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Studio update from MFA alum MJ Sharp

December 1, 2022

Greetings! I was away in the UK last year on a Fulbright Scholar Award — Our Disappearing Darkness and Recreating Prehistoric Night — and am continuing to work on it now that I’m back in the U.S. I will be using the night images I created last winter in Cornwall of prehistoric megaliths as part of an art installation piece to evoke a bodily experience of darkness as counterpoint to the ubiquitous light pollution we experience at night now, with its deleterious effects on body, mind, and soul.

I’m presently collecting people’s stories of night and/or darkness to incorporate into the piece. And for that, I’d love to hear from you! It could be just a feeling you once had in the dark, or it could be a podcast’s worth of story. No experience is too small or too big! I look forward to hearing whatever you have to tell me about your experiences of night (or darkness–several people have mentioned cave experiences to me). We can do it in person if you’re in central North Carolina, or we can do it virtually. Just reply to this email, and we can set up a time ❤️. Or if you’re an online calendar buff, I’ve just created a “Let’s Talk Darkness!” Calendly sign-up calendar for Thursday, Dec 8th—Tuesday, Dec 13th as a test to see if that format is useful to people.

In other news, the tomato “holiday” cards are back!  The Studio Store, after a year’s hiatus, is back with the End of Season Tomatoes card as well as many others. Details and ordering are at mjsharp.bigcartel.com. Before the end of the year, I will likely be adding a few vintage prints from my studio flat files as well as some artist proofs of recent images to the store. I tend to send those updates via my Instagram account if that’s something you do.

With warm regards and best holiday wishes, MJ

Our Disappearing Darkness 2021/2022 Fulbright Project
MJ Sharp | MJCornwall@mjsharp.com | www.mjsharp.com |Studio Store

Multiple Faculty and Alumni featured in current Basement X Peel Group Exhibition

September 12, 2022

BASEMENT X PEEL

Fundraiser Exhibition Event

Opening Reception: Friday, September 9th at Peel.

Closing Reception: Saturday, September 24th at BASEMENT.

BASEMENT X PEEL will be on view at both BASEMENT and Peel from Friday, September 9th until Saturday, September 24th. Peel will host an opening reception and silent auction on Friday, September 9th from 6-9 pm, during the Carrboro, Chapel Hill 2nd Friday Art Walk, with refreshments in the parking lot and live music. BASEMENT will host a closing reception and silent auction on Saturday, September 24th from 6-9 pm with “A STANK/STINK Outdoor Happenings,” a performance art experience.

All work in the exhibition will be available for purchase via both traditional sale and silent auction during both receptions and during all open hours of the exhibition at both locations. All proceeds from sales will go to supporting BASEMENT and Peel programming.

BASEMENT Open Hours: 9/10 & 9/11 and 9/17 & 9/18 from 2-5 pm

BASEMENT address: 605 Caswell Rd. Chapel Hill, NC (stairs to BASEMENT on left of driveway)

Featuring work by Adriana Ameigh // Alissa Van Atta // Allison Tierney //Anna-Christina De La Iglesia // Ashlie Johnson Coggins // Ayla Gizlice David D’Agostino // Dawn Colsia // Emma Stevens // Fabrizio Bianchi // Georgia Paige Welch // Hillary Ensminger // Hồng-Ân Trương // Jean Gray Mohs // Jenn Adams // Jimmy Fountain // John Shaw // Jon Neal // Jonh Blanco // Joy Drury Cox // Jphono1 // Leah Foushee Waller // Madeleine Grace Popkin // Madison Speyer // Mark Allen Soderstrom // Mark Anthony Brown Jr. // Marsha Glickman // Matthew Tauch // Natasja Brezenski // Nathaniel Quinn // Paget Fink // Paul Deblinger // Peg Bachenheimer // Rachel Moon // River Cortes // Rusty Shackleford // Serena Fenton // Shelley Smith // Sterling Bowen // Tama Hochbaum // Toni Hartley // Tricia Russ // Gadisse Lee // Jiahn Kang // Lindsay Metivier

MFA Alumna Elizabeth Cornejo named Southern Prize Finalist

September 6, 2022

At the sixth annual Southern Prize and State Fellowships award ceremony held at the Bo Bartlett Center in Columbus, GA yesterday evening, Louisiana artist Hannah Chalew was named the 2022 Southern Prize winner receiving an award of $25,000. The Southern Prize Finalist, receiving a $10,000 award, is Tennessee artist Sarah Elizabeth Cornejo. Both Southern Prize recipients also receive a two-week residency at the Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts and Sciences.

They are among the nine State Fellowship recipients, each of whom received a $5,000 award, currently featured in an exhibition on display at the Bo Bartlett Center through December 10, 2022, before touring to additional locations across the region next year.

“Congratulations to Hannah, Sarah, and all of this year’s State Fellowship recipients,” said Neil Barclay, board chair for South Arts. “This cohort of artists represents the diversity in voices, thought, technique, and style of our region, and we are honored to support their work with these awards.”

The nine 2022 Southern Prize and State Fellowship recipients are:

  • Jenny Fine. Multidisciplinary. Alabama Fellow.
  • GeoVanna Gonzalez. Multidisciplinary. Florida Fellow.
  • Antonio Darden. Sculpture. Georgia Fellow.
  • Crystal Gregory. Sculpture. Kentucky Fellow.
  • Hannah Chalew. Mixed Media. Louisiana Fellow and Southern Prize Winner.
  • Gloria Gipson Suggs. Painting. Mississippi Fellow.
  • Marcus Dunn. Painting. North Carolina Fellow.
  • Brittany M. Watkins. Mixed Media. South Carolina Fellow.
  • Sarah Elizabeth Cornejo. Sculpture. Tennessee Fellow and Southern Prize Finalist.

Roundup: Art History Alumni starting new positions

August 30, 2022

Congratulations to the following Art History alumni who are all starting new positions!

Recent PhD alumna Rachel Ozerkevich has received a two-year teaching position at Kenyon College.

BA alumna Hallie Ringle was appointed Chief Curator of ICA Philadelphia.

BA alumna Maya Brooks was appointed Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art at the NCMA.

MA alumna Julianne Miao was appointed a Curatorial Assistant for the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University.

In Memoriam: James E. Newton, first African-American graduate of MFA program

July 5, 2022

Dr. James E. Newton, a beloved instructor and mentor to many, sadly departed this earthly life on Tuesday, May 24, 2022, following a gradual decline in health. He was 80 years old.

Dr. Newton was born on July 3, 1941, in Bridgeton, New Jersey to the late Clifford and Hilda Newton, the 4th of their nine children. After serving as a military policeman in the Army, he received his B.A. in Art and German from North Carolina Central University, a Masters of Fine Art (MFA) from UNC-Chapel Hill, and a Doctorate in Curriculum Development in Black Studies and Education from Illinois State University. An award-winning artist, Dr. Newton was the first African-American to receive an MFA degree from UNC-Chapel Hill.

In addition to his love of art, Dr. Newton had a passion for teaching and mentoring young people, which he was able to do for many years while serving as a tenured professor and director of Black American Studies at the University of Delaware.
He is the author of several books, including The Principles of Diversity, The Other Slaves, Curriculum Evaluation of Student Knowledge of Afro-American Life and History, and numerous articles on multicultural education, African-American art, and diversity. In addition to being an inductee into the National Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, he is also the recipient of the University of Delaware’s Excellence in Teaching Award, and most recently, a recipient of the University’s Honorary Doctorate.
An active member of the community, Dr. Newton served on the board of many organizations, including the Walnut Street YMCA, Delaware State Arts Council, Delaware Art Museum, The Tatnall School, Public Allies, and others. He was also a 50+ year member of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity.

Dr. Newton lived an exceptional life that has served as a model for younger generations to follow. He was not only a loving husband, devoted father, and friend to many, but he was a true inspiration to those whose lives he touched. He will be greatly missed by all that had the privilege to be a part of his life.

Dr. Newton is preceded in death by his brother David.

Dr. Newton is survived by his wife of 54 years, LaWanda; his daughters, Regina, Walidah, and KaWansi; grandchildren Sean, Imevar, Nahlia, Isis, and Indigo; siblings Charles, George, Mary, Margaret, Katherine, Ann, and Jeffrey; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.

Alumnus Ripley Whiteside Online Exhibition at Red Arrow Gallery

June 21, 2022

Red Arrow is pleased to present Ripley Whiteside’s Polyethylene, an online exclusive exhibition opening June 17th and continuing through August 20th.

“For these paintings, I applied watercolor to paper through polyethylene matrixes: plastic grocery store bags and polyester dryer sheets. In spite of well-meaning efforts, most plastic is not recycled; tossed in a can but eventually buried in the landscape, much of it becomes visually inert. As a landfill, plastic becomes part of a grand chemical experiment, a long uncharted journey of disintegration and coalescence. How will the decomposition of these massively distributed, chemically complex objects shape their environment? These paintings imagine landscapes of that future.”

Ripley Whiteside was born in 1982 and grew up in Chapel Hill and Durham, NC. He received his MFA from SUNY-Buffalo in 2012, where he also taught foundations art courses, and his BFA from UNC-CH in 2008. He has participated in solo and group exhibitions in the US and Canada, and has been a resident at Willapa Bay A.I.R, The Peanut Factory, I-Park, and The Vermont Studio Center. His work is represented by Pierre-François Ouellette Art Contemporaries (Montreal) and Red Arrow Gallery (Nashville). He lives and works in Nashville, TN.