Thursday, April 24, 2014 · 7:49 p.m.

An invitation to Front Gallery

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Nigh's wood panels represent one of many local voices on display in Front Gallery's show. (Photo: Staff)

A block or two off the beaten Main Street path, one Southside gallery is taking the opportunity this weekend to showcase both the familiar and unfamiliar talents in Chattanooga’s art scene.

Front Gallery hosts its third invitational exhibition from Dec. 1 to Dec. 15, featuring seven local artists whom gallery owners Jan Chenoweth and Roger Halligan—whose personal works are part of the collection—admire.

“We felt very strongly about [these artists’] stature in the art community,” Chenoweth said. “I think [the show] continues to be fun. There’s a nice mix of artist we discover throughout the year. It’s a growing energy, and the show to me isn’t stagnant.”

The exhibit ranges from the large-scale concrete sculpture to the small-scale resin-cast jewelry and includes work from Kem Alexander, Anderson Bailey, Mark Bradley-Shoup, Andrew Nigh, Karen Rudolph, Cathy Stetson and Dawn White.

On wood
Bradley-Shoup, Chenoweth, Nigh and Rudolph have all contributed pieces that obviously and surprisingly use wood as a platform to explore color, depth and space.

Painter Bradley-Shoup zooms in on his trademark clean studies of man-made structures with a series of miniature paintings he styles as mediations. The square blocks hold a close-up view of forms seen on a map, and even in the adjust lens, retain his unique sense of color and crispness.

Halligan's sculpture "Double Cross" stands in front of Bradley-Shoup's meditation, waiting to be hung on the wall. (Photo: Staff)

Rudolph, a metal and blacksmith, builds an ethereal collage composed of various-sized can lids. She collected metal lids from the Chattanooga Community Kitchen and rusted and coated the metal with a patina tarnish. She then bent them around a wood frame and covered the collage in a colored resin for a glossy, translucent tone.

Though the majority of her work is sculptural, Chenoweth’s pieces for the invitational show are wood panel paintings. She brings a sculptural perspective to the medium by layering coats of paint depicting doorways and windows and then sanding down the surface. The artist will feature both small and full-wall panels.

Nigh—who is best-known for his furniture and sculpture burns—stretches the boundaries of a woodworker’s discipline with an exploration of dyes on resin-covered wood panels. He begins with one color and manipulates its disbursement on the surface, repeating the process with several colors so that the strands of dye reach across the panels.

The light touches
Bailey brings a wealth of bowls, cups, teapots and vases to Front Gallery. The ceramics artist, who works with porcelain, imbues the sometimes-difficult material with a lovely whimsy. The delicate pieces feature graphite stripes, adorable details and graceful curves.

Alexander debuts her new shoes this weekend. (Photo: Staff)

White began crafting her intricate earrings and necklaces while studying at the Rhode Island School of Design. New to Chattanooga, the artist makes the richly colored resin-cast jewels, drills tiny holes in them and embroiders the pieces with thread. The oval and circular jewels are set in golden backings and either linked together with complementary pieces or hung teardrop-style from a short or long chain. 

Florida native Cathy Stetson’s series of photographs displays the range of subtle textures evident in Chattanooga’s cityscape. Nooks and crannies of buildings, signs and even street grates document the range of fabrics embedding in everyday surfaces.

Concrete big and small
Halligan, who is one of the artists in the final running for the public art project on Stringer’s Ridge, shows his freestanding concrete sculptures. He first builds a welded steel armature, then casts the structure in concrete and carves and paints the sculpture to fashion it as a natural rock formation.

On the other end of the scale, Alexander’s shoes and eggs translate the precious qualities of children’s footwear and fresh farm eggs in the surprisingly versatile medium. The sculptor brings her new pairs of red shoes to the invitational show.

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