Fine art/craft, sophisticated/campy, humorous/serious, truth/fiction. . . I enjoy walking the line in my work. Since the mid-80s I have focused on making wooden furniture, mostly cabinets and containers, usually in a series. My personal aesthetic leans toward the functional, with lots of detail and a bit of humor. Being a social activist at heart, I often use my artistic skills to confront problematic issues, reveal truths, and penetrate the cultivated ignorance in society, making art to get people to think, and to question, and maybe even to change. I do this because so much needs to be done, and this is what I can do, with what I’ve got, where I am. I believe in the power of truth, and in the power of education to reveal truths as well as serve as a non-violent catalyst for change. I desire to alleviate unnecessary suffering wherever it occurs -- in humans, animals, and the environment. And, I like to make people smile.
Madison, Wisconsin is where I was born and where I earned my Doctorate and Master’s degrees and Teacher Licensure. I also have an undergraduate degree in psychology/art/philosophy from James Madison University. For over twenty-five years I taught art, from kindergarten through college -- educating others about art (artists and works), in art (processes and techniques) and through art (using art to address issues.) Primarily I was a Professor at Appalachian State University (in Boone, North Carolina) where I also founded and directed The Community Art School at the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts. Currently I live with my partner (Nick Biddle) and my pup (Mr. Darcy) in groovy Brattleboro, Vermont, where we operate an arts collective – ArtRageUs1.
"Art Fair on the Square," Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Madison, WI, July 2016. (group, juried, award)
“Humanimals,” Porter Butts Gallery, Memorial Union, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, February – March, 2012 (solo, juried)
“101st Associated Artists of Pittsburgh Annual Exhibition,” Society for Contemporary Craft, Pittsburgh, PA, November 2011 – January 2012. (group, juried, award)
“Women in Art,” Harlan Gallery, Seton Hill University, Greensburg, PA October-November 2011 (group, juried.)
“Rated G,” Buckham Gallery, Flint, MI, December 2010 – January 2011 (group, juried)
“Humaniamals,” Cecelia Coker Bell Gallery, Coker College, Hartsville, SC, September – October 2010 (solo, juried)
Slowinski, Tim (2009). Direct Art, Volume 16, p 34. (photo)
Harrison, Thomas B. “Space 301 will open Art in Academia on Sept. 11,” Press-Register Entertainment, Mobile, AL, September 5, 2009.
"Issues Exhibit," Artistically Speaking, Caldwell Arts Council, Summer 2009.
Bersson, Robert (2003). “Responding to Art: Form Content, and Context,” McGraw Hill Higher Education, pp. 262-263. (Color reproduction of my artwork and commentary in this art appreciation text.)
“Boone artist’s work to appear in Appalachian Corridors at the Avampato Museum,” Watauga Democrat, September 26, 2003, p. 2C
"Best in Show" award, "Art Fair on the Square," Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Madison, WI, July 2016.
“Jack Buncher Foundation Award,” Associated Artist’s 101st Annual, Contemporary Craft Museum, Pittsburgh, PA, November 2011-January 2012.
Grant from the Kennedy Foundation to fund The Community Art School of the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts (with Peter Petschauer 2009/2010)
"Best in Show" award, “Wood-O-Rama,” Yeiser Art Center, Paducah, Kentucky, October 9-November 6, 2009.
Recognition Award for outstanding achievement in Scholarly Research/Creative Activity, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC. (2008, 2009)
Grants from the Clabough Foundation to fund The Community Art School of the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts (with Hank Foreman, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2009)
Typically I work in a series, using the cabinet form. I like having interior spaces to provide a place to present information (reveal the “inside story”) and to add an element of surprise. Each series has a theme ranging from simple word play to addressing a dire situation like animal exploitation, GMO foods, sweatshops, etc.