Two very different artists with Georgia ties will be featured in exhibits at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia (MOCA GA) in exhibits beginning in June.
Andy Nasisse first put his hands in clay when he was about 20 years old and in college studying psychology. That touch changed his life. He has written and lectured about clay pieces and sculptures and has won numerous grants and awards. As a professor of ceramics at the University of Georgia for 28 years, he had a major influence on building the reputation of the department. He now lives and works in Salt Lake City, Utah. Nasisse has three large sculptures in the permanent collection of MOCA GA.
Krista Clark is completing the final element in her year-long participation in the museum’s 2018/2019 Working Artist Project (WAP). Her studio is in Atlanta’s West End, and her works of assembled materials address the demolition, reconstruction and displacement of homes there.
The Reporter spoke to both artists about their works. MOCA GA is located at 75 Bennett St., Buckhead. Info: mocaga.org.
“Heart Land Dark Land”
June 8-July 6, opening reception June 7, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Q: You incorporate many images in your work, from the smallest cup and saucer to the large figures and the towering pillars more than six feet tall. What are you expressing through these images?
A: I use the figure, the vessel and the landscape to create what I call a mythic image as a way I can express some thoughts about the human condition. As the title of my show “Heart Land Dark Land” suggests, I am fascinated by the tension between opposites. The Dark Land or shadow land can also refer to the interior visceral side of the imagination; contractive energy as opposed to expansive energy; the feminine and masculine; night and day: ration and intuition; our conscious lives and subconscious self; matter and spirit; life and death and so many more. All these opposites drive the universe.
Q: Where do your images come from?
A: Everywhere. Animism is part of the human imagination. I was a rock climber and I saw and still see faces and figures in rocks, in the bark and burls of trees, and I am among the many who make cloud pictures. The possibilities are unlimited.
Q: What do you hope people will take away when they see your show?
A: I hope they see the connection between things, that they react with their gut and are able to experience and react with their heart as well as their mind.
June 29 – August 24, opening reception June 28, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Q: Your artworks have shifted from realistic pen-and-ink drawings to abstract installations. How did that happen?
A: In part, as I began to create abstract works, in addition to drawing, I started cutting out shapes and putting them in a collage or a looser three-dimensional work. It was an entire redirection.
When [husband Michael Jones] and I moved to the Westview neighborhood in the historic West End, it was in transition as one of the last in the area undergoing gentrification. There was construction everywhere: wonderful 1920 and 1930 homes being reclaimed and restored; some torn down and new homes going up; some things saved, some lost. That combination informed the shift in my art to large 3-D installations to express what was and is happening all around us. And, through all my new work, I searched for ways to create good design.
Q: Your show is the final element in your yearlong participation in MOCA GA’s Working Artist Project (WAP) and you are of three artists the museum sponsors each year for the WAP program. What are the benefits to you as a selected artist?
A: It’s a great program that provides exposure for the artists. The Working Artists Project is open to established visual artists in the metro Atlanta area who apply for a spot. The guest curator for this year was Allison Glenn, the associate curator of contemporary art at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas.
Those of us chosen present a solo exhibition of all new work created during the year of the grant. WAP provides promotion; opportunities to meet and network with collectors, artists and the public; a studio apprentice – I had two from Georgia State; a $15,000 stipend to create work over the course of the year; a catalog of my show; and a piece from the exhibition to be included in the MOCA GA permanent collection.