East Tennessee State University’s Department of Art and Design is teaming up with Slocumb Galleries to showcase works by artists with ties to Greene County.
Titled “Primarily Greene,” the multimedia group exhibition opens Monday and will remain on displays in the gallery, on the college’s main campus in Johnson City, through July 20. An artists’ reception will be held from 4 to 7 p.m., June 28.
Participating artists are Deborah Bryan, Lawrence Danecke, Aurora Pope, Garry Renfro and Mark Russell, all of whom either reside or teach in Greene County. While they all are affected by similar aesthetics of the surrounding region, the artists interpret them in diverse styles and mediums.
Printmaker Bryan’s works focus on the small, often overlooked objects of our everyday lives. Her recent print series, “Detritus,” done in a technique known as chine colle, are “specific to or somehow representative of the area in which I live, Upper East Tennessee.” In her work, she “celebrates the structure and intricacies of natural objects such as molted feathers salvaged over the years, gumballs in the gutter, beechnut shells discarded by squirrel, or common objects found hiding in drawers and cupboards.”
Watercolor painter Danecke welcomes the challenge that his medium brings, and considers watercolor painting as “an exciting challenge requiring the same patience and nurturance as growing a plant does.” His botanical images are full of light, energy and dimension.
Of special interest to Pope are “the spaces and moments that are the ‘in betweens’ — those which are neither here nor there, now nor then.” She often returns to themes of space and time; their associated memories intersecting and connecting from generation to generation. Graphic designer Renfro uses the landscape of his home community and family farm “as a point of reference and departure for imagery” in his work. He uses landscape to “explore social, political and environmental concerns, as well as autobiographical introspections.” For this exhibit, Renfro will present installation work utilizing various media.
Russell, a glass sculptor, incorporates local and found materials that inhabit his everyday life and are, therefore, “relevant to a personal consciousness.” “This current vessel series is an ongoing battle of learning to accept and reject the natural, sometimes nauseatingly, prettiness of glass,” he said.
Bryan was born in Akron, Ohio, in 1956, and received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Kent State University in Kent, Ohio. While in New Haven, Conn., she enrolled in drawing, painting and printmaking classes at Creative Arts Workshop. When she moved to Johnson City in 1995, she made the decision to change careers and was accepted into the Master of Fine Arts program in Printmaking at ETSU, under the direction of Ralph Slatton. She has been teaching since 1999, first as a graduate teaching assistant while completing her M.F.A., then as a part-time adjunct instructor at ETSU from 2001 to 2007. For the academic year 2007 to 2008, she accepted a full-time visiting teaching position at Tusculum College in Greeneville, and continued as permanent faculty beginning in the fall of 2008.
A native of Chicago, Danecke was schooled at the Art Institute of Chicago and the American Academy of Art (where he studied under watercolorist Irving Shapiro). After two years of military service, he established a successful commercial art career in South Florida, where he also taught at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale for several years and has earned signature membership in the Florida Watercolor Society. Now a resident of East Tennessee, Danecke is channeling his talents full time into creating fine art and teaching transparent watercolor technique privately.
An exhibiting artist for over 20 years, Pope received her Master of Fine Arts degree in Studio Art from ETSU in 2008 and a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from the University of Georgia in 1989. Her paintings have been on display throughout the United States and are included in numerous public and private collections. She works primarily as a painter, but also enjoys drawing, book arts and papermaking. Pope lives and works in Southern Appalachia, where she teaches as a visiting assistant professor at Tusculum College.
Renfro received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in graphic design in 1973 and Master of Fine Arts in 2007 from ETSU. He has worked in numerous areas of design as a business owner and for American Greetings Corp. He has been an active volunteer, providing design services for such organizations as the Greeneville Chamber of Commerce, Greeneville High School, The Exchange Club, Tusculum Arts Outreach and Main Street: Greeneville.
Russell lives and works in his hometown of Greeneville, and has maintained a glass studio there for over 30 years. His work ranges from vessel forms to sculpture that often incorporates local and found materials in collaboration with a manipulation of the glass. His work is included in numerous international public, corporate and private collections, including the Corning Museum of Glass, Tennessee State Museum, Mint Museum and High Museum.
Slocumb Galleries are located in Ernest C. Ball Hall, along Sherrod Drive on the ETSU campus.
The galleries are open to the public, free of charge, from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, with extended hours during receptions.
For more information, call (423) 483-3179 or visit www.etsu.edu/cas/art/slocumb for more information.
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