BOONE, N.C.—The Looking Glass Gallery in Plemmons Student Union at Appalachian State University presents “Removed,” a solo exhibition of work by senior studio art major Serra Shuford, through May 12.
The exhibition is free and open to the public, and there will be a reception on May 12 from 4:30 to 6 p.m.
“Removed” – a site-specific installation using fabric, acrylic paint and translucent plastic – is Shuford’s senior project, a requirement for her BFA in studio art at Appalachian. It aims to illustrate the parallels in the emotions of animals and humans. It also seeks to break down the barriers between the animal and human worlds by prompting human compassion and empathy for grieving cows and by showing that every living thing on Earth deserves to live without suffering.
“Removed” finds its inspiration in the artist’s observations of the cows she encountered while growing up amid vast tracts of farmland in Lawndale, a small town in western North Carolina. These observations emerged against the following backdrop:
Usually, spring on a farm is when young calves are taken to auction houses or veal farms and when their mothers’ milk is used for the dairy industry. After the calves are taken from their mothers, the mother cows cry out for long periods, hoping for the return of their calves. In time, this phenomenon prompted Shuford to realize that cows have long-term memory and a deep emotional capacity for their offspring. She also realized that cows that are separated from their calves go through a mourning period that is similar to that experienced by human parents who lose a child.
She concluded that suffering and compassion are unable to exist without one another: The cows could not experience suffering from their loss if they were not compassionate towards their calves.
“Although cows are the main content of this work, they become a metaphor for all the emotionally involved relationships that experience separation,” Shuford said in press materials for “Removed.”
The diverse materials of “Removed” represent the personal nature of feeling separation. The hexagon shape shown repeatedly throughout the exhibition is an abstraction of a front-facing cow. It refers to the masses of both people and animals who experience separation. Each individualized hexagon embodies an individual’s encounter with or perspective on separation.
More about Serra Shuford
Shuford now lives in Boone. As “Removed” reveals, growing up in a small southern town has greatly influenced her work. Although her primary medium is painting, her colorful and conceptual installations also include elements of fibers, sculpture and other media.
Shuford recently interned with Katherine Sandoz in Savannah, Georgia, where she assisted Sandoz with the development of her paintings and fiber-based projects. Shuford hopes to obtain an MFA after graduating from Appalachian so that she can pursue a career as a collegiate art educator.
Shuford is also displaying work in “Alternative Facts…And Other Stuff That Doesn’t Matter,” an exhibition that Appalachian’s Smith Gallery is presenting through May 12.
About the Looking Glass Gallery
The Looking Glass Gallery at Appalachian State University aims to exhibit, communicate and support the visual arts by offering students and the university the opportunity to become involved and experience artwork produced at Appalachian. The gallery is located in Appalachian’s Plemmons Student Union, 293 Locust St., in Boone. Hours of operation are 7 a.m. – 11 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. – 11 p.m. Saturday; and noon – 11 p.m. Sunday.
About Appalachian State University
Appalachian State University, in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The transformational 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 embrace diversity and difference. As one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina system, Appalachian enrolls about 19,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.