebrated panorama photos are here) and fascinating text-filled paintings by Harry Underwood. Underwood, a Tennessee outsider artist, is devoted to the philosophical question of how we achieve certainty. One painting describes it as “a phenomenon soaked in the diary of a waterfall.” Vinson is still the gallerist behind Different Trains on Decatur’s Howard Avenue and and DTG2 at Cornerstone Bank of Decatur on Clairemont Avenue.
Jamie Steele’s Peachtree Hills gallery Camayuhs is in its final months after several years of distinguished exhibitions, but only because Steele is in transition between spaces. By early fall, she and her business partners plan to open a not-yet-named gallery on Edgewood Avenue, not far from Whitespace and The WADDI, thus turning that stretch of Inman Park / O4W borderland into a new destination zone for contemporary art.
Camayuhs’ next-to-the-last exhibition, SKINFLOWER, is open through July 10 by appointment. Curated by independent writer and curator Logan Lockner, it presents work by African American artists Marcellus Armstrong of Philadelphia and Atlantan Caleb Jamel Brown.
Brown’s experiments in craft techniques historically associated with Black women combine poetic titles with unusual media. BLACKMETAL: MY BODY THE TEMPLE, OUR BODY HE SUN, for example, consists of acrylic, oils, grommets, brads, studs, foundation makeup and eye shadow on handmade paper upcycled from packing materials.
Armstrong’s research into past and present representations of Black men with flowers has also have led him in poetic and unexpected directions. His BOUQUET, ODE TO MY WHITE REFRIGERATOR consists of “netting, resin, chocolate wrappers, bleeding hearts, wire hanger and baby’s breath.” This description’s ambiguous use of the names of the dried flowers included in the assemblage isn’t at all accidental.
Lockner also has curated the final exhibition for Camayuhs, tentatively opening July 18, but details are not yet available.