Middle Tennessee is a very diverse place, and this is especially the case with its creative voices. This is precisely why MTSU is exhibiting the art show “Celebration: Creative Voices, Creative Visions” (“Celebration”) at its Todd Art Gallery. “Celebration” features artists that represent some of the best visual talent offered in Middle Tennessee’s Hispanic and Latin American communities.
The show—which had its opening reception July 31 and runs through August 14—is the brainchild of family physician Dr. Barbara Hodges, and her husband Leroy Hodges. The couple are both visual artists who have also been curating shows throughout Murfreesboro for nearly two decades. In this case, they are bringing the show to the MTSU campus in conjunction with the MTSU Department of Art and Design.
“We enjoy doing things where we can promote cultural diversity, [as well as] appreciation and tolerance,” Dr. Hodges says.
The lineup of artists featured include Dalia Garcia, Orlando Garcia-Camacho, Jairo Prado, Christian Rodriguez, Ruben Torres, and Liliana Velez. Leroy describes “Celebration” as “An exhibit of six outstanding Latin American and Hispanic artists,” adding that some have a following locally, while others have admirers across the world. Each of the six artists was selected because the Hodges felt that they were a great example of a divergent art style and narrative within their content.
The Hodges wanted to bring “Celebration” to Murfreesboro because they know that the city’s serious art fans are always looking for something fresh and exciting. This exhibit offers a medley of things to appreciate, and as such, it offers a sampling of art styles that is wide enough to appeal to just about everyone. Jairo Prado, for instance, captures people at the apex of their struggles to show the beauty and resilience of the human spirit. Ruben Torres, whom Dr. Hodges described as “very versatile,” creates paintings designed to be simple, yet engaging combinations of realism and abstract elements. Figurative artist Liliana Velez studied other work from master artists, and loves showing the natural geography of things, including people’s skin. One can observe this in her painting “Tired Hands,” which up close shows every detail of the subject one might imagine. It is because of her dedication to detail that Liliana won a Leonardo Da Vinci’s World Award of Art in 2009.
Dr. Hodges says, “One thing that’s important to realize is… the Middle Tennessee area is a great cosmopolitan area that has a gamut of different cultures and ethnicity.” She adds that all too often that Latin American and Spanish artists get lumped together, even though different countries falling under that umbrella have their own defined identities.
Dr. Hodges says, “One thing it’s important to realize is that… the Middle Tennessee area is a great cosmopolitan area that has a gamut of different cultures and ethnicity.” She adds that its too often that Latin American and Spanish artists get lumped together, even though different countries falling under that umbrella have their own defined identities.
Outside of “Celebration,” the Hodges will be involved in other art events. They’ll both be submitting artwork for a show at the Murfreesboro City Hall Rotunda, which starts August 31, for the University School of Nashville Art Show Artclectic 2021, which will take place October 21-23, and at the Washington Theatre in November.
Dr. Hodges says, “Leroy and I, one thing unique about us: Husband-wife team. Yes, we have painted together, but we also paint differently.” Dr. Hodges says that her style of mixed media art incorporates found 2-D and 3-D objects that are given new life in her work, which aims at telling a story. These materials range from bottle caps to pieces of fabric.
Leroy’s art typically falls into two categories, including experimentation with cubism and his “blue tones,” which are paintings composed of differing shades of blue.
The hours of MTSU’s Todd Art Gallery are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. — 4: 30 p.m., and Saturday, 11 a.m. — 4 p.m. For further information about MTSU’s Todd Art Gallery, be sure to visit their website and social media. Those who wish to keep up with the artistic work of the Hodges may do so via their website, which lists information related to each artist and their schedule for exhibitions.