Photo Gallery | Strokes of Mid-South, Big Easy in 'Memphis and Beyond' exhibit
Note: Nick Kenney is a reporter for Action News 5. This article is a special interest article about the artist who is his mom.
Local artist Terry Kenney brings a fresh perspective to urban landscapes from across the South in a new exhibit titled "Memphis and Beyond" set to open on Friday.
And I think it's the best art you'll ever see.
Full disclosure: I'm not an art critic. And I am totally biased on this one. I've temporarily closed the reporter's bible on objectivity and slid it over on the corner of my desk. Because, how do you write objectively about your own mother? Without gushing? Same time, I want you to know about this. So consider this like an editorial... A personal editorial.
My mom (the aforementioned Terry Kenney, artist) has an exhibition opening (the aforementioned "Memphis and Beyond") at Gallery 56 at 2256 Central Avenue Friday, August 3rd, with a reception from 5 to 8 p.m. to kick things off. Her work will be on display throughout the month of August.
"It's such an honor," she told me when I interviewed my mom (hard to do). "To have my first individual show here in Memphis. It means an artist has been working long enough that they have a body of work that can be hung together in a theme, that the gallery recognizes that this person might be an emerging artist who has work worth seeing. And it's really a fulfilling feeling."
A New Orleans native, Kenney (mom) studied at the New Orleans Academy of Fine Art. Her style is described as realism, her main focus the slice of life scenes from the street. Kenney's (mom's) work hangs regularly in the Jean Bragg Gallery on Julia Street in the arts district of New Orleans. In addition, she worked as the Director of Graphics for the Audubon Nature Institute, so if you've ever been to the Audubon Zoo, the Aquarium of the Americas, or the New Orleans Butterfly House and Insectarium then you have seen her work before without even realizing it.
The Kenney's (my parents) moved to Memphis in November 2010, at which point the creative juices started flowing against the current, up the Mississippi instead.
Kenney (mom) says she uses her work to capture scenes the audience may not have noticed otherwise.
"The goal is to try to get people to see things the way I see them," she said. "To take some really non-descript scenes, to find the beauty in them, and hope people look at them in a way they may not have looked at them before."
The "Memphis And Beyond" exhibition includes 25 original pieces that depict cityscapes and scenery from downtown Memphis, including well-known landmark eateries Gus's Fried Chicken, Rendezvous, and The Arcade. There are also works from Nashville, Munford, LaGrange, the Florida coast, and, yes, New Orleans, too.
"I think people will be delighted with these works," Gallery 56 director Rollin Kocsis said. "The level of competency with the artist is very high. The local scenes are fantastic. The work reminds me a little bit of Edward Hopper. There's a quietness to it, with muted colors, and shadows. The works are small but very rich in detail."
You might imagine, there are some Terry Kenney originals hanging in our house. A pick-up truck in my son's room. A carriage driver taking a break in our kitchen. A row of buildings straight out of the warehouse district above our mantle. Now, let's say Salvador Dali had painted "El Toreador Halucinogeno" in my living room and asked to display his mindtrip in any of those three locations.
"Try the wall in the hallway," I'd (half) decline the Spaniard's offer.
I hope you check out her work. And I hope you feel the same way I do about it.