News & Events

Weizenblatt Gallery To Feature Faculty Art

Weizenblatt Gallery at Mars Hill University is proud to feature the work of professors from the university’s art program in the Art Faculty Biennial Exhibition, beginning on April 15, 2014, and running through August.

The Art Faculty Biennial Exhibition will take place simultaneously with “an Introduction to Snooke,” an exhibit of comic book art produced by senior art student Ebony Simpson. The faculty exhibit will be open in Weizenblatt Gallery from April 15 to May 10. It will be free and open to the public each weekday from 10 am until 4 pm.

The faculty artists are Dr. Rick Cary, professor of art; Scott Lowrey, associate professor of art; Phil Murray, assistant professor of art; Jane Renfroe, associate professor of art; Ken Gregory, assistant professor of art; Dr. Barbara Cary, professor of art education; and Kenn Kotara, adjunct professor of art.

Credoii Rick CaryDr. Rick Cary, chair of the Department of Art and Theatre Arts, teaches art history and photography at Mars Hill. For the upcoming exhibit, he will be showing photographs from his series titled “Credo II,” which explores scenes from the lives of two congregations of “signs following” believers, one older persons, the other mostly young people. The congregations’ worship practices include handling serpents, drinking poisons and other practices mentioned in Mark 16 of the Bible.

Cary’s photography is documentary rather than strictly fine art. “My primary interest is in making images that convey the lived experiences of real people, in real time, in a real place, doing real things that are meaningful to them,” Cary said. “I never orchestrate the activities of my subjects, and I am present among them with their consent. I work to make images that, although they are subjective reflections of finite moments, may serve as texts that embody universal human experiences, or at least fragments of them.“

Sorrows Aqua Scott LowreyScott Lowrey teaches classes concentrating on painting. He will be exhibiting paintings from a collection called The Reliqueries. Lowrey describes this work as an exploration of narrative symbolic imagery and its content. He does this by subtlety altering the intended meaning, thus recasting or re-contextualizing it. The Reliqueries are paintings which recast the Marian representations from 14th-17th century Italian painting, which depict the “Seven Sorrows of Mary” with scenes from nature.

“The Seven Sorrows are from Mary’s sorrow of certain events as they pertain the life of Christ. In this series I’m attempting to recast them by juxtaposing images of nature and the environment in various symbolic ways thus visually retelling the Sorrows as the state of nature and the environment,” he said.

Morning Phil MurrayPhil Murray, who teaches graphic design, will be exhibiting both concrete and abstract images which reflect some type of interaction. “The more abstract images all are engaged with color shape, texture and line spontaneously evolving into what the viewer sees and can interpret for themselves,” he said. More concrete images include leaves and blossoms visually interacting with the chaos which surrounds them.

Agateware Bottle Jane RenfroeJane Renfroe teaches classes centering on pottery. In the upcoming exhibit, she will be showing wheel thrown stoneware and porcelain agateware, which she describes as the “combination and manipulation of colored clays to achieve undulating swirls, striations, and random patterns intrinsic to the pottery form.” Potential results from this method range from simple bold effects to intricate multi colored designs, she said.

“A process oriented technique, agateware emphasizes contrast, reveals the unexpected, and involves technical concerns and aesthetic considerations about the relationship of form and surface,” she said.

Renfroe references historical forms of this pottery technique from China’s 7th century Tang Dynasty, Japan’s Momoyama period beginning in 1573, and England’s by Dr. Joseph Wedgewood in 1730. Agateware was made in France, Egypt, and in the West. Other known examples exist in Native American pottery and in the work of WNC potter Jane Peiser’s hand built pottery.

Pigeon River ConstellationKen Gregory teaches both graphic design and photography, but his personal art experiences have covered wider fields, from photography, to commercial graphic design, to publishing design, to landscape and home design. He said he has found his media to range from pens to brushes, from paper to digits, as well as making broad “brush strokes” across large landscape to be filled with acres of rock-wall terraces.

In this exhibition, he continues his life-long emphasis on landscape photography. “Always seeking to capture the light missed by others, I spend much of my time pursuing woodland, mountain, and island inspirations in the magic light of sunrise, sunset and storm,” he said.

Kenn Kotara will be showing pieces from his original works on canvas, paper and mylar; Braille; screens; Polaroids; sculpture and site specific installations that are contemporary, abstract and grid-based.

Kotara says that many of his works are visual meditations about diverse human questions. In particular, works in the exhibit explore his curiosity about the mystery of how form comes into being.

“Perhaps the internal push-pull that is not necessarily revealed in my art forms, but without a doubt leads me through them, is that I find the whole notion of chaos fascinating and want to somehow make sense of it,” he said. “In the end though, the images in my work speak for themselves. I believe they allude to an underlying universal harmony that is as hopeful as is the circle. After all, the circle is about democracy, unity and coming together.”

Although Dr. Barbara Cary teaches in the Department of Education, her classes focus on Art Education. She will be exhibiting photography in the upcoming faculty show. Cary said: “I work in several art forms, including photography and textiles. I try to discover the aesthetic qualities in the simple things around me, especially those that are often overlooked.”