Maybe Johnny Mercer had the future art scene of Savannah in mind when he penned the lyrics to "Come Rain or Come Shine," in 1946. It didn't matter whether it was raining on Friday, sunny on Saturday or overcast on Sunday. Art was in the forecast all weekend, and the people of Savannah proved their love for art no matter if the days were cloudy or sunny or if they were in or out of the money.
The annual SCAD Small Works sales exhibition took place at the Gutstein Gallery on Friday night. There, emerging and established artists were able to showcase their talents in photographs, paintings, sculptures and mixed media works. Throughout the weekend these objects were available for purchase from students, staff and alumni of SCAD.
At Indigo Sky Gallery, Tennessee native Ashley Hamilton displayed her work I Saw Myself Seeing Myself, a collection of paintings that demonstrate the influence of street art and the importance of self-reflection. Visible footprints are evident across the paintings. Sometimes small and sometimes large, they chronicle the steps of creation taken by Hamilton.
Hamilton was joined by Savannah local Erin McCullough for a live painting performance. By the time I arrived at the gallery, their show had already begun and the paint, still wet from the many brushstrokes of many hands dripped from the canvas that was draped from the ceiling. The colors, not always complimentary, formed inner and outer landscapes of those artists who dared to approach the canvas.
It was fun to watch them work, each artist moving around the other, adding more lines where wanted or standing still long enough to have their portraits painted. While this work may not have been completed that night and it may always remain in a state of non finito, what matters is that it began with artists speaking to one another the only way they know how; through art.
The highlight of Friday evening was found at the Non Fiction Gallery where Erin McNeil-Coberly displayed her M.F.A. in Photography exhibition, Recon(figure), a multi-media exhibition which explores our relationship with modern technology, which McNeil-Coberly neither praises nor admonishes throughout her art, she simply assumes the role of an ambivalent observer interested in "how we both inform and are informed by technology."
Unable to hide her enthusiasm, co-owner Heather MacRae-Trulson describes the goose bumps she felt when this exhibition was installed. "These are the shows that we promised the community when we opened this gallery."
And the community showed its appreciation by arriving in droves despite the mist of rain that continued to fall outside.
Inside, the sights and sounds of modern technology greet visitors. Using her husband as model and muse, McNeil-Coberly does not produce still portraits but rather captures his interaction with computers, games, and iPhones. GIFs loop throughout the gallery, where images of smeared thumbprints and fingers sliding across a screen pulse and throb in the darkness.
Ambient music plays in the background and the sound of accelerated breathing fills the room after a sensored screen has been touched. Recon(figure), like its name suggests, demonstrates how we, as human beings have shaped technology and in turn how this technology has shaped us.
On Saturday and Sunday, the Telfair Art Museum held its annual art fair in Telfair Square. In tents around the square and on the side streets, artists and artisans flaunted their crafts. There were glassblowers and jewelry makers, painters and potters, all selling their wares to eager art lovers in search of the unique.
Along the stalls one encountered the whimsical childhood fantasies of illustrator by Kim YoungJu, elaborate animal engravings and prints by Johanna Mueller and the biographies of Georgia natives engraved upon the salvaged materials of wood and metal by Aaron Hequembourg
These artists proved that whether you were there to browse or to buy, there are many talented artists operating within the state of Georgia and the city of Savannah and all of them are worth taking a look at because, like love, art is with us always, come rain or come shine.