Bobby Spillman: Waterworks



Bobby Spillman: Waterworks
Material, 2553 Broad Avenue
Reception Friday, August 9, 6-8pm
Waterworks will run from Friday, August 9 to Thursday, August 29

Material is excited to announce its one hundred-sixth and final exhibition, Bobby Spillman: Waterworks.

Everyone enjoys a good story, and Memphis artist Bobby Spillman is no exception. Born and raised in the south, Spillman has been toting a sketchbook under his arm like a best friend since he was a little boy. As a child growing up, the young artist found inspiration and entertainment in the little things he saws around him as well as the tall tales he would hear as he ease dropped on those he would encounter from day to day. Children’s books, flea market comics, southern crafts in corner stores, and the overwhelming knowledge of the Saturday morning television cartoon lineup fueled young Spillman into a world of overwhelming and sometimes livable imagination. Much like the work of Robert Crumb, Chuck Jones, and Jack Kirby, his work lies in his own world made to allow the director full range and control of their own life situations, characters, environment, rules, and, of course, outcomes to the day to day trials of life. The world of Spillmanville, has been a place for the artist to dictate his ideas into the reality of his characters and to illustrate the narratives that reveal themselves from personal observations. His drawings and paintings are thematically rooted in the social commentary, symbolism, and editorial styles of Daumier, Goya, and Raymond Pettibon. Spillman uses his loveable animal characters, architecture, and illustrative landscapes as a place and a means to discuss the mundane, satirical thought, symbolism and the day in, day out conflict between humans and their environment, while creating work that even a little kid could visually enjoy.

Bobby Spillman was born and raised in Memphis TN in 1974. He holds a Bachelors of Science in Communications degree from the University of Tennessee, where he studied radio and the music business, and a Masters of Fine Arts degree in painting and drawing from the University of Memphis.  Spillman is an active working artist who is also an advocate for art education and its importance for developing a more creative thinking society for the future. He has taught all levels of education from kindergarten to painting and drawing courses at several institutions of higher learning. Currently, Spillman is a visual arts instructor at one of the highest performing high schools in the Memphis area and the current Mayor of Spillmanville and its art studio. 

About the show the artist writes: “In my work, I illustrate my fictional world of Spillmanville with the intention of presenting my images of characters in a world that is whimsical, satirical, nostalgic, aesthetically pleasing, and sometimes at odds with itself in order to make a connection with the viewer if only to say, ‘Hey we should laugh at ourselves a little more.’”

He goes on to write: “Having the honor of being the last show and in keeping with the traditions of Material Art Space, I felt that this was a perfect opportunity to put down the pens and the oil paints to exhibit work that I have been making over the past several months using watercolor. The work in this show is a small glance at Spillmanville in full color, and the narratives speak of everything from the simple appreciation of beautiful things to the foolishness of taking things too seriously. Enjoy!”

Material is located at 2553 Broad Avenue. Parking is available on both the north and south sides of Broad Avenue.

About Material: Founded by Hamlett Dobbins and Julie Meiman in late 2004, Material is a 19’ x 16’ exhibition space set in the storefront on Broad Avenue in the Binghamton neighborhood of Memphis. Taking the name from Montessori learning tools, Material was built to provide emerging and established artists with an intimate, clean space in which to share their work with Memphis’ growing arts community. The programming consists of monthly shows as well as artists’ lectures in connection with local colleges and universities. Material has served as a space for young artists to have their first shows, as well as a place for established local and regional artists to test new ideas in a public forum. In addition to serving local artists, Material has hosted artists from Birmingham to Tokyo. Come visit.

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