Get excited about these 2021 art exhibitions

Alternative views and subjects in painting and photography are highlights of promising new shows.

Credit: Handout

Credit: Handout

After the neverending pathos of 2020, it is nice to have something — anything — to look forward to, and that goes for the arts, too.

With the cataclysmic experience of 2020 behind them, Atlanta museums and galleries at least now have more of a sense of how to rebound in 2021. The COVID-19 ongoing assault on daily life hasn’t stopped art spaces from creating plans to safely welcome visitors and stage exhibitions interesting enough to lure us away from our Netflix and Pinot. As befits an art world and a country doing some necessary navel-gazing, a number of these spaces in 2021 will feature artists offering an alternative vision of self and society, whether Black artists offering new takes on portraiture or female photographers looking at life from a uniquely inside-outside vantage.

Credit: Handout

Credit: Handout

“Out of Place”

Featuring five Southeastern artists with very different vibes, this group show from Jan. 15-March 12 at Buckhead’s Spalding Nix Fine Art focuses on artists who explore people’s relationship to place. The single-name Atlanta artist Willis creates photo collages centered on how his hometown of Marietta’s black community has been displaced by gentrification. The Irish-born, Georgia-based Eilis Crean meanwhile creates delicate colored pencil on paper drawings of supermarkets and big box stores and the hourly workers who toil in their confines.

Free, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays-Fridays. 425 Peachtree Hills Ave., NE, Suite 30-A, Atlanta. 404-841-7777,

“Kota Ezawa: The Crime of Art”

The internationally-known Japanese-German-American artist Kota Ezawa will be featured at the Georgia Museum of Art in Athens from July 17, 2021 to Jan. 30, 2022. Ezawa has often drawn from news and popular culture for his subject matter, from NFL players protesting racial violence to the O.J. Simpson trial. In “The Crime of Art,” Ezawa has created video animations and lightbox displays that document famous art thefts and vandalism.

Free timed tickets. 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Thursdays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays, 1-5p.m. Sundays. 90 Carlton St., Athens. 706-542-4662,

“Underexposed: Women Photographers From the High Museum”

Featuring more than 100 pieces from the High’s collection, this survey April-August 2021 of female photographers throughout medium’s history coincides with the centennial of the 19th amendment. Varied artists are highlighted, from contemporary darling Mickalene Thomas, whose sexy, affirmative images highlight Black girl magic, to the gifted Atlanta photographer Sheila Pree Bright, who has made the past and present civil rights movement her focus.

Timed tickets, general admission $14.50, children under 6 and members free, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays; noon-5 p.m. Sundays, 1280 Peachtree St., NE Atlanta. 404-733-4400,

Credit: Handout

Credit: Handout

Gerald Lovell, Dianna Settles and Jurell Cayetano

Three painters who create intimate figurative work will be featured at Adair Park’s Mint Gallery Feb. 27-April 10. Gerald Lovell, Dianna Settles and Jurell Cayetano bring a welcome alternative vision to portraiture, acknowledging people not historically celebrated in the form. Settles captures her own reality as a Vietnamese-American artist but also the vantage of a hip young artist cocooning in a cozy milieu of kitties and houseplants. A budding star with gallery representation in Los Angeles and New York, Gerald Lovell creates snapshot style, impasto portraits reminiscent of Alice Neel of Black subjects. Like Settles, Jurell Cayetano documents a peer group of musicians, cat lovers, friends hanging out on apartment floors and other creative types in paintings full of spontaneity, warmth and charm. The School of Visual Arts grad shares a snapshot aesthetic with Lovell and the parallels and differences between these three figurative painters will be fascinating to explore.

Free tickets are timed, and visitors are asked to make an appointment. 11 a.m.- 6 p.m. Tuesdays-Sundays; 4-8 p.m. Mondays; 6-9 p.m. 3rd Thursdays. 680 Murphy Ave. SW, Suite 2095, Atlanta, 404-680-8728,

Credit: Handout

Credit: Handout

“Shame Faces”

Sculptor, photographer, painter and self-described “myth builder” Jym Davis is featured in a solo show from Nov. 11-Dec. 4, 2021 at Day & Night Projects, a gallery space founded by artists. In the Woodstock artist’s new body of work, he focuses on slightly menacing paper mache masks modeled on medieval Schandmaskes created to punish social or criminal transgressors. Davis uses his masks to comment on gung-ho American nationalism. It’s a timely exploration considering our own current masked reality.

Free, noon-5 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, or by appointment. 585 Wells St. SW, Atlanta, 404-623-7289,