Fine Arts Atelier’s Opening Night at Bill Lowe Gallery #LoweLook
A watershed moment in Atlanta’s cultural evolution took place in our gallery this past Friday night. Over 1200 energized and passionate art patrons packed our Midtown gallery for the opening of our new exhibition featuring almost two dozen local artists from the Fine Arts Atelier. This substantive and diverse audience made manifest Bill Lowe Gallery’s 25-year commitment to popularizing and democratizing the visual arts in American culture. When we opened in 1989 our mandate was to make the experience of art which expanded human consciousness accessible to anyone and everyone who had an interest; Friday night was another actualization of that vision and a further sign of Atlanta’s cultural vitality.
The gallery was a kinetic confluence of the most diverse and interactive crowd of art enthusiasts ever assembled in a commercial gallery in the city. Actively represented were cultural institutions ranging from the Hammonds House Museum to the Fine Arts Atelier, Tin Wood Media, the Souls Grown Deep Foundation, the High Museum of Art, the Carlos Museum and more. All merged in a euphoric embrace of a whole new generation of local artists, many making their debut; others were featured in return engagements. They were coupled with selected works by a brilliant configuration of international titans from Egypt, Portugal, Peru, Morocco, South Korea, Italy, Canada, Nigeria – and all over the United States.
In recent years, a kind of lethargy had swept over the arts community across the world. Fueled in large part by the Great Recession, but informed by the dilution of any real cultural focus by hyper-stimulation from digital technologies, the overarching trend was toward a dehumanization of artistic expression in the visual arts. But that cycle has now ended. More recently, a succession of remarkable bits of news has invigorated our community and the South as a whole. The city’s selections as the “Best City in America for Artists” infused the entire arts community with an immense pride in our shared efforts to make Atlanta worthy of its status at the “Capital of the South”. There is now no better place in our country for artists than Atlanta!
Atlanta, the largest city in North America ever totally destroyed by war, has arisen from its ashes. With fervor and conviction we have arduously fought to overcome the burden of our history. What has been forged in place is a transmutation that fueled the greatest contributions to civil and human rights in the world, a global transportation hub, the launch of the first global communications network, the aggregation of music and film industries and the first true cultural epicenter the South has ever seen. Our gallery, and many others arts organizations, have spent decades co-creating what I have described as “An American Renaissance”.
We have long touted ourselves as the “Black Mecca” in the United States. Yet, until only recently, there was a stark divide in cultural interaction between the various ethnic communities in Atlanta’s growing arts community. Our gallery made a declaration of intention years ago; we titled it “Commence: A Philosophical Détente”. Its intention is to blur the lines between race, gender, sexual persuasion, religious creed and color. In the past many years – in the interest of “cultural cross-pollination”, we have introduced artists from around the globe to the American market and, in turn, introduced the world to a host of American artists from across the country. Friday night was a testament to the success of this initiative. Visitors from around the world commented that they had never seen so many people so excited about art in a gallery anywhere they had ever traveled.
My staff and I are gratified to see such a kaleidoscopic array of remarkably informed patrons and supporters of the arts. We are proud that so many in our community “stood ground for the arts” and kept forging ahead in spite of immense obstacles. The breadth and scope of the artistic offering supported by Atlantans represents the “flesh and bones of a new culture”. In contrast to world centers where art has become ironic, satirical and narcissistic, the vocabularies that engender heartfelt responses here address themes that are universal and eternal. Atlanta is a renewed cultural capital. Our region’s historic predisposition to an embrace of the natural world – and our relationship to it – has lent a rich new array of languages to the unfolding conversation. These have acted as a grounding force in artistic discourse.
Bill Lowe Gallery presents “Paradisio” featuring new works by Jimmy O’Neal, Kimber Berry, Tom Brydelsky, and Bassmi Ibrahim. If you’re in Atlanta, please join us for the opening reception one week from now – Friday, May 4th from 6-9 pm! For more information, visit our website.
More about PARADISIO:
We live in a time where life is lived in multiple and simultaneous dimensions. Consciousness is constantly traveling back and forth between the real and the virtual. As a result, our sensory appetite has become insatiable and no singular experience feels complete or gratifying for more than a millisecond. The work in this show demonstrates a possible solution to this manufactured ennui. Illustrated here are pathways for us to navigate our own visions of paradise; time stands still, speeds up and becomes liquid form all at the same time. Paradisio explores the visual and psychological landscape of the multi-dimensional experience, enveloping us in our own yearning for heightened self-awareness.
About Jimmy O’Neal:
Southern artist Jimmy O’Neal invigorates archetypal icons of myth and legend with new meaning through his utilization of scientifically-augmented traditional materials, such as his own unique colorless paint that brilliantly reflects light as a mirror. His opulent showmanship pushes the envelope of pictorial expectation and charters the definition of new beauty in our image-bombarded world. The result is an articulated vision that embraces the breadth and depth of our collective cultural mythologies, independent of traditional time-space parameters.
About Kimber Berry:
American abstractionist Kimber Berry has captured the attention of the global art community over the past decade with her explosively colorful, visually dense, multi-dimensional canvases and installations. Her masterful integration of the digital with pure paint creates a symphonic dance between the virtual world and the organic universe. This universe is an ultra-world that exists within and without the time-space continuum.
About Tom Brydelsky:
Tom Brydelsky’s mixed-media encaustic paintings are an investigation into the ephemeral nature of perception, memory and the living environment. After manipulating digital photographs, he then encases them in cloudy layers of wax which act as a metaphorical time capsule. In this process, Brydelsky reclaims and preserves the reverent nostalgia that mankind has for the natural world.
About Bassmi Ibrahim:
Bassmi Ibrahim’s work is unique in its ability to produce emotional, ethereal, and hypnotic responses in its viewers. None of his paintings insist on literal narrative; instead they speak in a language we intuitively recognize through atmospheric vibration. Whatever is recalled, it is the play of presence and absence that asserts itself as the fundamental rhythm of life.