Andy Reed liked to paint since he was a child. The talent came natural to him and his parents steeped him in the culture of art. He likes to say that "he didn't come to art, art came to him". However, success has been a struggle. Like many aspiring artists, Reed has had to work in another field to support his dreams throughout the past 40 years. On a warm summer Friday night, on July 9, Reed hit his stride with many of his coveted works on display in the Summer Artists Exhibition at David Perry Smith Gallery. Reed has been displaying his works in galleries for ten years now yet shows no signs of being the petulant artist. He is merely a blue collar artist, a fresh Southern talent who loves painting. His photo "Sundown" is, in many ways, the epitome of his style. An oil on canvas painting, it depicts the romance of nature, the divine beauty of a Southern landscape that one will see in all of his works.
While Reed is exclusively a landscape artist, John Sadowski is both a cityscape and abstract artist, an interpreter of the sublime. Though their styles are very different, their paths in art were remarkably similar. Sadowski is a retired principal at Arlington Elementary School in Shelby County, Tennessee. He has also been painting for forty years and his wife, Theresa, says the he lives, eats, and breathes painting. Sadowski, who has been displaying his work in galleries for three years, was inspired in his youth by the Time-Life Series of books on art and painting. "I was fascinated with the lives of artists and the works they produced," he said. "I would devour each book then eagerly await the next one." Perhaps Sadowki's work "Convergent Disparities", an acrylic on canvas, best demonstrates the dichotomy of his life, the surging waves of romantic dreams crashing upon the rocky shores of realism. The work displays both the passion and depth of this artist, or as his wife, Theresa states it, "the push and pull" of both the artist and his work.
Patti Bradford, an artist herself, as well as an Assistant Professor and Director of the Home Furnishings Program at the University of Memphis, could understand the dreams of the artists here this night. "I'm just in awe of what they do," Bradford said, referring to the drive and discipline of the artists in attendance. Bradford stated that she goes to all of the shows in Memphis and is a big fan of art. "Plus, I like to keep up with the artists", she said with a smile.
It was difficult not to absorb at least some of the culture at the show. Even bartender, Brad Jolly, was amazed. "I'm standing next to these great paintings," he said, while gazing at one across the room from him. "I have to tell you that I love it. I'm not an artist or anything like that but this really makes me appreciate life."
An estimated 300 art afficionados attended the event which David Perry Smith, owner of the gallery, said was a big success. Other artists in the show included Greg Gustafson, Laurie Samuels, Mary Reed, John McIntire, Bob Eoff, and Alex Walter. The Summer Artists Exhibition is a series of shows that the gallery puts on every year to display the talents of local artists and help them to achieve their dreams.
For more information go to David Perry Smith Gallery.