The new exhibition Buy Local: A Group Show Celebrating Atlanta’s Emerging Talent at Emily Amy Gallery is exactly how the title describes it. The gallery features the work of six artists: Kristina Bailey, Holly Golson Bryan, Meta Gary, Will Kay, Whitney Stansell, and Zuzka Vaclavik. A range of subjects and techniques are on view, although each artist’s work is self-contained. It would have been refreshing to see a dialog created among the different artists.
Whitney Stansell depicts moments either before or after the drama, leaving viewers questioning what is actually depicted. In The Chase Scene, as in all her paintings, she numbers the people and objects to tell an incomplete story. For example, she labels the “bad guys,” the “briefcase with stolen money,” and the “cute camera girl.” But how do all these individual objects come together in one painting? As the viewer, I believe you create your narrative around the information Stansell has given. Her technique of using thread to embroider the edges of the house and the outlines of the figures is her innovative twist on painting. Stansell’s work stood out to me for its open-ended nature and embroidery techniques.
Meta Gary’s works, such as These Are the Ones Who Have Found You, possess a Surrealist quality. Her paintings invite you into a dream world, where tigers riding boats and a man with a deer head seem like a probable reality. Their sketch-like quality and relatively small size (24 x 24″, and some much smaller) make them endearing. Gary says her art explores the definitions of the differences between humans and animals. Her work has a quiet confidence.
Pretty: That’s the word that comes to mind when talking about Kristina Bailey’s floral paintings. I was struck by her harmonious use of color. Bailey majored in Fabric Design at the University of Georgia; the presence of the fabric in her work adds an element of surprise. In Fluid Sonata, Bailey uses a blue polka dot fabric, but also paints blue dots through that help make the fabric and paint work together. They are simply beautiful, yet lacking in a deeper concept.
Zuzka Vaclavik’s works on paper resemble tags of graffiti art with block letters overpowering the design and words behind. The works are small scale (21 x 22″) compared to most graffiti tags seen on the street. Their size makes Vaclavik’s work more intimate and full of energy. In all the pieces exhibited, particularly in STR, the visual chaos swirling around the lettering creates a youthful energy. For me, Vaclavik’s work was the best of the show because it stood out for its originality, concept, and playfulness.