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Piece of Mind: An Interview with Erica Elle

Erica Elle is a visual artist currently based in Lawrenceville, Georgia. She is returning to her hometown, Memphis, for a one-night show at Crosstown Arts on February 17th from 6 to 10pm. In this interview, Erica tells us a bit about her process, the inspiration for her work and advice she has for emerging artists.

VM: Erica, I am so excited about your story and your work! So, you're a native Memphian now living in Georgia. Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

Well, I'm excited and grateful for you taking the time to interview me. I'm a visual artist based in Lawrenceville, Georgia focusing on two primary styles: mixed media abstract and wood stain portraits on wood. Somehow I've grown into wearing many hats as a wife, mom and entrepreneur. But overall, I'm a big kid at heart that loves to laugh, meet new people and crack dry jokes.

VM: Your paintings are fluid and organic, and the process itself is fascinating. Can you describe it for us? How did you get into this style of work? 

Thank you! Everything started in abstract for me and that came from the need to find a way of relieving stress. When I began making work, I was a stay-at-home mom to a three year old and a newborn in much need of an outlet. Ultimately my stress reliever has turned into my career. 

Mixed-medium work has always been best for me because it allows me to be as hands-on as possible. I remember getting to a point where I felt like I was improving but had not yet developed my own signature style. That's a frustrating place to be as an artist - not feeling wholly authentic. Doing research was critical in helping me find my own voice. Seeing exciting work made by other artists inspired me to work with resin to create interesting effects with paint. It also lent a glass-like finish to my work that I couldn't get from varnish. I was hooked! 

Pours filled with various types of paint and resin led to a need for a heat gun to manipulate the colors and to dry the work. The heat gun led to a blowtorch for more interesting texture. The blowtorch on alcohol-based mixtures led to all-out flames like you see in my video, creating some really nice textures that result in unique effects every time. It has been a natural progression that is just as much science as art.

VM: In your bio on your website, you talk quite a bit about your family. Do you think they factor into the type of work you are making?

ABSOLUTELY! I am a stay-at-home mompreneur by choice. But make no's hard! There is never a time when my two boys, my boxer pup and tortoise aren't around. Juggling my responsibilities to them and my husband while perfecting my craft and building a brand have pushed me to places I never would have willingly signed up to go myself. 

There have been times I have had to cancel art shows because someone was too sick. It is a stigma I have worked hard to battle against that having children holds people back professionally. It isn't true. My family is the reason I have found ways to stretch resin, design my own branding, photograph and edit my work and market and book my own shows. I make my best work literally in the middle of the everyday laughter and chaos that family life brings. 

VM: Tell us about the figures in your portraiture. Who are they and what do they represent to you? Why work on wood?

Queens. Hands down, that's what they are. Those pieces are a part of what I call "The Queen Collection." My goal is to portray strength, beauty, resilience and all the characteristics a Queen should have. Women are so beautiful and powerful. That is something that I want to convey, especially after looking at the women in my life and some of the things they were dealing with. All of my portraits are made wood because of its natural and organic characteristics.

VM: Does Memphis as a place feel significant for the work you will be showing in February at Crosstown Arts?

Yes. I did not realize until years after I left how deep of a foundation Memphis provided me. When I moved to Lawrenceville I didn't know anyone but my husband, and even our relationship was new. I had not yet discovered painting. I had no career, no degree and no friends or family except my husband and a newborn. I have navigated my way through every emotion in the book as I have found my purpose, and over these last eight years I have come to know why, as much of a struggle as it was, I had to leave. To return to Memphis with my family, on my birthday, for my first solo show doing what I love is an incredible feeling.

VM: You are a self-trained artist using an intensive process to make beautiful work. Your online presence is professional and warm. Do you have advice for budding artists, particularly those that either cannot or choose not to attend art school?

I am flattered by your kind words because I can't help but think, I'm not there yet. But I have learned that there is no substitute for doing your research. You need to know what is out there, what other artists are doing and how they're doing it. Not to copy, but to make it your own. 

Be humble but passionate about what you present to the world. Only you can sell yourself. Remember why you started and trust your journey.

The other thing I would say is don't underestimate or neglect the power of branding yourself. I do want my work to speak for itself, but as an emerging artist who may not have all the accolades, it is critical to refine and polish my presentation. Work on developing how you present your work online, in person and at shows while you work on your technique in creating the work. Your professionalism and cohesive presentation will take your catalog of work further. 

Daniel Eriksen: Straight Outta Oslo with the Arctic Slide
(image) This January 16th through 20th, blues performers hungry for glory (and for Memphis’ famed soul food, a topic that came up in every interview) will descend on Beale Street from all over the world. Each year for 34 years, the Memphis-based Blues Foundation has brought the most talented musicians from its affiliate organizations to the Bluff City to compete in the International Blues Challenge (IBC). Daniel Eriksen, representing the Oslo Bluesklubb in the solo/duo category, is one of those performers. He and I talked desert island albums, Sun Studio, and the arctic slide.

The Memphis Flyer: Memphis is a long way from home for you. Are you excited about traveling so far to compete in the IBC?
Daniel Eriksen: Yes, I love Memphis and have been here many times before. I even recorded at Sun Studio when Matt Ross-Spang worked there. I look forward to coming back. It’s a beautiful city with great food, fine people, atmosphere, and culture.
Tell us a little more about that Sun Studios record.

We had a day off while in Memphis in 2011, and found out that Sun Studio was not booked, so we booked the night. Since we only had about four or five hours, we planned on doing one or two songs that we could include on an upcoming album.
But when we listened back, the overall sound was so special that we knew it couldn’t be copied anywhere else, so we just went ahead and recorded all 10 songs live in studio. The magic in the walls kicked in. It turned out it was Bike Night on Beale Street, so on a few ballads you can hear Harleys roaring, so we had to cut it down to an EP!

How was working with Ross-Spang?
Matt was very nice, a great engineer and a good guy, he even drove us home after.
I remember the first time I played on Beale Street, and I have to admit it felt pretty cool.

Does playing in Memphis hold any special significance for you?
I have played a lot in Louisiana, Arkansas, and Mississippi, but never in Memphis. It’s time, and I’m ready.

So it sounds like you don’t mind a lot of traveling to perform. Do you have any good stories from the road?
I travel a lot and have performed in countries like Russia, the U.S.A., and all over Europe. You get used to traveling, and it’s a big part of the job. I once spent an hour talking to Peter Green in a small hotel in a fjord in Norway, not knowing it was he — I didn’t recognize him and I suspect that is why he talked to me for so long. I didn’t ask the usual questions, I guess … Another cool memory was when Steve "Little Steven" van Zandt  tweeted about my concert and used the words “Fucking amazing!”

Blues is steeped in tradition. What sources do you find compelling when you play? What musicians have influenced you?
Being a slide guitarist, I usually listen to other “sliders.” I have, of course, listened to a lot of the old players such as Mississippi Fred McDowell, and Blind Willie Johnson. Among modern players, there are two artists that have had the biggest influence on my style, and I have been blessed with the opportunity to meet and work with both — either as an opening act or sitting in with them: John Mooney from Rochester/New Orleans and Roy Rogers from California.

Can you tell me a little bit more about yourself?
I grew up within the Arctic Circle way up north in Norway. That’s why I call my music “Arctic Slide.” I have performed as a professional artist for over 20 years now and have released five albums — one of which won the “Norwegian Grammy,” the Spelleman Award. And one was recorded in Memphis. On the personal side, I have two wonderful kids, a wife, and a cat, love Dutch licorice, and drive a black Chevrolet.

What kind of a set do you plan to play at IBC?
I will be bringing my drummer and we plan on doing a varied, well-balanced set of original songs, a few favorite covers, and some traditionals.
We are in Memphis to give it all, and get as far as we can in the competition. We also hope to show international promoters and booking people, that a fine swamp-delta-billy-blues duo could be a cool addition to their festivals and clubs. In addition we look forward to seeing a lot of friends, who are also in the competition this year.

Any other plans while you’re in the area?
Well, there’s the food, shopping for clothes and shoes at Winfield’s, the drum center … I guess we have to see how far we go in the competition, but if we have time, we might see some friends down in Clarksdale.

Do you have a desert island album? You know, if you were stuck alone on a deserted island, what would you bring to listen to?
John Mooney’s Dealing With the Devil has been a longtime favorite. It’s a live solo performance from Germany, and he just kills it!
I also have a radio broadcast of Roy Roger’s performance at the Notodden Blues Festival in 1996 that I would like to bring. Those recordings have been my encyclopedia of slide guitar licks for a long time.

Is there anything else you want Memphis to know?
I haven’t seen the schedules yet, but please come see us. We won’t hold back. We sure look forward to seeing y’all, and we’ll be giving away free copies of our Sun recordings, the Grey Goose EP.

The 34th National Blues Challenge takes place in multiple venues on Beale Street, January 16th through 20th.

Supreme Being: The Symmetry of What You Saw and What You Say
Supreme Being: The Symmetry of What You Saw and What You Say
Artist's Lecture: January 18, 6pm, Blount Auditorium
Opening Reception: January 19, 5-7pm, Clough-Hanson Gallery
Rhodes College

Clough-Hanson Gallery is pleased to present "Supreme Being: The Symmetry of What You Saw and What You Say", a solo exhibition by Rashayla Marie Brown.

Artist's Lecture: 1/18, 6:00PM in Blount Auditorium

Opening Reception: 1/19, 5:00 - 7:00PM in Clough-Hanson Gallery

In an “undisciplinary” installation, Rashayla Marie Brown (RMB) explores a diverse array of media including writing, photography, voiceover acting, and an installation of a makeshift red “dark room,” school desks, red vinyl window coverings, and a red carpet. Melding the aesthetics of kitsch (bourgeois realism) and communist art (social realism) with those of high art (museum design) and film, RMB’s work explores the coercive foundation of system
s of display found in the desire to communicate a clear, moral message across various cultural contexts. With text and subtitles in direct address to the viewer, the exhibition also reflects the distance between an object’s past meaning and personal meditation on its meaning in the present. The exhibition is accompanied by a red booklet inspired by the artist’s career as a maker of diversity training manuals and a sound installation where the artist describes images for people who cannot see.

Lauded as a 2017 Artadia Awardee, artist-scholar Rashayla Marie Brown (RMB) manages a living studio practice across an extensive list of cultural production modes, including photography, performance, writing, drawing, installation, and video art. Encompassing themes of autonomy and self-mastery at the intersections of art history, religion, and popular culture, RMB's work often investigates power dynamics through the emotion and personal vulnerability of lived experience. A lifelong nomad who has moved 24 times, her journey as a professional artist began as a radio DJ and poet performing research in London, England and as founder of the family-owned design company, Selah Vibe, Inc., in Atlanta, GA. From 2013-17, RMB served as the inaugural Director of Student Affairs for Diversity and Inclusion at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), fostering queer Afrofeminist narratives across institutions.

RMB holds degrees from Yale University and SAIC, advised by Paul Gilroy and Barbara DeGenevieve respectively. Her work has been commissioned by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; and Yale University, New Haven, CT. Her work has shown at the Gene Siskel Film Center, Chicago, IL; Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago, IL; INVISIBLE-EXPORTS, New York, NY; University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA; Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco, CA; Centro Cultural Costaricense Norteamericano, San Jose, Costa Rica; and other venues. She has received numerous awards, including the City of Chicago's Artist Residency, the Hyde Park Art Center Flex Residency, the Roger Brown Residency, and the Yale Mellon Research Grant. Her work and words have been featured and published in Art Forum, Blouin Modern Painters, Chicago Magazine, Hyperallergic, Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art, the Radical Presence catalog, and the cover of the Chicago Reader. RMB's essay "Open Letter to My Fellow Young Artists and Scholars on the Margins: A Tribute to Terry Adkins" was shared almost 10,000 times online as of 2018.
The MSO: Bringing Political Resonance to 20th Century Works
(image) It was impressive to see just how many listeners braved the icy roads last Saturday to attend the Memphis Symphony Orchestra's formidable “Percussion Explosion” concert at the Cannon Center. And it was heartening to know that the audience bore witness to a moment of such political engagement in the local arts scene. Of course, by “political,” I don't mean Republican or Democrat, but that intersection where the arts reject escapism in favor of a confrontation, body and soul, of the powers that be.

The evening's first selection, Shostakovich's 10th Symphony in E minor, is famous for tackling such matters. First performed after the death of Stalin in 1953, it evokes the many tangled emotions springing from life under an authoritarian regime, and the palpable relief when it comes to an end. Shostakovich had a particularly anxious life under the reign of Stalin, having been singled out for personal persecution by the regime due to his talents and notoriety as a composer. The MSO deftly brought all its conflicting emotions to life, from the first movement, alternatively tragic and threatening as it cinematically pans across the landscape of destruction left in Stalin's wake, to the subsequent movements that range from spritely euphoria to panic.

In the context of the last year endured by Americans, action-packed with attacks on the rights and liberties of minorities, immigrants, women, and workers, teetering on the edge of nuclear conflagration, this was indeed a cathartic performance. The analogy with dictators past was given a finer point when a Republican Senator recently compared our current president with Stalin himself. But one need not literally equate the two to realize that the both extreme Stalinism and the current atmosphere of class war foster constant anxiety, and that major compositions of this caliber address such anxiety admirably.

Naturally, I'm reluctant to project my own interpretation on the programmatic choices made by the MSO or music director Robert Moody. But the end result — a world class performance of one of the last century's most important works — was cathartic on what I can only call the internal/sociological level. How we live as citizens runs deep, and it was on this level that every strident snare hit, cymbal crash, and brass fusillade hit me.
Thus, already musing on life under real or would-be authoritarians, it was especially gratifying to hear the night's second selection, James DeMars' Sabar Concerto for African Drum Ensemble and Orchestra. The audience returned from intermission to see four chairs set before the orchestra, each with an African drum in front of it. DeMars, a Minnesotan who came into his own as a composer in the 1980s and 90s, has said this piece was composed to “integrate the musicians of two cultures to celebrate the new millennium.” 
The concerto that unfolded was thus an intriguing blend of Senegalese rhythmic tropes with heroic and celebratory orchestral flourishes. With three of the four featured drummers (Abdou M'Baye, Dethie Sarr Diouf, and Medoune Yacine Gueye) being Senegalese, the rhythms were presumably true to their local cultures; certainly they and non-Senegalese Sonja Branch seemed psychically connected in the extended unison passages. But the percussive elements weren't limited to the drummers, as the harp evoked the cascading arpeggios of the West African kora, at times woven with complementary rhythms from the piano, xylophone, and vibraphone. At times, the stage was also graced with the dancing of the Watoto Memphis Performing Arts Academy Dance Ensemble.
Coming quick on the heels of derogatory comments about Africa from the head of our executive branch, this piece too had a resonance completely apart from any of the composer's intentions. But such resonance was welcome nonetheless. 
Further societal resonances, intended or not, will be explored by the MSO tonight, as they perform Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 3, Barber's “Knoxville: Summer of 1915,” Corelli's “Christmas Concerto,” Thofanidis' “Muse, and Purcell's “Dido's Lament” and “Sound the Trumpet.” The program is dedicated to the memory of George Riley, a renown native Memphian who went on to create a legacy of progressive legal work in San Francisco.

The Memphis Symphony Orchestra presents BACH BRANDENBURG - a special concert in memory of George Riley, January 18th, 7:30 PM to 9:30 PM, Cannon Center. Other performances of this program will include Saturday, January 20th at the University of Memphis, Harris Concert Hall, at 7:30 pm, and Sunday, January 21st at the Germantown Performing Arts Center, at 2:30 pm.
The Big Deal

The Big Deal
A studio clearance sale featuring Allison Furr-Lawyer, Lewis Feibelman, Jennifer Balink and Paul Miller
Friday, January 19th, 6-8pm
Saturday, January 20th, 12-5pm
Crosstown Arts
430 North Cleveland

What kind of art are you looking for? We've got realism & surrealism, abstraction & folk, elegance & kitsch, nature & fantasy, whimsy & wit. You DON'T want to miss this show!!
The BIG DEAL - A Studio Clearance Sale
Featuring Allison Lawyer, Lewis Feibelman, Jennifer Balink and Paul Miller and get ready for some great art at even greater prices. The show is organized by Nikii Richey.
Crosstown Arts to Host Four Exhibition Openings in One Night
 Elizabeth Alley
 Emily C. Thomas
 Pam McDonnell
Terri Phillips

Crosstown Arts will present four exhibition openings in its new galleries in Crosstown Concourse on Friday, January 26.

The four Memphis-based artists — Emily C. Thomas, Elizabeth Alley, Pam McDonnell, and Terri Phillips — will show their selected works in a reception from 6-8 pm that night. Each exhibition will run through March 11.

Emily C. Thomas’ “Imprismed” in the West Gallery will feature paintings, sculpture, and digital objects that construct a dialectic between the repression and cultivation of psycho-sexual energies through the ages.

From Thomas’ artist statement: “Imagine walking into a gallery space and telepathically downloading a mirage of visions, ideas, and living information. IMPRISMED proposes to explore the unconscious infrastructures that inform our perceptions within the lineage of visionary thinkers and cultural commentators such as Marshall McLuhan.

“During the 1960s, McLuhan became a leading intellectual, initiating the emerging field of Media studies. He coined revolutionary maxims such as ‘the medium is the message,’ and even predicted the internet nearly 30 years before its invention. This show contains paintings, sounds, sculpture, and digital objects made of light — a full range of materials dating back through humanity’s most historic to most recent artistic innovations — all of which attempt to nurture an awareness of how the medium defines their meaning.”

Elizabeth Alley’s “Two Stories of Iceland” in the East Gallery is a narrative exploration of Icelandic stories and landscape in small paintings and drawings.

In one in series, Alley shares the true story of a young woman who disappeared, played out in small ink drawings that tell the story of the ensuing search, investigation, and the impact this event had on the community. Another series was inspired by a trip she took to Iceland in 2015 with her best friend.

Pam McDonnell’s “Material Equivalence” in the East Gallery is an exploration of the Spanish term duende, which describes the wordless reaction a person feels from experiencing the output of another person’s creativity.

From McDonnell’s artist statement: “In making this body of work, I tried not to focus on whether a certain piece exhibited this heightened state of emotion because I wanted to leave that determination to the viewer. Instead, I practiced noticing and trusting when I felt expressive and authentic and staying grounded in the assurance that the work was, in a sense, ‘making itself’.”

Terri Phillips’ “Don’t Look for My Heart” in the West Gallery will feature canopy of black garments that loom over a pond of demolished confections, evoking a scene of quiet despair and a state of ruin. Her work incorporates humble materials and everyday objects to create scenes of magical realism. She choses materials based on their tactile and sensual qualities to provoke intuitive responses that include the viewer in completing the process of the narrative.

Crosstown Arts is a contemporary arts organization dedicated to further cultivating the creative community in Memphis. We provide resources and create opportunities and experiences to inspire, support, and connect a diverse range of creative people, projects, and audiences. Crosstown Arts is a founding partner, co-developer, and tenant of Crosstown Concourse.
Out of Africa

Out of Africa
Exhibition Opening Friday, January 26, 6-9pm
Art Village Gallery
410 South Main

The fifth edition of the art exhibition, Out of Africa returns to the South Main Arts District by bringing contemporary art from Africa and its Diaspora to the forefront during Black History Month. The Out of Africa exhibition features contemporary artwork created by four emerging artists, including Nigerian-born artists, Adewale Adenle and Norbert Okpu, international rising star, Houston-based artist Robert Pruitt and Trinidadian-born, Los Angeles based artist, Miles Regis.
The exhibition will be a destination for new and established collectors, art patrons and cultural tastemakers!!

Further, the exhibition will offer a focused schedule of special events, performances and talks to complement the experience.

Indie film screenings by African American filmmakers, curated by University of Memphis art history professor, Dr. Earnestine Jenkins; Beats of Africa music sets by local favorite, DJ Crystal Mercedes, to be performed opening night; a panel discussion, Lost Roots: The Disconnect Between Africans and African-Americans, and a dramatic Art+Poetry event curated by author, poet and editor Sheree Renée Thomas are part of the innovative programming.

Not a fan of the cold weather? Not to worry! A pop-up bar featuring cappuccino and espresso drinks by a private barista with light bites will be provided on opening night Friday, 1/26 for gallery goers and wine provided by your favorite wine and beverage service!

Join us!

Programming for the event will be published via facebook and eventbrite. Subscribe to AVG for notifications you don't want to miss!

Great Plains Soul
(image) Josh Hoyer — straight out of Nebraska.

The Zoo Bar in Lincoln, Nebraska, is a hidden gem tucked away in a corner of the national blues circuit. (Full disclosure: I am a Nebraskan). I recall the smallish club hosting incendiary shows by Lil' Ed and the Blues Imperials and many other greats. While I did occasionally jam to Booker T. and the MGs tunes with friends, little did I realize how much homegrown blues, soul, and funk were gestating in the modest college town — or in nearby Omaha — due to clubs like the Zoo Bar.

But the secret's out, due to the rising popularity of one Josh Hoyer, a Lincoln native who long ago got hooked on the songs he heard emanating from the Zoo.

"I'd just go listen to music coming outta the back, and I was like, 'Man, this is the coolest thing!'" he says. "When I turned 21, I was a regular there, checking out all of the bands that came through from all over. They needed a spot to stop in that middle-of-nowhere zone. Being able to see these international and national touring blues and R&B bands in such an intimate environment, it really taught me a lot about the energy and magic of the live show — being able to see people like Lil' Ed and Big John Dickerson. And Magic Slim, of course."

That last name holds special meaning for Hoyer — and most of the Lincoln music community. Morris Holt, aka Magic Slim, left his native Torrance, Mississippi, for the Chicago blues scene while in his twenties, releasing his first record, the incredible "Scufflin'," in 1966. By 1994, with an esteemed career in the blues under his belt, he resettled in Lincoln with his family, a decision that would galvanize the local music community. As Hoyer notes, Slim "really influenced a lot of young guys that were interested in playing. I'd definitely call him a mentor. And his brother, Nick Holt, was also a great blues and soul singer. People may not think of Lincoln as a blues town or a roots music town, but there were some gems there that really taught a lot of us young guys what it was about."

Developing his talents at open mic nights, then with jam bands, Hoyer expanded his horizons. "I love the blues, but it's never been something I feel like I quite nail. I lean more toward the rhythms of New Orleans." After a stint in the Big Easy, which he credits for much of his growth as a singer and keyboardist, Hoyer toured as a saxophonist for singer E.C. Scott. "I learned a lot from her. And that was when I realized that I'm not good at being a side man. I had ideas of my own, and I wanted to write my own music. From that point forward, I've been a band leader."

Following his own muse meant wedding his love of classic soul to a groove-based improvisational approach akin to Medeski, Martin, and Wood, whom he cites as an inspiration. The end result resembles the more ambitious sounds of 1970s soul, as Hoyer leads a five-piece band, Soul Colossal, through his own particular stew of influences.

Hoyer and Soul Colossal are coming off a stellar 2017. A month-long tour of Europe culminated in the live album, Live! at Ancienne Belgique, and last spring found Hoyer singing for an audience of millions on NBC's The Voice. As Rolling Stone reported, "Hoyer took on The Chi-Lites' 1972 R&B Number One hit 'Oh Girl.' His smooth interpretation, along with his sonorous vocals, convinced both Shelton and fellow coach Gwen Stefani to turn their chairs as he confidently soared through the chorus."

Hoyer, reflecting on last year's good fortune, says, "I never really intended to be on the road again, but people really liked what we were doing, and it worked out for me and my family. I wasn't gunning for the top when we put the band together, we just wanted to write some good music and play it for people, and they responded — so we keep going."

Wish Book: William E. Jones

Wish Book: William E. Jones
Opening reception Friday, January 19th, 6-9pm
On view through February 11
Crosstown Arts
1350 Concourse Avenue, Suite 280

Selected work by William E. Jones | Curated by Terri Phillips and Brian Pera

On view through Feb. 11

Opening night reception runs from 6-9 pm | Screening begins at 7 pm. Locations: Screening Room & East Atrium (inside Crosstown Arts space in Crosstown Concourse)

(There will be another screening & curator talk with Brian Pera on Saturday, Jan. 20, 7-9 pm at Crosstown Arts in Crosstown Concourse)

The Wish Book series is a triannual exhibition with a focus on artists’ films. Curators Brian Pera and Terri Phillips welcome internationally recognized artists, filmmakers, and critics to Memphis for this exciting new series, which takes its name from the famed Sears Catalog and is hosted by Crosstown Arts at Crosstown Concourse, itself once a major Sears distribution center. Drawing from a wide range of topics, techniques, and perspectives, the films index the scope of work being done by artists in moving pictures.

About the Artist:
William E. Jones has made the films Massillon (1991) and Finished (1997), which won a Los Angeles Film Critics Association award, the documentary Is It Really So Strange? (2004), and many videos including The Fall of Communism as Seen in Gay Pornography (1998). His work was included in the 1993 and 2008 Whitney Biennials, and he has had retrospectives at Tate Modern (2005), Anthology Film Archives (2010), and the Austrian Film Museum (2011). His books include “Killed”: Rejected Images of the Farm Security Administration (2010), Halsted Plays Himself (2011), and Imitation of Christ, named one of the best photo books of 2013 by Time magazine.
Virginia Overton

Virginia Overton
Opening Reception Friday, January 19th, 5-7pm
Martha and Robert Fogelman Galleries of Contemporary Art
University of Memphis Art and Communication Building
3715 Central Avenue
Rooms 230 and 240

Virginia Overton and Jocko Weyland in Conversation
Thursday, January 18th, 7pm
University of Memphis Art and Communication Building
3715 Central Avenue
Room 310

The Martha and Robert Fogelman Galleries of Contemporary Art presents a solo exhibition by internationally recognized artist and University of Memphis alumna Virginia Overton (MFA, 2005; BFA, 2002). Known for her installations and sculpture that span the natural and manmade worlds, Overton is interested in the past, present, and future lives of her repurposed materials and how they exist in space and time. Often minimalist in form, her work sometimes extends beyond its structural limits into the realms of sound and smell. The importance of place is also central to her work, as she intuitively responds to a site—whether the architecture of a gallery space or the environs of a vast field.

Virginia Overton was born in Tennessee and currently lives and works in New York. She earned a BFA in 2002 and an MFA in 2005, both from the University of Memphis. Solo exhibitions have been presented at the Museum Of Contemporary Art, Tucson, The Whitney Museum of American Art (New York), The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum (Ridgefield), White Cube (London), All Rise (Seattle), Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami, Storm King Art Center (Mountainville), Westfälischer Kunstverein (Münster), Kunsthalle Bern, Mitchell-Innes & Nash (New York), The Kitchen (New York), The Power Station (Dallas), Freymond-Guth Fine Arts Ltd. (Zürich), and Dispatch (New York). Her work is collected by The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Museum of Contemporary Art Tucson, Kunstmuseum Bern, and Kunsthaus Zürich.

Overton will also give a talk with artist, writer, and curator Jocko Weyland in conjunction with the "35th Annual Juried Student Exhibition":

Image: Virginia Overton,"Untitled (HILUX)," 2016. Installation View, Parcours, Art Basel, Switzerland, 2016. Photographer: Robert Glowacki.
Blues Music Awards Contenders Announced
(image) The nominees for the 39th Annual Blues Music Awards were announced this morning, and naturally many local greats made the final cut. Members of the Blues Foundation will be deliberating over their choices in the weeks to come, and the winners will be announced during the gala event, Thursday, May 10th at The Memphis Cook Convention Center.Two new categories have been added, for a total of 26 awards. There now is a Blues Rock Artist of the Year award, with Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Mike Zito, Walter Trout, Jason Ricci and Eric Gales being this year's candidates. And for the new Instrumentalist-Vocals category, Beth Hart, Don Bryant, John Németh, Michael Ledbetter, Sugaray Rayford and Wee Willie Walker are in the running.

Local artists, locally-produced artists, and artists with local backup bands include Robert Cray, Don Bryant, Bobby Rush, John Németh, the North Mississippi All Stars, R.L. Boyce (one-time member of Otha Turner's Rising Star Fife and Drum Band), Memphis native (and daughter of Rufus) Vaneese Thomas, William Bell, new Stax artist Southern Avenue, and Scott Bomar (for co-writing the title song of Don Bryant's newest album). Add a comment if I've missed any!

The complete list of 39th Blues Music Award nominees can be found below and on the Blues Foundation’s website, Membership to The Blues Foundation will remain open through the entire voting period from January 23rd to March 1st and ballots will be sent to new members as they join the organization.

Founded in 1980, the Memphis-based Blues Foundation has approximately 4,000 individual members and 200 affiliated local blues societies representing another 50,000 fans and professionals around the world. Funding for the Blues Music Awards is provided by ArtsMemphis and the Tennessee Arts Commission, and this year's ceremony is also sponsored by AutoZone, BMI, Ditty TV, First Tennessee Foundation, the Gibson Foundation, and the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Here's the full list of all 39th Blues Music Award Nominees:

Acoustic Album of the Year
Catfish Keith - Mississippi River Blues
Doug MacLeod - Break the Chain
Guy Davis & Fabrizio Poggi - Sonny & Brownie's Last Train
Harrison Kennedy - Who U Tellin’?
Mitch Woods - Friends Along The Way
Rory Block - Keepin' Outta Trouble

Acoustic Artist
Doug McLeod
Guy Davis
Harrison Kennedy
Rory Block
Taj Mahal

Album of the Year
Don Bryant - Don't Give Up on Love
Monster Mike Welch and Mike Ledbetter - Right Place, Right Time
Rick Estrin & The Nightcats - Groovin' In Greaseland
TajMo - TajMo
Wee Willie Walker & The Anthony Paule Soul Orchestra - After a While

Band of the Year
The Cash Box Kings
Monster Mike Welch and Mike Ledbetter
Nick Moss Band
North Mississippi All-Stars
Rick Estrin & the Nightcats  

B.B. King Entertainer of the Year
Bobby Rush
Michael Ledbetter
Rick Estrin
Sugaray Rayford
Taj Mahal  

Best Emerging Artist Album
Altered Five Blues Band - Charmed & Dangerous
Larkin Poe - Peach
Miss Freddye - Lady of the Blues
R.L. Boyce - Roll and Tumble
Southern Avenue - Southern Avenue
Tas Cru - Simmered & Stewed  
Contemporary Blues Album of the Year
Beth Hart - Fire on the Floor
Corey Dennison Band - Night After Night
Ronnie Baker Brooks - Times Have Changed
Selwyn Birchwood - Pick Your Poison
TajMo – TajMo  

Contemporary Blues Female Artist
Beth Hart
Karen Lovely
Samantha Fish
Shemekia Copeland
Vanessa Collier  

Contemporary Blues Male Artist
Keb' Mo'
Michael Ledbetter
Ronnie Baker Brooks
Selwyn Birchwood
Toronzo Cannon  

Historical Album of the Year
Jimmy Reed, Mr. Luck: The Complete Vee-Jay Singles – Craft Recordings
John Lee Hooker, King of the Boogie – Craft Recordings
Luther Allison, A Legend Never Dies – Ruf Records
The Paul deLay Band, Live at Notodden ’97 – Little Village Foundation
Various, American Epic: The Collection – Sony Legacy
Benny Turner
Bob Stroger
Larry Fulcher
Michael "Mudcat" Ward
Patrick Rynn  

Jimi Bott
June Core
Kenny Smith
Tom Hambridge
Tony Braunagel  

Anson Funderburgh
Chris Cain
Christoffer "Kid" Andersen
Monster Mike Welch
Ronnie Earl  

Billy Branch
Dennis Gruenling
Jason Ricci
Kim Wilson
Rick Estrin  

Al Basile
Jimmy Carpenter
Nancy Wright
Trombone Shorty
Vanessa Collier  

Instrumentalist- Pinetop Perkins Piano Player
Anthony Geraci
Henry Gray
Jim Pugh
Mitch Woods
Victor Wainwright  

Instrumentalist - Vocals
Beth Hart
Don Bryant
John Németh
Michael Ledbetter
Sugaray Rayford
Wee Willie Walker

Koko Taylor Award (Traditional Blues Female)
Annika Chambers
Diunna Greenleaf
Janiva Magness
Miss Freddye
Ruthie Foster   

Rock Blues Album of the Year
Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band - Lay It On Down
Mike Zito - Make Blues Not War
North Mississippi Allstars - Prayer for Peace
Savoy Brown - Witchy Feelin'
Walter Trout - We're All In This Together
Rock Blues Artist
Eric Gales
Jason Ricci
Kenny Wayne Shepherd
Mike Zito
Walter Trout  

Song of the Year
“The Blues Ain’t Going Nowhere” – written by Rick Estrin
“Don’t Give Up On Love” – written by Scott Bomar and Don Bryant
“Don’t Leave Me Here” – written by Kevin R. Moore, Taj Mahal, and Gary Nicholson
“Hate Take a Holiday” – written by Willie Walker, Anthony Paule, and Ernie Williams
“Prayer for Peace” – written by Luther Dickinson, Cody Dickinson, and Oteil Burbridge
Soul Blues Album of the Year
Don Bryant - Don't Give Up on Love
Johnny Rawls - Waiting for the Train
Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm - Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm
Sugaray Rayford - The World That We Live In
Wee Willie Walker & The Anthony Paule Soul Orchestra - After a While
Soul Blues Female Artist
Bettye LaVette
Denise LaSalle
Mavis Staples
Trudy Lynn
Vaneese Thomas  

Soul Blues Male Artist
Curtis Salgado
Don Bryant
Johnny Rawls
Sugaray Rayford
William Bell
Wee Willie Walker  

Traditional Blues Album of the Year
The Cash Box Kings - Royal Mint
Elvin Bishop's Big Fun Trio - Elvin Bishop's Big Fun Trio
Kim Wilson - Blues and Boogie Vol. 1
Monster Mike Welch and Mike Ledbetter - Right Place, Right Time
Rick Estrin & The Nightcats - Groovin' In Greaseland
Various Artists - Howlin' At Greaseland      
Traditional Blues Female Artist
Annika Chambers
Diunna Greenleaf
Janiva Magness
Miss Freddye
Ruthie Foster  

Traditional Blues Male Artist
John Primer
Kim Wilson
Lurrie Bell
R.L. Boyce
Rick Estrin

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