MURRAY — The MAG Community Art Center announces its October MAG Gallery exhibit, “Time Between the Lakes,” by MSU alum, Tom Cannady. The exhibit will run Oct. 2-26, with an Opening Reception on Oct. 4 from 5-7 p.m. There will also be a special MSU Homecoming Reception on Friday, Oct. 18, from 6-8 pm. The public is invited to both receptions.
Tom Cannady received a Bachelor of Science in Business Marketing with an art minor from Murray State University in 1981. Cannady describes his paintings as nostalgic representations of Americana. “Neon signs, shiny chrome and paint of classic automobiles, people and places that populate our memories” are all subjects on the stage in which he directs a pop impressionist style to create new perspectives or recreate a unique mood from another time.
A Louisville native, he was the first born grandson of both parents’ families. Cannady developed strong relationships with all of his grandparents and loved their stories of his family. Both of his grandmothers introduced him to their respective family “picture boxes” and this is likely where his love for history and vintage photographs began. Also, he has always had a passion for automobiles, which spills over into his work. He thinks the vehicles in his paintings readily identify the era depicted. Cannady’s earlier works focused solely on the vehicle, but now they are additional characters within the composition.
Cannady has admired the work of Edward Hopper for many years, particularly his depiction of color, light and shadow. He also was fond of Norman Rockwell’s illustrations, particularly his ability to evoke emotion from his subjects. He is drawn to images that depict a sense of humor, irony or sexuality that is at odds with the simple nostalgic memory many people have of the mid-twentieth century, which he thinks of as passive-repressive. He finds it challenging to balance depictions of what exists in an image, versus adding or eliminating from the composition to create a more humorous or contradictory message. Cannady enjoys eliciting warm, nostalgic feelings from the viewer of his work, but he also wants to include an element of surprise that checks that nostalgia with a dose of “maybe everything wasn’t so rosy.” Many times he accomplishes this simply with a provocative title for a piece. For more information about his work, see his website at tjcannady.com.