Forget kale, take the art: Seed Space promotes the growing crop of local artists
Local farms may have called a winter hiatus to their CSA programs, through which they supply subscribers with a share of the weekly harvest, but a CSA of another sort is cropping up this season. Seed Space, a nonprofit arts organization located in the former May Hosiery Mill, launched CSArt to promote local artists and their art in the same way that farm-to-table crop-sharing arrangements promote local farmers and their harvest.
If you are familiar with the model of community-supported agriculture, you’ll know what to expect: You pay up front for a “share,” and when the art arrives, you get a mixed basket of works. Seed Space commissioned 10 artists to produce 50 limited-edition pieces, with five artists participating in the first half-share in December, and five in the second half-share in February.
At $500 for a full share and $250 for a half, buying art unseen is a leap of faith, for sure. But if the five works I picked up in December are any indication of what to expect from February’s half-share, it’s a leap of faith worth taking.
Here’s a look at what I found in my CSArt crate when I arrived at the pick-up party at Seed Space.
Cherry Cobbler “Occupie”
Crayons, glitter, tin and mixed media, 1.75” x 5” x 5”, 2011
Nationally known artist Herb Williams chimed in with a predictably playful sculpture constructed of crayons, the same unlikely medium he employs for much larger studies of everything from wildlife to wildfire. Williams describes the pie as “a response to the glitter bombing of politicians who are claiming that such American wholesome values and symbols are strictly a moral or Christian right.”
Hand Embroidered Paper Cup
3.5” x 3.5 “ x 5, 2011
With what she calls “the tiniest needle known to man,” Nicole Baumann, a recipient of a Professional Artist Fellowship from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, poses subtle questions about consumerist culture. Does embroidery make a quotidian paper cup more important, permanent and feminine? Or does it simply render the cup useless? For that matter, what would surrealist artist Méret Oppenheim say?
Semi-matte Photo Paper, Mounted on Acid-free Foam Core, 11” x 14” x 1/8”, 2011
Finishing up his MFA at University of California at San Diego, Calway-Fagen contributed a different collage in each CSA basket. Using images taken from their original context, the artist draws connections between objects, often between humans and the natural world. The work in my CSA basket — layered with photographic images and blue painter’s tape — appears to explore imagery and themes associated with prospecting for precious metals.
Drawing and Watercolor on Archival Paper,
11” x 14”, 2011
Represented by galleries in Seattle, Nashville and Asheville, Leonard explores the Middle Tennessee landscape in her drawings. Each CSA basket received the same underlying image of an owl, but Leonard hand-colored every print with painstaking layers of glaze, to capture ever-shifting influences of light, shadow and atmosphere in the natural world.
Six Color Polaroid Tests
Kodak Metallic Print,
12” x 18”, 2011
A graduate of Columbia University’s MFA program, Vesna Pavlovic' teaches at Vanderbilt University and recently exhibited at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts. In this minimalist array of photographic color blocks — reminiscent of German-born artist Josef Albers’ series Homage to the Square — the artist brings into focus the tradition of photography as a representational medium.
The second share of CSArt will arrive Feb. 10 and will include works by Derek Cote, Ryan Hogan, Jodi Hays, Lesley Patterson-Marx and Sher Fick. The half-share is $250. For information or to subscribe, visit seedspace.org.