Overview of Exhibition
Contemporary Focus is the KMA’s annual exhibition series designed to serve as a vital means of recognizing, supporting, and documenting the development of contemporary art in East Tennessee. Each year, the exhibition series features the work of artists who are living and making art in this region, and who are exploring issues relevant to the larger world of contemporary art.
Contemporary Focus 2015
January 30-April 19, 2015/Hall & Rogers Gallery
Contemporary Focus is an exhibition series that supports and documents the development of contemporary art in East Tennessee. The series features the work of artists who are living and making art in this region, and who are exploring issues relevant to the larger world of contemporary art.
The three artists selected for this year’s installment have a common interest in creating works that examine the uncertain terrain between personal experience and external reality, between abstraction and representation, and between civilization and nature. Caroline Covington produces sculptural mixed media works that explore notions of displacement, mortality, and chance. Mira Gerard’s dense figure paintings integrate subject matter from her own video recordings and found imagery in ways that blur the boundaries between dream and reality. Karla Wozniak’s canvases depict an American landscape powerfully abstracted into a series of bold patterns, rich textures, and striking color schemes.
Caroline Covington is a sculptor and installation artist living and working in Chattanooga. Her current research examines the rituals, superstitions, and rites of passage perpetuated within contemporary communities. The artist’s work exposes the anxieties and apprehensions felt towards myths of the past and uncertainties of the future, specifically addressing Southern and Appalachian mysticism and folklore. Some of Covington’s installations feature components that are fully realized only through audience participation.
Covington earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Sculpture, a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History from the University of Georgia, and a Master of Fine Arts from the Rinehart School of Sculpture at the Maryland Institute College of Art. Her work has been exhibited in fine arts venues in the eastern U.S., and one of her works was performed in St. Petersburg, Russia. She currently serves as assistant professor of sculpture at Chattanooga State Community College.
Mira Gerard is Johnson City-based artist whose creative practice spans painting, writing, performance, and video. She draws inspiration from literature, film, and mythology in which individuals experience meaningful encounters with the surrounding landscape. Her paintings often stem from photographic and film-based images, in many cases her own staged photo shoots. Most feature enigmatic female figures within shadowy environments constructed out of dense accumulations of expressive brushwork.
Gerard earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Indiana University and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Georgia. Her work has been exhibited at Nave Gallery in Somerville, Massachusetts, the Huntsville Museum of Art in Huntsville, Alabama; and the William King Museum in Abingdon, Virginia. Gerard is chair and associate professor in the department of Art & Design at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, where she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in painting as well as interdisciplinary graduate seminars.
Karla Wozniak’s vibrant oil paintings and watercolors are loosely based on roadside landscapes the artist has observed in her travels throughout the Southeast. These locations serve as points of departure into abstracted compositions in which landscape imagery—banded hills, clouded skies, sprawling vegetation—is compressed into jagged surface patterns defined by bold, colorful brushwork. Although her paintings often contain subtle references to commercial development, seasons, weather, and time of day, her larger interest is in the expressive use of intensified color, pattern, and texture.
Wozniak earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Rhode Island School of Design and a Master of Fine Arts from the Yale School of Art. Her work has been exhibited at Gregory Lind Gallery in San Francisco, and Rebecca Ibel Gallery in Columbus, Ohio. She has also participated in group exhibitions at the Bronx Museum of Art in New York City and at Inman Gallery in Houston. Wozniak lives in Knoxville and currently serves as assistant professor at the School of Art, University of Tennessee, Knoxville.