Nashville is the recipient of a true gem with the arrival of David Lusk Gallery Nashville(DLG). On March 1, DLG Nashville opened its doors to the public in the burgeoning Wedgewood/Houston neighborhood.
The inaugural exhibit, OPENING, features a dynamic array of work including painting, sculpture, photography and installation. There are 23 multi-generational artists represented, 13 of whom are Tennesseans. OPENING, on view through March 29th, demonstrates the variety of media and techniques the community can look forward to on a regular basis.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the gallery name, DLG has been a fixture in the Memphis community for decades and is known regionally as one of the South’s finest. No doubt, David Lusk got Nashville’s attention when he announced that Kit Reuther was a new addition to his gallery. Not only is she one of Nashville’s most recognized artists, she is certainly one of our most beloved.
So, why is David Lusk’s arrival to Nashville is a great thing for our city? As a fellow Memphian, I was raised in Midtown Memphis and enjoyed a distinct advantage with neighbors who were artists, architects and musicians. In their homes, I saw the works of Carroll Cloar, Mary Sims, Veda Reed, Dolph Smith, Mimi Dann and so many others. These artists are truly part of the fabric of Memphis, and many are represented by DLG:
Carroll Cloar (1913 – 1993)
DLG represents the Carroll Cloar estate. Cloar was a renowned Southern painter whose paintings evoked memories of his childhood, mainly depicting scenes from the rural South.
Mary Sims (1940 – 2004)
Mary Sims began her career as a print-maker at University of Iowa, then quickly realized that she needed to shift to painting in order to make more money. Her works are most noted for intricate, flat, stylized still life paintings chock-full of flowers, fabrics, tsatskes and spunk. Mary Sims’ estate is represented by DLG.
Veda Reed is a DLG-represented artist. Working with oil glazes, Veda Reed captures the essence of her landscapes with a seamless process. Her technique and method are subtle, allowing the painting to present itself in full drama.
Nashvillians will no doubt benefit from the strength of Memphis’ arts community as that is filtered through David Lusk’s curatorial lens. In his 20 years in the gallery business, he has earned a reputation for attracting some of the most prolific talent in the South.
While artwork is, of course, the primary focus of a gallery, the space that surrounds it can often be discussed as a work of art, too. At 516 Hagan Street, DLG is situated in an up-and-coming (it may have already arrived!) neighborhood. The gallery offers four distinct exhibition spaces, spacious rooms, high ceilings and breathtaking openness. “It is an awesome and exciting space to install art, throw an opening or just hang out in,” David describes.
DLG is located next door to Zeitgeist Gallery and within walking distance of the May Hosiery Mill art spaces, Julia Martin Gallery and Ovvio Arte. (Why not make an afternoon of it and stop in all of these worthy galleries. When you do, check out the not-to-be-missed Gabby’s Burgers, truly one of the best in town and just an eyeshot away!)
At his opening reception, I asked David if he would share something with the art lovers in Nashville. His emphasized the relationship-based aspect of art, from artist to dealer to appreciator to collector.
“All of us on the Gallery crew really enjoy interacting with the artists we represent—almost to a fault of appreciating the person more than the artwork created. Those friendships and connections with our artists are infectious for our public. Over the years, an artist-dealer-appreciator-collector core, with each component interacting seamlessly with the others, has developed; at DLG you can’t have one of those components without the others.
We’ve worked with many of my program artists for a couple of decades—they’re family. The same is true with our clients and art-appreciators: they become good friends who we interact with several times a year, whether they live in Memphis, Miami, New York or elsewhere.
We’re looking forward to building similar relationships with artists and the arts-public in Middle Tennessee, too. The promotion of DLG artists’ recognition beyond Memphis has always been the goal (through international art fairs, client, museum and gallery contacts). Now, on a daily basis, we have the opportunity to be introduced and challenged by another region’s talents and interests.”
Thank you, David! While not a replacement for viewing this remarkable exhibit live, here is a virtual tour showing some of my favorite artists who are currently featured in DLG Nashville’s OPENING:
Forest for the Trees by Maysey Craddock, who is originally from Memphis. This painting is composed of gouache and thread on found paper. Her work frequently depicts nature and its turbulence.
Artist Anne Siems is inspired by the landscapes of her childhood in Germany. She often uses figures as the centerpiece of a painting, her figures are dressed in transparent clothing and surrounded by forest friends.
Artist Kelly Williams prefers her work to be open for self interpretation. “I’m notoriously ‘anti-description.’ I suppose it’s because I feel my paintings are pretty easy to read (and I like that).”
Greely Myatt’s first exhibition was held at age 10, and he is currently a professor at University of Memphis.
William Eggleston was raised on a cotton plantation in the Mississippi Delta, and he has created a singular portrait of his native South since the late 1960s. This work, Graceland, is part of a series of from Elvis Presley’s home.
And certainly, we want to highlight Kit Reuther’s work.
As Nashville’s art landscape continues to evolve, we want to welcome this new addition to Music City. For more information about the David Lusk Gallery, click here.