The Rymer Gallery - 233 5th Avenue North, Nashville, TN presents “Just a Way Out”, a new exhibition by prominent Nashville photographer Thomas Petillo, which features his first-ever nudes and is dedicated to images of the female figure. There will be an opening reception on Saturday, July 3rd from 6-9 PM as part of Nashville's Downtown Gallery Crawl and the show will be on view from July 3, 2010 through August 1, 2010. Two items, a perfect-bound softcover edition book consisting of 72 pages with 48 images, and a poster will be available for sale at the opening and will be signed and numbered by the artist. This traveling exhibit premiered at the Museum of Contemporary Art - Hot Springs, and is making it's first stop at The Rymer Gallery

On the impetus behind this show, Petillo explains: “first, all of the artists whom I admire most dedicated some portion of their work to nudes; second, this quote from Marina Abramovic: ‘I’m not interested in doing anything I’m not afraid of.’ How to make a creative transition into doing nudes and doing so in a way that doesn’t exploit, cheapen, or compromise the natural, indisputable beauty of the female figure was something that I was admittedly afraid of, but I thought I should at least try to push myself.”

Within Petillo’s work, there have always been forms. Sometimes, objects suspended in space, and other times, featured in industrial backdrops, always laid bare so you could regard the thing as something other than its purely functional state. Then came the people. Austere, emotionally stripped, pleading—portraits that would soon garner him attention and jobs that had him shooting musicians with name recognition. Though generally clothed, these portraits were leading him somewhere new, to try a confluence of his own styles. “The thought came to me,” Petillo explains, “just shoot the nudes in the style that you approach all of your other shoots with.”

And so, his latest work, titled “Just A Way Out” found its crucible in Hot Springs, Arkansas, occasionally in the very space in which this collection will first be seen. We now see nudes placed in industrial settings, or hanging, suspended in space, begging a metaphysical reaction to something we’ve come to lazily regard in only the physical sense. Thomas is at play, his fears long behind him.

“I guess, at first, shooting them meant proving to myself that I could even do it. And then it meant proving that it wasn’t a fluke, that I could do it again. And now, it means continuing to do it at a high enough level. One that no longer scares me.”
Order the book "Just A Way Out" - 5.5"x7.5", softcover, 72 pages, 48 color and black/ white images from the MOCA show. Signed and numbered by Thomas Petillo.

$30 plus shipping through PayPal