SB Note: Anna Marchetti works for StyleBlueprint but is also an artist in her own right. As such, she is exposed to many pieces of art and lovely artists every week. We challenged her to pick artists who speak to her, who all currently live in the South, who are available in southern galleries found in or near each of our SB markets, and bonus points if they actually grew up in the South, as well! We also asked for an expanse of art that would be great for anyone starting a collection of southern art, or enhancing a collection already in progress.


Starting a collection, whether it be stamps, coins or designer handbags, is a hobby most have attempted at some point in their lives. But there may come a time, once life has slowed and savings have grown, when you long to collect something else … like art. Fortunately, the Southeast is populated with adept artists making strides in their respective mediums. Today we are highlighting noteworthy artists whose work is available for purchase at local galleries in our SB cities: Atlanta, Birmingham, Louisville, Memphis and Nashville.

Erin Gregory at Gregg Irby Fine Art, Atlanta

There are some pieces of art suited best for a gallery’s white walls or a museum’s marble corridors. Such pieces are stately but do not easily lend themselves to life within a home. There are artists, however, that make museum quality work that fits seamlessly into the houses of savvy collectors and thrifty taste-makers, and these are the artists worth seeking to begin a collection. Erin Gregory, raised in Mobile, AL, is represented by Gregg Irby Fine Art in Atlanta and composes floral paintings buzzing with energy and color. Soft yet powerful, Gregory’s approach to the still life is fresh and feminine, her application is bold and dynamic and her product is undeniably complex.

Collecting Southern Art, Erin Gregory

Nature vs. Nurture 8 by Erin Gregory, oil on canvas, 48 x 60 in, available for $2500 (Image courtesy of Gregg Irby Fine Art )

Ed Nash at Bill Lowe Gallery, Atlanta

The English-born artist now calls Nashville, TN, home, and has gained widespread popularity for his ability to not only create great art but to curate artistic spaces. Ed Nash graduated top of his class from Reading University in England, where he studied fine art and psychology, a unique blend of disciplines that manifests poetically in each of his pieces. Nash’s large acrylic paintings feature colorful gradations that formally reference landscapes. Conceptually, these strokes and textures allude to profound sensations like memory and longing. Nash’s terrain paintings are saturated with texture and beg to be touched. Abstract but approachable, these works fit seamlessly into a number of residential and commercial settings. A selection of Nash’s works are currently available at Bill Lowe Gallery in Atlanta. 

Collecting Southern Art, Ed Nash

Arctic by Ed Nash, mixed media on panel, 48 x 48 in, available for $7500 (Image courtesy of Bill Lowe Gallery)

Carolyn Goldsmith at Gallery 1930, Birmingham

Soft and feminine, yet incredibly dynamic, Carolyn Goldsmith‘s abstract and figurative paintings reveal an intuitive awareness of composition and color. Goldsmith uses acrylic, paper and canvas in a manner that is expressive but refined. Oscillating between swatches of intense coloration and muted tones, Goldsmith creates animated works that breathe energy and warmth into any given space. This accomplished painter was born in Gainesville, FL, but currently resides and works in Birmingham, AL, and Watercolor, FL. A selection of Goldsmith’s works can be found at Gallery 1930, but Goldsmith is also represented by other local galleries including The Atchison Gallery in Birmingham.

Collecting Southern Art, Carolyn Goldsmith

The Conversation by Carolyn Goldsmith, acrylic on canvas, 48 x 48 in, $5500 (Image courtesy of Gallery 1930)

Raine Bedsole at Gallery 1930, Birmingham

Largely informed by her childhood in the Alabama countryside, Raine Bedsole’s work reflects the quiet enchantment of pastoral landscapes. Her pieces are highly textured and poetic on the surface but laced with elements of mythology narrative. Raine often integrates images of trees, birds, oars, and boats which hearken memories of loss, experiences of attachment and hopes of liberation. With a portfolio comprised of sculpture, painting, collage and assemblage, Rain has landed in notable exhibitions throughout the southeast. Her work has been shown repeatedly in New Orleans and is currently available Gallery 1930 in Birmingham.

Collecting Southern Art, Raine Bedsole

Lotus by Raine Bedsole, $900 (Image courtesy of Gallery 1930)

Kit Reuther at David Lusk Gallery, Nashville

Less is more, right? That certainly holds true with self-taught artist Kit Reuther, a native of Nashville, TN, whose gestural paintings and sculptures pack a punch. Kit’s large oil paintings are comprised of emphatic marks and earthy tones. Rough yet deliberate, Reuther’s strokes are reminiscent of primitive mark making. Her sculptures, often built from found objects and materials, are similarly stripped down and are just as powerful. Akin to tribal totems, these elemental “figures” demand reverence within a given space. Reuther is represented by David Lusk Gallery and her work has been featured in both the Nashville and Memphis locations.

Collecting Southern Art, Kit Reuther

Abstract #915, Kit Reuther, oil on canvas, 36 x 32 in, $4000 (Image courtesy of David Lusk Gallery)

Kit Reuther Sculpture, Collecting Southern Art

#1199-3d, Kit Reuther, wood and gold leaf, 31 x 7 x 7 in, $5000 (Image courtesy of David Lusk Gallery)

John Folsom at Tinney Contemporary, Nashville

John Folsom is a mixed media artist from Paducah, KY. His background in photography is evident in his series of work, at Tinney Contemporary, which involves haunting images of American frontiers. Folsom’s work fixates on certain landscapes often fictionalized in Southern history. Swamps, fields, forests, and lagoons fall under this spectrum of places that, through Folsom’s subtle yet sophisticated manipulation, are depicted with the potential for life, but the ironic lack thereof. Folsom obscures the photographic clarity of his images with the addition of wax and oil. These large, lacquered photographs are simultaneously charming and chilling.

Collecting Southern Art, John Folsom

Shaker Frontier IV by John Folsom, 40 x 48 in, pigment print on board with oil and wax medium, $7500 (Image courtesy of Tinney Contemporary)

Don Estes at David Lusk Gallery, Memphis

The horizon line, a subject often romanticized by Southern artists and writers, is reinvented by Don Estes, whose abstracted compositions of landscapes are perhaps more stunning than the view itself. Estes’s large oil paintings are built on panels or raw canvases onto which he then applies thick applications of paint that melt into thin bans of color. The harmonious striations reflect the hazy middle tones of the waters of the Gulf and the skies of southern states in a manner that is neither trite nor commonplace. Don’s work can be found at David Lusk Gallery in Memphis, which is also the city he calls home.

Collecting Southern Art, Don Estes

Veil #11 by Don Estes, mixed media on panel, 56 x 48 in, $6000 (Image courtesy of David Lusk Gallery)

Richard Knowles at L Ross Gallery, Memphis

A testament to a keen sensitivity for his surroundings, Richard Knowles‘ works are dramatic interpretations of the chaos of unchartered wildernesses. Knowles, a beloved art professor at the University of Memphis from 1966 – 1999, passed away in 2010. An avid explorer of America’s southwestern territories, he was largely influenced by the expansiveness and overwhelming visual complexity of deserts, mountains, seas, canyons and forests. His abstract paintings, large lyrical compositions teeming with dynamism, would enrich any collection. Knowles’s works are included in numerous public collections and a selection of his works can be found at L Ross Gallery in Memphis.

Collecting Southern Art, Richard Knowles

Arctic by Richard Knowles, acrylic on canvas, 69 x 64 in, available for $7500 (Image courtesy of L Ross Gallery)

Collecting Southern Art, Richard Knowles

Santa Fe #10 by Richard Knowles, oil on canvas, 40 x 36 in, available for $3900 (Image courtesy of L Ross Gallery)

William M. Duffy at E & S Gallery, Louisville

William M. Duffy, a Louisville native, always had a propensity for painting and drawing. But the self-taught sculptor noticed a powerful connection to stone after finding a remnant of marble left by a car accident outside his home. Duffy’s sculptures, whether created from wood, paper, steel or bronze reveal a profound understanding of how to best manipulate his materials. Reminiscent of tribal icons, these abstracted figures generate a quiet reverence for the ineffable bonds that connect humankind. Duffy’s work has been featured in numerous private, corporate and public connections and a selection of his sculptures can be found at E & S Gallery in Louisville.

Collecting Southern Art, William M Duffy

At Rest by William M. Duffy, limited edition sculpture (1 of 18), available for $7500 (Image courtesy of E & S Gallery)

Julio Cesar Rodriguez Aguilar at Revelry Gallery, Louisville

Fine art gallery meets savvy boutique at Revelry in Louisville. From sculptural installations to DJ performances to jewelry trunk shows, Revelry brings fetching and sometimes “far out” art that is new, fresh, and affordable. With a mission to make quality art accessible, Revelry keeps established and emerging artists on regular rotation. One of their featured artists is Julio Cesar Rodriguez Aguilar. The Cuban-born painter has made a name constructing massive figurative paintings that employ elements of surrealism. Saturated with narrative imagery, Julio’s work is provocative but elegant. His painted figures bend and bow with surrounding fields of color resulting in powerful compositions that are fantastical, emotional, and arguably spiritual.

Julio Cesar Rodriguez Aguilar, Collecting Southern Art

Julio Cesar’s work will be available at Revelry Gallery beginning September 13.

Karen Hollingsworth at Shain Gallery, Charlotte, NC, and Miller Gallery, Cincinnati, OH

Filled with images of open windows, vacant chairs, and unkempt beds, Karen Hollingsworth‘s photorealistic oil paintings imply a human presence without explicitly depicting one. Her technique alone is enough to make us to start bidding wars, but it’s her acute awareness of light and movement that we find profoundly moving. In many of Hollingsworth’s works, a breeze rustles a curtain, a bird perches precariously on a paper bag, or a book lies open with its pages exposed. Each time we time look at one of these scenes, we feel a sense of solitude that is at once frightening and inviting. Hollingsworth, through a clever arrangement of commonplace objects, creates spaces that are both foreign and familiar, and beckons us to and linger a bit longer. This Atlanta native has work in several galleries including Miller Gallery in Cincinnati, OH and Mason Murer, in Atlanta, GA.

Karen Hollingsworth, Collecting Southern Art

Hover by Karen Hollingsworth, oil on canvas, 36 x 48 in, available at Shain Gallery

Thanks, Anna! 

For more information on art, including several on art at more accessible price points, see any of the posts listed directly below in the “related content.”