2016–2017 NC Arts Council Fellowships

Image Captions at the bottom of page.

Awarded to Faculty (Jackson Martin) and Alumnus (Jason Adams) 

"Since 1980, the North Carolina Arts Council has awarded fellowships to artists in a variety of disciplines who have been selected through rigorous panel screening processes. The Arts Council supports artists in their development and the creation of new work because they play an essential role in the creative vitality of the state. Fellowship recipients receive $10,000 to set aside time to work, purchase supplies and equipment, or pursue other artistic goals." [Learn More about the North Carolina Arts Council]

How great it is that two of the ten $10,000-fellowships awarded for 2016-2017 went to two sculptors connected with UNC Asheville's Department of Art and Art History. Congratulations to Jackson Martin, assistant professor in Art (sculpture), and Jason Adams, Class of 2010, BFA with a concentration in sculpture, summa cum laude, with Distinction in Art, and University Research Scholar.

“Over the last ten years, my artwork has evolved into an interdisciplinary approach to sculpture, installation, and photography. I combine and intertwine these three media in order to create dynamic experiences for my viewer.”  For Asheville-based Jackson Martin, his embrace of a broader palette and diverse materials has opened up new possibilities for expression and new ways of observing and commenting on the world around him.

Martin’s process often involves walks with his camera, which he likens to sketching. His walks often take him “towards environments where nature is reclaiming industry,” not to document decay, but to underscore the resilience of nature. He is also drawn to human-made objects he finds on his way, abandoned and discarded when their initial function is diminished, but resonant with a new vitality when he reworks and combines them into new forms that change or subvert their original meaning. One example is his pallet series, where he steam-bends the planks of the humble support, suspending the newly liberated objects in poses of yearning and flight. These recontextualized objects give viewers a way of seeing a common form in a different light and help them understand their relationship to the world in unforeseen ways.

Martin received an MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art. He has had residencies in Denmark and South Korea as well as the Vermont Studio Center. His work has been exhibited widely, including a solo installation at the Penland Gallery. He was a finalist for the prestigious 1858 Prize for Contemporary Southern Art at the Gibbes Museum in 2014. (From Arts Council webpage).



Jason Adams, Class of 2010 BFA

One of Jason Adams’ favorite quotes is from the artist Chuck Close: “Amateurs wait for inspiration; the rest of us just show up and get to work.” Though still early in his career, Adams has shown that he knows that the work of an artist is represented far better by the hours spent in the studio, thinking and experimenting, than by glib artist statements or slick promotional photos.

But Adams also sees his work in the studio as only the beginning of the life of his sculptures and installations. He designs his work as a stage for activity and interaction, where participants create and discover their own meaning within the environments he has imagined. He encourages simple gestures, like leaving paper and pens for hand-written notes that, over the course of an exhibition, help to build a larger story than he started with, both visually and substantively. In this way of working, art is not the end point of his investigations, but rather the vehicle he uses to engage participants in a larger conversation about social issues and ideas.

He graduated summa cum laude in 2013 with an MFA from Clemson University. He lives in Asheville. (From Arts Council webpage)

Adams will have a solo exhibition in March 2017 in the Second Floor Gallery, Owen Hall.


Image Captions

Jackson Martin, Fly, white oak, walnut, and hardware, 36 x 48 x 40 inches, 2014.

Jason Adams, To Send a Sparrow, wood, carpet foam, fabric, paper, masking tape, and string, 12x20x24 feet. 2013.

Jackson Martin, Miscellaneous Tress 11, photographic documentation of pre-existing environment, 2015.

Jason Adams, The Sipper's Digest, wood, mint plants, tea bags, string, envelopes, water cooler, and hot water kettle, 4 x 8 x 18 feet, 2012.

Jackson Martin, Rooted II, steel, burlap, rope, soil & evergreen tree, 15 x 9 x 9 feet, created for the exhibition Sculpture by the Sea in Aarhus, Denmark. 2013.

Jason Adams, Cardiac Comfort, steel, fabric, string, 9 x 12 x 20 feet. 2013.