Hop Scotch by Omari Booker

Art of the Week

As gallery spaces and museums in Nashville have been forced to get creative about how they present visual art due to city-wide social distancing requirements, they’ve uncovered some approaches that are not merely substitutes for traditional in-person exhibitions, but are unique and valuable in their own right.

In that vein, Wedgewood-Houston’s Channel To Channel gallery is presenting an online-only show through the summer of 2020 called “Pockets of Real Passion.” The show features work from artists Eric Mack, Jessica Gatlin, Omari Booker, Ridge McLeod and Frances Berry hanging over Cutting Edge, a piece on the gallery wall by Dustin Hedrick.

“In place of Channel To Channel’s regular programming due to the pandemic, this show will be shown exclusively online and by appointment only,” the gallery indicated in an announcement. “‘Pockets of Real Passion’ includes artists who have a connection with the Southeast United States and integrate illustrative qualities to produce unique paintings. This show is an extension of Cutting Edge … which introduced red tape over light blue paint covering the walls and the floor of the gallery.”

Hop Scotch, by Nashville’s Omari Booker, is one such unique painting from the show. As part of Booker’s Red Line series, it incorporates red razor wire to recall the 1930s practice of red lining, in which the federal government created color-coded maps that delineated areas preferred for investment based on racial and ethnic populations, with areas considered less desirable due to the presence of non-white residents outlined in red.

“Booker explores this history both physically and metaphorically through the use of red razor wire, figures and color,” the gallery explained. “Of the series, the artist stated: ‘As [it] progressed, I investigated how division based on race has affected nearly ever aspect of society in the United States.'”

Booker is native to Nashville and serves as an art instructor at the University School of Nashville. His work has been featured in local shows for years, as well as exhibitions throughout the Southeast.

Channel to Channel is located at 507 Hagan Street in We-Ho.

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