Wednesday, February 29, 2012

4 Arkansans make OA A list

Posted By on Wed, Feb 29, 2012 at 3:59 PM

Alex Lemes Small Town, from his website
  • Alex Leme's "Small Town," from his website

The Oxford American's visual arts issue highlights "the new superstars of Southern art," a group they are calling "100 under 100." I'm not sure what the "under 100" refers to, unless it means no Southern Grandma Moseses were eligible. At any rate, galleries owners, curators, critics and artists selected four Arkansans for superstardom: Keliy Anderson-Staley of Russellville (No. 39), Alex Leme of Little Rock (No. 61), Mark Monroe of North Little Rock (No. 87) and Jon Shannon Rogers of Little Rock (No. 99). Anderson-Staley and Leme are photographers, Monroe is a conceptual artist and Rogers is a painter. (For this issue, media were limited to paint, photography and drawing.)

The online version of the story doesn't include images of work by any of the Arkansas artists, but Eye Candy readers have seen images of Anderson-Staley's wet-plate collodion tintypes posted here and here. Anderson-Staley was nominated by Kevin Miller, director of the Southeast Museum of Photography. Rogers has also made appearances on the blog, including here; he was nominated by dealer Greg Thompson. Leme, a native of Brazil, was nominated by South Carolina photographer and USC faculty member Kathleen Robbins, and UCA student Monroe was nominated by UCA gallery curator Barclay McConnell.

With one exception, the images by the top 40 artists are representational and nearly all are of the human figure, which I guess is sort of Southern-ish. I can't say that any of them made me sit up and shout "Gadzooks!" (I'm not sure what would, actually), but I did like the drawing by Zoe Charlton of Baltimore (No. 10, page 65, but not online), a painting by Brett Bigbee (No. 27, page 82, not online) and Anderson-Staley's work (page 94) the best.

Mark Monroes Washed Over, salt crystals on paper, from his website
  • Mark Monroe's "Washed Over," salt crystals on paper, from his website

Candy fans, what other Arkansas artists do you think should have been in the top 100?

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