THE FOCUS

Clare Grill was the Artist in Residence at the School of Art in Knoxville Tennessee this past semester. As a working artist in NYC, she came to UT to teach classes for undergrad and graduate students. I first heard Clare Grill talk about her work at a artist lecture held by the university. I was intrigued by her willingness to be vulnerable about her process in making her work as well as her journey to where she is now. This...

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Rachel Bubis: As a TN native who has been living and working here many years as an artist and curator, how do you take the temperature of the current art scene in TN? Do you notice any similarities or differences between the Memphis and Nashville communities? Hamlett Dobbins: I haven’t been able to travel as much as I used to when I was working as a curator. I think the energy and activism in the Memphis art community ebbs an...

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Rachel Bubis: You’re a Painter. But you seem to approach painting in a very specific and deliberate way, with the intention of re-contextualizing the medium. Would you say this is accurate? John Tallman: Yes, that’s right. If we unpack this specificity in terms painting, I would say it started with [Jackson] Pollock. Pollock took paint as it was, he didn’t try to falsify the characteristics of the paint. He put the liquidity in the center of his wo...

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Rachel Bubis: Your work explores the nature of photography as a medium, specifically, its  “failure due to an inherent nostalgia.” Can you talk more about this? Sarah Phyllis Smith: At the heart of it I think I’m interested in our relationship to photographic images, and that’s mostly in reference to personal photographs. Why do we feel compelled to take the photos that we do and what happens in us that makes us reach for our cameras and decide t...

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McLean Fahnestock: I wanted to talk to you because I am really interested in your work. I work a lot with appropriated images and I was struck by the surveillance images that you have been using for a long time now, in the different photographic processes, and how that has evolved over the past 15 years. You began manipulating images of airplanes in C-prints to now you are creating digitally manipulated patterns -- I don’t know if you call them co...

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Amelia Briggs: Can you talk about your use of synthetic hair and how you got started using this material?  Althea Murphy-Price: When I first begin exploring hair in my artwork, I used only my own hair. When I did this I always felt the work was bound to my biography and I wasn’t satisfied with the way the narrative became directed at me instead of a larger discussion about identity and society. In my adolescence I...

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Note: Jessica Wohl spoke with Eleanor Aldrich four days before the 2016 presidential election at her show "Love Thy Neighbor" at Sewanee's University Art Gallery. Eleanor Aldrich: Formalism is often thought of as apolitical, where as illustration can border on the didactic- how do you reconcile these in your work? Jessica Wohl: I was actually an illustration major in college, but as I graduated I instantly began distancing myself from that and realized that the work I was making was...

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McLean Fahnestock: So what brought you to Memphis? Jesse Butcher:  Corkey and I moved down -- Corkey Sinks is my wife, she's from Dallas. I was actually born in Memphis but I grew up in Jackson, Mississippi. We met while we were both living in Texas while maintaining our own studio practices. Both of us were curating shows for smaller independent galleries. And then both of us did our graduate degrees in Chicago. I was teaching in Chicago for...

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