In anticipation of Art for Jobs 2017, we are excited to announce that Meredith Olinger will once again be contributing her artwork to the show!
Last year, Meredith Olinger was one of the featured artists at our annual fundraiser, Art for Jobs. Advance had recently acquired a 24,000 sq. foot warehouse and now had the opportunity to try some new things. Meredith was simultaneously trying out some new methods in her studio. She began painting the walls of her studio and after a few conversations with Kate Lareau, head of Art for Jobs at the time, they decided to present the idea of artist walls to a few other artists that would be contributing artwork to the show. They ended up with 8′ x 8′ walls that were made in the warehouse by Mark Gosney, Director of Operations, as a new way of displaying the artists’ work. The artists had total freedom with the walls and could choose to paint the whole wall, part of the wall, or use it to hang their artwork.
Meredith decided to paint the whole wall, a method she had begun experimenting with in her studio. The result was a spectacular piece of artwork on display at Art for Jobs, as well as a transformation of Meredith’s work as she began to shift from canvas to wall. The following is her story. We cannot wait to she what she has to share with us this year!
“I work primarily on the wall. This hasn’t always been the case. For a long time, I worked on a traditional canvas, or in sculpture. However, I was always experimenting with new formats and ways of displaying my work; nothing ever felt right.
In the spring of 2016, in a complete act of boredom, I doodled on the wall of my studio. The doodle soon took over the entire studio. I liked what I saw, so I posted it on Instagram, not thinking much of it. I was soon contacted by Kate Lareau, who was planning and executing Advance Memphis’s upcoming show, Art for Jobs. She had had an idea for the show: what if artists were given entire walls on which to display their work or, even better, on which to create new work? We started hashing out this idea, and this plan became a reality. Artists were given a wall in which to create whatever they want. Some simply displayed a gallery wall of their work, some made large scale paintings, others created a backdrop for their small-scale work. Every artist approached it differently.
My wall was 8’ x 8’. I didn’t realize that that wall would change the trajectory of my work completely. I think I finished that 8’ x 8’ wall in a week. Which is crazy, considering the size, but working that large felt so natural for me.
Meredith’s Artist Wall at Art for Jobs 2016
After I completed this wall, I quickly started taking over the walls of my studio. I stopped making small scale work. The studio became the work. I drew on the wall, painted on the wall, and applied my own wallpaper to the wall. It was new and exciting; I was no longer making a window for the viewer to look into, I was creating a space for the viewer to walk into. I had stepped from the safe world of painting into the wonky world of installation.
Meredith’s work on the walls of her studio
For my graduate thesis exhibition, I knew I had to go big or go home. I also knew that I would have a whole new set of challenges: how was I to take my work out of the studio and into the gallery? I decided I needed to build a space, despite my mediocre carpentry skills. I had three months to make 3 pieces that were 12’ long, and I had to build the walls on which they would be displayed. The Advance Memphis graduates did such a great job on the Art for Jobs’ walls; I thought maybe they could help me out again. I commissioned 9, 4’ x 8’ walls. This way, they could be moved in and out of the gallery relatively easily, but then could be pieced together to create the appearance of a seamless wall. Again, Advance Memphis was crucial for my artistic development.
Meredith’s Graduate Thesis
So of course, we were thrilled to be approached by professor and artist Christopher Nadaskay about a project he had in mind, and his desire to use his gifts to benefit our work at Advance Memphis.
Last year, Prof. Nadaskay was an artist featured in our annual Art For Jobs fundraiser. He approached us shortly after about a solo installation and sale that he wanted to put together in support of us. In the span of just a few short months, he has created 1,000 individual pieces of art in the form of hand-made crosses.
In his artist’s statement, Nadaskay explains:
“The overarching principle behind the exhibit is the idea that an individual artist can and should produce work for the benefit of others. It is my intention that this exhibit is used for the betterment of anyone who sees it – emotionally, spiritually and intellectually. The crosses are to be sold with the proceeds going directly to Advance Memphis. It places art into the hands of a public who may never appreciate it as such and beauty into those same hands. It allows for the exploration of a huge number of creative visual problems and then helps to provide substance for those in need.
The idea for this exhibit/sale came from my desire to promulgate the concept of the social responsibility of the artist to the people that surround them in their particular segment of culture. The art world has become a place where political activism, influential social connections, and monetary gain direct the career paths of artists, to the detriment of the more positive influences that art can have on a culture. With this show, it is my intention to make art that is accessible to the average person, has a positive, hopeful message and from which the proceeds will directly be used to constructively impact society. Each cross, in a sense, represents a pardon. This brought to mind a relatively common phrase in our culture ‘A thousand pardons,’ meaning ‘I beg your pardon;’ it is a quote that comes from a 1931 movie starring Charlie Chan (Black Camel). It really has nothing to do with the movie, but as it was a little catchy and seemed appropriate to the message, the title was born.
The crosses are made in the same manner that I pursue my normal studio work, color and texture playing a huge role in their perception. It is only natural that influences from that artwork show up in a variety of ways in them.”
The artist would like to thank: Union University for its very generous support of the project through a teaching sabbatical grant, studio space, materials and kiln/firing time; Kathryn Pelley and Ragan Williamson, his studio assistants for the project – without whom much of this would not have been possible; and additional thanks should go to Crosstown Arts, Advance Memphis for their wonderful support and assistance in making the project a reality
We hope you will join us for the reception and sale of this monumental work on Thursday, March 30th, at Crosstown Arts. The event will be held from 4pm-9pm, pieces will be available for purchase for $15, and Chris Nadaskay will give a brief artist’s lecture. RSVP on Facebook!
For more information, or to volunteer, please contact Bethany Stout at firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Artist:
Christopher Nadaskay is an artist and Professor of Art at Union University where he has served for 24 years. He is a graduate of Southern Arkansas University and Texas A&M Commerce where he received his B.A. and M.F.A. in Painting/ Mixed Media respectively. His mediums have included watercolor, oils, acrylics, mixed media and various sculpture mediums. Working at the moment in mixed media/ceramic wall relief, he is interested in the relationship between technology and the human condition. He has works in several collections, including the Tennessee State Museum.
University of Alabama, BFA Painting, 1998
Philadelphia College of Textile and Design, continuing education classes, 2000-2002
I have been drawn to colors for as long as I can remember. I loved discovering color in new and unexpected places such as the rainbow in an oil slick, or the inside of a piece of fruit. It was incredible to learn to mix my own colors when I began painting as a child.
I start new pieces with an unprimed raw canvas. My process begins by soaking the canvas with water, and then pouring paint onto it. I continue this process of layering colors. I do not use brushes-my best tool is gravity. It’s amazing where paint wants to go on its own. Drying time varies with humidity and the thickness of the paint. I also work with resin which allows me to observe previously unnoticed colors-especially metallics-once covered in the crystal clear material. I was taught that a finished work of art should contain something uncomfortable, but I prefer to include something that is surprising.
As my life journey changes, so do my colors. I have gone through phases of whites and greys, but I always end upcoming back to bold and vibrant colors. As an artist, I want to always push myself creatively by exploring new techniques, experimenting with other mediums, and working with colors in new combinations. Lately I have been experimenting with metal, and have enjoyed working with the material making decorative sculptures.
Katie Robinson, May 2016
ALL OF GILLENTINE’S WORK FOR ART FOR JOBS 2016 CAN BE SEEN IN THE ONLINE CATALOG.
J.E. Gillentine is a third-generation Memphian who has had a love for art since the third grade. Her work over the last eight years includes oil paintings, mixed media, and ink paintings. Today she serves clients across the southeastern United States, creating unique commissioned pieces for homes and offices. Her works may be purchased locally at Bingham & Broad.
This is Gillentine’s second year contributing to Art for Jobs and we are grateful that she has agreed to create one of our featured Artist’s Walls. The artist can be seen at right with her husband as they worked in the Advance Memphis Warehouse to hang her art.
Katie has an MA (Hons) degree in German and History of Art from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. She grew up in Munich, Germany and Moscow, Russia.
She has worked in art Galleries in Edinburgh, Scotland and Nashville, TN and has taught art outreach with the Frist Center for Visual Arts and the Dixon Gallery as well as elementary school art in downtown Memphis and Frayser, TN. Her focus is on abstract work and portraiture.
For more information on Art for Jobs, taking place Thursday, September 17th, from 5-8pm, go here.
Terry and Jerry Lynn are brother artists who collaborate on art under the signature “Twin.” They have shown many solo and group exhibitions and have been collected worldwide. Offering a wealth of versatility, both artists are proficient at realism, as well as abstract painting styles; in working in oil or acrylic; and in fine art print making. Twin were the official artists of the 1998 Essence Music Awards in New York and they created the official poster for the 1997 Philadelphia Art Expo.
They have been featured in magazines such as Southern Living, Midsouth Living, and At Home. They have had art displayed in the Shelby County Mayor’s Office, the Nashville International Airport, and had work selected for participation in the US Art in the Embassies, among numerous other places.
Lucy Wepfer, a lifelong Memphian, graduated from Vanderbilt University. She is active in the community, loves her family, and enjoys painting as a hobby. She is a long-time volunteer and supporter of Advance Memphis and looks forward to participating in Art for Jobs each year.
You can find all the Art for Jobs info here, including links to more art!
Betsy grew up in Jackson, MS, loving every art class she took. She studied math and studio art at Vanderbilt University and more recently took a still-life painting course from a masterful oil painter, Bob Tompkins. Betsy enjoys sketching and painting from still life and landscapes in her spare time and has recently begun painting children at play from photographs. She loves the beauty of blending color and the results of contrasting oil paints on the canvas – light/dark, thick/thin, warm/cool. She currently resides in Memphis with her family.
Artist Emily Ozier and her husband John reside on a big grassy piece of land in Tennessee with their six children. She is a graduate of Auburn University with a degree in Communication and English Literature. She has studied in Italy with an impressionist master, focusing on a method passed down from the impressionist painter John Singer Sargent.
In 2014, Emily attended training at Harvard seeking to deepen her understanding of how learning takes place in and through the arts. She also examined the role of passion in learning and the unique capacity of the arts to inspire passion-driven learning and meaningful connections to ourselves, our community and the world around us, thus connecting her two main areas of work: education and the arts.
Her work can be found in private and public collections throughout the United States and has been collected in London as well. You can learn more about Emily on her website.
Grace Swaney is a great fan of all types of art. She sees art as another way that the Lord speaks to each of us. Although she has never had any formal training, she has painted jewelry, clothing, ceramic tiles, walls, concrete, and her daughters’ faces over the years. She is delighted to share some of her creations with Advance Memphis.