RALEIGH, NC Feb. 7, 2014 – The North Carolina Artist Fellowship exhibition showcases innovative installation, video and multimedia work — providing a glimpse into how artists use current technologies and forms to sharp creative expression.
Held this year at the Contemporary Art Museum in Raleigh the exhibition also features impressive examples of paintings and imaginative works of craft. Together, they offer a snapshot into what some of the best artists in North Carolina are doing and why they were recipients of the prestigious award.
The 15 artist participating received the 2013 Artist Fellowship Awards from the North Carolina Arts Council. Their work will be on display at CAM through Sunday, April 27
Artists featured in the show include Ryan C. Buyssens, visual artist (Mecklenburg); Notasia DeRubertis, filmmaker (Durham); Travis Donovan, visual artist (Watauga); Scott Hazard, visual artist (Wake); Brandon Jones, visual artist (Guilford); Becky and Steve Lloyd, ceramists (Haywood); David McConnell, multimedia artist (Wake); Daniel Nevins, visual artist (Buncombe); Marek Ranis, visual artist (Mecklenburg); Dana Raymond, visual artist (Wake); Amanda Small, visual artist (Orange); Tracy Spencer-Stonestreet, visual artist (formerly of Guilford); Leigh Suggs, visual artist (Orange); Sarah West, visual artist (Wake); and Jeff Whetstone, filmmaker (Durham).
“Fundamentally, this show is about the generation of new work,” said Jeff Pettus, Senior Program Director for Artists and Communities. “The works express a creative and imaginative range across a span of media that I think visitors will find exciting.”
“Over the last 33 years, the fellowship award has provided key support to individual artists at pivotal points in their careers providing both recognition for their accomplishments and a certain freedom to venture down artistic paths they may not have given themselves permission to explore otherwise,” says Pettus, who is also the visual arts director for the N.C. Arts Council.
For example, Greensboro artist Brandon Jones combines digitally manipulated forms to build a work of furniture using various metals, woods, repurposed objects and green materials. Morph Rocker explores the conflict between the rocker as an object meant for observation (because it appears more sculptural than functional) and one meant for practical use.
In Illuminationem Travis Donovan creates a stage of monofilament (fishing lines), motors and wood for columns of light that extend from floor to ceiling, which transform the space and experience for the viewer. Donovan explains that the motor spins the lines, creating torque. The lines twist and turn, and when the motors cut off, the filaments untwist and release the light back out again. He will create three columns of light for the exhibition.
Charlotte artist Ryan Buyssens creates kinetic pieces that utilize various materials. In a 2013 work entitled resistance, laser-sintered polyamide, carbon-fiber, anodized aluminum, aircraft plywood, an electric motor and a sensor come together in a piece that bridges the dimensions of movement and animation, prompting the viewer to ponder not only Buyssens’ creative process but the illusion of time.
Another artist who combines various artistic methods and materials is Tracy Spencer-Stonestreet. In an earlier piece entitled Dragging, she tethered the contents of a formal middle class dining room, with tablecloth, place settings, silverware, tea set, etc., to a young woman and had her take the collection for a three-mile walk. As she walked, the 68 objects in tow smashed against each other and along the ground, leaving a trail of damaged goods as a testament to her journey. The performance took place in Snow Camp last July and grew out of reflections on the experiences of women in their attempts to redefine or reconstruct domestic expectations. In her work for the exhibition, she explores the layers of meaning, signals, and desires that exist in the American home in a piece entitled, Intrusions of Grace.
Below are a list of artists and a description of the work in the exhibition in their own words:
Ryan C. Buyssens
resistance, Ryan Buyssens
Buyssens of Charlotte makes kinetic sculptures using a diverse system of materials, kinematics, electronics and graphics. These sculptures, which he calls intertropes, appear similar to old-fashioned zoetropes yet require no special viewing devices or lighting to experience the animations. His work has been exhibited at the 2012: Urban Exquis – First Park, New York City; the 2011 TEDx in Charlotte, and The Studio SIGGRAPH 2011 conference in Vancouver, British Columbia. Buyssens earned an M.F.A from Cranbrook Academy of Art.
- In His Own Words:
- I set out to synthesize my passion for designing mechanisms with my interest in the kinematics of a bird’s wings. The result of which is resistance. Crafted from 3D printed, CNC machined and laser-cut parts, it is an interactive, mechatronic sculpture that emulates the articulated flapping of bird’s wings. A series of these mechanical birds are mounted to a wall and, through various intensities of flapping, respond to the viewers’ movements within the space. The objects simultaneously invite and intimidate with their graceful, fluid motion contrasted by the direct reactivity of their activation.
Crow, Notasia DeRubertis
Durham narrative filmmaker Notasia DeRubertis explores social issues in character-driven stories. In her first stop-motion animation she pieced together four-thousand frames of her drawings for two minutes of film. A recipient of the 2012 Ella Pratt Emerging Artist Grant from the Durham Arts Council for stop-motion animation, she was a painting major at the Maryland Institute College of Art.
- In Her Own Words
- Scoring a Dream is my second feature-length-narrative ﬁlm. It depicts the brain activity of a young man who suffered a football injury and is now a coma patient. I chose it over my more dialogue-driven scripts to better explore using action-driven scenes and imagery to push the story along. My ﬁrst ﬁlm was a slice of my own life and a comedy. Depicting dreams allowed me to break out of the conﬁnes of reality and kept me inspired throughout the ﬁlming process. Dreams tend to have strong imagery and blurred lines; things might be random or could be metaphoric. This was great to explore and use as an artist within the traditional three-act structure of ﬁlm. I believe the story to be accessible, but I was able to approach it with abandon which was a great thing for me as a creative being.
Illuminationem, Travis Donovan
Visual artist Travis Donovan uses smoke machines, pumps and motors to coax new poetic connections from common materials and objects he’s encountered growing up in the South. In one work entitled Smoulder, wisps of smoke emanate from a heap of tobacco leaves, while in another piece, Drip, clay slowly drips down the sides of walls and pools on the floor. Donovan’s works has been exhibited at Greenhill in Greensboro; the Ruffin Gallery, University of Virginia, Charlottesville; and the Industry Gallery, Washington D.C. He holds an M.F.A. from UNC-Chapel Hill.
- In His Own Words
- I have always admired how Southern storytellers explore these unnoticed interactions allowing exaggeration and metaphor to further blur the boundaries of authenticity. My current work utilizes this storytelling tradition of embellishment by investigating unexpected presentations of materials and objects that I have encountered growing up in the South, in hopes of coaxing new poetic connections from an established canon and reality. Illuminationem was inspired while studying different environmental phenomena of light and its influence upon the world we inhabit. I became interested in how this light could manipulate how we navigate and relate to the spaces around us, both physically and emotionally.
Quiet and Endless Sea, Scott Hazard
Raleigh visual artist Scott Hazard’s photographic and text-based works consist of layers of paper that are carefully torn or cut, spaced apart and aligned to define a sculptural void. The three-dimensionality of his works makes viewing them a tactile experience, and the placement of words in his text-based pieces give viewers the perception of moving in, through and out of the compositions. His work was exhibited in the 2012 solo show Cultivations at the Second Street Gallery, Charlottesville, Va. and the 2011 solo exhibition, Departures at the Smoyer Gallery, Roanoke College, Salem, Va. Hazard holds an M.F.A in sculpture from the University of Florida.
- In His Own Words
- The objects I construct serve as devices for poetic awareness. Looking into them creates an atmosphere of in-betweenness which helps frame facets of the world featured in each work. Multiple layers of paper supported by structured frameworks are carefully torn or cut, spaced apart and aligned to define topographic forms or voids reminiscent of natural landscapes and mysterious caverns. Masses of text printed or stamped on the layers of paper further articulate the immersive spaces created in each work. These spaces become micro-gardens which beckon the viewer to delve in for a brief pause and moments of quiet observation.
Brandon King Jones
Rocker, Brandon King Jones
Greensboro visual artist Brandon Jones designs and builds objects that blur the line between functional furniture and sculpture. His most recent work is a series of furniture studies created by digitally analyzing and manipulating forms which were then built with a variety of metals, woods, repurposed objects and innovative green materials. He was the recipient of the 2010 Miriam Scott Mayo & Hazeleene Tate Scott Scholarship from UNC-Greensboro, and was profiled in IDEC Exchange: a Forum for Interior Design Education, summer 2012. Jones holds an M.S. in Interior Architecture from UNC Greensboro.
- In His Own Words
- So many objects we directly interact with are designed for comfort. When approaching this piece I thought about what constitutes comfort. A rocking chair is designed to relax the body as well as move the body. I created a piece that was inspired by the motion and curves of rocking chairs as well as the motion and curves of my body. When approaching the design of this project, I felt the urge to use some software that was new to me to help stretch to possibilities of Masonite, or tempered hard board. The final size of the piece came from the translation of my scale and shape and the scale and shape of some iconic rocking chairs.
Becky and Steve Lloyd
Bottle, Becky and Steve Lloyd
For Clyde ceramists Becky and Steve Lloyd, decoration and form are two principles that guide their exploration of the vessel as an icon of containment, celebration, ritual and contemplation. The Lloyds were selected to exhibit at the Smithsonian Craft Show in Washington, D.C. in 2009 and 2011; and earned Best of Show awards at Artisphere in Greenville, S.C. in 2012, the St. Louis Art Fair in 2009, and Madison Art Fair (Wis.) on the Square in 2006. Becky received her B.A. from Beloit College and Steve earned an M.F.A from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville.
- In Their Own Words
- The work included in this exhibition is the culmination of an exploration of scale and detail. We are presenting a body of work that has challenged our skills, encouraged our vision and helped move our work as a collaborating team to a new place. We have been collaborating on our sgraffito work for nine years. Our roles are well defined. I throw all the forms on the wheel. Becky does all of the surface design. Since we have been working together, our vessels have been on an intimate scale, with the largest being under a foot high. The pieces in the exhibition are the largest porcelain vessels that I have thrown. The size and scale of this work presented new challenges to the carving process as well. Not only did the pieces take much longer to carve, they were difficult to coat with terra sigillata slip, and were awkward to carve, challenging to move around the studio and into the kiln. Physically these pieces are demanding, and very different than the work that we have been making together over the past years.
Great Salt Lake, David McConnell
Self-taught Raleigh multimedia artist David McConnell draws on his past experiences in the world of music composition and record production to create visual artworks that share a thematic element of sound. His installation, Phonosymphonic Sun, was part of the national exhibition, The Record – Contemporary Art and Vinyl at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University.
- In His Own Words
- In 2003 I shifted art forms from music to visual art. Early pieces were often mixed media on canvas that I completed on unstretched canvas laying flat on the floor of my living room in Asheville. In 2011, I started to literally insert music into my paintings by taking scientifically accurate renderings of digital sound waves of music I had written and recorded. These pieces began to get larger in size and I also started working on linen, which allowed me to get better detail in my imagery. In 2012, I became interested in the religious texts of medieval European bookmakers referred to as illuminated manuscripts. This resulted in some experimentation with smaller canvases. I began painting hybrid images that reflected stereotypes connected with different parts of our country and some states in particular. These paintings are not embedded with representations of sound or music but instead contain Latin phrases like those early vellum books would have contained.
Number 14, Daniel Nevins
Asheville visual artist Daniel Nevins selects forms from the natural world and re-contextualizes them to create new representations of nature, dictated by emotions and aesthetic sensibilities. His forms and compositions are worked out on the surface of the canvas, creating layers of visible alterations. Nevins’ work has been exhibited at the Blackett-Peck Gallery, New Orleans; Blue Spiral 1 in Asheville (five times); and has appeared on more than 30 album covers. He holds a B.A. in Fine Arts from the University of Florida.
- In His Own Words
- The two paintings of mine (Number 13 and Number 14) on display in this exhibition are the first two paintings that I completed after receiving the fellowship grant. They show a ripening, a maturing, of the work I was doing before receiving the grant. They are grander in scope and darker in their themes, more operatic in nature and execution.
Panzerwerk Inge, Marek Ranis
Charlotte visual artist Marek Ranis’ work examines large social and political events, ecological issues and geographical and political boundaries from a larger cultural and historical perspective. Ranis’ site-specific video installation, Hold On was displayed at the Maskara Gallery, Mumbai, India and his work was part of the 2011 SESC – VideoBrasil International Contemporary Art Festival in Sao Paulo. He holds an M.F.A. in Sculpture /Studio Art from the Academy of Fine Arts in Wroclaw, Poland.
- In His Own Words
- Kill the Boer Kill the Farmer was a popular slogan and a chant in South Africa during the struggle against apartheid; it was created in the 1990’s and is still quite popular among leaders of the SA government. The video installation, based on my research and investigation, is an attempt to understand the reasons and true nature of the killing of 400 farmers. Kill the Boer Kill the Farmer is a result of over 7000 km of a lonely travel to most regions of South Africa and of more than 50 interviews that I conducted with farmers and recorded on camera. I also spoke with agricultural leaders, security specialists, academic researchers, and crime victims.
HornBot (group shot), Dana Raymond
Garner visual artist Dana Raymond imaginatively merges the rational and irrational into static and dynamic objects, installations and performances. His main objective is to activate space and to explore the relationship between parts and the whole. Raymond participated in a 1982 Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture summer artist residency that included Frank Stella, Louise Nevelson and David Hockney; was part of the collective installation Qatari Bottlescape at VCU-Qatar College of Design Arts in Doha in 2002; and his kinetic installation, Breathing Will: Okinawa was on display at the Okinawa Prefectural University of Arts, Japan in 2003. He holds an M.F.A in sculpture from Queens College, City University of New York.
- In His Own Words
- HornBot, for me, addresses one of the most basic foundations of humanity: the concept that we, along with all nature and everything else in our universe, are actually connected as one. My project, as minimal an expression as it is, was conceived on the idea that I could incorporate human activity from anywhere on our planet into a single expressive outcome. Each activity would be unique, and the combinations of these unique events or performances (as I am calling them) would produce a unified effect that I could share with the equally curious. Whether timed synchronously or totally asynchronous, the results or effect can be mixed, stored, or shared to produce an effect just as mysterious as the human mind, natural disasters, food flavors, or spiritual truths.
All Truth Waits in All Things,
Chapel Hill visual artist Amanda Small uses traditional craft materials such as porcelain, fiber, and resin, conceiving and presenting work that contradicts the conventions of her chosen material. Small has exhibited at the Pool Art Center Gallery, Drury University, Springfield, Mo.; and at The Clay Studio, Philadelphia. She received the 2011 grand prize for Specific Environments: Landscape as Metaphor at Colorado Lincoln Center, Ft. Collins, Colo. Small earned an M.F.A in Ceramic Art from Kansas State University.
- In Her Own Words
- My work explores the relationship between physical place and intangible experience. I seek to address how we relate and respond to the environment, and present new ways of looking at the world around us. … I use patterning and symbols to point to ideas of interconnectedness and a shared structure, or system. … I use technological methods to visualize aspects of the natural world, taking micro and macro views of the earth, cells, satellite mapping, topographies and systematic patterning and translate that information into installations that contemplate the meaning of “home” or “place”. I reflect on ideas of multiple worlds and the unidentified zones situated between imagination and reality. How do we experience the world around us in relation to our identity, both as an individual, and as a collective? The work symbolizes a view of the world as more vast and complex, more unpredictable and colorful, than what our comprehension, here and now, would want to let us know.
Intrusions of Grace, Tracy Spencer-Stonestreet
Former Greensboro visual artist Tracy Spencer-Stonestreet is inspired by the layers of meaning, signals, and desires that all exist within the home, using her own experience of growing up in a “big, loving Southern family” as the catalyst for much of her work. Spencer-Stonestreet received the 2011 Logan Award from UNC-Chapel Hill, and her work has been selected for Home Work: Domestic Narratives in Contemporary Art at Greenhill, Greensboro. She received an M.F.A in Studio Art from UNC-Chapel Hill.
- In her Own Words
- Through various methods and materials, I explore the layers of meaning, signals, and desires that exist in the American home. Relationships between parent and child, siblings, or adults within a family play out around and through furniture which, over time, embody these relationships in visceral ways. … I use nontraditional means of destruction, reconstruction, and recording to alter found parts of the domestic realm. The formal focus of my work is my process: the performance of smashing, dragging, pulling, cutting, etc., acts as catharsis for these objects, revealing some truer version of their embodied experience. The resulting artifacts carry the scars of our psychological associations, just as an old table carries the mars and water rings from a life full of intimate contact with its people.
Staring Straight at Nothing (detail), Leigh Suggs
Carrboro visual artist Leigh Suggs’ works emerge from repeated shapes and lines, most often circles, dots, or lines that create the idea of a circle. Her process is to focus on a single gesture, whether it is cutting, stitching, or marking. Suggs was a 2011 winter printmaking resident artist at Penland School of Crafts, and her work was exhibited in a solo show entitled Red White Black Blue 2012 at Light Art + Design in Chapel Hill. She holds a B.F.A, with a concentration in mixed media and fibers from UNC-Chapel Hill.
- In Her Own Words:
- I have very few memories from my childhood, but I can easily recall the patterns and shapes that I used to see behind my eyelids. I make process-based perceptual abstract art that explores closed eye hallucinations and threshold consciousness. The “process” in my art is the focus on a single gesture and the generative capacity of each, which in turn builds the work itself. It is defined by the organic, geometric, or grid-like patterns that are often repeated. These laborious gestures accumulate, take on a rhythm, and the pattern making begins. Similar to a Buddhist mandala, the size and slow pace of the work evokes a meditative, almost transcendental state. It is in this state that the repetition fuels a growth and development that continually redefines the originators of the piece.
Untitled Necklace, Sarah West
Raleigh visual artist Sarah West works from abstract drawings and collages to create diagrams of emotional landscapes. She exposes the underlying geography of memory and history through overlapping line, shadow and imagery. In 2012, West’s work was on view in Public Record, a solo exhibition at Artspace, Raleigh and in the Penland Artists Summer Show and Illume, both invitational shows at Light Art+Design in Chapel Hill. She earned a B.F.A. from East Carolina University, Greenville.
- In Her Own Words
- My work resides at the intersection of jewelry and sculpture. Fabricated from sixteen gauge steel and old records, I use elements of collage and quilt-making to create linear fluid sketches in three dimensions. The overlapping lines, shadows, and color fields define each other as they interact. They are in a constant flux, sometimes at odds with each other and sometimes unified. I am inspired by the city with its open lattice work of bridges, electric towers and the internal architecture of buildings. Like power lines that intersect the horizon, my jewelry and sculpture are architectural landscapes that interact with body and space.
Coon Hunt, Jeff Whetstone
Jeff Whetstone’s work portrays the wild in us as much as it does the wild around us. Whether the locale is a dramatic western landscape or temporary woods between subdivisions, the wilderness he depicts is both a state of the contemporary environment and an internal identity. He received a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in 2007 and the Factor Prize for Southern Art in 2008. His solo exhibitions include Seducing Birds, Snakes, Men at Julie Saul Gallery in New York City in 2011 and Jeff Whetstone, Post-Pleistocene at the Center for the Study of the American South, Chapel Hill in 2010. He holds an M.F.A. in Photography from Yale University.
- In His Own Words
- Night Casting is part one in a three-part series of videos that explores the relationship between people and their native landscape. The structure of Night Casting uses the strategies of popular reality and documentary programs that portray rural people. I film the outdoorsmen while they hunt through the woods, then I interview them about their experiences. Night Casting diverges from the reality show/documentary approach and avoids realistic narratives that are often a conduit for oversimplified representation, or stereotyping, of a subject. Night Casting inquires into the abstract nature of these men’s experiences and thoughts, where vulnerability rests comfortably with masculinity.
The Contemporary Art Museum in Raleigh is located at 409 West Martin Street. The museum is open Mondays and Wednesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from noon until 5 p.m. The Museum is closed on Tuesdays. Admission is $5. For more information visit www.camraleigh.org.
For more information on the North Carolina Arts Council’s Artist Fellowship program visit ncarts.org/grants/grants-for-artistsindividuals. A directory of previous fellowship recipients is at ncarts.org/resources/directories/artist-grant-recipients.
All Truth Waits in All Things
About the North Carolina Arts Council
The North Carolina Arts Council works to make North Carolina The Creative State where a robust arts industry produces a creative economy, vibrant communities, children prepared for the 21st century and lives filled with discovery and learning. The Arts Council accomplishes this in partnership with artists and arts organizations, other organizations that use the arts to make their communities stronger and North Carolinians—young and old—who enjoy and participate in the arts. For more information visit www.ncarts.org.
About the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources
The N.C. Arts Council is a division of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources, which annually serves more than 19 million people through its 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, the nation’s first state-supported Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the N.C. Arts Council, and the State Archives.
The N.C. Department of Cultural Resources serves as a champion for North Carolina’s creative industry that accounts for more than 300,000 jobs and generates nearly $18.5 billion in revenues. To learn more, visit www.ncculture.com.