MELLOW MOUNTAIN COALITION David Lusk Gallery CV
Memphis, TN | Painting, Drawing
In the spring of 2008 Hamlett Dobbins and Tad Lauritzen Wright bought two nice, big Holbein sketchbooks to share. In the spirit of friendship they traded these books back and forth for many years. One of them would start a drawing, laying down a riff, and the other would respond following the other’s lead. From time to time they would meet in Hamlett’s studio to paint and visit. In 2010 Mellow Mountain Coalition was included in a group show of collaborative work, We Like Each Other, at Concordia University in Seward, Nebraska and in 2013 they were in Co-lab at Kevin Mitchell’s Nu Gallery on Broad and in All My Rowdy Friends at Mark Nowell’s Rozelle Warehouse. That same year Mellow Mountain Coalition were shown at the Leu Art Gallery at Belmont University in Nashville. When Hamlett returned from Rome in August of 2014, he and Tad began meeting more regularly. Once their kids are dropped off at school the two hole up in the sweet little studio behind Tad's house. They listen to loud music, tell each other inappropriate stories, and paint together. In the winter of 2015 they had their first solo show a Glitch, an alternative space run by Adam Farmer in Memphis.
“In the spirit of friendship we pass these things back and forth.”
Mellow Mountain Coalition is Hamlett Dobbins and Tad Lauritzen Wright working in collaboration. The two meet in Tad’s studio to listen to loud music, tell inappropriate stories, and make art. With each meeting their respective roles change. One day Hamlett might be the starter and Tad the finisher. The next day Hamlett may be the one that fucks things up and cuts into old drawings while Tad picks up the pieces and finds the resolution. It depends entirely on a host of variables: the phase of the moon, their blood sugar/caffeine levels, what’s playing on the stereo, and the temperature of the studio that morning. The collaborations allow the two established Memphis artists to play with the other’s arsenal of visual tools and tropes. Hamlett and Tad have to temper their decisions based on the other’s temperament and speed. The responses are usually quick and done on the spot standing around a worktable. In the drawings the viewer can see little bits of Hamlett and Tad’s particular vocabulary often giving way to a third more peculiar presence. That third presence is the heart of collaboration. It is where the viewer glimpses the pre-verbal, visual conversation between two old friends.