The greatest piece of art you'll see today (or possibly ever) is this portrait of Prince Mongo riding a Tiger, painted by Alex Warble.
(Alex 'Warble' Harrison, 'Prince Mongo Riding UM Tiger', oil on canvas, 24×36", 2011, courtesy of the artist.)
And while it may be the best painting you'll see today, it's only one of the 100 works by Memphis artists on display at the Dixon Gallery and Gardens right now.
The exhibit, called "Present Tense", has filled most of the Dixon's gallery space with paintings, sculptures, video and photograohy produced in the past decade by 82 Memphis artists. Guest curator (and former Urban Arts Commission director) John Weeden sifted through pieces from more than 1,000 images by 300 area artists to select works that present a cohesive timeline of Memphis' art scene from 2001 until now.
(Tad Lauritzen Wright, 'Deathwish',acrylic and conte on canvas, 96×96", 2006-2007, courtesy of the artist and David Lusk Gallery.)
The artists represented include (but are definitely not limited to) John and Claire Torina, Tad Laurtizen Wright, Derrick Dent, Hamlett Dobbins, sculptor Eli Gold, Elizabeth Alley, folk artist Lamar Sorrtento, and photographer Tam Tran.
The pieces in "Present Tense" don't tell the whole story of the current art scene in Memphis, but they do tell a version of it that's diverse, colorful, and promising.
(Eli Gold, 'Darkness can't drive out darkness, only light can do that', aluminum and neon, 9ft. tall x 18" x18" base, 2010, courtesy of the artist.)
"Present Tense" is on display at the Dixon from now until April 14.
Dixon Gallery and Gardens