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A selection of images from the 2024 Department of Art and Art History Graduation

June 25, 2024

Congratulations to all of our graduates of the Class of 2024! Here are a few images of the celebrations that were held in the Friday Center in May.

MFA candidate Molly English Awarded 2024 MFA Dedalus Award in Painting and Sculpture

April 11, 2024

Congratulations to Molly English for being announced as a recipient of the 2024 Dedalus Foundation Master of Fine Arts Fellowship in Painting and Sculpture. The MFA Dadelus Awards are given annually to final-year students who are graduating from an MFA degree program in the United States. Four fellowships are awarded every year, each carrying a stipend of $15,000.

Molly English’s tapestries use strategies of narrative tapestry for a reimagining of storytelling through fiber. English refers to Western tapestry’s history of justifying state and religious dominance both in form and content, while rejecting the flattening warp and weft of the loom and embracing the wild textures of the ignoble tufting gun.  In material hybridity, the profusion of candy colors, fiber and glittering evoke a sense of domesticity and historic notions of the feminine, into tactile narratives that portray an ecological antithesis to centuries of human-centric, male domination. From English’s own lived and researched understandings of Irish Catholicism, Anarchism, Feminism, and Animism, the works grapple with the fallibility and necessity of liberatory and salvatory beliefs in a nihilistic world.

Molly English (b. 1993) is an artist from Chicagoland. She received her BA in studio art and poetry from Columbia College Chicago in 2016, and will receive her MFA in Studio Art from the University of North Carolina in 2024. In her work, English reimagines the traditional flatness of narrative tapestry as a more abundant form—one that positions faith as both a necessary and fallible mode of relating to an increasingly nihilistic world.

MFA Candidate Mark Anthony Brown in group show at Sibyl Gallery in New Orleans

March 26, 2024

I’VE BEEN HERE BEFORE…CURATED BY SHABEZ JAMAL

29 MARCH – 5 MAY 2024

Sibyl is pleased to present I’ve been here before…, a group exhibition curated by multidisciplinary artist and scholar Shabez Jamal (b. 1992, St. Louis,  MO). I’ve been here before is a group exhibition that explores the recursive nature of photography through the lenses of ten emerging Black artists in the United States. The exhibition examines the relationship between the Black community and the photograph and how, through interactions with the medium, Black people have been able to create and recognize language and symbols that are vital to the continued formation of an ever-changing Black artistic canon.

Though many of the artists engage with different media including video, installation, painting, ceramic, sound, and sculpture, all ground their practice in the photographic image. Each artist recognizes the inherent ability of the photograph to conjure simultaneous feelings of loss and restoration. The memorial nature of the photograph allows space for the artist to look back with a knowing eye, and to generate new futures from the images and ideas of the past.

Curator Shabez Jamal directly cites Teena Marie’s song “Deja Vu” for its descriptions of many cosmic returns to both physical and emotional spaces. The photograph has a unique capacity to transport its viewer backwards and forwards through time, as Shawn Michelle Smith notes in her book Photographic Returns. Its potent connection to memory and potential to freeze and capture time makes photography a crucial source for those concerned with engaging the past in service of a better future.

I’ve been here before… features work by John AlleyneJustin CarneyMark Anthony Brown Jr.Sean G. ClarkJen EverettFelicita “Felli” MaynardAmbrose Rhapsody MurrayLola Ayisha OgbaraKristina Kay Robinson, and Darryl DeAngelo Terrell

About Shabez Jamal

Donny Bradfield (b. 1992, St. Louis) better known as Shabez Jamal, is an interdisciplinary artist based in New Orleans, LA. Their work, rooted in still portraiture, experimental video, and performance, interrogates physical, political, and social-economical space by using queerness, not as a means of speaking about sexuality, but as a catalyst to challenge varying power relations. Often turning the lens on themself, Jamal utilizes self-portraiture as a means of radically redefining the parameters of racial and sexual identity. Jamal received their BIS from the University of Missouri – St. Louis in 2019 and received their MFA from Tulane University in the spring of 2022 where they were also awarded a Mellon Community-Engaged Research Fellowship. In 2020 Jamal was also an inaugural member of Harvard Universities Commonwealth: In the city Fellowship.

Image: MARK ANTHONY BROWN JR.WHO CAN SEE FOREVER ON A CLEAR DAY?, 2023

PhD Candidate Emily DuVall presented at the Middle Atlantic Symposium

March 5, 2024

Congratulations to Emily DuVall, who represented the department at the Middle Atlantic Symposium (co-sponsored by CASVA, the National Gallery of Art, and the University of Maryland) this past weekend of March 1-2, 2024. Emily’s talk, “Visualizing Power: François Ier’s Royal Entries,” presented new research that resulted from travel to France in the Fall of 2023, funded by a Stephens Family Award. Her advisor Tania String was also in attendance to introduce her talk and photographed Emily in action at the Symposium.

Emily DuVall presenting at the Middle Atlantic Symposium in 2024

Art History Graduate Students Rachel Ciampoli and Sydney Herrick presenting at FSU Graduate Symposium

February 29, 2024

The Florida State University Art History faculty and graduate students will host the 40th Annual Art History Graduate Student Symposium on March 1–2, 2024, on their main campus in Tallahassee, FL.

Rachel Ciampoli will be presenting on “‘The Indigenous Posey of the Soil:’ Eastman Johnson’s Maple Sugar Paintings and the Aesthetics of Erasure.”

Between 1861 and 1865, American genre painter Eastman Johnson produced roughly twenty-five oil sketches in preparation for an ultimately unfinished master work depicting New Englanders engaged in the harvest and production of maple sugar. Although hailed during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries as a potential domestic cash crop and a wholesome foil to the unsavory politics of cane sugar production, northeastern maple sugar was entangled in contentious Indigenous-settler relationships. Using Sara Ahmed’s theory of “stickiness” as a framework, I argue that Johnson’s sentimental and homogenously White characterization of maple sugaring should be understood in light of the erasure of Native American cultural practices and Johnson’s own relationship to Indigenous communities. Recovering Indigenous associations with the practice of maple sugaring engages in the very process of untangling— perhaps unsticking—historical assumptions and perpetuated myths and undermines the integrity of a single-origin narrative, thereby complicating typical expectations of place and people.

Sydney Herrick will be presenting on “Breaking Chains, Forging Beauty: Redefining African Jewelry Design Through the Artistry of Emefa Cole.”

Within prevailing art historical discourse, contemporary African jewelry remains overlooked, primarily due to long histories of exoticization and jewelry’s association with craft. This paper focuses on the work of British-Ghanian jewelry designer Emefa Cole, examining how her utilization of sticky materials, referential designs, and diverse display methods disrupts these conventional paradigms and position her work as fertile ground for exploring critical theoretical frameworks like Afrofuturism and Black Futurity. This paper positions contemporary African jewelry as a medium ripe for in-depth art historical and theoretical investigation, highlighting a significant void in the field and advocating for a renewed emphasis on jewelry as an autonomous art form capable of enhancing broader understandings of art, culture, and individual expression

MFA Graduate Student Exhibition upcoming at UNC-Pembroke

December 12, 2023

A.D. Gallery
(Remix): Domestic Materiality
UNC-Chapel Hill MFA Graduate Student Exhibition

January 8 – February 23, 2024

Curated by UNC-CH Faculty Member Martin Wannam and UNC-P Faculty Member, and UNC-CH MFA Alumnus, Jessica Dupuis

Reception with Artist Talks and Q&A: Friday, January 12, 2024, from 12 – 2 p.m.

Exhibiting Artists: John Felix Arnold, Mark Anthony Brown Jr., Molly English, Dominique Muñoz, Rebecca Pempek, Matthew Troyer, Vera Weinfield, and Carson Whitmore

The A.D. Gallery is located on the campus of UNC-Pembroke in Locklear Hall, Pembroke, NC 28372. For more information, visit the A.D. Gallery Website.

MFA Candidate Mark Brown Jr in group exhibition as part of the Click! Photo Festival

October 2, 2023

Come see Mark’s work at It Ain’t All Black and White, at the Block Gallery, Raleigh, from October 4, 2023 to February 23, 2024.

It Ain’t All Black and White is a photography exhibition curated by North Carolina-based photographer Leticia Clementina that encourages viewers to consider emotions such as serenity, apprehension, yearning, and more. Captured by 10 dynamic photographers dedicated to documenting the fullness and complexity of Black life, this exhibition offers each of us an opportunity to see ourselves with renewed attention. 

Gallery Hours & Location

  • Date: October 4, 2023, through February 23, 2024​​​​​​
  • Time: Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. Closed Saturday and Sunday and for City Holidays.
  • Parking: Visitors can park in the Municipal Complex Parking Deck at 201 W Morgan St. Raleigh, NC 27601
  • Where: Block Gallery, 222 W. Hargett St. (inside Raleigh Municipal Building)
  • Cost: Free and open to the public

Artist Reception | October 25, 5:30-7 p.m.

Join us for an artist reception celebrating the It Ain’t All Black and White exhibition and artists on October 25, 5:30-7 p.m. 

ARTS 490 One Day Installation and Public Sculpture Event May 5, 2023

May 1, 2023

By flood or fire, the land will take what it is owed


Public sculpture & one-day installation public event

By artists in ARTS 490: Art As Social Action
Hanes Art Center Sculpture Garden
May 5, 2-6pm

By flood or fire, the land will take what it is owed is a public sculpture as well as a one-day installation and public event centered around calling attention to and supporting the Stop Cop City movement, as well as broader themes of policing, abolition, and protecting the environment. The sculpture consists of a garden housed within a cop-car structure created using locally scavenged car parts, recycled materials, and thrifted items, constructed to look like a demolished police car. The garden is planted with native plants to North Carolina which will thrive year round. The one-day event includes a “Living Room” installation, a space and title that refers to the living space created and tended by activists who defended and occupied Weelaunee Forest. The program will include workshops, a letter-writing campaign, live music, and banner-making.

This project was conceptually inspired by the Stop Cop City Movement in the Weelaunee People’s Forest, envisioning a future in which Cop City does not exist, or has been reclaimed by nature. Native plants growing in the cop car symbolize nature’s resilience in the face of destruction. The work’s use of a police car not only suggests a destabilization of human dominance over the natural environment but asserts a critique of entrenched institutions of power through which the natural environment is subjugated for oppressive ends. The project’s status as a work of life, rather than just a work of art, through its entanglement with living plants, posits the existence of a reality where life is protected and enabled to thrive, rather than targeted and perpetually dismantled.

When we speak of abolition we refer to the dismantling of the carceral system in the U.S. and the construction of new systems, practices, and values that resist our present carceral logic. With abolition, we want to build a new world where we can rely on our community to protect and care for us. As abolitionists Ruth Wilson Gilmore and Naomi Murakawa once said, “abolition is about abolishing the conditions under which prison became the solution to problems, rather than abolishing the buildings we call prisons.”

With By flood or fire, the land will take what it is owed, we hope to create solidarity with the forest defenders of the Stop Cop City Movement in Atlanta, showing that the impact of Cop City will be felt beyond Atlanta. We want to remind everyone that the resistance to and destruction of our existing systems is necessary to our growth, much like how the plants are able to grow out of our destroyed police car.

By flood or fire, the land will take what it is owed is a class project created by students in ARTS 490 (Art as Social Action), an upper-level undergraduate studio art course focused on socially-engaged practices. Experientially in this class, students collaboratively discussed and created work that blurred the boundary between life and art, revealing an inherent political connection. Projects ranged from performance to sculpture.

Artists:
Timothy Anderson, Deja Boone, Alexis Breitenfeld, Marin Carr-Quimet, A Cook, Jacqueline Doyle, Delilah Eby, Molly English, Lauren Guillemette, Sergia Jimenez, Samuel Martin, Jennifer Nguy, Abby Pallant, Maya Rampel, Nina Scott-Farquharson, Audrey Keelin, Hồng-Ân Trương (faculty)

Background on “Cop City” in the Weelaunee Forest in Atlanta

The Atlanta Police Foundation has plans to build a police militarization facility, known as “Cop City” by protestors and activists, for urban warfare training for police. Cop City is planned to include a mock city for police to practice urban warfare tactics, military-grade training grounds, explosive testing areas, shooting ranges, and a Black Hawk helicopter landing pad, all of which will be built in the Weelaunee Forest. Called the “lungs of Atlanta” by city officials, the Weelaunee Forest is home to wetlands that prevent flooding and filter rainwater, and is also a breeding ground for regional amphibians and a migration site for wading birds. Over 380 acres of the Forest are set to be destroyed to build Cop City, which will deeply impact the health and biodiversity of the surrounding community. The facility is a $90+ million project, $60+ million of which is funded by over 40 corporations, including Coca-Cola and Home Depot, and $30+ million of which is funded using tax-payer dollars.

For further information and resources, please visit the following:
Local Organizations:
Durham Beyond Policing: https://durhambeyondpolicing.org/
Southerners on New Ground Bail Out Black Mamas: https://southernersonnewground.org
Prison Books Collective: https://prisonbooks.info/

Defend Atlanta Forest: https://defendtheatlantaforest.org/
Stop Cop City Solidarity: https://www.stopcopcitysolidarity.org/
Stop Cop City: https://stopcop.city/