Sandy Springs is home to an illustrious guardian of treasures who has long paid her dues in the Atlanta art scene. Eve Mannes and husband Harvey Mannes, a retired urologist, built a tri-level stucco-and-glass block home in 1985.
The former owner of the Eve Mannes Gallery said, “In collecting, I like to mix high and low artwork with design objects.”
Mannes is confident in her approach and dazzles her audience with outrageous surprises, such as creating her own 50th anniversary dress out of silk flowers and an industrial material called Parametre. In 2003, she spearheaded Say-So, a conversational salon.
When not swimming, traveling, pitching public art, spending time with friends and family, and hosting events, she can be found in her studio creating. Mannes said, “After all, what drives me is the creative part and the process of making.”
Jaffe: You’ve lived an art-filled life. How did it evolve?
Mannes: As a youngster, I was always fabricating and creating objects. Although a biology major at Douglass College, I minored in art and had the good fortune of experiencing Roy Lichtenstein and George Segal there. I would dash between art classes to science labs and lectures. Later I took classes at Moore College of Art in Philadelphia and taught science. From our first year of marriage, Harvey and I started purchasing art, the first of which was a 6-foot-by-6-foot black fiberglass mushroom. Our parents were a bit stunned, especially since we had virtually no possessions.
After Harvey’s medical training in Oklahoma, in 1976 we moved to Georgia. Influenced by Native American Indian powwows, I started designing neck-to-waist breastplates, feathered capes and adornments. These were shown at Henri Bendel, Bloomingdale’s and Caesars Palace. Later, 3-foot masks were in a window display at Barneys on Madison Avenue.
Reversible hostess aprons were shown at Saks in conjunction with a Breman event, Vaknin Gallery, Switch and Retro Modern. On the lighter side, over 10 years ago, I imagined flamingos Dude and Honey having human personas and as such have made three-dimensional vignettes portraying their engagement, wedding and reception, honeymoon at the pyramids, birth of daughter Sweetie, Honey walking her pet lion, Dude and Honey being Rhett and Scarlett. I do need to get them on the web.
Jaffe: What are you fabricating now?
Mannes: I am going back to my earlier years and working with paper and other mixed media: an industrial product known as Parametre, tulle, silver wire and an array of beads. Wearables include kimono coats, party outfits out of tulle, ribbon and imported papers, bags out of paper and chopsticks, woven and crocheted bracelets and necklaces, hats with veils.
Jaffe: You had an eponymous gallery here?
Mannes: Not knowing anyone in Atlanta and wishing to open Eve Mannes Gallery, I did three years of legwork by doing presentations at Brandeis, architectural and design firms, and other groups. The first gallery opened on East Paces Ferry Road and three locations later ended at King Plow. With artists such as Ed Paschke, Joel Perlman, Terence La Noue, Sandy Skoglund, Nam June Paik, my focus was on painters, sculptors and public art. Along with both private and corporate clients, I had the opportunity (with David Heath Gallery) to commission artists for the 1996 Summer Olympics: topiary garden for Kodak, artist-designed illumination of the BellSouth and NationsBank buildings, Pierre de Coubertin bronze sculpture, International Sculpture Exposition Atlanta (ISEA), which included Israeli artist Menashe Kadishman.
Another public art project was the commissioning of over-life-size bronze sculptures of some winners of the green jacket for Riverwalk in Augusta. Postures were created when these golfers won the Masters: Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Ben Hogan, Bobby Jones, to name a few.
Jaffe: With art everywhere in your home — bathrooms, hallways, laundry room — how do you collect?
Mannes: We purchase what we like and juxtapose works from known to unknown talent along with design objects. We have two war bowls of melted toy soldiers by Dominic Wilcox near a limited-edition print by Kara Walker and an Italian table named Anthurium by Edra. There are two old canes, one by an Aboriginal and a whaler’s cane by a sailor, adjacent to a bronze sculpture by Manuel Neri.
Jaffe: What have you collected in your travels?
Mannes: Again, these acquisitions have and still do run the gamut: an emu shell necklace from Namibia, tribal headwear from Myanmar and Bhutan, small wood totem from New Guinea, silk saris (used as tablecloths) and lenticulars by artist Akash Choya from India,
Jaffe: Your kitchen is such a happy place with a heap of function.
Mannes: We cook most nights and entertain and host events frequently. Harvey is a gourmet chef and loves using the human-body knife holder as well as the pick-up-sticks steak knives. Two Jenette chairs by the Campana brothers are in the kitchen, along with a glass panel depicting “Piglet in Paradise.”
Jaffe: Your granddaughter Sophie did a documentary, “Ta Da,” on your creativity as a school project for the Atlanta International School
Mannes: I was stunned she wanted to do this video. At first, she was thinking of doing it on exotic foods on Buford Highway. Needless to say, I am very proud of her effort, and each time I view it, it brings tears to my eyes. You could say it is a legacy highlight for me.
Jaffe: You do have a keen sense of frivolity. What’s left for you to accomplish?
Mannes: I am always dreaming up creations. There is never a shortage of ideas. That being said, I would love to promote a large-scale public event in Atlanta and curate a sculpture garden. On my wish list is to buy … a sculpture by Martin Puryear.
Photos by Duane Stork