Road trip through 47 states with upcoming art exhibit at Pellissippi State

See the United States in a different light at “American Miniature,” an art exhibit that combines souvenirs collected on cross-country trips with brightly colored backdrops used to provoke a sense of place.

The collaborative project between artists Nancy Daly and Kim Llerena will be on display Sept. 17-Oct. 5 at Pellissippi State Community College’s Bagwell Center for Media and Art Gallery on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

Souvenir replica of Mount Rushmore on a blue backdrop.
Mount Rushmore

Gallery hours are 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, with an opening reception with the artists planned for 3-5 p.m. Sept. 17.

The exhibit and reception are free and open to the public.

“Travel often involves lofty, idealized preconceptions about a place; once visited, the site becomes real, solid, grounded,” said Daly. “Upon leaving, a mass-produced knick-knack becomes personal, a means of transferring part of that place into your home and making it your own.”

These knick-knacks, collected on numerous road trips through 47 states, have been photographed for “American Miniature” against a solid-color background that recalls, sometimes abstractly, their original context — a commemorative plate from the site of the movie “Field of Dreams” sits against a corn-yellow backdrop, for example.

Employing the visual language of product photography, these large format images re-contextualize the cheap souvenirs as aspirational objects, monuments of travel and tourism.

“Ultimately, these souvenirs, like photographs, are more about a personal memory than about a place itself,” said Llerena. “The place becomes merely a backdrop.”

“American Miniature” is the latest installment in The Arts at Pellissippi State this fall. For more information on upcoming visual arts, theatre and music events, visit www.pstcc.edu/arts.