A pale, spooky baby wearing crooked, white, feathery wings turns a steel-blue-eyed stare on anyone approaching her as shreds of red-stained paper and pink Christmas tree balls whip about the darkness around her. A thin ribbon tied across her forehead blowing in the wind makes her look like an infant pirate.
The painting is titled “Ode to Abbott Thayer,” a brilliant portrait painter (Mark Twain hired him) and eccentric whose detailed nature drawings launched the craft of military camouflage. A fresh-air fanatic who forced his family to sleep outdoors, even in winter snow, he never recovered from the deaths of two of his children. He once constructed huge feathered white wings then nailed them to a barn wall, then posed his beautiful (living) daughter in front of the wings so he could paint her as an angel.
“Ode,” painted by Chattanooga artist Maddin Corey, makes a viewer crave clues to the story behind it, which makes it a perfect fit for Art.a.ma.jig, the annual fundraiser for the Southern Lit Alliance. More than 70 area artists have donated paintings for a silent auction whose theme is “Stories.” Author Clyde Edgerton donated a mysterious watery landscape and a quote from him graces the invitations.
“Stories give me the chance to change from the waiting chaos of the universe into something more comfortable,” Edgerton’s quote reads.
“We wanted to find a way to link writers’ narrative prose with the visual storytelling of artists,” says Alliance Executive Director Susan Robinson. “We’re hoping to raise $50,000.”
Artist Carylon Killebrew has donated paintings in the past to Art.a.ma.jig. Her subject matter covers a broad range and includes scenes from Western ranch life inspired by time she spent in Colorado. She also painted several canvases of white dresses that seem to move toward the viewer — except that no body inhabits them. She chose a painting from her series on canoes to donate to Art.a.ma.jig.
“I love the one word themes Art.a.ma.jig chooses because the show that results always resonates emotionally with guests and draws them in,” Killebrew says. “As I was painting the canoe series, I was thinking about adventures and how, pushing off from the shore, you never know where the journey will lead you. I hope the person who buys my painting is able to create their own story to fit the art.”
For those who need to feed their bellies as well as their souls, Grocery Bar and Riverside Wine and Spirits will provide culinary treats for Art.a.ma.jig attendees.
Contact Lynda Edwards at email@example.com or 423-757-6391.
Lynda Edwards has covered just about every beat there is while working for The Associated Press, PBS as a Frontline and Nightly Business Report associate producer, Gannett in the heart of Louisiana Cajun country as well as newspapers in Miami, Tucson AZ, Colorado and Arkansas. She has freelanced for The New York Times, NPR, Washington Post, Vogue, Rolling Stone and The Washington Monthly. While at the ABA Journal, she won a Fourth Estate Award, Lisagor ...