A “sustained” art practice does not mean unrelenting individual productivity. It can look that way, but sustainability is highly dependent on the quality of connection (it’s defined by this really). A sustained art practice requires time, space, materials, focus, pauses to absorb and digest new experiences, and phases of rest. Art practice is also sustained through impactful and meaningful exchanges that locate artists in something we often call “community.” This word is never clearly defined, but artists are compelled to actualize it anyway through a belief in art, a desire to exchange ideas and skills, and affect the world through their work.
We approached artists with well-developed practices, who also put a lot of their time and energy into elevating art in Chattanooga. When asked the question, “Who do you sustain, and who sustains you?” no one was confused by what we meant. They named artists with whom they had meaningful and impactful exchanges. Those artists were also brought into the show. The result is groupings of artists from different circles in Chattanooga whose work is already in dialogue, through actual conversation, mentorship, or collaboration - with some overlap, and connections that we didn’t anticipate.
Some prominent themes and connections within the exhibition are: immersion in landscape through a long process of looking and mark making; reclaiming agency in representation and personal narrative; seductive materiality referencing the body; references to the mundane; unstable “thinging;” contextualizing and stabilizing motion through scale.
We intend to not only highlight some intersecting art practices in Chattanooga, but also create an opportunity for artists to gather, see their work in dialogue, and feel like a part of their community in a physical space. As we navigate our way out of the pandemic quarantine with hope and wisdom, this is a time to reemerge, reconnect, and celebrate.
Alecia Vera, Angela Dittmar, Botany Rain, CC Calloway, Eden Anyabwile, Edward Kellogg, Isaac Duncan III, Jeff Morton, Kirby Miles, Kris Bespalec, Ron Buffington, Rondell Crier, Stephanie Loggans, Victoria Sauer, William Johnson
ABOUT THE LOCAL SERIES
Chattanooga Local is part of a Tennessee-centric, Tri-Star Arts exhibition series. It highlights the work of hometown artists selected by guest curators from the same city. The series offers the chance to celebrate the depth of the Tennessee art scene through the eyes of the curators. It is an extension of the vision of Tri-Star Arts to spotlight and grow the contemporary visual arts in the state.