Southside Gallery

Roman Holiday: Susan Bryant, Blair Hobbs and Billy Renkl

Southside Gallery is pleased to announce a group exhibition of multimedia work by Blair Hobbs, Susan Bryant, and Billy Renkl that will be on view from October 4th to October 30th, 2016. There will be an artists’ reception on Thursday, October 27th from 6 to 8 pm. The exhibitions are collectively titled Roman Holiday, as each one contains work that responds to the respective artist’s travels in Italy. Together they present three different perspectives on traveling abroad.

Blair Hobbs’s multimedia works on canvas deploy drawing and collage techniques. They pay tribute to some of the most memorable architecture and artifacts she encountered on her travels through Italy, particularly in Rome. These include the dome of the Pantheon, the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi, images from the Vatican, and the non-Catholic cemetery.

Hobbs has long produced artwork with a distinctive style depicting fantastical imagery and figures in the midst of swirling colors, symbols, and text. She attempts to capture in her work the inner life of the mind and the breadth of her own imagination. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Michigan and currently teaches poetry at the University of Mississippi.

Susan Bryant will be showing two series of photographs: “Italian Gestures” and “Italian Vistas.” The former is a photographic study of hands found on statues in museums and churches throughout Italy. In the latter, she captures the space and atmosphere of the Italian landscape. These photos integrate a nineteenth century photographic process (wet-collodion process) with twenty-first century digital technology, a merger that has come to occupy the majority of Bryant’s creative research over the past few years.

Bryant got her MFA in Photography from Indiana State University and is currently a Professor of Art at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, TN, where she has taught photography for the past thirty years. She has exhibited widely across the US and is the recipient of a Tennessee Arts Commission Fellowship.

Billy Renkl, Bryant’s spouse, also drew inspiration for his collage works from their trip to Italy. The works in this series are based on nineteenth-century engravings of Rome, Florence, and Venice. His process involved enlarging antique illustrations by projection or the cyanotype process onto old, Italian legal documents or book pages and then collaging over these prints with found images in various media. In these works, he attempts to capture the equal parts nostalgia and vitality that he sensed while abroad.

Renkl has an MFA in Drawing from the University of South Carolina and currently teaches drawing and illustration at Austin Peay State University. His work has been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions and resides in several permanent collections.

Posted on October 5, 2016