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Choosing the 901: Memphis’ artists on view at the Dixon Gallery and Gardens

Memphis is a city rich in culture and artistic talent. Dixon Gallery and Gardens is showcasing that in all three of our latest exhibitions — Memphis 2024, Made in Dixon, and Sowgand Sheikholeslami: Progression. From now through July, guests can discover artists who choose to make Memphis their home. 

Showcasing Memphis’ career artists

Memphians have long been proud of our city’s cultural history, and in recent years, the rest of the country has begun to take notice of our regional artistic talent. Memphis 2024 showcases 18 artists in over 50 paintings, photographs, sculptures, ceramics, metalwork, assemblage, and fiber art. We have highlighted a few of the artists below.

Lonnie Robinson

When it comes to artistic cultural influence and community collaboration in Memphis, Robinson’s work takes center stage. Five paintings contrast the impeccable poise and beauty of dancing ballerinas with the rough, worn surfaces of sheet metal on which they are painted. The artist sees this contrast as a way of honoring and celebrating the full-lived experiences of Black ballerinas in their quest to pursue their art. His muse for the series is a former Collage Dance Collective dancer, Miyesha McGriff. His paintings were created on old sheet metal, and artists from the Metal Museum made the custom frames. You can find Robinson’s work all over Memphis, including the stained glass installed in the Historic Clayborn Temple.

The Dixon art gallery wall displays three exquisite paintings of ballet dancers in various poses.
Artist: Lonnie Robinson

Cat Peña

Peña completed her MFA at Memphis College of Art in 2008 and has called Memphis her home ever since. On view at the Dixon are works that combine weaving, collage, and photography to explore humans’ relationship to nature and environmental stewardship. Currently the public art manager for the City of Germantown, her work combines her art, the everyday, and public spaces. In recent years, Peña’s work has extended past gallery walls creating short-term, participatory, and large temporary public pieces.

A Dixon landscape artwork featuring a mountain and forest scene with a lake, decorated with multicolored strands of thread hanging below, is displayed on a green wall.
Artist: Cat Peña

Jamond Bullock

A Memphis native, Bullock grew up in Frayser in North Memphis, and works primarily with acrylic and spray paint, creating engaging art often on a monumental scale. His pieces celebrate African American history and bring to life public spaces in our community. One of the most important projects of his career to date is the mural series showcasing the legacy of the first 13 Black children who integrated Memphis elementary schools – Bruce, Gordon, Rozelle and Springdale. He also worked in collaboration with Eric Okdeh, a Philadelphia-based artist, to create the Heartbeat & Soul mural for Memphis International Airport. 

A colorful mural by Sara Koffi depicts a man with his eyes closed, hands behind his head, surrounded by abstract shapes and doves. The artwork hangs on a light green wall in a gallery.
Artist: Jamond Bullock

Kong Wee Pang

Originally from Malaysia, Pang now calls Memphis her home, having completed both her undergraduate and graduate degrees at Memphis College of Art. Pang’s watercolor paintings use natural forms to address themes of transformation and adaptation familiar to many immigrants. She explains, “I exist in a liminal state living in two worlds. Working with watercolor is meaningful to me. In Chinese, we have a saying which translates roughly to ‘When you drink water, remember the spring.’ The abstracted figures give me a chance to face my new freedom while remembering where I come from.”

You can find Pang’s work all over the city, including the 161-foot-long sequin mural along the Interstate 40 underpass on North Main Street, the 2023 Memphis in May poster celebrating Malaysia, and the Dixon’s Art to Grow van.

Two abstract paintings by Dixon with colorful geometric shapes are displayed on a pale green wall in an art gallery. The painting on the left features vertical lines, and the one on the right is adorned with organic forms.
Artist: Kong Wee Pang

Kevin Burge

Metalsmith Kevin Burge is currently the head of the Metal Museum’s Repair and Restoration Lab. His expert knowledge of metal repair makes him an in-demand restorationist in Memphis, including at the Dixon. The vessels on view in Memphis 2024 demonstrate formidable design and fabrication skills in a variety of metals including copper, sterling and fine silver, and brass.

A display of geometric vases and orbs by Dixon, featuring green, blue, and yellow colors, showcased on a platform in an indoor setting.
Artist: Kevin Burge

Mallory/Wurtzburger Galleries 

Visitors will always find a local or regional artist on view in the Mallory/Wurtzburger Galleries. This dedicated space has highlighted many Memphians in Memphis 2024 and is currently displaying the work of Sowgand Sheikholeslami. In Progression, Sheikholeslami’s subjects vary from enigmatic figures that are defined primarily by their environments – interior spaces that the artist composites from bits and pieces of her own home and photographs of places she has never visited – to boldly painted still lifes of recognizable household objects and landscapes tending toward greater and greater abstraction.

A curated collection of 36 colorful abstract paintings by Dixon, displayed in a grid format on a plain wall.
Artist: Sowgand Sheikholeslami

Celebrating Dixon Programs

A hallway in Dixon Gallery showcases colorful textile art, framed by a wooden floor and large windows. The space is bright and well-lit, with wall-mounted displays and informational signs accompanying the artwork.
Exhibit hallway featuring colorful art pieces on the walls under a sign reading “Made in Dixon | Hecho en Dixon.” The artworks, crafted with varied textures and colors, celebrate the vibrant spirit of Dixon. Additional captivating art is visible further down the hall.
A gallery room with cream-colored walls, named in honor of Dixon, exhibits colorful artworks and informational panels. Two white benches rest on the wooden floor, bathed in natural light from a large window on the left side.

On view in the Interactive Gallery, Made in Dixon displays artwork from more than 300 Dixon program participants, exploring and cultivating a love for the arts. Individuals represent all ages, interests and diverse cultural backgrounds. Serving thousands through onsite and outreach programs, Dixon’s offerings range in art, science, horticulture, wellness, and more. In addition to seeing Dixon-created pieces, viewers can interact and add their own creations to the exhibition.

Sowgand Sheikholeslami: Progression is on view through July 7, Memphis 2024 is on view through June 30, and Made in Dixon is on view through June 2. Bonus — admission to the Dixon is always free, making art and horticulture accessible to all. 

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