KNOXVILLE, TN – April 12, 2019 – The Arts & Culture Alliance presents five new exhibitions May 3-31 at the Emporium Center in downtown Knoxville.
A reception will take place 5-9 p.m. Friday, May 3 as part of First Friday activities downtown. The public is invited to meet the artists and view the artwork. Most of the works are for sale and may be purchased through the close of the exhibition. The Knoxville Gay Men’s Chorus and Vance Thompson & Friends will provide music at the opening.
“Grace and Grandeur” by Sam Stapleton and John Vavruska in the Balcony gallery
Two photographers born in 1951, Sam Stapleton and John Vavruska, grew up in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains: Sam, on the western side in the town of Kingsport, TN and John, on the eastern slopes in Waynesville, NC. Both were heavily influenced by the culture and natural beauty of the southern Appalachians, both subsequently obtained professional degrees from the University of Tennessee (Sam in accounting and John in engineering), and both began their serious pursuit of photography in the early 1970’s. When they met in 1976, it was their shared love of photography that provided the foundation for their friendship, and for two years, they shared a house and a darkroom they built themselves.
Yet with all of their similarities, the two have drifted apart in their photographic vision and now occupy virtual opposite ends of the photographic spectrum. Vavruska has remained primarily in the analog (film) world and has grown in the direction of large (4 x 5 inch) format black and white photography, capturing the grandeur of the natural landscape through hand-crafted gelatin silver prints. Conversely, Stapleton remained with small (35mm) format photography but converted whole-heartedly to digital technology where he continues to focus on the intimate color imagery of the East Tennessee landscape. While one’s images convey a high level of detail and tonal gradation, another’s use the spontaneity of the smaller format to explore the abstract and impressionistic capabilities of the medium. Hence the exhibit, Grace and Grandeur, is presented to share their story.
“Pairs: Work by the New Image Artists” in the main gallery
This fiber and mixed media exhibition, curated by Trudi Van Dyke, features 13 contemporary fiber artists who are juried members of the New Image Artists group from Maryland, Virginia, and Washington DC who come together to share their art and ideas. Members are active studio artists who work primarily with cloth, paper, and alternative materials.
The concept of “pairs” challenged the artists to consider their work as it developed in theme or concept and how one piece could influence the artist to create a companion piece. The first work was planned and sometimes completed when the artist found a way to morph the idea, media or subject into a complementary piece. The resulting pair effectively enables viewers a more in-depth appreciation than a solitary work.
“Knoxville: Special Light” by Allen Monsarrat in the display case
In college, Allen Monsarrat first studied architecture but graduated with a BFA with a concentration in pottery. His first art career was as a studio potter in Friendsville, TN for 25 years, followed by a career in decorative wall finishes, faux painting, cabinetry finishing and the occasional mural project. Never one to sit still, he turned to fine art painting which has developed into a concentration on representational work, including photorealism (paintings intended to look like photographs).
Monsarrat’s source material comes from photographs he has taken, which allows him to carefully design a composition and have plenty of information to include as much detail as he chooses. More importantly, as his reference source, a photograph allows him to study the nuances of color, light and reflection and how they change across a seemingly uniformly colored surface. Monsarrat uses translucent layers of paint to build depth unachievable with ink on paper. He began working in pastels in 2018, and for this exhibition, he will display oil paintings and pastels that depict iconic Knoxville scenes.
Anna Halliwell Boyd: Forget Me Not (Really) on the North Wall
Anna Halliwell Boyd is a mixed media artist and arts educator from Oak Ridge. She earned her MFA in Painting from Savannah College of Art and Design in 2018 and her Masters in Teacher Education from the University of Tennessee in 2013. Her BFA in the 2D Arts with a concentration in Drawing was also earned at UT in 2008. During her undergraduate years and first graduate program, she made watercolors, ceramic sculptures, oil paintings, and drawings that alluded to the bizarre, sad nature of witnessing the decay of her grandmother’s mind with Alzheimer’s. Her recent works use mixed media to convey themes of loss and how the past is recollected. The photographs she took growing up are often resurrected in her work to convey lost connections with others and the distorted nature of memory. Boyd is currently an adjunct instructor at several institutions and exhibits work from her MFA thesis. For more information, visit www.annahalliwellboyd.com.
Rodney Yardley: Barns, Beer Joints, and Baptist Churches in the Atrium
Rodney Yardley is a self-taught photographer and part-time flaneur from Knoxville. Much of his time is spent trying to capture the feeling of memories and dreams using tools from antique film cameras to modern digital cameras and cell phones.
The exhibitions are on display 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday at the Emporium Center, 100 S. Gay Street, in downtown Knoxville. Please note the Emporium will be closed on Monday, May 27 for Memorial Day.
For more information, contact the Arts & Culture Alliance at 865-523-7543 or visit www.knoxalliance.com.
About the Arts & Culture Alliance
The Arts & Culture Alliance serves and supports a diverse community of artists, arts organizations, and cultural institutions. The Alliance receives financial support from the Tennessee Arts Commission, the City of Knoxville, and First Tennessee Foundation.
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