Hunter Invitational III features eight top regional artists
Time to appreciate the wealth of art talent in our own backyard. The Hunter Museum presents The Hunter Invitational III, opening June 20. Developed in 2007, the Invitational takes an in-depth look at some of the most significant and intriguing new artwork being created in our region.
Artists in this third exhibition of the series include Jan Chenoweth, Alicia Henry, Philip Andrew Lewis, Jiha Moon, Jeffrey Morton, Greg Pond, Jered Sprecher and Martha Whittington, all selected from the Chattanooga area (within a 150-mile radius).
Chief Curator Nandini Makrandi chose the eight artists exhibited based on their outstanding work as well as their relevance on the local level. This exhibit is unique in that. “There’s this underlying feeling of exploring deep issues in contemporary life...and relating to life in Chattanooga,” Makrandi says.
Each artist works in different mediums, creating a diversity and broad appeal to the show. There’s also a lot of mixing of traditional forms and 21st-century technology, Makrandi says; for example, utilizing multi-media elements, such as sound technology, to enhance impact. “In the past,” she notes, “some of the artists have been more emerging artists, but everyone in this exhibit has been widely exhibited. They are much more established and have all really hit their stride.”
It’s easy to write off perceived “local art” as less important or exciting than, say, a large traveling exhibit. “Part of what happens is that people think [bigger exhibits] must be better and there’s a pedestal…as if they must have some insight you don’t have,” Makrandi says, but ultimately, these local artists are just as, if not more, accomplished than many national artists that come through the Hunter’s doors. “These people may be ‘local’, but the work can hold its own in any major market.” If anything, the local aspect simply makes them much more human and relatable and that’s something the Hunter strives to achieve. “It’s important for the Hunter to be a part of the community,” Makrandi emphasizes.
Ultimately, this exhibit is about celebrating the immense talent this region has to offer. “It’s great that [these artists] have chosen to make this area home for so many years and that they draw inspiration from it,” Makrandi says. She’s proud of the work on display for the Invitational and says that trying to choose which pieces she is most excited to have displayed is akin to choosing a favorite child. It simply can’t be done. The artists are all unique and explore these issues of the contemporary culture in completely different ways.
Artists in the The Hunter Invitational III
• Jan Chenoweth relocated to Chattanooga in 2007 through the ArtsMove program. She explores color, texture and form through layered abstract works.
• Alicia Henry of Nashville creates installations consisting of groups—“communities,” says the artist—of masks and figures made from paper and other materials, cut out into various shapes and layered together. She is a professor at Fisk University.
• Phillip Andrew Lewis, is head of the Photography and Media program at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He uses a variety of media, including video, sound, installation and photography, to create his interdisciplinary works.
• Originally from Seoul, Korea, Jiha Moon has been living in Atlanta for the last decade. Moon references both her Korean heritage and American pop culture in colorfully intricate pieces.
• Jeffrey Morton has been on faculty at Covenant College since 2000 and is the current head of their art department. Morton is currently exploring the landscape around his home through obsessive drawings and heavily encrusted paintings, an interest which began with a two-year residency in Japan earlier in his career.
• Greg Pond lives and works in Sewanee, where he has been a professor since 2002. Pond creates his sculptural and sound pieces by using both traditional sculpting techniques alongside new electronic media and computer coding.
• Painter Jered Sprecher’s abstractions address our ever-shifting world. He has been teaching at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville since 2005.
• Martha Whittington is a self described ‘maker.” She is currently a professor at the Atlanta campus of the Savannah College of Art and Design.
The exhibit’s opening celebration is Friday, June 20 at 6 p.m. Open to all with admission ($9.95 per adult) and free to Hunter Museum members.