September 13, 2013

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

VSU Fine Arts Gallery Presents ‘Emerge’ Sept. 16-Oct. 4

VALDOSTA — To celebrate the opening of their group exhibit — “Emerge” — in the Valdosta State University Fine Arts Gallery, Florida-based artists Erin Curry, Nicole Gugliotti, and Evie Woltil Richner will host a gallery talk from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 16. A reception will follow at 7 p.m. Faculty, staff, students, and the general public are all invited to attend.  

“The three women artists featured in ‘Emerge’ are all graduate art students at the University of Florida who have very different visions, yet their art works together to create a quiet, contemplative magic,” shared Julie Bowland, VSU art professor and Fine Arts Gallery director. “The work is highly conceptual, yet grounded in the textural elements of the materials used to create each piece.”

Curry is a storyteller who finds language unreliable and looks for other ways to help her interpret the world around her. Over the last few years, her artwork, she noted, has functioned in the space between drawing, sculpture, and textiles — all of it with a consistent allusion to storytelling. One of her recent series, titled “News,” is part of the “Emerge” exhibition.

“‘News’ is a collection of tracings of the Arts section of … (The New York Times) onto translucent Mylar,” she explained. “The pages fill with empty boxes and only navigational cues remain. Text directs the viewer, but where? The remade newspapers hang perpendicular to the wall and shift slightly in the currents of a room like boats in a harbor. How might these emptied pages suggest orientation in a sea of information? Like the newspapers once found in libraries, these objects are meant as reference material to be handled. With repeated viewings, the pages will pick up smudges from readers reflecting the reader’s activity back to them.”

Preferring porcelain, black clay, steel, nichrome wire, and light to most other forms of artistic media, Gugliotti is a sculptor, one interested in the individual as explorer and discoverer.

“Through my art practice, I investigate how the conditions for discovery can be recreated in the gallery context,” she explained. “I use straightforward materials and processes, looking to the basic functions of evolution, geological formation, and systems of growth for guidance. Borrowing freely from scientific imagery and nature, I construct abstracted environments. I utilize the actual or perceived elemental properties of materials … to create these worlds. … I work like a poet arranging words, creating a composition that expresses what is in my heart.”

Gugliotti noted that her goal is to “create opportunities for others to briefly suspend reality and experience the feeling of discovering something new.”

Richner previously exhibited work at the VSU Fine Arts Gallery in the 2013 Valdosta National competition. Her haunting “Burials” series addresses the subjects of death and loss through the intricate use of ink and watercolor on digital prints.

“Memories erode,” she shared. “People pass away. Loss and death are common human experiences, and with age, everyone is confronted with the death of those around them, as well as their own mortality. In this work, I am exploring personal loss and memorializing those who are no longer living. Like death, photographs are static. They are forever fixed and cannot change or grow. Photographs are often the only physical remnants of a person. Each of these pieces is a burial, but also a memorial. Working from family photographs, I am physically burying relatives who’ve died in shrouds of drawn feathers. Through burying, we acknowledge loss. The person is placed away, out of our lives. However, through creating these pieces, I am remembering and memorializing my ancestors. They become a signifier, like a tombstone, of a person who once was. The feathers specifically reference the cross-cultural symbolism of the bird as a connection between heaven and earth.”  

“Emerge” will run through Friday, Oct. 4.

VSU’s Fine Arts Gallery is located on the first floor of the Fine Arts Building, at the intersection of Brookwood Drive and Oak Street. It is open from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Fridays. Admission is free of charge.  

Contact Julie Bowland at (229) 333-5835 or to learn more or to schedule a guided tour of the exhibition.

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