Artist Statement for Christopher St. John
I have been active as a professional artist since 2002. I primarily work in oils and mixed media drawings, and most of my work tends to be figurative in one way or another. I have exhibited nationally and internationally, and I have work in the permanent collections of two American museums.
This body of work represents a cross section of my obsessions as an artist the past five years or so...It also represents a return to a place that I feel like I fled in order to have a better life. Some tremendous things happened to me when I left Memphis for the Pacific Northwest. I grew up in the South, but never really considered it a place that I belonged to...Although I have had a lifetime of travel and being a traveler does something to your outlook on place. While I was living in Portland, I was contacted by an art dealer in France who was really taken with my vision, and I have been exhibiting with his gallery the past five years. It is a wonderful thing to have your vision taken seriously as an artist and to have a relationship develop because of it. The rabbits, the animals, the portraits, these are all paintings that were meant to accompany the 1500 or so large drawings I have sent to France the past four years. My dealer died unexpectedly last fall, and although his widow continues to operate the gallery and represent my work, it was a terrible blow...
My process seems to be little more than responding to and navigating a constant compulsion to create, and to create with the knowledge that I do not know...I used to say this to myself constantly because I recognized the need to get the hell out of the way...My process is intuitive, but not stupid, and I trust the voices and the winds that speak to me from other places. I also enjoy the tension between abstraction and representation, and buzzing or burning that edge as closely as I can get...There is so much pictorial possibility in this line of work...I think I have wanted my work to present a life almost as if it were seen in a vision, as a succession of visionary states, or images seen in a trance...Kind of like markers on the edge of things...I have always seen the world slanted...I’d like to think these images offer a glimpse into a softer unknown, one that is closer to us than strange would be, a gentle alienation. There is something about the way these paintings wrestle with the idea of the eternal, clumsily it can seem, an art that is completely at the service of a vision of reality. It should be noted that I am deeply interested in representing reality in my work, but the kind of reality, the depth of it, is what is up for grabs. I want to leave the door wide open. The language of modernism is useful in this regard, where I can take representation and abstraction and smash them together as tightly as they can go. In some of the work the abstraction bleeds over, and in some of the pieces the representation provides the window frame.
There is violence in my work. There is also queerness and strange, and forms looking directly at the viewer, sometimes challenging, sometimes puzzled at their existence, sometimes simply existing in a kind of tunneling fullness. I often want this work to cast a queer light, like a strange light shining in a dull and often painful place.
The current work (2017) represents “stream of consciousness”. Since 2010, I have been combining multiple, connected images into my paintings to create singular compositions. With the more recent paintings, I have come to realize the importance of letting the image making process be more organic and “free”, allowing the paintings to exist for themselves as opposed to rigid, singularly defined personal reflections.
Brian Bundren earned his M.F.A. from the University of Memphis in 2012 and has held a full-time faculty position at Freed-Hardeman University (FHU) since 2008. Bundren teaches Painting I - IV, Drawing I - II, Renaissance Art History and supervises the Senior Practicum capstone project for studio art majors. He also supervises the installation of exhibitions at FHU's Troy Plunk Art Gallery and assists with coordinating exhibitions.
In 2014, Bundren published his first instructional book through iBooks and Apple©. "Drawing 101: An Introduction to Basic Fundamentals" is a digital textbook complete with photos and videos that demonstrate basic drawing concepts through a variety of exercises. The tutorials provided will help beginners to know where to start and aid serious art students in building their portfolios.
In 2015, Bundren developed and became the Program Coordinator for FHU's new Bachelor of Fine Arts program. This degree has put the fine arts program at FHU on par with national undergraduate standards and sets the university apart from other private, Church of Christ - based campuses by being one of only two universities east of the Mississippi River to offer this option for fine art studio majors. With a B.F.A., graduates are poised to begin careers in the fine arts with needed experience or pursue graduate level programs.
Richard Knowles was a Mid-South painter with an extensive record of exhibitions, commissions, and teaching. He was a retired Professor of Art (Distinguished Emeritus) from the University of Memphis (1999). He has produced paintings, drawings, and photography for exhibition at many local, regional, and national sites. His work is represented in collections and installations in Boston, St. Louis, Kansas City (KS), Little Rock, Nashville, Memphis and several city art museums, universities and private collections. He is represented in Memphis by The Richard Knowles Legacy Project - Contact Jason Miller 901.229.1041.
Recent activity includes group exhibitions at the Memphis College of Art (2007), University of Memphis (2007), Northwest Mississippi Community College (2008), and the Sage Farm Art Contemporary Gallery, Taos, New Mexico. Recent mural commissions include Harrah's Inn and Casino in East Chicago and the Westin Hotel in Memphis. Collections include the State Museum, Nashville, Arkansas Art Center, Little Rock, The University of Memphis, Arkansas State University, and the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art.
"My aim as a painter is to record the dynamic forces of nature from mostly wilderness areas. Through experiments with abstract form and color I establish visual equivalents for the energies of deserts, mountains, canyons, forests, and the sea that my wife Carol and I have been visiting for many years. I also have an interest in the complexity of nature's forms, with emphasis on the apparent chaos one sees in wilderness areas, for example, rather than the reductive wastelands and geometries in nature created by human development."
Eduardo Benamor Duarte’s work is deeply characterized by a longstanding obsession with the duality between abstraction and preexistence as a form of cultural inquiry. His current drawings and installations identify reflexive systems that foster the transformation of our living environments based on the adaptation of a geometrical abstract apparatus in dialogue with a preexisting material condition or a pre-figuration of a thought as a spatial typology. Recent works engage form in programs that range from installations for public spaces to ceramic building blocks to home furniture and landscapes determined by infrastructural systems for renewable energies. His work explores form and drawing in many versions and always in its most abstract content, from generating a new environment to repeating a limited number of abstract procedures in a systematic mode to testing the capacity of a flexible configuration to be adaptable in any location and modeling the material behavior of a spatial component driven by user interaction.
Eduardo Benamor Duarte earned his Masters of Science in Advanced Architecture Design from GSAPP Columbia University after earning his Bachelors degree in Architecture and Urban Design from Faculdade de Arquitectura Universidade de Lisboa.
In 2009 he founded his studio, Benamor Duarte Architecture focused on design of objects, and spatial environments at large. Eduardo Benamor Duarte’s current research and practice identify reflexive systems that foster the transformation of our living environments based on the adaptation of a geometrical abstract apparatus in dialogue with a preexisting material condition; or a pre figuration of a thought as a spatial typology. Recent architecture, design and installation commissions, include group exhibitions at the Cite’ de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine, Institut Francais d’Architecture in Paris, University of Memphis Art Museum, First Street Garden I Open Art Space, Salone Satellite - Milan Furniture Fair, Temporary Museum for New Design, and Made Expo in Milan; Doing and Undergoing, 125 th Anniversary of TC Columbia University, Wanted Design NY and Soho Digital Art Gallery in NY; Bienniale Design in Saint Etienne and Experimenta Design in Lisbon.
Over the past years Eduardo Benamor Duarte’s work have been published widely in a number of international magazines, books and newspapers such as Abitare, AD France, Domus Magazine, Elle Décor, Interni, Ecologik, Frame, La Repubblica, Expresso, Vogue Italia, or the publishing houses Gestalten and Links Books. His work has been awarded by several institutions in Portugal and US such as the Ministério da Cultura - Direcção Geral das Artes, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and Rhode Island School of Design.
J. Raymond Mireles has been photographing and documenting the American experience for 25 years now. Beginning as a commercial photographer in the 1990’s his roster of advertising clients has included Fortune 500 companies like DuPont, Intuit and Pfizer. Mireles has pursued documentary projects about the oil boom in North Dakota, life in the contemporary art hub of Berlin, economic disparity in the California desert, and the people and places that make up the central New Mexico of his ancestors. His public exhibition of large format portraits, entitled Neighbors, is presently on view in San Diego.
Experimental Relationship (2007- Now)
As a woman brought up in China, I used to think I could only love someone who is older and more mature than me, who can be my protector and mentor. Then I met my current boyfriend, Moro. Since he is 5 years younger than me, I felt that whole concept of relationships changed, all the way around. I became the person who has more authority & power. One of my male friends even questioned how I could choose a boyfriend the way a man would choose a girlfriend. And I thought, "Damn right. That’s exactly what I’m doing, & why not!"
I started to experiment with this relationship. I would set up all kinds of situations for Moro and I to perform in the photos. My photos explore the alternative possibilities of heterosexual relationships. They question what is the norm of heterosexual relationships. What will happen if man & woman exchange their roles of sex & roles of power. Because my boyfriend is Japanese, and I am Chinese, this project also describes a love and hate relationship.
Born and raised in Shanghai, China, Yijun Liao is an artist currently resides in Brooklyn, NY.
She is a recipient of NYFA Fellowship, En Foco's New Works Awards and LensCulture Exposure Awards, etc,. She is a resident at Light Work in 2015. She has done artist residencies at Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Workspace program, AIR program at CPW, and Camera Club of New York in the past.
Liao’s photographs have been exhibited internationally, including Arario Gallery (NY), Flowers Gallery (NY), kunst licht Gallery (China), He Xiangning Art Museum(China), VT Art Salon (Taiwan), Kips Gallery (Korea), The Running Horse Contemporary Art Space (Lebanon), Format Photo Festival (UK), Noorderlicht Photo Festival (Netherlands), etc,.
Liao holds a MFA in photography from University of Memphis.
Jason Stout was born in 1977. He received his BFA in studio art from the University of Tennessee at Martin in 2001 and a MFA in Painting from the University of Texas at San Antonio in 2004. Stout’s work visually deals with elements of formal and figurative abstraction, while exploring such themes as power, history, and identity, especially through the guise of southern culture. His work exists in several private and public collections, including the University of West Georgia, Jacksonville State University, and the University of Tennessee at Martin. During his career he has participated in several solo exhibitions and has been a part of several group exhibitions as well. Stout has won several scholarships and individual awards for his work. He is currently an Associate Professor of Art at the University of Tennessee at Martin and is represented by REM gallery in San Antonio, Texas. Stout was recently named TAEA Higher Education Art Educator of the Year for 2015-16.
My first photograph was taken in the wading pool in Overton Park, when I was around 6 years old. My Father set up his Rolleiflex on a tripod, and asked me to take a picture of him and my 2 brothers. I loved pushing the button.
I got my first 35mm camera, when I was a student at UCLA , studying Design. It traveled many miles with me, and I still have it. I studied film photography in Graduate School at the University of Memphis. However, I don't shoot film anymore. All of my work now is digital .
My favorite thing to photograph is nature. That is when I am most happy because I love being in nature, around trees and water. I have a series of images of the 2008 flood of the Mississippi River in Green Belt Park, in Memphis. Five of those images are now in the permanent collection of the Tennessee State Museum in Nashville. And I have been photographing the bald cypress trees in Lake Wapanocca for the last ten years in Arkansas.
I have done Editorial Photography for Memphis Magazine, Towery Publishing, and for Northwest Air's Passages.
My Event Photography has included Memphis International Film Festival; Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure; Friends for Life; and Live in the Garden.
I am also a Location Scout and Manager. This form of photography has included Annie Leibovitz's Stax Reunion photography for Vanity Fair ; The movie: O' Brother Where Art Thou? ; and American Experience: Fatal Flood - a documentary for PBS. –Saj Crone
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Thomas Everett Green (b. 1970) explores contemporary microscopic photography through painting, sculpture, and video installations that reference biology and nature. He earned his BFA at Middle Tennessee State University, and is MFA (with honors) from Memphis College of Art in 2014. He was the 2012-2013 recipient of the Hohenberg Scholarship. His work has been featured in magazines in the United States, Mexico, and Europe and has been shown in New York, Nashville, Memphis, Seattle, Detroit, and the Arkansas Arts Center in Little Rock. He was curator for the Center for the Arts in Murfreesboro Tennessee 2011 and 2012 and has contributed to publications including Taxi Art Magazine of Guadalajara Mexico and Number: Inc. an independent journal of the Arts for Tennessee, Mississippi, and Arkansas. Currently, he works as an independent curator, president, and host of the online publication Featherjett Fine Arts, and as an Adjunct Instructor for Memphis College of Art in Memphis Tennessee. He was recently included in the 2013 St. Jude Art of Science exhibition, 2014 Seattle Bumbershoot, D-Lectricity Detroit, and in the collections of Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital.
Learn more about this artist here.
Born in Hebron, Nebraska James Bockelman grew up in Des Moines, Iowa. And though he doesn't remember the word design being used in the home, one of his earliest memories of visual organization occurred when his mother asked him to help her move the furniture in the living room. As he recalls, "She explained to me why we moved the couch just off center, in order to create a room within a room". Encouraged to take art courses throughout high school, one of his political cartoons was published in the Des Moines Register for a contest related to the Presidential race of 1980. In 1989 he graduated from Concordia University with a major in art education and moved to Ontario, California where he taught eighth grade for three and a half years before returning to Concordia as an instructor of art. In 1997 he earned the Master of Fine Arts degree in painting and drawing from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln.
Since that time, his work has been represented by Lo River Arts in Beacon, New York, the Karolyn Sherwood Gallery in Des Moines, and is currently represented by Modern Arts Midtown in Omaha. In addition to exhibiting in numerous group shows throughout the region, Bockelman's art was featured in solo exhibitions at the Sheldon Memorial Museum of Art in Lincoln, the Museum of Nebraska Art in Kearney, the Norfolk Arts Center in Norfolk, Nebraska, and the Kunstoffice in Berlin, Germany. A recipient of a Nebraska Arts Fellowship Award in 2007, his paintings were recently included in the exhibition Art Seen: A Juried Exhibition of Artists from Omaha to Lincoln at the Joslyn Museum of Art in Omaha and juried by Joslyn curator Karin Campbell and Bill Arning, Director of the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. This fall, Bockelman is preparing work for exhibitions in Denver and St Louis.
At any given time, I carry around with me an assortment of odd, haptic experiences and visual impressions — how can I forget my near sighted father, sitting in the dark living room without his glasses on, staring at the Christmas tree lights because they were fuzzy, orbs of color; and then him inviting me, his thirteen year old son to take my glasses off so that I also might participate in his seeing. These referents register with me. And I often find that a painting may begin there with a slight connotation, with little idea of how the final work will evolve. Though few of the paintings follow any overt theme or formula, they ultimately travel through the process of painting until they accumulate their own identity; these paintings move beyond their initial reference and become a work that I recognize as my own.
I trust the process of painting and often work on twenty-five paintings at one time. I do this because I want to bring all of them up together toward resolution. In doing so, I am able measure how the images dialogue with one another, exchange energy, or serve as an additional, critical space for one another. To decide how to begin a painting is just as important as to decide when the thing is completed. Though I hate using a square format, all of the paintings measure 22” x 22”. The square was selected because of its historic relevance to the development of abstraction and as an appropriate location to study the activity of light and color. Rather than the traditional landscape or portrait, the square, with its even, dynamic energy alludes to a non–site, a location that is in–between. And though my mind and eye are often the most engaged while painting, the painting’s size and scale relate well to the space between my shoulders and hips.
For my records I've titled this series of 22” X 22” oil on paper, These Referents Register.
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The Expansive Moment
I have been painting the urban scene in an abstract manner for fifteen years. Early on I painted empty sidewalks and parking lots, transforming the mundane urban landscape with diffuse atmosphere and exaggerated color. In 2009, I began utilizing Internet traffic information as the basis for these increasingly abstracted images. What interested me most were the undifferentiated stretches of the urban Midwest with its mercurial winter weather. In these pieces, the long empty vistas and changing light evoke a degree of wistful contemplation.
Recently a move to a studio near interstate 55 in Memphis put the highways and sunset views right outside my window. The emotional impact of these deserted panoramas is more important than accurate representation. I am influenced by 19th century American landscape painting and by the Buddhist concept of groundlessness. The tension between abstraction and illusionism in my work generates something familiar and yet unknown, of this world and yet also otherworldly.
Juan Rojo uses painting, video, photography and printmaking to call into question traditions of representation, and conventions of the depiction of women. He creates tumultuous wrestling matches between representation and abstraction, between contemporary fragmentation and historical representation, between accepted heights of taste and intoxicating trips of high pitch colors. He employs everyday materials like scrapbook patterns, crochet or paper doilies to create naive, hyper-decorative works that merge disparate subject matters and exhibit a high-contrast between form and content, exploring the perversions of our patriarchal society trying to define and control the definition of the feminine.
Juan Rojo was born in Valladolid, Spain in 1977. He graduated from the University of Salamanca (Spain) with a degree in Fine Arts and he obtained his Masters degree in painting and video at the University of Maryland, College Park. He has exhibited extensively in the USA and Europe and he is currently living in Memphis, Tennessee.
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show inventory list - April 24, 2015 - May 22, 2015
Objects are sorts of time capsules, which could be likened to a memory card or hard drive that holds data. Each object links to a memory and triggers one to revisit a key moment experienced and shared in life, alone or with another person. The residue of our experiences remain fragmented throughout the objects with which we interact.
–Jason Nicholas Miller, MFA
All of the purposeful endeavors of my life have led me out of doors into nature's sanctuary. It is there that I find inspiration (and materials) for my works of art.
As a child, gardening with my grandfather in Kentucky instilled a fascination and reverence for plant life. Exploring and creating in the woods surrounding my family home fueled a love of free movement, as well as an innate understanding of natural materials. My initial career choice of landscape architect/dancer fuses these early explorations and they continue to infuse my work as a fine artist in ceramics and drawing.
Clay is capable of capturing a single moment in time rendering in form the fleeting impetus of action, as well as the perfection found in even a single leaf. Making ceramics encompasses all the elements: earth, water, fire, space, and air. It is a form of meditation for me.
My hope is to create works that have an internal life so that they can continue to nurture the imagination and the spirit.
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High on the Hog: Ten Years in the Pits
Photographs of Memphis in May BBQ Fest by Lawrence Jasud
When I moved to Memphis in 1981, I set out to learn and understand Memphis. I had already figured out that my interest lay in American Popular Culture, having grown up on Rock & Roll and the wild exuberance of the ‘60s. Like Stieglitz, I felt that you made photographs wherever you were rather than traveling to exotic locations. I believe the vitality and energy in America arises from the spontaneous creations of people figuring out how to live interesting and fulfilling lives.
It was clear to me that the poles of Memphis culture were Elvis and Barbecue. My previous project was photographing carnivals, fairs and amusement parks. The Barbecue contest was an obvious extension of that work. I love color, movement, energy and visual density, packing as much as I could into each frame while maintaining an underlying visual coherence. The Barbecue contest offered me a wealth of material to work with.
My first visit to the contest was in about 1987. A student of mine who was a member of a neighborhood team invited me. He told me it was a wild 3-day party and it was. The thing I immediately loved was that it was home made and real. The people were passionate about Barbecue and fun. It felt like a bacchanal from some ancient time. It wasn’t slick. The presentation was sometimes ragged and many of the cookers were amazing works of sculpture with only a loose connection between form and function.
As the years rolled on, PR types cleaned up the event and corporations got involved fielding company teams. It got less interesting and less fun. By about 1995 or ’96 I ended the project. The things that drew me to this event in the first place were largely gone.
Lost Landscapes is a personal investigation into the world around me, how it impacts me and how I connect to it. In a larger sense our actions may seem inconsequential but the mass effect of each person on this planet has the potential to change its very nature. I want the viewer to consider their own connection with the world around them, to think of how they fit into a larger system, and how the seemingly small or insignificant might not actually be so. These works are based on my interest in maps, systems, insects, ecology and sustainability. The forms work as visual tools to help me understand my connections and I hope they do for the viewer as well.
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My body of work looks at the politics of material consumption. I explore how we are pressured to conspicuously consume unnecessary belongings. We are told that shopping is patriotic, desirous, and rewarding. My work examines the idea that mindless consumption is anything but rewarding.
This series of work draws imagery from the 18th century French luxury fabric known as toile. This fabric was woven in India, hand-printed in France and avidly consumed in Britain and Europe. It depicted monochromatic moments of pastoral leisure. The French government banned toile for decades because the import of the low-cost Indian fabric was withering the domestic fabric industry. I create pieces in subtle shades of white to provide a moment that is not hampered by visual chaos. The works are made of many layers of velum and muslin as a physical reference to accumulation. The dialogue between historical and contemporary material culture informs my work.
Shara Rowley Plough is an installation and mixed media artist based in Huntington, New York. She earned her MFA from the University of Arizona and her BFA from the University of Iowa. Her work engages with issues concerning social inequality and consumer culture. She works with materials such as horsehair and garbage bags. She is a 2013 and 2014 recipient of a Mississippi Arts Commission grant. She has shown in the 2007 Arizona Biennial – Tucson Museum of Art, the Reece Museum – East Tennessee State (2014), the Meridian Museum Bi-State Art Competition (2012), Mark Miller Gallery – New York (2015), and the Art Museum at the University of Memphis (2014).
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