City of Knoxville Tennessee Arts CommissionAmerican Alliance of Museum

Contemporary Focus 2010: Emily Ward Bivens, Nick DeFord, and Evan Meaney

August 27-November 7, 2010

Watch Nick DeFord talk about his art

Watch Emily Ward Bivens talk about her art

Visit the Contemporary Focus website to see an archive of past artists included in the Contemporary Focus series.

The art we call “contemporary” represents the leading edge of where artists are working today. Contemporary art is experimental, provocative, exciting. It is an investigation into new ideas that change the way art is made.

Contemporary Focus 2010 is the second year of an annual KMA series that serves as a vital means of recognizing, supporting, and documenting the development of contemporary art in East Tennessee. Each year we feature emerging artists who work in new and experimental ways.

Presenting Sponsors are Jennifer and Greg Dunn with additional support from the MacLean Foundation.

Emily Ward Bivens

Emily Ward Bivens uses found and made objects to forge narratives, provoke or encourage interaction, and reveal fictional and non-fictional mysteries. These objects shift from prop to subject to evidence when used in performance, video, and installation. Characters or identities are created to act as subjects, authors, inventors, and curators of the work. She received her BFA from Colorado State University and her MFA from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Bivens recent exhibitions include installations at Skulpturens Hus in Stockholm, and The Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver. Emily Ward Bivens is an assistant professor of art at the University of Tennessee.

Nick DeFord

A Knoxville native, Nick DeFord earned his BFA in drawing from the University of Tennessee, and an MFA in fibers from Arizona State University. His work explores the visual culture of geography and cartography using common household materials. Through maps, globes, travel guides, pamphlets and charts, DeFord disrupts commonly recognizable systems to examine our relationship to identity and place, the known and the unknown. DeFord has exhibited work nationally, most recently at Fluorescent Gallery in Knoxville, the Arizona Biennial at the Tucson Museum of Art, and Whittier College in California. Nick DeFord currently teaches drawing at the University of Tennessee.

Evan Meaney

Evan Meaney has been working with film, video, and emerging media for over a decade. Educated at Ithaca College and the University of Iowa, his interests have grown to include deconstructive sequencing, ghost stories, breakdancing, and the poetry of hexadecimal code. Meaney has been an Iowa Arts Fellow, a James B. Pendleton Grant recipient, and an artist in residence at the Experimental Television Center. He has held directorships of the Bijou Theater in Iowa City, the Iowa City International Documentary Film Festival, ICE Fest, and the Couch Physics Microcinema. A recent addition to the Knoxville community, Evan Meaney has joined the faculty at the University of Tennessee where he will serve as an assistant professor of time-based media.

Media support for this exhibition is provided by:


Emily Ward Bivens,

Nick DeFord: Found, 2008

Nick DeFord, Cibola, 2008

Evan Meany, To Hold a Future Body So Close to One's Own, 2008

Evan Meany, Prologue: How Mayan Lovers Might Find the Next Life, 2007