BOONE—The Smith Gallery at Appalachian State University presents PROM, the BFA Senior Studio Exhibition for spring semester April 8-17. It includes work by the candidates for the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in studio art.
These student artists are exploring a wide variety of studio techniques including metals, installation, ceramics, illustration, relational aesthetics, video and painting. A reception for the artists will be held at the gallery on April 10 from 5 to 6:30 pm.
Works by the following artists will be on display at the Smith Gallery in the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts: Alexandra Bird, Audrey Boyle, Emily C. Grabowski, David Jones, Madeline Lee, Haley McElroy and Catherine Michniak.
For the past year, these students have worked with Ila Prouty, a professor in the Department of Art. Prouty said, “This BFA show promises to be engaging. These students are employing a wide variety of artistic practices from painting, to video installation to express their ideas about contemporary topics such as hunger, intimacy, identity and the grotesque.”
About the Artists
Audrey Boyle grew up in Charlotte. She has been drawn to the mountains since she was a little girl. She is a painter and mixed media artist who is currently exploring relational aesthetics. Boyle’s personal experiences and struggle with painful emotions continue to fuel her work. When she was young, her father lost his job and she came to realize how precious every aspect of life was, especially having equal access to food. In her work for her BFA exhibition, Boyle investigates how to redefine what it is to be in a community through re-experiencing human interaction over a communal meal. Her work has been published in the 2012 issue of the Artistic Rebuttal and exhibited at the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts and the Nth Gallery in Boone.
Emily C. Grabowski is an aspiring video artist and editor. She started dabbling in video as a teenager and returned to it during her college career, taking a more artistic approach. Grabowski currently exploits aspects of her own life, in an effort to create understanding and community between herself and her viewers.
Born and raised in North Carolina, David Jones always imagined himself as an artist. He began taking studio art classes in middle school and has continued to do so throughout his college career. Shy and reclusive since the day he was born, he views the world from the perspective of an outsider and often works from observation. For Jones, the painting process is a meditative activity that allows him the time to focus his mind as he escapes surrounding troubles. To avoid growing stagnant as an artist, Jones seeks out new ways to challenge himself through a persistent search of growth and development.
Madeline Lee was born in Augusta, Georgia, but has lived all over North Carolina. Lee’s current work is made up of acrylic paintings. She explores the “demons” people struggle with in daily life, such as depression, anxiety and disappointment. Her work also has a hint of irony with cute characters being put in chancy situations. Lee has exhibited in the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts and has collaborated on work for the Smith Gallery.
Haley McElroy was born in Omaha, Nebraska. She is double majoring in studio art and art education. Inspired by her interests in biology and psychology, McElroy creates anthropomorphic creatures that straddle the line between the humorous and grotesque. McElroy believes these organisms are projections of self-analysis and social issues. She received two jurors’ awards in Art Expo 2011, held at the Smith Gallery. In spring 2014, McElroy showed her work in an exhibition called Sarap Sarap at 3rd Place. After she graduates, McElroy wants to pursue a Master of Fine Arts degree.
Throughout her childhood, Catherine Michniak was fascinated by her family background. Her mother’s family comes from the Southern United States, where her grandmother grew up during the Great Depression. Her father’s parents moved to the United States from Poland. Both families ended up in North Carolina, where Michniak was born. As she grew up, Michniak spent large periods of time with both grandparents, listening to the stories they loved to share. These stories later influenced Michniak as an adult and shaped her work in metals. She is currently working on a series of enameled necklaces.
Alexandra Bird was born in Charlotte and raised between the North Carolina mountains and Florida. Bird grew up visiting Blowing Rock, Linville, Fort Lauderdale and Bald Head Island throughout her youth. These travels formed important bonds with friends and family that became the cornerstone of her work. The connection between people, places and objects from memories drives Bird to produce jewelry that may become the objects worthy of beloved memories.
About the Smith Gallery
The Smith Gallery is located in the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts at 733 Rivers St. Admission is free for all events and programs. Hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and during special events. For more information, call 828-262-7338 or visit http://art.appstate.edu/cjs or https://www.facebook.com/smithgalleryappstate.
About Appalachian State University
As the premier public undergraduate institution in the state of North Carolina, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The Appalachian Experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian enrolls more than 19,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.
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