Out of overwhelming curiosity, we wanted to discover the most talented and thrilling up-and-coming artists in the South. So we enlisted a range of Southern experts (gallery owners, curators, critics, artists) to help us find them. We couldn't fit all one hundred amazing artists in the issue, so here are the rest of the results, artists 41-100 (plus our amazing cover photographer coming in at 40.5).
(To see artists 1-40, pick up a copy of the Visual South issue, on newsstands March 1!)
Matt Eich • Frank Hamrick • Bruce Davenport, Jr. • Christopher Sims •
Lester Merriweather • Marie Porterfield Barry • Jiha Moon • Jonathan Yoerger •
Bill Killebrew • Jon-Phillip Sheridan • Gyun Hur • Jeremy Okai Davis •
Stacy Lynn Waddell • Avery Lawrence • Jessica Ingram • Louviere + Vanessa •
Angela West • Genesis Chapman • Aldwyth • Dan Tague • Johnathon Kelso •
Alex Leme • Dave Greber • Nathan Alexander Ward • Jason N. Miller •
Daniel J. Moskop • Peter Glenn Oakley • Debra Broz • Phillip March Jones •
Paul Outlaw & Jennifer Catron • Tammy Mercure • Barry Buxkamper •
Ben Gately Williams • Lisa Klakulak • Baker Overstreet • Samuel Dunson •
Blake Fitch • John Byrd • Andrew Saftel • Zachary Tutor • Jonathan Michael Hicks •
Reynier Llanes • Andrew Blanchard • Maysey Craddock • Kojo Griffin • Duy Huynh •
Brandon Thibodeaux • Mark Monroe • Brent Drake Barnidge • Lennon Michalski •
John Michael Byrd • Shelley Calton • Patrick DeGuira •
Sisavanh Phouthavong & Jarrod Houghton • Yanique Norman • Jennifer E. Fairfax •
Amy Lind • Eliot Dudik • Davin Watne • Jon Shannon Rogers • Beau Raymond
25, Norfolk, Virginia
Cover photographer Matt Eich’s aesthetic is born of his work as a photojournalist, and his artwork, consisting mostly of portraits, tells the stories of the people who live in America’s overlooked, struggling communities. The tragic beauty of the human condition, found in places like Baptist Town, Mississippi, are made manifest through his practiced eye. Among the many projects that he is currently working on is a photographic exploration of Southeastern Virginia, where he was raised and currently resides.
—Heather Hakimzadeh, Associate Curator, Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art
“Tylor Holding His Dad’s Ashes, Carbondale, Ohio” (2007) by Matt Eich. Archival pigment print on Hahnemuhle Photo Rag, 16 x 24 inches. Courtesy of Matt Eich/LUCEO.
34, Ruston, Louisiana
Frank Hamrick’s photographs are quiet. Quiet like a girl hiding in a pumpkin patch. Railroad tracks. Artifacts. In other words, their appeal is understated and timeless. He shoots mostly in black and white, in richly contrasted shots freckled with sunlight. Family members appear more than once. As do dogs, clothes on a line, and Hamrick’s childhood home in Georgia, which his father dubbed “Hideaway.” These domestic subjects suggest quietude—and are beautiful in their wordless grace.
—Jim Sherraden, Curator, Hatch Show Print
“Charlotte’s Chair” (2008) by Frank Hamrick. Black and white photograph, 10 x 10 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Old Fan Press.
39, New Orleans
Like the high-school marching bands Bruce Davenport, Jr., draws, his work is loud, colorful, and brash. “I want to leave a mark on my city NEW ORLEANS,” the artist has written, “like KATRINA’S JIVE ASS did.” The son of a preacher and resident of the Lower Ninth Ward, he began his meticulous posters, colored with marker and pen, after the storm decimated many local schools’ music programs. In “This Some Bad Shit” (2010) or “Candy Lady Grandbaby” (2010), hundreds of miniature figures create a map of the city’s musical fortunes—majorettes from “T Bird’s Band” line up in formation; fans swarm on game day at Andrew J. Bell Junior High; cheerleaders strut. Some of these bands survived Katrina; others didn’t. “When I drew...the bands,” Davenport said about a drawing, “it was for the people who want the memories of their schools since [the school’s] not coming back.”
—Diego Cortez, Freelance Curator
“This Some Bad Shit (5th Series)” (2010) by Bruce Davenport, Jr. Archival marker on paper, 59.5 x 39.5 inches. Courtesy of Benetton Collection.
39, Durham, North Carolina
In 2008, I curated an exhibition of Chris Sims’s photographs of American military-training bases in remote areas of North Carolina, Louisiana, and elsewhere that have been converted into Middle Eastern villages. The series, “Theater of War: The Pretend Villages of Iraq and Afghanistan” (2005–present), documents incongruous views: rustic cabins converted to mosques, burka-clad women selling fruit, soldiers playing dead. Sims himself has played the role of “war photographer.” The works are memorable and powerful.
—Ann Stewart, Director, Ann Stewart Fine Art
“Marketplace, Fort Polk, Louisiana” (2005) by Christopher Sims. Archival pigment print, 15 x 22.5 inches.
33, Memphis, Tennessee
To label Lester Merriweather as an artist who deals with black identity may be too obvious—but his work is nothing if not an attempt to remix the viewer’s understanding of race. In tape-and-collage installations like “James Meredith” (2005)—which depicts a howling face that to some might evoke, say, a crooning soul singer…until you realize it’s a detail from a 1966 photo of Civil Rights activist James Meredith after being shot by a local thug—Merriweather blurs the boundaries between pop-cultural iconography and history. The result is an extended and often surprising riff on the way people of color are (or aren’t) represented in America.
—Sheila Pree Bright, photo-based artist
“Untitled: Americanus #002” from the “Vanilla Extract” series (2010) by Lester Merriweather. Cut-paper collage, 11 x 17 inches.
25, Jonesville, Virginia
Marie Porterfield Barry’s mystical oil paintings draw from traditions of storytelling and mythmaking as well as her own Appalachian heritage. Her visuals are both macro- and microcosmic. Wide-angle vistas, swirling with activity, offer up fluttering life forms, swans, swollen-bellied women holding apples, and men whose bodies are trees; the intricate compositions and glowing colors are reminiscent of illuminated manuscripts. In one work, a cross-sectional view of an eerily beautiful landscape reveals human creatures gestating beneath the ground like embryos or turnips. Like Hieronymus Bosch, Barry shows that existence is an elaborate spectacle.
—Scott Contreras-Koterbay, Department of Art & Design/Department of Philosophy, East Tennessee State University
“Folktale with Crows, Doves, and Lost Sheep: Where the Muddy Lake Is Full of Mystery and Where His Words Are Ravens and Where The Others Have Perhaps Lost Something or It Is Not Yet Found” (2008) by Marie Porterfield Barry. Oil on canvas, 45 x 72 inches.
In her fantastical, hybrid works, Atlanta-based and Korean-born Jiha Moon combines traditional Asian landscape-painting techniques with American Modern and Pop Art influences. Composed with flowing, gestural brushstrokes, and an array of iconic references (emoticons, Lucky Cats, lotus blossoms, scrolls), Moon’s imaginative mash-ups offer an intense experience. Her colorful compositions blur the lines between East and West to speak to the cultural pluralism of contemporary society.
—Xandra Eden, Curator of Exhibitions, Weatherspoon Art Museum
“The Letter Shin” (2011) by Jiha Moon. Ink, acrylic, embroidery, and fabric on Hanji paper, 59 x 59 inches. Private Collection, Richmond, Virginia. Courtesy of Reynolds Gallery.
27, Charleston, South Carolina
Jonathan Yoerger is all cigarettes and jet fuel. Explosive. A millennial Red Baron flying sorties through the collective subconscious of our childhood. In other words, Jonathan finds wonderment and possibility in the detritus of a culture collapsing in on itself. Should we linger in this place, or press onward toward escape velocity? In thrilling fashion, this work lets us have it both ways.
—Sam Anderson, Managing Director, SCAD Museum of Art
“Pinta” (2011) by Jonathan Yoerger. Oil on canvas, 90 x 78 inches.
Imagine the great French painter, Pierre Bonnard, reincarnated as the boss of a Nashville hardwood-flooring business. Imagine that same person painting alone in his studio for thirty-five years, turning out thousands of masterpieces for no one but himself and a very small circle of friends—no shows, no reviews, no exposure at all. Bill Killebrew is a homegrown master of realist painting who truly makes art for art’s sake. Yes, he’s no kid. He’s pushing sixty. That’s all the more reason to get the word out. The art world should finally welcome this visionary painter.
—Wayne White, artist
“Pink Piano” (2006) by Bill Killebrew. Oil on wood panel, 17.5 x 25 inches. Courtesy of Tim Greene Collection.
34, Richmond, Virginia
“I focus on the periphery, areas that have a sense of premonition.”
Working at night with just the available light, Sheridan transforms everyday objects and settings into mysterious visions. He often photographs empty construction sites, loading docks, parking lots, and railroad tracks—familiar but marginal spaces all around Virginia, including suburbs and regions affected by the loss of manufacturing. While unpeopled, his images record the traces of human activity. With an 8 x 10 large-format camera, color negatives, and extended exposures of thirty minutes to an hour, he fixes and magnifies these traces, imbuing them with cinematic resonance.
—John Ravenal, Sydney and Frances Lewis Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
“Residual #10” (2003) by Jon-Phillip Sheridan. Chromogenic print, 24 x 21 inches. Courtesy of Reynolds Gallery and Heiner Contemporary.
Gyun Hur’s art defies traditional and simple definitions. A native of Daegu, Korea, who migrated to the States at thirteen, Hur explores the personal experience of a divided cultural identity. She primarily communicates through the installation of thousands of hand-chopped silk flowers in temporary, site-specific arrangements that effectively merge her Asian background with her contemporary environs.
—Shana Barefoot, Collections and Exhibitions Manager, The Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia
“Spring Hiatus” (2011) by Gyun Hur. Hand-shredded silk flowers, 30 x 16 feet. Courtesy of Get This! Gallery.
32, Portland, Oregon, via Charlotte, North Carolina
Jeremy Okai Davis’s work sometimes takes a pop spin in direct response to the commercial media he is fed, albeit willingly, and at other times, takes a more intimate portrait-based approach. His use of color and fidelity to his subjects make them seem alive without being rigidly literal. While it appears light at first glance, on closer examination, Davis’s work is full of conflict—an exploration of the contrast between the shiny, smiling exterior that is frequently presented on the surface and the inner, self-conscious, status-obsessed mind-state that so many of us endure beneath it all.
—Sharon Shapiro, artist
“Peacock” (2011) by Jeremy Okai Davis. Acrylic on canvas, 40 x 50 inches.
45, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Stacy Lynn Waddell is an artist who has developed a fresh, sophisticated aesthetic that explores the complexities of race, geography, and cultural identity. She draws on her own family history to examine the visual landscape of African-American experience in new ways. Ships, tear drops, beauty queens, and the Southeastern coastal landscape are all part of her complex and intelligent system of personal symbols.
—Trevor Schoonmaker, Patsy R. and Raymond D. Nasher Curator of Contemporary Art, Nasher Museum of Art
“The Amazing Adventures of Tar Baby Mama” (2011) by Stacy Lynn Waddell. Singed and burned paper, 96 x 153 inches. Courtesy of the North Carolina Museum of Art.
26, New Orleans via Charlottesville, Virginia
He’s young. He’s technically gifted. He has interesting ideas. He can realize ideas in different media. He’s fearless. He’s nice.
—Steve Taylor, Director, Second Street Gallery
“Oh, That Thing I” (2010) by Avery Lawrence. Charcoal and pastel on paper, 54 x 36 inches.
34, Oakland, California, via Nashville
Jessica Ingram’s work, which explores the quiet pathos of some of the crueler moments of our country’s narrative, offers a dignified response to the outrage of denial. Her photographs document the places in which major events happened that have been forgotten or neglected in the South. She has interviewed survivors, friends, and relatives of victims of the Civil Rights struggle. This work bears pondering.
—Susana Raab, photographer
Jessica Ingram’s photographs offer visual representations of America from the Civil Rights Movement to now. The history of the movement and the notion of place make a compelling photo essay that reframes a living story about change-makers whose voices transformed American identity and Southern politics in the late 60s. Her work is as imaginative as it is journalistic, and it engages us as an intersection of politics with memory.
—Deborah Willis, University Professor Chair, Department of Photography & Imaging, New York University, Tisch School of the Arts
“Memorial for Vernon Dahmer on the Site of His Death, Hattiesburg, Mississippi” (2010) by Jessica Ingram. Digital C-print, 30 x 40 inches.
40, New Orleans
Jeff and Vanessa Louviere captivate us with their neo-romantic, Southern Gothic aesthetic. Their photo- and film-based works are enigmatic, emotional, and gritty. From time to time, they use a dog in their images, and this cannot be bad.
—Jerry Uelsmann, photographer
“Chlorofemina, Loup Garou” (2006) by Louviere + Vanessa. Archival inkjet on handmade Gampi paper, with wax and blood, 33 x 53 inches. Courtesy of A Gallery for Fine Photography.
Anyone who has had the privilege of growing up in the Deep South knows the richness of maneuvering slowly through the hot, humid hours of a summer day. It brings one back to childhood and those days enveloped with humidity, afternoon showers, and steam hovering the streets. Angela West’s photographs were taken over the span of eleven years, all originating in her hometown of Dalonoga, Georgia. Her photographs capture the essence, the music, and the mystique of place.
—Anna Walker Skillman, Owner, Jackson Fine Art
“Untitled Portrait #13” (2001) by Angela West. C-print, 30 x 24 inches.
41, Bent Mountain, Virginia
Genesis Chapman’s drawings—India ink on Yupo paper—suggest both energy and stillness. His organic shapes and patterns depict the natural world, but their fragmentation and spatial depth hint at something even more open-ended. It is as though he is channeling the energy of a world for which he serves as gatekeeper. Informing this all is a deep sense of place—rural Virginia—and its knotty, twisting trees, swirling dark creeks, and hidden, dark woods.
—Emily Smith, Executive Director, 1708 Gallery
“Bottom Creek” (2010) by Genesis Chapman. India ink on paper, 26 x 20 inches.
76, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Aldwyth has been making art in relative obscurity for more than thirty years. Her collages and assemblages are richly layered meditations on human nature. Made up of re-combinations of found objects and images cut out of books and newspapers, these intricate works probe our collective memories with a playful nod to previous artists like Duchamp and Cornell.
—Mark Sloan, Director & Senior Curator, Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art at the College of Charleston
“Casablanca, classic and colorized versions” (2003–2011) by Aldwyth. Collage on Okawara with pencil, hand-pigmented silk tissue, and Mylar, 78.5 x 144 inches. Photograph by Rick Rhodes.
37, New Orleans
Dan Tague is fearless. He confronts the most poignant issues of our day. His dollar-bill works are a hybrid of sculpture, photography, and political statement. The brilliance of the work lies in the simplicity of its methods. He folds dollar bills to create his message and then “photographs” the suspended result with a deconstructed high-resolution scanner apparatus turned into a camera. Sometimes, the best art is the most straightforward.
—Jonathan Ferrara, Owner, Jonathan Ferrara Gallery
“We Need A Revolution” (2010) by Dan Tague. Archival inkjet print on rag paper, 45 x 42 inches.
Johnathon Kelso’s photographs capture contemporary Southern life through portraits of unforgettable townspeople and images that portray the gritty aesthetics of derelict diners, backyards, and dive bars. His work provides a poetic window into social sectors that are often exploited and rarely beautified.
—Sara Estes, Gallery Coordinator, Fisk University Art Galleries
“Liberty Hill” (2011) by Johnathon Kelso. Digital C-print, 16 x 20 inches.
33, Little Rock, Arkansas
A Brazilian living in Arkansas, Alex Leme came to photography after a career in finance. His “Cotton Plant” series, which documents a small town in Arkansas, has evolved into a larger project about small-town culture. His influences range from Robert Frank to Alec Soth, but there is also a unique and refreshing quality in the images: a stillness, an absence, a loneliness.
—Kathleen Robbins, Associate Professor of Photography, Affiliate Faculty of Southern Studies, University of South Carolina
“Daisy After Church” (2011) by Alex Leme. Archival pigment print, 16 x 20 inches. Courtesy of Gallery 26.
29, New Orleans
Eye-popping, delightful, and slightly disturbing, Dave Greber’s videos mix satire with a refreshing dose of fun. In his psychedelic, hyper-real world, characters adopt the mannerisms of advertising, corporate-speak, and reality television, their faux sincerity an insightful yet eerie mime of contemporary culture. Greber is part of the surge of creative youths who moved to New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. His aesthetic provides a fresh take on the surreal aspects of reality today.
—Miranda Lash, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, New Orleans Museum of Art
“Stilllives” (2011) by Dave Greber. HD video loop, two minutes. Courtesy of the Arthur Roger Gallery.
19, Morgantown, West Virginia
Nathan Alexander Ward’s work is visually stimulating and conceptually rich. His photographs pose questions about contemporary society, whether through images of emotive landscapes or the individuals he encounters in Appalachia and elsewhere.
—Michael Sherwin, Assistant Professor of Photography and Intermedia, School of Art and Design, West Virginia University
“Untitled” from the series “Appalachia” (2011) by Nathan Alexander Ward. Digital image.
32, Memphis, Tennessee
Miller is a photographer, poet, philosopher, muralist, performance artist, and multimedia visual-impresario extraordinaire. His work incorporates personal and appropriated images to critique and celebrate art, religion, and contemporary life as they fall under his restless and cheerful scrutiny.
—Leslie Luebbers, Director, Art Museum of the University of Memphis
“Dairy Diary Series” (ongoing series) by Jason N. Miller. C-print, 11 x 14 inches.
30, Raleigh, North Carolina
Like Sugimoto and other photographers with an architectural background, Moskop’s work is an expression of “time exposed,” each of his photographs serving as a time capsule for a series of events. Using inexpensive toy cameras and creating double exposures, his dream-like snapshots give a sense of place in our ever-changing world.
—Elysia Borowy-Reeder, Executive Director, CAM Raleigh, Contemporary Art Museum
“Shortly Before” (2011) by Daniel Moskop. Digital photograph, matte resin-coated print, 40 x 40 inches.
37, Boone, North Carolina
After working as a stonemason for a decade, Peter Glenn Oakley began teaching himself stone carving in 2006. Working primarily with marble, he creates replicas of common products, such as Styrofoam containers, egg cartons, crumpled underwear, soaps, cassette tapes, outdated weaponry, and old diesel engines. These conceptual sculptures leave the “hidden data,” or information contained within, to the viewer’s imagination.
—Kelly McChesney, Director, Flanders Gallery
“Typewriter” (2009) by Peter Glenn Oakley. White marble, 14 x 14 x 14 inches.
Debra Broz redefines decorative ceramic objects, tweaking the distinctions between the ordinary and the strange. Her aesthetic is kitsch—she peruses thrift stores and estate sales looking for antiquated objects that she can dissect and alter. Broz’s careful hand allows scientific anomalies to emerge in works that contain both nostalgia and humor.
—Rachel Adams, Associate Curator of Exhibitions and Public Programs, AMOA-Arthouse
“Ear Wings (Fairy)” (2010) by Debra Broz. Ceramic altered with sculpting compound and paint, 4 x 2.5 x 3 inches.
31, Lexington, Kentucky
Phillip March Jones’s art resonates with me on many levels. He has a unique sense of form that translates beautifully into the many and varied mediums he employs. His vibrant works on paper are reminiscent of traditional folk art. His series of Polaroid photographs documenting roadside memorials quietly asks us to look closer at the small clusters of flower-decked shrines that dot our byways, reminding us of mortality. There are hundreds of these photos, each representing an individual who has been tragically lost. By bringing them together, Jones suggests the connections we have: Even though we are strangers, we are all traveling the same path. Other reasons I favor Jones: his willingness to give back, his tireless energy, and his devotion to community. Because Lexington, Kentucky, did not have an organization to support and promote local artists, Jones founded Institute 193, a nonprofit contemporary art space dedicated to enriching the cultural landscape of the area.
—Natalie Chanin, Owner/Designer, Alabama Chanin
“Brain Study” (2008) by Phillip March Jones. Gouache, acrylic ink, and watercolor on paper, 9 x 12 inches.
32 & 27, Brooklyn, New York, via Fairhope, Alabama & Bluford, Illinois
Paul Outlaw and Jennifer Catron embrace performance in a way that is unique, creative, hilarious, and full of commentary about contemporary American life. Nothing is left to chance, although that may not be obvious at first. Their performances incorporate lyrical elements, some child-like and others fantastic. A sense of carnival and trickster-ism pervades their work, with a hint of common sense.
—William Dooley, Director, Sarah Moody Gallery of Art
“Hetay Erchantmay Eorggay Iszegay” (2010) by Paul Outlaw & Jennifer Catron. Archival inkjet print, 60 x 40 inches. Courtesy of Allegra LaViola Gallery.
35, Bristol, Tennessee
Tammy Mercure is rising. Though her subjects may seem familiar—from NASCAR races to amusement parks to hunters and their coonhounds—Mercure’s photographs balance absurdity and humanity, kitsch and compassion. She is working to bring us a new, and much needed, take on America’s fascinating and endless visual vernacular.
—Diana C. Stoll, Senior Editor, Aperture magazine
“Pigeon Forge, TN, 2008” (2008) by Tammy Mercure. Pigment print, 24 x 30 inches.
Barry Buxkamper uses sardonic humor to delve into such themes as the effects of aging and the transience of all living things. He presents a labyrinthine barrage of visual clues that can confound to the same degree that they provide clarity. His work is at once deadly serious and tongue-in-cheek, as visceral as the imagination behind it is bright.
—John Baeder, painter, photographer, and author
“Wobble 4: Driving Through Albert Bierstadt” (2011) by Barry Buxkamper. Acrylic on unstretched canvas, 30 x 36 inches. Courtesy of Cumberland Gallery.
27, Charleston, South Carolina
A portrait is the artist’s attempt to capture and identify personality. Combining sharp, technical skills with expansive creativity, Ben Gately Williams creates photographs that are more than visual documents. They are poetic compositions, recording an inner spirit—something beyond the physical. Williams unlocks his subjects to reveal their personalities, psychologies, and internal struggles. There is a candor and energy about his portraiture that encourages us to see others in ways we never have before.
—Rebekah Jacob, Owner/Curator, Rebekah Jacob Gallery
“Hollingsworth” (2010) by Ben Gately Williams.
36, Asheville, North Carolina
Lisa Klakulak paints, sculpts, designs, and crafts, using unique materials. Her work defies standard categories and classification. In fact, it transcends them. A self-described “gypsy world traveler,” she is based in the South, yet is recognized internationally. Her work is environmentally conscious (green), rooted in Southern traditions, but it is her own—uniquely so. The material? Handmade felt.
—J. Richard Gruber, Director Emeritus, Ogden Museum of Southern Art
“Shaded” (2006) by Lisa Klakulak. Finn/Rambouillet wool fleece, reclaimed sunglass lenses, and waxed linen, 9 x 7.5 x 8 inches.
30, Brooklyn, New York, via Augusta, Georgia
Influenced by tribal and folk art, Baker Overstreet re-imagines primitive abstractions for a contemporary zeitgeist. In boldly colored, patterned, and highly stylized compositions that resemble totems, he has developed his own painterly language. His symmetrical arrangements create deceptive pictorial fields. Rough-scrawled lines and blocks of vibrant hue suggest fleeting associations, whether figurative or architectural, causing moments of recognition.
—Kevin Grogan, Director, Morris Museum of Art
“New World Symphony (For the Elite Ark)” (2008) by Baker Overstreet. Acrylic & latex on canvas, 67 x 52 inches. Courtesy of Fredericks & Freiser Gallery.
41, Antioch, Tennessee
Samuel Dunson’s themes include love, death, and the societal roles of an African-American father and husband. His mixed-media paintings and drawings on Masonite reflect a fascination with pop culture and with playfully dissolving the boundaries between the everyday and the extraordinary, the real and the supernatural.
—Brandee Rees, Assistant, JCH Gallery
“Blossoming Monkey” (2012) by Samuel Dunson. Mixed media on canvas, 31 x 51 inches.
40, Boston via Greensboro, North Carolina
Through her photography, Blake Fitch explores the everyday subtleties and quiet beauty of the ever-changing world around her. In her project “Expectations of Adolescence,” Fitch explores the transition from childhood to womanhood. Through photographs of her cousin and younger sister, Fitch captures the simple moments in a girl’s search for identity. “Robin” is from her project titled “Princess,” where young girls explore the natural world adorned in pastel-colored, fairytale attire. Fitch’s series are powerful yet innocent, romantic yet strong, and their pensive nature encourages one to consider his or her own evolution from a time that was to the time that is.
—Catherine Couturier, Owner, John Cleary Gallery
“Robin” (2011) by Blake Fitch. Archival inkjet print, 30 x 40 inches.
38, Tampa, Florida
John Byrd works in the extremely difficult medium of high-fire porcelain—painstakingly carving amalgamated animal forms reminiscent of his North Carolina roots. He studies anatomical drawings to articulate muscular shape, then creates—or scours the Internet for—the perfect taxidermy element to interrupt the high-brow porcelain form. This process is a metaphor for his identity as a Southern artist thrust into the contemporary fine-art world while working with a material often associated with European royalty. He is constantly redefining his Southern cultural identity through his art.
—Mindy Solomon, Owner, Mindy Solomon Gallery
“Untitled (hunting dog)” (2006) by John Byrd. Porcelain, taxidermy (fox), cast plastic, mixed media, 17 x 33 x 9 inches.
52, Pikeville, Tennessee
Andrew Saftel’s exuberant work is often grounded by the narrative theme of the voyage and how it physically or metaphysically factors into our lives. He paints as much as he carves onto the wood panels and often incorporates found objects into the mix. Quotations from history, botany, geography, physics, and personal and shared memories charge his work with an aura of shared experience. Sometimes playful and humorous, Saftel’s art maintains a sincerity of purpose and humanity. He writes, “As an artist my intention is to distill as much of what I see and feel about the world into visual assemblages through which I can share my experiences with others.”
—Carol Stein, Director, Cumberland Gallery
“On We Go” (2008) by Andrew Saftel. Acrylic, found objects, collage, and carving on birch panel, 40 x 72 inches. Courtesy of Lanoue Fine Arts.
25, Oxford, Mississippi
Yes, he is my son. He is an exceptional visual artist, but he also uses his website, Supersonic Electronic (which includes his own writing and musical composition, for example, as well as presenting other artists’ creations) to create something new: an art for those in the world of today, a world which influences each of us from a multitude of sources each minute.
—Glennray Tutor, artist
“U Win” (2006–2008) by Zachary Tutor. Mechanical pencil, 4 x 6 feet.
25, Birmingham, Alabama
The art of Jonathan Michael Hicks brings a strong point of view to important contemporary issues. His current photography projects offer up bold and imaginative images, often staged, that play with racial stereotypes, Southern history, and masculine identity: an NCAA basketball is bound in chains; a black man in a white hood wears a noose like a tie around his neck; and blurred figures in a dreamy landscape wave Confederate flags. One series depicts the torso of a slim white dude in ultra-baggy jeans. Once seen, Hicks’s iconic images are difficult to forget.
—Paul W. Richelson, Chief Curator, Mobile Museum of Art
“Clowning In A Necktie Noose @Apple Inc. (After Longo)” (2010) by Jonathan Michael Hicks. Photograph, 41 x 29 inches. Courtesy of the Birmingham Museum of Art.
26, Charleston, South Carolina
Reynier Llanes came to the U.S. after graduating from the School of Art in Cuba. He uses Cuban espresso coffee as a medium in his paintings. This difficult medium—created by carefully mixing water and coffee—creates distinctive qualities of color, texture, mood, and atmosphere.
—Jonathan Green, Founder, Jonathan Green Studios
“King of Rhythm” (2011) by Reynier Llanes. Cuban espresso coffee on paper, 39 x 29 inches.
34, Spartanburg, South Carolina
The art of Andrew Blanchard keenly narrates aspects of the political, cultural, and social atmosphere of the American South. Blanchard’s prints focus on independent spirits living on the fringe. Roadside signs, graffiti, decorated vehicles, pets, and architecture serve as motifs symbolic of social amalgamation, revealing what it can mean to be Southern today.
—Wil Cook, Director, Southside Art Gallery
“All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight” (2011) by Andrew Blanchard. Screen-print with wood inlay on mounted found-wood panel, 35 x 47 inches. Courtesy of The Janet Turner Print Museum.
Working primarily on found paper, Maysey Craddock focuses on the underlying stories of the natural and manmade environment. Her subject might be a dilapidated structure ruined by a force of nature or decades of neglect; or it might be a stalwart tree that’s endured the ravages of time; or it might be a river charting a changing course. Her material of choice is flattened grocery bags embroidered together. Those recycled papers have a peculiar touch, shape, and value that add a sense of history and help complete the story.
—David Lusk, Owner, David Lusk Gallery
“In the Winter Jungle (Bellsouth)” (2011) by Maysey Craddock. Gouache and thread on paper bags, 38 x 52.25 inches. Courtesy of Nancy Margolis Gallery.
Kojo Griffin’s paintings set anthropomorphic figures in minimalist backgrounds to illustrate raw emotions. His subjects have the bodies of humans, detailed with clothing and other everyday accessories, and the visages of various animals. These hybrid creatures are cartoonish and endearing, but they are often depicted in scenes of violence, rejection, and humiliation. The effect is unsettling and disturbing.
—Jeffrey Bruce, Director of Exhibitions and Collections, Tubman African American Museum
“Untitled” (2004) by Kojo Griffin. Charcoal on paper, 14 x 17 inches. Courtesy of Saltworks Gallery.
30, Charlotte, North Carolina
Duy Huynh’s (“yee wun”) acrylic paintings are poetic, contemplative, and magical. In a chaotic world, his work offers an escape—a secret, artistic passage into far-off mystical places. Last year, the Telegraph reported that “works of art can give as much joy as being head over heels in love.” Find yourself in a gallery surrounded by Huynh’s work and hold on to your heart.
—Emily Harper Beard, Community Relations Manager, Frist Center for Visual Arts
“Garden Garment” (2009) by Duy Huynh. Acrylic on wood panel, 40 x 32 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Lark & Key Gallery.
Brandon Thibodeaux found photography after spending his teenage years fighting cancer. He explores the South through photojournalism—from the Mississippi Delta to the Texas backwoods and beyond. Through his portraits of people in their landscapes he offers a life-affirming message about our every moment, no matter how uneventful.
—David Donovan, General Manager, The AfterImage Gallery
“Hounds in Waiting” (2009) by Brandon Thibodeaux. Digital C-print, 15 x 15 inches.
22, North Little Rock, Arkansas
Mark Monroe explores themes of personal and public identity in his whimsical installations: linen formed into tents or worn clothes hanging from a ceiling. All of these works are in colors reminiscent of yellowed papers—and many of them are literally yellowed papers, covered in the crystalline formations of glue and salt. As described by one of his professors, Monroe is “never cynical or contrived—his work is genuine, gentle, and generous.”
—Barclay McConnell, Director, Baum Gallery of Art
“Untitled” (2012) by Mark Monroe. Facebook profile color prints, bleach, varnish, and vellum, 4.5 x 6 inches.
40, New Orleans
Brent Drake Barnidge employs the Renaissance system of linear perspective—every line converges to the same vanishing point—as a basis for his complex architectural settings. The underlying narrative is metaphorical; others require contemplation. Still others are conceived to allow worm’s-eye views of architectural lines that curve dramatically inward. Barnidge’s mastery of the relatively new fiberglass medium is unparalleled.
—Judith H. Bonner, Senior Curator, The Historic New Orleans Collection
“All on a Mardi Gras Day” (2011) by Brent Drake Barnidge. Fiberglass, 42 x 60 inches. Courtesy of The New Orleans Academy of Fine Arts.
31, Lexington, Kentuckyh4>
Since his undergraduate days, Lennon Michalski has been an intuitive and prolific painter, creating large-scale works that depict an imaginative world full of beauty, danger, and comedy. His inventive machines, animals, and strange figures reside in a parallel universe that he renders in fragile line-drawings held together with luminous layers of color. It is clear that Michalski loves the medium as much as the message.
—Ann Tower, Owner and Director, Ann Tower Gallery
“Places with Teeth” (2011) by Lennon Michalski. Oil and resin on canvas, 45 x 55 inches.
28, Sunderland, Massachusetts via New Orleans
Pressure produces diamonds. John Michael Byrd was born in Bogalusa, Louisiana—a conservative town in a conservative state—but his spirit is wide open, and the experience of being different—unusually sensitive, unusually talented, and just unusual—in a restrictive environment informed and motivated his work. This tension between social expectations and his absolute commitment to be himself is a central theme. Everything echoes this push and pull: the soft, watery line quality, the translucent, luminous materials he paints on, and the expanses of clear, untouched space are a stark contrast to the surface (polypropylene), the subject matter dense with meaning, the imagery often taboo and occasionally strident and uncomfortable. His willingness to expose all, to be vulnerable and to challenge ideas of what a painting is supposed to be makes his work passionate and unstoppable.
—K. Malia Krolak, Director, Alfred C. Glassell Jr. Exhibition Gallery
“Membrane Apparatus” (2011) by John Michael Byrd. Watercolor and acrylic on acetate, 40 x 50 inches.
52, Houston, Texas
I’ve had the fortune of watching Shelley Calton evolve as a photographer. One of her early projects, “Hard Knocks: Rolling with the Derby Girls,” presented a gorgeous series of silver-gelatin prints of “empowered women,” as the artist says, who “transform themselves from moms, teachers, and business women into competitive athletes.” Two other bodies of work, “Invisible Thread” and “Necessaire,” offer tantalizing glimpses of feminine accoutrements—silky underthings, a powder puff, an old-fashioned cigarette case. She is currently working on a new project, “Licensed to Carry: Ladies of Caliber,” that focuses on women who own guns. In all of her photographs, Calton embraces and captures distinctive facets of feminine energy and strength.
—Debbie Fleming Caffery, photographer
“MaryLou” (2012) by Shelley Calton. Digital image, 23 x 34 inches. Courtesy of DeSantos Gallery.
Patrick DeGuira’s paintings, prints, sculptures, and installations are built upon the narrative traditions of Southern culture. They are drawn from personal family histories, familiar domestic situations, and encounters with the uncanny. Underlying his work is a disquieting sense of preternatural incidence. Through Patrick’s art we glimpse simultaneously depraved and romantic notions of contemporary life. His work stretches a bold new skin over the body of Southern Gothic tradition.
—Greg Pond, Associate Professor of Art, University of the South
“Tradewinds” (2011) by Patrick DeGuira. Wood, steel, acrylic paint, found press photo, artist frame, 20 x 15 x 24 inches. Courtesy of Zeitgeist Gallery.
35 & 38, Woodbury, Tennessee
Sisavanh Phouthavong is a Laotian-born mixed-media artist whose source material is autobiographical and stems directly from her personal experiences of being a mother, wife, teacher, citizen, and observer. Her collaborative works in bronze and iron with sculptor Jarrod Houghton attempt to present the viewer with evocative juxtapositions and to reveal shared experiences of human anxiety, phobia, taboo, and dreams.
—Susan Tinney, Gallerist, Tinney Contemporary
“ ‘Temporary Protection’: Insectophobia #7” (2011) by Sisavanh Phouthavong & Jarrod Houghton. Hair and cast iron, 40 x 18 x 8 inches.
Yanique Norman’s drawings read as a personal narrative in collage and gouache. She explores a metaphorical landscape of emotions, sexuality, and gender identity, allowing the viewer to explore the black subconscious mind—and beyond.
—Robin Sandler & Debbie Hudson, Sandler Hudson Gallery
“Middle Passages Redux: Fatherlessness 1” (2011) by Yanique Norman. Graphite, gouache, and collage on paper, 20 x 30 inches.
31, Alexandria, Virginia
In her “family” portraits, photographer Jennifer Fairfax poses herself as mother, grandmother, and grandfather. As she moves from one family member’s role to another, she questions and redefines issues of identity in terms of blackness, femininity, and sexuality. Her use of autobiographical elements allows her to construct images that examine and transform her childhood memories.
—Peggy Feerick, Associate Professor of Photography, George Mason University
“Mama’s Dead” (2008) by Jennifer E. Fairfax. Digital C-print, 20 x 28 inches.
28, Savannah, Georgia
When I first met Amy, she was attending Savannah College of Art and Design. During our first conversation, she mentioned she was an artist. I’m an artist myself but I also collect art, so I asked if I could see her work. I didn’t know what to expect, but I was very impressed. I’ve always been fascinated and humbled by artists who have the skills and the patience to create portraits with such realism and are able to express and show the moods of their models in their paintings. Her technical skills were exceptional, the skin tones and the use of light were reminiscent of paintings I would see in museums. It’s been a few years now, and Amy’s paintings are even more intriguing. Not only do I think highly of her as an artist, but also as a person: She is genuinely what some would call “good people.”
—Cedric Smith, artist/photographer
“San Francisco Light” (2008–2009) by Amy Lind. Oil on linen, 52 x 40 inches. Permanent Collection of the Savannah College of Art and Design.
28, Columbia, South Carolina
Eliot Dudik photographs the Southern landscape in a way that is both contemporary and timeless. He brings to light the beauty of the unseen through subtle but powerful imagery. He is at the forefront of the New Southern Photographic movement and is a rising star in the photographic community.
—David Bram, Editor & Publisher, Fraction Magazine
“Anthony, North Edisto River” (2010) by Eliot Dudik. Archival pigment print, 32 x 40 inches.
39, Kansas City, Missouri, via Morgantown, West Virginia
Davin Watne was born and raised in the shadows of the coal-mining industry in rural West Virginia. As he says, “My sister and I used to play in abandoned strip mines as children.” In his art, he often explores the troubling relationships that humans have with nature. An early series of oil paintings offers haunting night views of wrecked cars on dark highways surrounded by nocturnal creatures. More recent paintings speak of the numbing, candy-coated world of consumerism by way of glassy, eye-shadow-heavy eyes and swollen plastic lips. Watne also makes beguiling sculptures of unexpected materials: Beanbags, purses, and hair extensions combine to form “Grand Titillation.” And a 1974 Dodge Charger is replicated at actual size in pink papier-mâché. It was later ritually burned.
—Colby K. Smith, Director, The Studios Inc.
“Lying” (2012) by Davin Watne. Oil on canvas, 36 x 38 inches.
27, Little Rock, Arkansas
Jon Shannon Rogers has said of his recent oil paintings that “the subject is no longer important, only the color relationships.” Perhaps this is why his compositions seem so casually chosen: “Pilsen” (2008) depicts in muted, shady hues the view out of the artist’s backyard window in Chicago (where he went to art school; he’s now returned to his hometown of Little Rock). “Apartment Interior” (2009) depicts just that: a tidy but rumpled living room, blankets strewn across a sofa, sun rays slipping through a window and glinting off the hardwood floor. It’s calm, confident work, the ordinariness of the subject matter made gorgeous by the artist’s attention to color and light.
—Greg Thompson, President, Greg Thompson Fine Art
“Yellow Kitchen” (2011) by Jon Shannon Rogers. Oil on canvas, 72 x 48 inches.
Beau Raymond’s sculptural ceramics feature comic-book-style characters involved in bizarre situations. Heavily influenced by comic books, horror and B-films, and television, Raymond’s sculptures question social norms—especially those he experienced growing up in the ’80s.
—Maggie Taylor, photographer
“The Patriarch” (2008) by Beau Raymond. Clay, airbrushed acrylic inks, 19 x 12 x 10 inches.