2016 Spring BA Senior Group Exhibition

BA Group Exhibition, Spring 2016

When: April 29 - May 10, 2016
Where: S. Tucker Cooke Gallery and Second Floor Gallery, Owen Hall
Opening Reception: Friday, April 29, 6-8:00 p.m.
Gallery Hours: 9:00 a.m.- 6:00 p.m. Monday - Friday

All events are free and open to the public

This group exhibition highlights the very best work from each graduating senior's culminating portfolio.  Both the exhibition and the portfolio are the culmination of each candidate's work toward a Bachelor of Arts degree.

Participants:

Ceramics:
Brenna Gaffney
ED Davidson
David McLellan
Megan O’Donnell
Shannon Walker

Drawing:
June Buttrick
Stephanie Cruz
Beth Parker
Jasa Stephens

Painting:
Rachel Holt
Shelby Wilson

Photography:
Heather R Brown
Erin Daniell
Annelise Ferry

Sculpture:
Jonas LeMieux
Zach Seguin

Artist Statements

Heather R Brown

SOUTHERN RIVERS AND AQUATIC BODIES AT RISK DUE TO
HIGH LEVELS OF DISCARDED LETHAL WASTE ITEMS

For Immediate Release             April 18,2016
Contact: Heather R Brown        (393)294-6996

Upon the repeated occurrence of violent and criminal incidents which negatively affect the health and wellbeing of natural bodies, the United States Department of Environmental Forensics is undergoing a rigorous investigative process to better understand the causes of these unresolved happenings.


During March 5, 2016 through March 13, 2016, Officer Heather R. Brown was assigned to investigate violent and criminal activity directed towards rivers and their connecting tributaries in the Southeastern region of the United States. Officer Brown who is generally stationed in Asheville, North Carolina, specifically investigated discarded lethal waste items found in or around affected natural aquatic bodies. She began her investigation in western North Carolina at Lake Lure and continued eastward along the direction of water flow which included the Broad River, the Congaree River, and the Cooper River. Officer Brown’s intent was to better understand the often lengthy journey these discarded lethal objects unintentionally travel upon entrance into rivers and tributaries, concluding investigation at the Atlantic Ocean located in Charleston, South Carolina.


To conduct investigation, Officer Brown made approximately equidistant stops along the river path in both rural and urban locations. She then photographed the location of each incident while simultaneously collecting evidence of the discarded lethal waste items involved. After completion of the investigation, Officer Brown returned to Asheville, North Carolina to begin photoforensic processing and examination of the collected items in order to research their common relation as well as key involvement in criminal activity. Because it is specially designed for forensic investigation, Officer Brown first photographed the evidence with a Polaroid Spectra camera equipped with close-up lens attachment. She then scanned the Polaroid exposures and began to process them digitally in order to reveal otherwise concealed visual information.


Officer Brown’s thorough investigation concludes that all criminal and violent acts directed towards aquatic bodies were committed by unknown human perpetrators. Due to severe lack of federal funding, the Department of Environmental Forensics was unable to identify or apprehend any suspects which may have been involved in the difement and malicious attack of aquatic bodies. Accordingly, USDEF is urging the federal government to not only provide crucial funding needed to continue investigation but also demanding lawmakers create specific legal policy related to the protection of natural bodies. To enforce this policy, USDEF is committed to reaching out to local and state level police departments to acquire assistance in the arrest of perpetrators who violate the delicate river system which is vital to all human life. Because it is well cited that police departments are extremely efficient at arresting and incarcerating a growing percentage of the population in regards to criminal laws such as illegal drug possession, USDEF believes this same type of rigorous and systematic approach would be extremely effective when applied to the protection of at-risk natural bodies. It is of the upmost urgency that the safety, wellbeing, and future of the rivers and aquatic bodies are fiercely protected from the increasing threat presented by high levels of discarded lethal waste items currently plaguing the natural bodies.

June Buttrick

I explore styles as an artist, trying  new mediums that are a joy to work in such as ink, watercolor pencil, Photoshop and graphite.  My style is usually fairly graphic, and I am currently working on some children's book illustrative pieces.
Illustrations for this project were rendered first in pencil and then scan into the computer and worked in Photoshop because of the more book like look it gave and the easy of edits.

Stephanie Cruz

The concept of mourning integrates the concrete reality of physical loss and ones’ personal response to remembering the life of the deceased. The work which I have most recently created is an outward exemplification of my loss process since losing my grandmother in December of 2015. After her passing I knew that I wanted to celebrate the life she had lived and also express the emotions I was feeling at the time. The works in the series are comprised of images of her from when she was younger and also from the weeks before her passing. The techniques of utilizing white space and building upon previous marks help to develop a spiritual and retrospective space in the works. I have also incorporated images of mourning mementos and images from my grandparents’ home in order to expound upon the realities and traditions of death. Through this series I have commemorated my grandmother’s life and have also cemented my experience of mourning her in these works.

ED Davidson

My body of anatomical sculptures investigates and provides an interpretation of the ways in which emotional states of being, experiences, and trauma manifest physically in the human body. By abstracting human anatomy through playful distortions and sometimes grotesque provocations that deviate from conventional health and beauty, the pieces created hope to evoke a captivating, visceral, and thought provoking viewing experience from an audience. There is significant science supporting the theory that our experiences and emotions can manifest in our bodies as physical symptoms, particularly if those experiences or emotions are significant. Such weighty experiences and emotions that have long lasting effects on the body are often referred to as traumatic experiences, and many of my pieces explore and try to evoke the feelings surrounding the way our bodies attempt to integrate and heal from trauma.
Expanding on this concept, my inspiration for individual pieces derives directly from my own personal experiences as a young adult living with multiple serious health conditions. I have been working in ceramics for fifteen years, and it is my opinion that it is the perfect medium through which to explore this concept. A final piece made of clay is a direct result of its extreme malleability and is always unique to the hands that shaped it. It has historically been the leading material to create vessels, and in my mind there is no better medium to expand upon the notion of the human body as a vessel for its lived experiences.

Annelise Ferry

On December 4, 2015, I felt an explosion rattle my apartment. At first, I didn’t understand the enormity of what happened. In a dream-like state, I observed the smoke seeping through my floor vents. I remember seeing my kitchen on fire and wondering if I should try to fight the flames; I remember the moment I decided that was futile. When I could no longer breathe, I realized it was time to abandon my home. I watched from the parking lot as my apartment was consumed by smoke and fire. On my way out, I was able to grab my hard-drive and camera. Automatically, I started shooting pictures. 
            When I was allowed to re-enter, I found my familiar home completely estranged. My memories were dripping with water, ash, and soot. We were forbidden from entering our domestic space without a mask. Many of my personal effects were ruined. It’s hard to quantify what I lost, but I do know that I parted with the bulk of my possessions in the weeks that followed. My partner, cats, and I stayed in hotels for the next month. We couldn’t return home.
            This body of work is a documentation of my displacement as a middle-class American. In my experience, I found that displacement was rendered invisible. It was a curiously liminal stage in which people would carry on their days when my own life had halted. Thus, this project is an attempt to make visible the occurrences and emotional impact following the fire. I found that I was able to process this traumatic event through a sort of detached documentation. I could visually communicate the stresses and emotions that I couldn’t convey to the outside world. I mostly obscured faces in this work. I wanted viewers to imagine themselves in this situation, to bear witness to this event in my life. I am still dealing with the repercussions of the fire emotionally and financially, which means I have not yet found a resolution. Although, exhibiting this work makes it feel a little more resolved. This project forced me to turn the camera on my own narrative, which has proved to be a significant departure and development in my work.

Brenna Gaffney

he purpose of my work is to argue that one must look into the Hebrew bible as well as extra-biblical sources in order to understand the context and meaning of the New Testament. I have chosen to demonstrate this through the Nuptial Idea. Although the Nuptial Idea is a Christian belief, the marriage between Christ and the Church reflects Israelite marriage customs. In an Israelite marriage, there were three stages: the contract, the consummation, and the celebration. The marriage between Christ and his Church follows this typology. I have chosen to create a shofar, a chuppah and feast plates from Israelite marriage culture in order to put the Nuptial Idea in perspective, and ultimately to shed light on Christian beliefs about love and mercy.


The shofar, or ceremonial horn, is built out of low fire clay and carries a carved scene of a violent storm over a tumultuous sea on its mouth. This is because the New Testament describes the shofar’s blast to sound “like rushing waters and pealing thunder” when Christ returns for his Church.  A chuppah, or virginity cloth represented the home and unity of the couple. This piece is made out of wool, linen, and cotton blend yarn and ceramic buttons. The ethereal pattern of the weaving is meant to convey diverse cultures intertwining to create a harmonious presence. The ceramic buttons represent the blood of Christ being shed for his bride. The low fire, deep dish plates are decorated with designs carved from rubber stamps in order to illustrate the wedding feast of Christ and the Church. I have chosen to portray sacred ingredients which the Israelites used in their feast dishes in order to remember their past and YHWH’s promises for their future.  Each plate has twelve of a particular ingredient to represent the twelve tribes of Israel and the twelve disciples of Jesus. The plates are wide and deep to infer the abundance of food.   Without the context of Israelite culture during biblical times, understanding the Nuptial Idea would be nearly impossible. Although Christian faith can certainly exist without the study of the Tanakh as well as extra-biblical sources, my work is meant to stress how vital those sources are in order to understand New Testament ideas. I feel that this diverse body of work represents me very well as an artist. I do not like to restrain myself to one medium which pushes me to learn new techniques and new medias to express myself with. With this body of work I did a tremendous amount of research, had my own assumptions and perceptions challenged and created pieces that express the importance of diversity, mercy and faith.

Rachel Holt

Constructing Nostalgia: Sculptural Paintings of Home
rachelholtdesign.com 

My family is rooted in southern Wake County, where my paternal great-grandparents settled on some eighty acres nearly 100 years ago. The house they built still stands, and my grandmother lives there today. As a young girl, I was lucky enough to spend many days in the house and on that expanse of land. Having moved homes several times with my parents, the most stable place in my life has always been the farm. The nostalgia I harbor for it has proven to be a powerful influencer in my art, and in my work I seek to process and document the memories I made there.


In my work, I include symbols that represent my memories, and they are presented in the form of line-based “doodles.” These doodles represent the complexity of memory, and my own tendency to remember haphazard, obscured symbols or snapshots. The doodles are imperfect and vague, like the retrospections that inform them, and the childlike associations with “doodling” reiterates the childhood context of my work. My doodles are paired with chunkily painted expanses of vibrant color, which allude to the way I my memories of the farm are accompanied by colors. The paint is applied with texture and energy, and reflects the influence of Abstract Expressionism within my work. Like my memories, each brush stroke comes from within me, and is informed by my life experiences. Finally, the architectural element of my work involves the attachment of recycled domestic items, like cabinets and drawers. The physical weight that this assemblage adds to my pieces lends them an element of monumentality, or permanence, and they reference actual houses. Each piece is a forever home for the memories that inhabit it.


The exploration of these themes in my art work has helped me to understand and contextualize my feelings about home. Painting about my family and my upbringing has given me a deeper appreciation for my personal history, and for the people who raised me.

Jonas LeMieux

As a kid I was always fond of building things, whether it be from Legos or sandcastles, I loved to work with my hands. I grew up watching my father build things for our house. I watched and sometimes helped as he created adirondack chairs from scratch. I helped as he built the several decks that now surround our home. From the endless minor and major home repairs, I watched my father build and create new things such as his own furniture. I am a kinetic learner, and over the years my father’s work became inspiration for what I do. I wanted to create and build things from my own hands, something that is personal and unique to me.


Throughout my time here at UNCA I have gained many skills, such as new tools, and new processes, my favorite being welding.
My work aims to address the on going problems between generating waste and buying new materials. My body of work consists of scrap materials, often found in junkyards, old houses, behind barns, or just dug up from rubble. I use this scrap material to create new sculptural pieces, and functional furniture. All of my projects contain elements of their past, material's telling a story of what they once were or where they came from. I take these discarded pieces/scraps and I alter them into a work of art using the principles of design, such as visual weight, proportion and balance. My goal is to help reduce the amount of environmental waste while simultaneously creating beautiful artwork. I enjoy creating furniture because it eliminates the use of having to go out and buy new furniture, often like my father did while building his own chairs. I also love the fact that no one can replicate the piece because it is very unique and has my personal touch added to it. I have also researched numerous other artists creating artwork similar to mine. These artists, such as Ilaria Bianchi, have added another level of of inspiration to my work and success here at UNCA.

David McLellan

I believe art is a means of communication. Music and food are also means to which humans communicate. For me, clay brings these three means of communication into a community through which I can communicate to my community and perhaps, in my own way, to humanity as a whole. With clay, my main focus is to create musical instruments and vessels to eat, drink, and store things with. I sculpt these instruments and vessels into forms that convey some kind of emotion or feeling; which could range from human longing for return to nature through organic form, to the “woman’s bellow” through the shaping of a horn into an abstract form of a pregnant woman. Inspiration comes from everywhere but always returns to humanity, people; for I am a human and interpret the world as such. The things I make are for human use; even the birdhouses. Clay has been human glue since the beginning of humanity. The Ancient Tassili tribe of Africa ate food together and drank from ceramics vessels, the Aztecs played ceramic ocarinas in their ritual dances. The use of clay to create idols and expressive forms is also a timeless practice. I want to continue these ancient uses of clay in an attempt to get back to true human nature through serving food, playing music, and creating forms that speak to a human condition of knowledge and wonder.

Megan O'Donnell

The focus of my art is beauty versus disgust. One half of the series portrays insects, ones not traditionally thought of as beautiful while the other half depicts strange and alien sea creatures. By putting the two halves together into a single body of work I question why the insects are considered disgusting while the sea creatures are not, despite insects being a daily reality while the others are largely alien to humans. My work also elevates the image of insects through the use of detailed and decorative carving and illustration. I utilize techniques, designs, and patterns inspired by the Rococo and Art Nouveau movements to contrast with the physicalities of the insects. The Rococo movement in particular is associated with beauty and opulence. By putting these strange creatures into this context, my artwork aims to evoke beauty and revulsion and call each into question.


This juxtaposition of the reactions of disgust and attraction was inspired by my own experiences as a child with the natural world. I question why we condition children and young girls to have such an extreme reaction to insects, while in non-western countries some of the insects we are terrified by are considered delicacies. My artwork focuses on these creatures as well as the strange and frightening things found in the deep ocean and encourages the viewer to question why these creatures are labeled strange, scary, or ugly. The contrast between the delicate sculpture work and the unsettling creatures is the catalyst for this questioning.


Though the sculpture is delicate and beautiful, the illustrated panels and the subjects therein are not. Aside from the odd exception, such as butterflies and crickets, insects are largely reviled particularly by young girls, despite any utility they might serve
In my work I also explore the relationship of ceramic and drawing. These two mediums are not typically combined in the same piece and I explore their ability to complement and enhance each other.

Beth Parker

Essence
By Beth Parker

The philosopher Hegel describes the term essence as the division that stands between being and the notion. This definition illustrates that in order to identify essence, who a person is in a physical state (their being) and who a person is in an inner state (their notion) must first be identified; Then the balance between these two states can be found and the essence can be seen. Through drawing, I combine both states in order to capture a person’s essence and illustrate it using subtleties found in color, expression, and body language so that any random viewer can get a sense of who that person is.
    My subjects are always people I know and feel an emotional bond with such as my friends or family. I spend time and talk with them so that I can observe and make note of the differences between their physical appearance and what I see as their spirit or essence. The images used are either from photo-shoots that arose from the knowledge learned by this reflection or photographs that were taken in the past that embody the subject’s essence. Because others can heavily influence some people’s essence, some images have multiple figures in them, like a woman and her baby, or a person and their pet.


    I believe that every person’s essence can be captured in a single snapshot moment, the real challenge is getting to know a person well enough to be able to accurately identify and portray their essence.

Zach Seguin

Toys have always fascinated me as an artist, especially ones which were made in the 1950s and 60s. Since my concept has to do with toys from Post-war America and how they are reflective of the thoughts and mindset of the generation, I decided to create my own mid-century “space age” toys, due to the fact that they represent a bygone age, one which seems very peculiar to a contemporary audience. The UFOs, green aliens, hover cars, robots, and other oddities are very much indicative of a particular cultural mindset and can be found in a multitude of different mediums. Because of this, I was able to draw upon many diverse references for my pieces in order to create my own toys. I first begin by creating all of my original figures out of oil-based clay. I then create a mold of each toy out of plaster, and then pour wax into the mold. Once I make it to this stage, I am able to both make multiple versions of my original figures as well as continue to alter them in different ways.  The wax pieces are then put into a ludo mold, which allows me to melt away the wax in the burnout kiln. This process takes about two days, but once it is completed, I am ready to cast my original sculptures. After they are cast in aluminum or bronze, I remove the investment from the artworks and then clean/polish them. The black spray paint is finally applied with the purpose of creating contrast to draw attention to certain aspects of the artwork, in addition to producing the appearance of wear and age. Overall, my process of artmaking and my concept are dependent upon each other, in that the mold/casting method allows me to be to play the role of a toymaker perfectly, unlike any other material or process.

Jasa Stephens

Still Assembly is a collection of graphite drawings on layers of a translucent and tissue thin Sekishu paper. These drawings depict faces which are shown transfixed in what is called a thousand-yard stare. This term was originally attributed to the empty gaze of a traumatized soldier after battle and is a symptom of shell-shock. The stare indicates a habit of dissociation from trauma in the people who portray it. The characters faces are drawn to show weariness. Their expressions seem tired and apathetic, as one that is experiencing depression or mental enslavement.
The faces are rendered in such a way to seemingly evaporate and fade away before the drawing can touch the edges of the paper.  Only a few areas of the face remain in sharp detail while the rest gradually start to blend, distort, and finally dissipate as the drawing radiates outward. The figures are depicted in this amorphous way to portray a sense of confusion or dizziness. Fog is often recognized as a symbol of uncertainty in one's sense of life direction in dreams. The fog is made to flow in and out of the figure as if it is a part of them. This is meant to represent the ability trauma has to dominate one's life. The different layers of these individual drawings are almost impossible to pick out when the viewer is faced with the whole piece. This cohesion of the layers of the drawing is representative of the way that trauma, when left untreated, will grow and infiltrate every aspect of one's life and drain the one afflicted. I believe that this feeling is like a constant state of mourning life.
This series is guided with inspiration from artist Seana Reilly. While Reilly and myself make drawings with different intentions in mind, I recognize a shared interest in communal relationships. Her work seeks to make a connection with people and our Earth while I seek to connect the viewer to a deeper place within themselves. I found inspiration in the way Reilly renders her graphite drawings with some shapes seeming to collide and smear into others while also keeping some shape boarders unbreached. I get a sense of loneliness from Reilly's drawings that I wanted to emulate in my own work.

Shannon Walker

Soaked in Bleach
              A healthy coral reef system is made up of a variety of bright and vibrant underwater plant life which is also home to many different species of fish. Over the last few decades many scientists believe the World's many coral reef systems are dying off due to global warming. The first sign of a dying coral reef is what is known as the bleaching effect. The bleaching effect is when the algae that is attached to the coral, which is what gives the coral the bright color, dies and leaves the coral a bone white color.


This installation shows many different types of coral using mid range porcelain, many different textures, and mason stains with a satin matte clear glaze. Using porcelain was the most benefical choice compared to other clay bodies because once fired the clay is left a bone white color. A wide range of different types of textures on each piece adds to the natural effect of the underwater plant life giving each piece a more realistic effect. Mason stains were used to show the vivid color of the coral when it is in its healthy and normal state. All of the coral pieces were hand built with the exception of the coral tubes which were extruded.


This installation shows the beauty of coral reef systems and also gives a look into the dim future of the coral reef systems around the world. People can help reduce their own carbon footprint by making simple everyday changes such as carpooling when possible and using energy efficient appliances. As a collaborative effort, these small changes can help reduce global warming across the globe and maybe one day save what is left our our many dwindling coral reef systems.

Shelby Wilson

Evocation of Emotion: A Formalities Approach

  Art is not just an embodiment of the artist, but essentially a part of their subconscious and feelings. For me, this is specifically expressed through the use of color and color theory. Colors are an essence of guidance, creating visual stimulation that has the power to evoke one’s mood, feelings and emotions. This series focuses on an interaction of the intellect and emotions. The goal is to have the viewers feel something, and connect to what that feeling means.