Joshua Sevits Spanish Art acrylic on canvas

Joshua Sevits
Spanish Art
acrylic on canvas

COOP is proud to present The Thing Itself, an exhibit of paintings in the genre of still life. Seven artists, hailing from across the U.S., represent a range of unique, current approaches to this traditional theme. Hosted by Track 13 in Cummins Station, the exhibit will be on view from November 4th through December 3rd, 2016.

Still life painting may appear uncomplicated: things sit on other things. Fruit rests on a table; vases occupy a shelf. Yet, in the hands of these seven artists, the seeming simplicity of still life is revealed to offer a wide range of formal and conceptual possibilities. In turns, objects act as landmarks of a moment in history, as animated vessels with lives of their own, or as ghostly purveyors of nostalgia. The universality of these objects allows them to embody human need and desire as well as serve as a lexicon of human experience. Far from passive, each object sits on and in relationship to other forms, in relationship to the painter, and, finally, to the viewer of the painting.

In the spare and distanced views of Justin R. Webb, Renaissance precision meets modern life. Clearly defined forms repeat throughout his works as a recurring cast of characters in varying scenarios. Subtle arrangements play with geometric formations and perspective as objects lean, lay, and line up in dynamic ways. Webb’s work has been exhibited at Trestle Gallery, NY; The Fleisher Art Memorial, PA; and The Asheville Art Museum, NC. He lives and works in Philadelphia, PA.

Holly Coulis’ paintings offer a placid first impression belying the complexity of the visual language used. She describes her forms alternatively through modeled color, flat shape, and linear contours, deftly transitioning and integrating these. Since earning an MFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Coulis, originally from Toronto, has been living and working in Brooklyn, NY.  She has exhibited widely including at Cherry and Martin, LA, Susanne Hilberry Gallery, Detroit, and multiple venues in New York and elsewhere.

Ben Sanders employs a wide range of vernacular and paint handling techniques. From wet-on-wet to collaging of painted strokes and 3d objects, still life becomes a scaffold on which to build playful and layered images. Living and working in Los Angeles, Sanders earned a BFA from The Art Center College of Design. Along with painting, his practice includes sculpture, creative direction for photography, illustration and throwing experimental cocktail parties.

Joshua Sevits’ tightly cropped compositions are understated and quietly idiosyncratic. An elegant vase matches the scale of the chair in front of it while elsewhere a skull demures behind the leaves of a plant. With time, the paintings grow more charged as seemingly nonchalant arrangements fill with mysterious import. Born and raised in NYC, Sevits earned a BFA from School of the Visual Arts. He has been living and working in central Vermont for the past several years while completing his MFA at Lesley University College of Art & Design.

Los Angeles-based Dustin Metz captures objects in painterly terms that suggest imagined encounters, blurred memory, or half-lit visions of the future. His saturated palette and layered surfaces cut through cool reserve drawing the viewer into intimate territory. Co-founder of Ms. Barber’s, an artist run gallery in LA, Metz received an MFA from Rutgers University in 2012 and his BFA from Tyler School of Art at Temple University in 2007.

Most recently exhibiting at Half Gallery in New York City, Ginny Casey depicts objects with spirited presence. In works that could keep company with paintings of Morandi and diChirico,  vases with secretive eyes and disembodied hands invite viewers into the hidden life of the object. Casey lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. She earned an MFA from Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI, after completing a BFA at The College of Saint Rose, Albany, NY.  Casey has exhibited widely from New York and Philadelphia to New Mexico.

Rubens Ghenov offers the most abstracted approach in this exhibit with geometric shapes and subtle color combinations which at times infer objecthood without designating specific forms.  When considered in the context of still life, these paintings seem to take as their subject the foreshadowing or memory of a common form, often used but rarely considered, felt rather than seen. Ghenov, originally from Brazil, completed an MFA Painting at Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI in 2010 and a BFA Painting at Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia in 1999.  His work has been exhibited nationally including, most recently, at Morgan Lehman Gallery, New York.

COOP will host an Opening Reception at Track 13 on second Saturday November 12th, 6-9pm. A Closing Reception will take place on December 3rd, 6-9pm, during the first Saturday Nashville Art Crawl.

This exhibition is curated by CAMPFIRE: a subgroup of the curatorial collective, COOP in Nashville, TN. CAMPFIRE is a group of artists and curators focused on contemporary painting and its polymorphous terrain.