Frist Center Highlights Nashville Artists in METAMORPHOSES, Opening 6/8


Works by four Nashville-area artists-Erin Anfinson, Kristi Hargrove, Mark Hosford and Chris Scarborough-will be on view in the Frist Center's Conte Community Arts Gallery from June 8 through October 28, 2012. The exhibition, entitled Metamorphoses, features 41 drawings, all of which reveal scrupulously rendered forms, the origin of which are often unclear, conveying a sense of mystery and transformation.

Each of the artists featured in Metamorphoses approaches drawing differently, reminding us that of all the arts, drawing has historically been considered to be among the most personal, revealing something of the artist as well as the subject. "This is an exhibition to which we can all relate. Nearly everyone has made some sort of drawing, whether it is free-form doodle or a finished work of art," says Frist Center Chief Curator Mark Scala. "In the case of Metamorphoses, we see artists combining unfettered invention of doodling with virtuosic manipulation to create forms that seem to be both real and dreamlike."

The title of the exhibition, Metamorphoses, derives from Ovid's descriptions of bodily transformation in Greek myth, while simultaneously reflecting the Surrealist philosophy of breaking down boundaries between the inner and outer worlds. "It is the idea of dissolution-of beliefs, information, the body-and subsequent transformation that is the true subject of these

artists' drawings," notes Scala. "Although their style and imagery may differ, each grapples with notions of readaptation and imagination."

For example, in his Rorschach Series, Hosford appropriates templates of the famous inkblot test, which was designed to reveal the viewer's hidden psychological tendencies. He transforms these symmetrical organic forms by inlaying his own eccentric imagery, composed of monstrous creatures and hybrid beings reminiscent of the dark animation of the Brothers Quay and Tim Burton. The works hilariously reverse the instrument of psychology by showing us right up front what horrors lie within the mind; interpretation is no longer needed in these wild and playful imaginings.

Conversely, Scarborough re-envisions everyday subjects, skillfully merging depictions of people and animals with fragmenting or even exploding forms, as if all that seems certain is actually tenuous. Titles like "The Economist" and "The Modernist" provide a clue to the underlying imagery that is often obscured by random explosive inventions, encouraging viewers to come to their own conclusions about the strange metamorphosis taking place.

In intimate drawings that float between abstraction and recognition, Hargrove pushes the boundaries of pencil, pen, and paper. She explores the psychology of perception, in some instances creating realistic illusions, and in others employing collage or the physical properties of paper to create actual space and depth. The artist's playfulness and curiosity does not mask the works' invitation to voyeurism, with their tantalizing, often subtly erotic, glimpses into a very private world.

Anfinson also participates in a type of voyeurism by depicting an imagined bodily interior in excruciating close-up. In her series The Migration of the Disruptors, inspired by the artist's concern with the adverse affects of certain chemicals and pharmaceuticals on the endocrine system, twisting colonic shapes slowly dissolve into pictorial chemical bonds, provoking a strange transformation of the human interior into a universe of degradation and self-renewal.

By playing on the vulnerability of our minds and bodies, each of these artists encourages a heightened consciousness within the viewer. They draw attention to the incessant flux of our internal and external perceptions, the constant metamorphosis of our physical, mental and ideological selves.

Mark Hosford specializes in printmaking, drawing and animation, using narrative imagery to explore social curiosities and personal obsessions. Born in Kansas City, Mo., Hosford received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Kansas. In 1998, he moved to Knoxville, Tenn. to pursue a Master of Fine Arts degree at the University of Tennessee. Hosford has a regional, national and international exhibition record, including shows in Poland, Germany, South Korea, China, New York, Boston and California. He is currently an Associate Professor of Art at Vanderbilt University.