First Friday, Art and Passing Time in the City

Harpist on Market Square, Knoxville, February 2012

It’s hard to believe how quickly the winter has passed. There hasn’t really been much of one as far as the weather goes. It was just New Year and now it’s almost spring. I’ve barely gotten used to the winter hours for Just Ripe and they will be changing soon to spring hours.

Jazz in the Art Market, Gay Street, Knoxville, February 2012

In the hurry through February, I realize I never mentioned anything about First Friday this month. I like to throw it out there for your consideration because the art openings that night are generally up for the month at the Emporium and the UT Gallery. We also had a harpist on Market Square, though she came with strings attached. Her compatriots hovering nearby passed out religious tracts to anyone who paused. As always, we enjoyed the jazz in the Art Gallery on Gay Street, so there was a little soundtrack to the night.

Art in the Balcony at the Emporium, Knoxville

I didn’t particularly care for the exhibit on the balcony this go around. Somehow it just didn’t reach out and grab me. Maybe it will grab you. It’s called “Forward” and it is produced by Pellissippi State faculty. The piece pictured here looked like plastic that might have washed up on the banks of a polluted river – with a light illuminating it from behind. I’m sure I’m just not sophisticated enough to appreciate it all and, given the right tutelage, I might realize how incredible it really is.

Jake Livesay, Acrylic at the Emporium

Jake Livesay, Acrylic at the Emporium, Knoxville, 2012

Downstairs, two artists shared the space in a exhibition titled, “If Not Now, When? The emphasis for the artists, apparently is experiencing the moment. Jake Livesay exhibited works in acrylic, many of which featured a seemingly Native American motif. At first I didn’t care for it, but the more I studied it, the more it drew me in. It’s very geometric in nature, which can cause a work to seem cold or emotionally distant in my view, but that wasn’t so much the case with these pieces.

Victor Schmidt, Emporium, Knoxville

Victor Schmidt, Emporium, Knoxville

Victor Schmidt, Emporium, Knoxville

Victor Schmidt exhibited forged works of steel and brass. I enjoyed those quite a bit. I’m sure I didn’t gather everything the artist intended, being the rube that I am, but I did like the shapes and contortions and enjoyed imagining what the abstract expressions might represent, if anything more than beautiful steel and brass.

Japanese Art at the UT Downtown Gallery, Knoxville, February 2012

Japanese Art at the UT Downtown Gallery, Knoxville, February 2012

The UT Downtown Gallery is always interesting and this month it is no exception. Japanese artists are featured and particularly a technique of layering paint that I never did really understand. It is, however, beautiful, and impressive. The thing about Japanese art is that it has such a deep soul it bears up well under extended scrutiny. The longer I look, generally, the better I like.

Hopefully you still have another week or so to catch these fine exhibitions before they begin to give way to the First Friday openings for March which, incredibly, are close at hand.