“Ringgold, Georgia” is a mixed media abstract cityscape — oil on top of acrylics with 3-D metal elements screwed onto the wood on which the work was painted. The artist, Keith Abney, grew up in Ringgold and spent three years on this 6-foot by 8-foot piece for Ringgold attorney McCracken Poston. The painting hangs in Caffeine Addicts at 7819 Nashville St. in Ringgold.
Abstract art is defined as “art that does not attempt to represent precise external reality but seeks to achieve its effect using shapes, forms, colors and textures.”
Look for these things in the painting:
♦ Across the top, the Ringgold Depot.
♦ In the upper right, a star representing the star on White Oak Mountain every Christmas.
♦ All the way back to the left and in the upper corner is a traffic light — the only one in town years ago, Poston recalls.
♦ A little down and right from the traffic light is a pinkish pig representing Bailey’s BBQ.
♦ Moving toward the center in the upper half of the painting, you’ll see an Exxon sign and under that the gold dome of the capitol building in Atlanta. Abney’s father owned Ken Abney’s Exxon Tire & Lube. The dome represents Poston’s time as a Georgia state representative.
♦ Directly under the gold dome is Poston’s two-story law office with red awnings.
♦ Moving left from Poston’s office, there’s the Ringgold Wedding Chapel, the old Texaco station (which the artist says is also representative of his father’s business), and First Baptist Church, which rises to a steeple in the upper left corner of the painting. Abney says his family attended First Baptist when he was growing up.
♦ Also represented in the upper left corner of the painting, by a steep roof, are the old Graysville Mill and Callaway Feed & Seed (and cotton gin at one time).
♦ Going back to Poston’s law office and moving to the right from there, viewers will see the black awning of the Wiggins Law Office. Above and situated behind that is the large Northwest Georgia Bank building, now the Patty Law Office.
♦ Clustered to the right of the Wiggins Law Office is a collection of shops the artist remembers from his years: Abney’s (his grandmother’s dress shop), a shoe store and a pharmacy, John’s Coffee Shop, Honey Land Fashions, and Price Ringgold Drug Store.
♦ Just to the left of the prominent figure of the Chow Time sign — a chef holding a tray of food and supporting a clock — is a square, black 1950s-style television set that represents Alvin Ridley’s Zenith TV shop, also intended as a reminder of Poston’s successful defense of Alvin Ridley when he was accused of murdering his wife. The location today houses Caffeine Addicts and Abney’s painting.
♦ Moving back to Chow Time, Abney says the clock on the sign is not only the one that was really there years ago but represents “time universal” and is tied in with the Depot behind it to give the impression of a train coming toward the viewer.
♦ Inside the lit windows of Chow Time, with its backward-slanting roof, the Mathis sisters, who once worked there, can be seen. Abney says they were his two favorite ladies. Chow Time, Abney says, also represents the Tiger Den for him.
♦ Back to the Chow Time clock and immediately to its right is a black curve representing the Mayor Joe Barger Bridge and the underpass tunnel.
♦ The Joe Barger Bridge ends on the right at a depiction of the Ringgold pool and the Courthouse. Below the courthouse steps is the Shop Rite sign. “But,” Abney says, “people may see other things and the scene may represent other memories here.”