I am absolutely delighted to announce here that I will have a solo show at the Dixon Gallery and Gardens this fall. They are having a show of Southern Impressionism as their headline exhibition and have asked me to create a show of southern landscapes to harmonize with it. The show will hang from November 1, 2015 to January 3, 2016.
For non-Memphians, Dixon is one of two local art museums that not only has a lovely collection of its own but also headlines major shows. They just finished a large exhibition of Rodin sculptures and opened a British painting collection, which I can't wait to see. Being invited to have a show there is a career moment for me.
It's also beautiful timing. I had just been feeling that as much as I love traveling and painting in other beautiful spots that it is time for me to get back to my roots as a painter. I spent a number of years painting our lovely local landscape of rolling fields and spreading oaks and hoping to help people here see our own places with fresh and appreciative eyes.
My favorite painter is John Constable, who declined to do the grand tour to Italy and chose instead of paint his father's mill, his path to school, the places he lived later with his own family. I have read his biographies and a chunk of his letters (there are many), and his practice of painting outdoors (he influenced the French on that point), doing sky studies, and painting the landscape of his home have greatly influenced my own practices as a painter. He wrote, "Still I should paint my own places best; painting is with me but another word for feeling, and I associate 'my careless boyhood' with all that lies on the banks of the Stour; those scenes made me a painter, and I am grateful."
My Dixon show will pay homage to Constable and be called "My Own Places." It will be prints and paintings that prominently feature my family's farm, where I first began painting, and Overton Park, where I walk daily and paint often. Above is the first print I've created, a view of the Old Forest in Overton Park from across the lake. It's too far out to know what exactly will be included in this show, but this is where I'm starting.
Martha Kelly is an artist and illustrator who lives and works in Memphis, Tennessee.
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