Where would art be without its patrons? Some may say the creative world would be in a better place sans the need for and influence of those with the financial means to commission and collect it. But, in many cases, art patronage has proven to be a powerful way of spurring and preserving cutting-edge creative work and Nashville is not without its convincing examples.
For instance, there’s the Cheekwood Permanent Collection of Fine Art, originally collected by Nashville’s Cheek family, brimming with historical touchstones of abstract expressionist, impressionist and pop art paintings. And there’s Nashville’s Frist family, whose patronage eventually yielded the city’s largest visual arts center in the Frist Art Museum. And now, on display in Channel to Channel gallery’s latest exhibition, visitors can find The Jobe Collection.
Carolyn and Brian R. Jobe are local artists and directors of the non-profit Tri-Star Arts, which highlights contemporary visual art in Tennessee through programs that promote art dialogue. They are also prolific art collectors whose joint effort to acquire, finance and preserve creative work has been ongoing since 2005. Celebrating this legacy, Channel to Channel is exhibiting pieces from their collection until January 17, 2020, in its show “15 Years.”
In addition to visiting thought-provoking examples of contemporary art, “15 Years” is the chance for attendees to think about what it means to collect such pieces, to live with them and serve as their steward to the outside world. In this sense, the collection may become more than the sum of its parts.
“This exhibition is a celebration of contemporary art, collecting and the power of living with art,” per the gallery. “Themes found in their collection include an engagement with mystery, iconography, color theory and broadly the impact of small daily encounters with art.”
Among the work on display, visitors will find Big Blonde by Eleanor Aldrich, a thickly-rendered oil painting. Even among the other pieces in the collection this work stands out for the artist’s contemporary use of texture and presence, creating a faceless figure with a surprising amount of personality.
“My work is textural and alchemical; I match materials … and techniques to the subject matter they look like, thereby approaching verisimilitude without realistic rendering,” according to Aldrich’s artist statement. “I work with a kind of mimetic literalism that embodies the subject but serves pictorial conventions as well, posing questions about physicality as the standard of reality.”
Aldrich lives in Knoxville and holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in painting from the University of Tennessee. Her work has been exhibited in Boston, Arizona and Alabama, among other places, and has been reviewed by several significant art publications.
Channel to Channel is located at 507 Hagan Street in We-Ho.