Meet 3 artists moving Atlanta’s art scene forward
Photographer Jill Frank’s work centers on teenagers and young adults engaged in rites of passage. Her work covers a spectrum of experience, from hard-partying spring breakers to peacocking gay youth to young girls whose attitudes telegraph a bravado they may not be ready to back up. Most evident is her adoration for the subjects she shoots—bathed in golden light and presented in large format. Frank’s shutter clicks at the moment her subjects reveal something authentic about their world. Atlanta-born Frank has crisscrossed the country, earning degrees at Bard and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. But now this native daughter has returned home, teaching photography at Georgia State University and making the Atlanta art scene better for her presence.
Christina A. West
Working in ceramic and resin, Christina A. West creates arresting, skin-crawling figurative sculptures. Her sci-fi touches inspire a shiver of dread: the alabaster skin, the psychologically disturbing scenarios, or the blinking eyes projected onto the figure of a naked woman in “Pause.” And the nudity. Forget the six-pack, ripped figures of Greek and Roman sculpture. West is channeling a very different muse. Her nudes are disturbingly naked, flabby and scrawny in an embarrassingly human sense. The combination of hyperrealism and bizarre situations—violence, voyeurism, and exhibitionism among others—is distinctly unsettling. Her uncannily realistic figures seem to contemplate you as much as you contemplate them. Look for upcoming solo shows at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and a spring exhibition at Atlanta’s Hathaway gallery.
Cosmo Whyte has already exhibited internationally and racked up accolades: an Artadia award, the Forward Arts Foundation Emerging Artist Award, and his current status as one of three Atlanta artists up for the $50,000 biennial Hudgens Prize. The Morehouse College professor is as talented as he is multifaceted, whether creating photographs, performance pieces, drawings that seem to stain and mark their paper surfaces like wounds, or powerful works in charcoal like “Sweet Sweet Back,” which shows male breakdancers contorting their bodies into painful-looking positions. Born in Jamaica and educated at Bennington College and the University of Michigan, Whyte has drawn heavily from his own life in his examinations of colonialism, race, immigration, and migration, and how all of them shape identity. Atlantans will be able to check out Whyte’s work October 25 with the opening of his solo show “Starting a Bush Fire” at Midtown’s Marcia Wood Gallery. —Felicia Feaster