published Sunday, July 7th, 2013

Talented perspective: Artists put their best work forward

Jake Kelley's entry in the AVA Salon Show is "The Black Amnesias of Heaven," a latex-and-ink on board.
Jake Kelley's entry in the AVA Salon Show is "The Black Amnesias of Heaven," a latex-and-ink on board.


What: Association for Visual Arts Salon Show.

Where: AVA gallery, 30 Frazier Ave., through July 27.

Hours: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays.

Admission: Free.

Information: 423-265-4282 or

About 40 members of the Association for Visual Arts are putting their works up in the AVA Salon Show, which opens Tuesday.

"Traditionally, it's been the exhibit where AVA artists show their best work of the past year," says portrait artist Daniel Swanger.

Lauren Goforth, AVA membership and community relations director, says the annual summer show is unlike others by the group because it is not planned beforehand. The AVA staff doesn't know what will be shown until artists arrive with their work in hand.

"Any member who wants to participate may bring in one piece. It is first-come, first-serve until we fill the entire gallery wallspace with work," she explains.

Goforth says about one-tenth of AVA's more than 400 members are participating in the show and sale.

Jake Kelley describes his latex-and-ink work, "The Black Amnesias of Heaven," as the result of experimentation with materials.

"I discovered a process where I would draw on top of the paint -- reverse that relationship," Kelley says.

Swanger's work is a full-length portrait commissioned by a truck driver who is also a Civil War buff.

"The gentleman wanted to be portrayed as his alter ego, Gen. Robert E. Lee," says Swanger, who depicts the subject in full Confederate uniform.

While Swanger has had pieces in several shows since joining AVA when he moved to Chattanooga in 1997, Ashley Hamilton is making her AVA debut in Salon Show with "Repeating Gaze."

"It's an abstract that deals with the intrinsic human struggle of understanding self," says the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga art major.

Hamilton says she loves to challenge viewers with her work, and her interactive piece is no exception.

"The viewer hovers between the artist's marks and the surface of the painting ... placing the viewer in the uncomfortable position of simultaneously wanting to see and needing to hide from the panoptic public eye," Hamilton explains.

Contact staff writer Susan Pierce at or 423-757-6284.

about Susan Pierce...

Susan Palmer Pierce is a reporter and columnist in the Life department. She began her journalism career as a summer employee 1972 for the News Free Press, typing bridal announcements and photo captions. She became a full-time employee in 1980, working her way up to feature writer, then special sections editor, then Lifestyle editor in 1995 until the merge of the NFP and Times in 1999. She was honored with the 2007 Chattanooga Woman of ...

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