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Past Exhibitions

Where Our Roots Lie/Donde de Sostienen Nuestras Raíces

Caleb Brown

March 7 - April 6, 2023

Exhibition Statement: This portrait photography exhibition focuses on Latinos currently residing in Boone, North Carolina. Each subject is dressed in either their respective culture's traditional dress or culturally-inspired clothing. The subjects chose the location of their portraits based on where they feel the most at-home and/or culturally connected within the High Country. Considering that Watauga County's population is roughly 4% Latino, many turn to unorthodox locations to find their community and cultural ties. Even with these demographics, Boone is rich in cultural diversity amongst its Latino population, as seen by the myriad of clothing worn by the exhibition's subjects. There are 10 center portraits of 6 different subjects, each with different heritages. Each portrait was taken using a Sony A7III mirrorless DSLR camera, a Sony FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS, a Godox AD600 Pro with an Aperture Light Dome, and a Godox V1 Flash. 

Artist biography: Caleb Brown is a photographer hailing from Guatemala City, Guatemala and Asheville, NC. He is a senior double major in Commercial Photography and Sustainable Development and is one of Appalachian State University's Chancellor's Scholars for the Class of 2024. As a Latino creative, he strives to positively represent his and other minority cultures within his work.

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Body and Soul

Michele Viola

February 7 - March 3, 2023

Exhibition Statement: The crossroads between humanity and the imagination is what I create on my surfaces. My work takes place on the traditional canvas and expands out onto untraditional canvas shapes as well. Doing so allows me to further elaborate the surreal landscapes that I paint, and bring them into the world that the viewer exists in as well. In my work, you will find subjects of humans in fantastical scenes that combine elements of the spirit, dreams, and wonder. All inspired by nature and the human experience. A blend of imagery, surrealism, and realism aids in my ability to convey the familiar and the unfamiliar in one setting. These paintings invite the viewer to stay and immerse themselves into the whimsical world of my canvases. In doing so, the viewer has the opportunity to daydream themselves and participate in the escapism of the rational, logic, and the burdens of our realities, something I want to invite the viewer to indulge in for as long as needed.

Artist biography: Inspired by elements of the natural world and its relationship to the human experience, my art tends to balance imaginative, whimsical scenes, with more familiar environmental elements that yield symbolic intention and reflection of human qualities. I am currently a senior BFA Studio Art student with a concentration in Painting and Drawing. My works have been published in The Peel Literature and Arts Review Spring 2020 and Fall 2022. 

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Creatures: creating living objects through clay

Fiona Hill and Rae Feutz

November 17 - December 9, 2022

Exhibition Statement: The nature of clay is sensitive, sensual, and intimate. The material embodies the energy of the maker, and the physical process conceives objects that take on a life of their own. Our creations become alive through their dynamic organic forms, textural surfaces, and diverse colors. Clay invites us to work intuitively, working as a guide into the unknown of our subconscious. In this creative space, our thoughts and feelings toward our daily experiences are revealed to us. This body of work reflects our experiences of loneliness and isolation, of feeling alienated and “othered,” and the changing relationships we have with our bodies.

Artist Biographies:

Rae Feutz (she/her/hers) is a senior BFA student with a concentration in ceramics at Appalachian State University. Growing up in a strange place known as suburban Raleigh, she was disconnected from nature and the diverse world we live in. When there was nowhere to go around her, she retreated inward to the world of emotion and imagination that she expressed through artmaking. After taking her first ceramic course in the fall of 2022, she instantly felt connected to the medium. In contrast to her isolated upbringing, Rae finds working with clay to be not only personally therapeutic, but collectively healing as the medium offers a supportive community of care and connectivity. In 2022, Rae was awarded “Best in Show” at Appalachian State’s juried Student Art and Design exhibition for her ceramic piece entitled Squish Baby. She is currently deepening her knowledge and skill set of the ceramic medium, as well as other interdisciplinary artistic processes, toward her goal of becoming a professional studio artist.

Born and raised in Durham, North Carolina, Fiona Hill (they/them/theirs, she/her/hers) began their exploration of ceramic and mixed sculptural media in the ninth grade at Durham School of the arts. Through the use of clay, the artist has found a love of storytelling through the three-dimensional form that has translated to her further interest in other mediums such as wood, metal, and found object work. Fiona’s work has largely centered on the material process of creating objects that marry the feeling of narrative introspection to a fascination with earthly forms, ecological processes, and the natural world. Growing up queer in a politically active family in the South, they often felt torn between a growing sense of community and political responsibility, as well as a growing feeling of isolation that they could only
express or find relief from in their sculptural work. In 2018, they were accepted into the North Carolina Governor’s School in the area of Visual Art where they studied experimental and performative art strategies, culminating in a final show of work in the Fine Arts Center at Salem College. Inspired by this experience, Fiona continues to pursue studio art at Appalachian State University, along with expanding her studies in socio-political and environmental issues. Fiona is currently a Senior at ASU majoring in Art and Visual Culture with a concentration in Studio Art and a minor in Sustainable Development.

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A Juried Pro-Voter Competition hosted by the Department of Art at Appalachian State University

October 21 - November 11, 2022

Thank you to the Judges:
Brooke Hofsess, Interim Chair, Department of Art
Ann Kaplan, Associate Professor, Department of Interdisciplinary Studies
Shannon Campbell, Dean College of Fine and Applied Arts







Christopher Metz

September 20 - October 11, 2022

Exhibition Statement: Christopher Metz photographed this collection on a Minolta SRT MC2 with a 28mm lens using only Ilford HP5 400 black and white 35mm film during the summer of 2022. Metz chose to only shoot this film stock as a way to get back to the root of photography, focusing on composition and subject matter rather than color. There are a few exceptions to this outline, one of which is through the use of trichrome photography. Trichrome is an old technique used to create color images by combining three black and white photos into one with each of them being turned into one of the three colors of the RGB color-way and then combining them to create a color image. The other exception is the use of another camera, a Spartus 120mm box camera that belonged to his great-grandmother. 

Artist Bio: Christopher Metz is an artist born and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina. Metz is a multimedia artist who has delved into many visual mediums including illustration, animation, graphic design, woodworking, jewelry design, fashion & apparel design, and most recently photography. Over the 2021-2022 school year, Metz started by photographing local musicians and gradually evolving to more experimental film photography. Metz is currently a Junior at App State majoring in Graphic Communications Management with a minor in General Business. 

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Meeting Place

Kara Haselton

April 14 - May 6, 2022

Exhibition Statement: Meeting Place is an interactive exhibition centered around the stories of three individuals who currently reside in a Syrian refugee camp in Iraqi Kurdistan. Consisting of photo profiles and video interviews, the exhibition invites the audience to respond to the three subjects. Meeting Place explores how social understanding can be developed through the relationship between photographer, subject, and viewer, all of whom meet at the photograph. 

Artist Bio: Kara Haselton is a senior undergraduate student and Wilson Scholar self-designing a degree in Photojournalism and Social Justice at Appalachian State University. Growing up in Raleigh, NC but born in Taipei, Taiwan, Haselton developed an identity as a third-culture kid influenced by intercultural perspectives. Her work is primarily focused on cross-cultural connections and conversations of identity intertwined with migration and global borders.

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Sierra Schweitzer and Max Trumpower

March 18 - April 8, 2022

Exhibition Statement: The body is a vessel that ingrains certain experiences into its everyday functioning. The body not only withstands physical trauma, but can also project emotional trauma onto its wearers. Our work expands on these experiences with the body and the unpredictability that can occur in response. Our work explores the intimate relationships that we often have with our bodies, and the problems that may occur due to its dysfunction. Although each artist focuses on different contributors to their pains, they relate in the way that their bodies remember a lifetime of these traumatic experiences and remain permanently changed because of it. 

Artist Statements:

Sierra Schweitzer’s newest work explores the relationship between body and surface, finding a way to interweave the complexities of pain within the entirety of a piece. This work is influenced by her newly developed relationship with chronic illness and simultaneously developing a relationship with ceramics. This concentration on sculptural ceramics has become a direct cause and effect of her new experiences with pain. In the process of making, clay has become an artistic practice of patience. Clay as a material requires patience through the entire process of building, firing, and surfacing. This is why Schweitzer's new work has become almost entirely ceramics and finding new ways of including other mediums atop of or embedded in clay. Similar to sculpture, her photographic work is even more personal as it captures the reality of how pain and exhaustion disrupt a sense of joy in everyday life.

Max Trumpower’s work specifically focuses on their relationship to their body and gender based on their Hispanic Catholic upbringing. Trumpower’s work focuses on twisting religious iconography into queer narratives through ceramics. As a medium, the plasticity of ceramics lends itself to how Trumpower views their relationship with gender. They explore gender roles within the church through a cultural lens that reflects on their own childhood experiences with religion. These narratives are displayed through their paintings on handbuilt altar vessels, as well as through figurative work. Trumpower also looks to reexamine the fear that they felt of authority figures within the church, and how this mirrored the fear they felt of authority figures within their own home life. Their work is not only a reflection of their PTSD from childhood, but a reflection of what many children fear: wrath.

Artist Biographies:

Sierra Schweitzer is a multidisciplinary artist whose work primarily focuses on sculpture and photography. Currently a senior at Appalachian State University and pursuing a degree in Studio Art, Schweitzer’s proficiency within multiple mediums has allowed for her newest work to explore the relationship between body and surface, finding a way to interweave the complexities of pain within the entirety of a piece. Much of her newest work is influenced by her newly developed relationship with chronic illness and simultaneously developing a relationship with ceramics. This concentration on sculptural ceramics has become a direct cause and effect of her new experiences with pain, and has formed into her new artistic practice of patience. Clay as a material requires patience through the entire process of building, firing, and surfacing, which is why Schweitzer's new work has become almost entirely ceramics and finding new ways of including other mediums atop or embedded in clay. Schweitzer has received multiple awards in the past few years including the Petschauer scholarship to attend a workshop at Penland School of Craft, and the Peggy Polson tuition scholarship which included $3,000 toward her university tuition in 2020-21. She was also awarded the Sherry Edwards Scholarship for Art in 2020, which is a tuition award for students concentrating in sculpture. Since then she has been focusing on personal projects and artist collaborations with local artists such as Lisa Stinson. 

Max Trumpower is an artist from Charlotte, North Carolina. Trumpower currently lives and works in Boone, North Carolina at Appalachian State University. They are a candidate for their BFA in Studio Art with a concentration in painting, and a secondary concentration in ceramics as they plan to graduate in May 2022. Trumpower utilizes a combination of sgraffito, oil painting, and other drawing methods within their work. Trumpower focuses on figurative work within their ceramics, completing these works with layers of oil paint. They are also interested in implementing found materials within their ceramics, and they experiment with different types of metals and building methods. Their current work focuses on the intersection between their Catholic upbringing and their queer identity. Trumpower has also received the Jody and Peter Petschauer scholarship, where they were fully funded to attend a summer workshop at the Penland School of Crafts. Max has participated in several group showings at the Nth Gallery located in Boone, NC in 2021. They had also been an intern this past summer at the Reynolda House Museum of American Art, where they were also a guest speaker leading a presentation about the queer artists that were included in Reynolda’s collection. After they graduate, they hope to attend a post-baccalaureate program and receive an MFA in ceramics in the near future.

The Weight of the World

Abe Krell

February 11 - March 4, 2022

Exhibition Statement: This exhibition relates to remote sensing and observing a changing Earth, along with the relation that music has on my work. All the pieces here show either the coastline or desert areas of the US. Recent developments in global warming, such as rising sea levels and desertification are where this change is most evident. Despite the interesting patterns and textures created, it’s unfortunate that much of this is caused by pollutants or eutrophication present in the image, and many of the desert scenes will show human developments that cover natural features. There are some scenes like Warmpop that look like a water feature, but it’s far away from any water source. The second reason for The Weight of the World name is the relationship between my workflow and how music influences what I create. The namesake of the exhibition nods to New York artist MIKE’s 2020 album Weight of the World, which I found myself listening to starting my artmaking adventure at the beginning of the Pandemic. The works are named after albums or songs that I enjoy, and which fit what is going on visually in the pieces. Search their namesakes up if you can!

Artist biography: Abe Krell is a senior at AppState studying Geographic Information Systems and Community and Regional Planning. He is a member of the Chancellor's Scholars Program and the president of the Appalachian Geographical Society. Other than his artwork, he enjoys reading, running, seeing live music, and collecting music memorabilia.


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Women Holding Up the World

Dr. Elaine J. O'Quinn

January 10 - February 11, 2022

Artist biography: Dr. O’Quinn has been a professor of English at ASU for 22 years. In her classes she consistently integrates the visual arts. When studying poetic form, students create their own paintings to go with the haiku and cinquain verses they compose. These are then complied into classroom community “quilts” that tell others something about what each student values in life. Students also make biographical collages that accompany narratives about their lives, and they are often asked to use art to depict characters, moods, emotions, and scenes. Pre-service English teachers are required to explore and create potential visual aids that might be used to support the teaching of texts. This may be anything from a mask for the ballroom scene in Romeo and Juliet to illustrating a passage from a text to creating a graphic depiction of a story to caricatures of characters. In her own work, Dr. O’Quinn works in several different mediums. She has won prizes for her alcohol ink paintings and done several gallery shows, created an array of visual art journals from collage, made greeting cards from both alcohol ink and collage, produced a line of jewelry that consists of rings, earrings and necklaces, dabbled in mixed media pictures, and uses both ink and other materials to create one-of-a-kind ornaments. This is her first attempt at a series of mixed media collages with a common theme.

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