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Gallery Hop: State of the Art March 

Highlights show increasing acceptance of monthly event

The First Friday Art March is slowly becoming a staple of the downtown Savannah art scene.

It’s a prime target of opening receptions, since all the perks involved in this event gather a sizable crowd willing to move around and visit the different spaces that are listed on the map each month. The march includes cafes, vintage and music shops, and most importantly, galleries.

Fortunately for artists in Savannah, this has created a thirst in the general population for better, more enticing shows. In this edition of the march, there were three shows that really stood out.

Fresh Exhibitions Gallery, headquarters of the organizing team for the Art March, opened a beautiful illustration show with an ecological message. Kristin Myers, a New Jersey native who received her B.F.A. in Painting from SCAD in 2006, opened her show "The Tides of Trash." Her illustrative exploration of line and ink on paper departs from her early work in representational painting, as well as represents her deep fascination with the ocean.

Having been born and raised a few blocks from the shoreline, Myers collects the trash that washes onto the shore from the sea. Using a grid system, she painstakingly transfer the lines and details she finds in the photos of the collection of items.

Her series "Piles of Trash" creates a visual simulation of depth by drawing three or four elements, each on one sheet of velum and framing them one on top of the other. The quality of her line is pristine and precise.

Once again, this systematic approach to depicting something so organic in nature creates an interesting contrast that keeps the viewer interested enough. "The Tides of Trash" will be shown until March 15.

"Hematologic" greeted the public with an immensely skillful use of enamel at Non-Fiction Gallery. Madeleine Crawford opened her M.F.A. thesis show consisting of the exploration of blood as a visual reference.

In her very particular approach to her medium, Crawford pairs terminology pertaining to the medical study of blood with each painting, giving the spectator a direction towards the interpretation of the piece. Taking the abstraction of the blood so far that it starts reading more as an exploration of color and shape, it allows all spectators to relate to the painting without losing its contemporary flare.

Crawford's ability to play with enamel gives her paintings a sense of physical depth and texture that temps the spectators. Her use of thinning and thickening agents gives each layer of painting a very particular sensitivity.

Due to the nature of the enamel, the light creates a different experience from each angle—revealing hidden details. Including paints with metallic finishes truly added to the depth of each piece.

In a new wave of jewelry shows, Sicky Nar Nar held a reception for Elizabeth Bailey Christenbury's "Empirical Reflections." It was an impressive collection of wearable art, and Bailey's attention to detail is obvious in the finesse of each piece. She describes her work as a constant exploration of the line, its weight and its presence as a design element. This fascination with the linear possibilities within jewelry came from her experience with pulling plastic.

Bailey explains that her progression with the line from plastic material to metals started creating direct connections with memories and recollections. She treats each strand of material as an illustrator draws a graphite line—engaging the spectator in the journey presented by each piece. This basic element of design has not only shaped Bailey's artistic life, but also has become the one she feels represents her emotions and life experiences the best.

Due to Savannah's peculiarities, the arts community has remained heterogeneous. The loose connections between artists and galleries have the tendency to remain just that. Art Rise's initiative is slowly creating a necessary coexistence in between venues downtown.

Perhaps this will also spark some safe and friendly competition between venues, raising the bar with each opening exhibition. The First Friday Art March has not only accomplished an evolution in the development of artists, but has started to include more of the local population.

cs
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Connect Today 12.06.2016

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