Across The Clouds by Duncan McDaniel

Art of the Week

The latest exhibition from OZ Arts Nashville is a reflection on some pertinent themes in the era of social isolation: long-distance relationships and the ability to connect virtually.

The show is titled “Long Distance” and is available for consumption remotely through the OZ Arts website or in-person by appointment. It features the work of Tennessee artists Sibley Barlow, Nuveen Barwari and Duncan McDaniel. Surprisingly, the hyper-relevant content in the show was chosen by local curator Pam Marlene Taylor before COVID-19 spurred quarantines around the world.

“This exhibition is very close to my heart,” Taylor said, per a release shared by OZ Arts. “It was created before the global pandemic and now feels especially paramount to discuss during a year where almost every relationship in one’s life is long distant.”

Barlow’s work in the show explores the passing of time through the lens of the human body, with daily photos capturing progressive removal of the hair on their head and application of that hair onto their face. It may leave viewers with a sense that we can maintain a long-distance relationship with our own selves. Meanwhile, Barwari reflects on the experiences of immigrants who maintain long-distance relationships with their previous cultures once arriving in their new homes.

McDaniel’s sculptural work for the show, Across the Clouds, is an investigation of long-distance communication inspired by his own experience in maintaining a relationship with his now-wife via video chat while they were living on different continents. It simultaneously evokes one of the most rudimentary communications technologies: tin cans united with pieces of string; and the cutting-edge in virtual connection: the digital cloud that stores our modern communications data.

“McDaniel’s dreamy lit sculptures illuminate a long-distance relationship which could never have taken place before this advanced technology,” as the release put it.

A detail of Across the Clouds

McDaniel’s work specifically, and the show in general, has the chance to reach viewers in the ways that long-distance communications work best: from a safe distance, but with a lingering intrigue that leaves them counting the days until they can see them again.

Duncan McDaniel holds an MFA from the Savannah College of Art and Design and his work has been exhibited throughout the country. He utilizes bright colors, reflective shapes and patterns.

OZ Arts Nashville is located at 6172 Cockrill Bend Circle.

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