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(IN)Finito exhibition features work by faculty of Art & Design

By Contributed
On April 28, 2013

The East Tennessee State University Department of Art & Design and Slocumb Galleries in partnership with the Urban Redevelopment Alliance present "(IN)Finito" ETSU Faculty of Art & Design Exhibition at the Tipton Gallery from April 15 to May 9.
The public is invited to view the exhibit and meet the participating artists during the First Friday reception on May 3 from 6 to 8 p.m.
(IN)Finito features multimedia work by the Faculty of Art & Design ranging from painting, printmaking, photography, drawing, sculpture, ceramic, graphic design, metals, fibers to installation, video and social practice.
The first wall that the viewers encounter in the gallery features a large-scale photograph by Mike Smith, famed for images of the Appalachian landscape that are often juxtaposed with architectural features or objects narrating a rural setting grappling with change.
Flanking Smith's photograph are fiber artist Patricia Mink's digital quilt and graphic designer David Dixon's new works.
Recently, Mink received the prestigious 'Outstanding Weaving Award' from the Fiberart International Exhibit 2013.
Dixon has been interested in the relationship of "design and education in virtual worlds," working on Second Life as platform.
The parallel wall continues to showcase the prominence of two-dimensional work in the show. Anita DeAngelis' silverpoint drawing entitled 125E-35775 "is a portrait of a retired racing greyhound with the racing name Fuzz Face Mighty."
In contrast to the blissful and serene portrayal of the greyhound, Ralph Slatton's intaglio print of animals explores the aspect of visual pun, a presentation filled with double meaning "introduced through contradictory visual symbols".
Sculptor and department Chair Catherine Murray has been experimenting on encaustic painting. Her work on the show is evident of her interest "in the tension suggested or revealed by dichotomies: life and death, light and dark, serious intention and wistfulness and humor."
Mira Gerard, M. Wayne Dyer, Amanda Hood and Chase Westfall continue to represent the importance of painting in contemporary art.
Gerard describes her work as influenced by her distinct experience growing up in an isolated religious commune, visualized in her work that is "compelled by characters in literature whose subjectivity is described in a heightened visual way, usually through a significant encounter in the landscape".
Hood's work explores the concepts of "alienation, loneliness and the sublime within a contemporary context."
Exploring the concept of violence is percolated on Westfall's work while Dyer employed the imagery of a fierce animal leering over a nude figure as portrayal of an "individual trapped in a process that they do not control nor understand."
Equally impressive are the three-dimensional work. Viewers are confronted by Mindy Herrin's ceramic sculpture of a woman balanced on metal bicycle and Andrew Ross' Century Zoo Series installation towers over the gallery landscape, portraying the artists' interpretation of multiple works from the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Greek and Roman collection.
The dedication to material and form is also exemplified in Don Davis' installation and ark-inspired hand-built terracotta vessel that reflect his lifelong connection to Mediterranean culture.
Adjacent to Davis' installation are art historian Peter Pawlowicz's work that attempts to reinvent medieval manuscript into digital form in order to "invoke the history of Christianity and the form of the book."
Fellow art historian Vida Hull presents her published research on women in art history.
Juxtaposed at the 'art history section' are John Hilton's new lithograph series entitled "A Brief History of Art with Pigs and Chickens," and Vanessa Mayoraz's Botanica Memorabilis, a drawing installation consists of four miniature light boxes "which represents memories of people and places through drawings of plants."
Environmental consciousness within the works in the exhibition echoes with Travis Graves video of a tree "rooted in addressing notions of expectation and cultural attitudes as it defines our relationship to the natural world."
More explicit in her ecological concerns is adjunct faculty Carol LeBaron's fiber installation using 'repurposed' materials as advocacy for water conservation and sustainable art practice.
Other adjunct faculty work featured in the exhibit are glass sculptor Mark Russell's assemblage of cast and blown glass, wood and steel, Donna Wilt's miniature botanical study paintings and Kevin Reeves' wood and metal sculpture.
Political content is also a common thread to photographer Joshua Dudley Greer's new untitled work 'Ransom', digital images of burned American currency and Westfall's take on political art by cutting out sections of an Art Forum article entitled 'Burden of Proof'.
Lastly, art historian Scott Contreras-Koterbay attempts to expose his viewers on the realm of social practice by giving 'advise' during the reception.
He describes social practice and its roots in relational aesthetics as art that is seeking "to insert a new experience into the normative art world experience."
Contreras-Koterbay added that 'Advise' is an "experiment precisely situated amidst these efforts, exploring the role of art and of art history as to the possibilities of a progressive and inquisitive artistic experience."
The Tipton Gallery is at 126 Spring St. in Downtown Johnson City.
Open during receptions, Wednesdays from 4 to 6 p.m., Fridays from 5 to 7 p.m. and by appointment.
Contact Slocumb Galleries' Director Karlota Contreras-Koterbay via email or call 423-483-3179 for more information or to schedule a visit. The Tipton Gallery is sponsored by the ETSU Department of Art & Design and the Urban Redevelopment Alliance (URA).

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