MC senior art show opens at Clayton Center

April 25, 2013
Contact: Chloe Kennedy, News and New Media Writer

The work of Maryville College senior art majors will be on exhibit April 29 through May 19 in the Clayton Center for the Arts’ Blackberry Farm Gallery.

Four students, Mary Cunningham ‘13, Laura Greeley ‘13, Emily Julian ‘13 and Shelby Floris ‘13, will exhibit their work from April 29 through May 6. They will host a reception in the gallery on Mon., April 29 at 6 p.m.

Three students, Megan Unthank ‘13, Carrington Lemons ‘13 and Angela Allen ‘13, will exhibit their work in a gallery show titled “Trifectum” May 10-19. A reception will be held on Fri., May 10 at 6 p.m. in the gallery.

Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

“The senior exhibit features works the students have prepared as part of their Senior Study requirement,” said Dr. Carl Gombert, professor of art. “The senior project is an independent study that encourages students to create a meaningful body of work devoted to a particular subject or theme. The senior project spans two semesters and involves six credit hours of work.”

Cunningham, who is double majoring in art/painting and religion, is showcasing a collection of paintings titled “I Can See Your Halo.”

The show is part of her Senior Study, titled In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Oprah: An Exploration of the Functions, Aspects and Rituals of Celebrity Worship.

“As an art and religion double major, I strove to synthesize my interests in each discipline by exploring celebrity worship for my written thesis and illustrating celebrities as saints for my senior show,” said Cunningham, who is from Knoxville.

The inspiration for her Senior Study came from two sources: a book called Sacred Matters, by Gary Laderman, which “explores celebrity worship along with other religious tendencies in America,” Cunningham said.

“The second source was my love for [the Duchess of Cambridge] Kate – I wanted to paint her, so I did,” she said. “Oils are my favorite medium, and the paintings just really needed to be with the medium I loved the most.”

Greeley, who is majoring in art history and studio art with an emphasis on photography, is showcasing two exhibits.

The first exhibit, “Experimental,” is an homage to Joseph Kosuth’s “One and Three Chairs” piece, as well as conceptual art as a whole. She will also display a magazine she created, which includes her Senior Study chapter Transformation of Photography through Conceptual Art to provide more information about the movement.

“I wanted to mix characteristics of conceptual art with my show,” Greeley said. “In conceptual art, information is key. It was not uncommon to present newspaper articles or magazines as art. As one example of this, I wanted to build on this idea by having quotes that will help the viewer make his/her own interpretations about what the images represent.”

The second exhibit, titled “monstres / monsters,” is Greeley’s response to photography as a post-conceptual medium.

“The images will represent my fears, but other than knowing that, I’m going to leave it up to the viewer to decide what I’m trying to say,” said Greeley, who is from Knoxville. “I wanted to pursue this topic of showing my fears because these thoughts are most prevalent in my mind. Also, I think people find comfort in knowing that they are not alone, and I hope that my images can speak to the fact that we are all alike in some ways and that although we may feel like it, we aren't alone.”

Julian, an art/photography major who is from Powell, Tenn., will showcase her work on a documentary short, “Tellico Dam: The Last Stand.”

The exhibit will include a continuous loop of Julian’s documentary preview, displayed on a computer, along with six 11x17-inch digital prints portraying important scenes and participants of the projects.

A screening of Julian’s documentary short will be held on Tues., May 14 at 6 p.m. in the Clayton Center for the Arts’ Harold and Jean Lambert Recital Hall.

“My personal senior exhibition is the result of the beginning of a documentary film project on the history of the Tellico Dam, mainly focusing on the unfair treatment of those forced to relocate due to the flooding of the Tellico Reservoir,” Julian said.

She originally became interested in the issue of hydroelectric dams during a trip to Chile with other MC students and faculty, where she interviewed the indigenous Mapuche people about their experiences of relocating from their homeland due to the flooding of a reservoir from hydroelectric dams, including Ralco Dam.

“One facet of the research project was to draw comparisons between the happenings of the Tellico Dam and the Ralco Dam,” Julian explained. “Upon returning to Maryville, the research of the Tellico Dam interested me enough to know that I wanted to complete my Senior Study on this topic. When hearing that there had not been a significant film completed on this history, I knew I had to capture the stories of these people and this land before they faded too deep for anyone to remember them.”

Floris, who is majoring in design and minoring in sociology, will showcase an exhibition titled “The Cult of True Womanhood.”

“I’ve always been passionate about female issues and ways to cure the stereotypes we currently perpetuate through socialization, media and culture,” she said.

The exhibit, which includes three framed magazine pages and a magazine, is a critique of gender roles and stereotypes, said Floris, who is from Houston, Texas.

Floris examined the most commonly pictured female roles in 1950s magazines and simulated a 1950s magazine based on stereotypes and gender roles. She used props, models and sets to replicate photos, advertisements and other pieces specific to 1950s magazines. She also included patterns, recipes and articles that would appeal to women in the 1950s.

“The goal of the exhibition is for the viewer to observe the fine differences of gender roles over the past decades to formulate how they feel about them, and how effective (and affective) stereotypes might be,” Floris wrote in her Senior Study, also titled “The Cult of True Womanhood.”

Unthank, who is majoring in design and minoring in math, will display an exhibit titled “SustainaStyle.” The exhibit includes five dresses, five large photos and a process book, which details the progression of her project.

“It’s an exhibition about materials that are typically thrown out but I have taken them and made dresses from the recycled materials that transform the materials into something more than the original items,” said Unthank, who is from Crossville.

She came up with the idea after taking Art 200: Sustainable Art with Adrienne Schwarte, MC associate professor of art (and Unthank’s Senior Study advisor).

“For my final project, I created my first dress, and it really inspired a love for creating these fashions,” she said. “The original dress is not in my collection but will be mentioned and photographed in my process book.”

Lemons, who is majoring in studio arts with a concentration in painting and a minor in theatre, is showcasing a collection of paintings titled “Skin Deep.”

“The show will feature paintings of colorful and macabre portraits, as well as pay homage to the lair in which the images were created, giving a glimpse of the creative process derived to create the work,” said Lemons, who is from Gallatin, Tenn.

Lemons said that her inspiration for the body of work came from several sources.

“The primary was the over-infatuation our culture has over the epithelial layer and the concept of what is and is not appropriate in fine art,” she said. “This, combined with the overall knowledge of the body and what is considered beauty led to the creation of this collection done with acrylic on repurposed objects.”

Allen, an art major from Maryville, will have three paintings, a sculpture and ceramic pieces on display.

The paintings, which she has been working on since last semester, are based on three Renaissance and Baroque masterpieces of Adam and Eve. The sculpture depicts a man’s outstretched hand with a chimpanzee’s fingers place on the man’s hand.

“I saw a picture of a man holding out his hand and a chimpanzee placing its hand in the man’s hand, it made me think of Michelangelo Buonarroti’s painting, The Creation of Adam, where both God and Adam are reaching for each other and their hands are almost touching,” Allen said.

Chimpanzees are also present in Allen’s three paintings.

“The presence of the chimpanzees at the same time Adam is created is meant as a challenge to Darwin’s Theory of Evolution that says man evolved from an ‘apelike’ creature,” Allen said. “Personally, I choose to believe that God created the earth and all it contains. Man is supposed to be more intelligent than the chimpanzee, an endangered species that shares approximately 98 percent of our DNA; however, man ate the forbidden fruit, just like it is the ‘intelligent’ man who is destroying his own environment along with the environment of the chimpanzee. The presence of the chimpanzees adds a whimsical playfulness to the paintings, which I love.”

Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the fall 2016 semester is 1,198.