2022 CBU Visual Arts Faculty Exhibition
October 29 – December 3, 2022
Opening Reception: Friday, November 4, 2022 • 6:00-8:00 pm
This exhibition highlights the work of faculty in the Department of Visual and Performing Arts at Christian Brothers University, featuring work by Janie Carp, Scott Carter, Nick Peña, Melinda Posey, Jana B. Travis, and Matthew Thomas. The broad range of practices represented in this show are unified by the artists’ dedication to their craft and their steadfast commitment to the arts community at CBU.
JANIE CARP has been in love with color and beauty since early childhood and enjoys sharing the magic of art with 600 elementary and middle school students at Community Montessori public school in Jackson, Tennessee. Janie recently has had the honor of teaching undergraduate art therapy to students at Christian Brothers University in Memphis, Tennessee, sharing her 20+ years of art therapy experience.
It may seem unusual to mention teaching about art and using art therapeutically in an artist’s biography. However, because of the creativity and energy needed to serve others with art, this service has at times become her art form, along with raising a creative and vivacious daughter.
When Janie works on her art for her own purposes, she enjoys painting, collage, drawing, and simple printmaking. Janie believes that artistry is reflected in everything in life, not just the art products created.
SCOTT CARTER is a Memphis-based artist. Scott’s work is influenced by the experience of living amongst mass produced materials, spaces and objects that are inherent in contemporary architecture and design. His work manifests as immersive installations and interactive objects that facilitate subtle shifts in value and attempt to redefine utility in relation to everyday experiences. His practice parallels contemporary discourse in art, design, architecture, and sound.
Scott received his MFA in Sculpture from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2011, where he was the first recipient of the Eldon Danhausen Fellowship for Sculpture. He has participated in residencies at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts (Omaha, NE), Crosstown Arts (Memphis, TN), Kohler Arts/Industry Program in Pottery (Kohler, WI), Vermont Studio Center (Johnson, VT) and the Ox Bow School of Art (Saugatuck, MI). In addition, he is a recipient of the Efroymson Contemporary Arts Fellowship (2013), Current Art Fund Grant (2021), and the first-place recipient of the Beers Contemporary Emerging Artist Award in Sculpture (2013). Scott is also included in the publication, 100 Sculptors of Tomorrow, authored by Kurt Beers and published by Thames and Hudson.
The connections between humans, the built environment and the objects we live with interest me, serving as the primary source material for my work. I formulate calculated assessments of my environment and through a material focused practice, create objects and environments that make physical and conceptual connections between art, architecture, design and sound.
My work is related to an interest in materiality. Through the process of examining objects, materials and their intended use, I find ways of creating new meaning and subverting function. Translation is an appropriate term that can be used to describe the way I approach projects on a formal basis. I imagine novel ways to manipulate and re-situate material to create alternate narratives. Metaphorically, the physical and contextual shifts in my work relate to an interest in examining the way we experience culture, objects and physical environments.
NICK PEÑA is a Memphis-based visual artist and educator with an extensive exhibition record and numerous honors and publications, including two New American Paintings features. He earned a BFA from the School of Art and Design at Southern Illinois University–Carbondale, his MFA from the University of Missouri–Columbia, and studied abroad at the Hospitalfield House, Art Centre Arbroath, Scotland. Peña’s work has been showcased in gallery and museum exhibitions in Memphis, Nashville, New York, Savannah, Seattle, Santa Fe, and Tulsa. He’s participated as an artist-in-residence at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, Crosstown Arts, and North Louisiana Virtual Residency —The Ross Lynn Charitable Foundation in partnership with North Central Louisiana Arts Council.
Peña is currently Department Chair/Associate Professor of Art at Christian Brothers University and the co-founder/owner of Wonder / Cowork / Create, a co-working space for creative thinkers.
My interests are in the contemporary American landscape, the American Dream, and the effects that ideal has on both our environment and our national psyche. The idealistic pursuit of happiness and the relevance of painting in a technologically driven world informs my practice. With each composition, the labor begins with digital composites of a fragmented American landscape in peril — where the tension lies in the contrasts between past and present, analog and digital, representation and abstraction, and stability and instability.
MELINDA ECKLEY POSEY is an artist and designer based in West Tennessee. Posey’s installation work is influenced by language, history, and common in the gallery space. As a designer, her work has been featured by clients on national and international stages. Posey received her MFA from Memphis College of Art in 2008. She is the Associate Professor of Graphic Design at Christian Brothers University.
My installation practice utilizes the gallery space for the purpose of unraveling ideas concerning the common object/language and its historical connotations. The reintroduction of the ordinary into a “glorified space” invites a viewer to follow the connections made by the objects in their remaking and construct new associations fostered in that space.
JANA BROUSSARD TRAVIS is a visual artist and professor at Christian Brothers University. She founded the Visual Arts Department and served as its Chair for 17 years until 2021 and continues her tenure as a Professor of Art. Inspired by nature, her paintings hint at both naturalistic and architectural forms using a multi-layered approach to construct a connection between nature and memory. Travis’ current work grew from a conscious decision to seek a more fluid and organic path to her process. By first setting up compositional constraints through a process of mixed media, she then relinquishes control to these imperfections, thus creating a catalyst for a more reactive and engaging composition. Research and observations are derived from the seasonal changes in color and species found in botanical gardens, rural countrysides, and urban landscapes. Just as the seasons change, her color palette changes to reimagine the ephemeral qualities of time and place.
MATTHEW THOMAS is a painter and filmmaker based in Memphis. After completing his BFA illustration and MA in Digital Arts from the Maryland Institute, College of Art, he held residency at Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and received grants from NYFA and the Jerome Foundation. His 2003 graduate thesis film, That Day, was screened and awarded by several film festivals including Starz Independent Film Festival, Canon Creators 2003, Redbull Independents, Sundance Film Festival, and received U.S. distribution through Film Movement. After dual internships with Ridley Scott and Elevation Filmworks in New York, he worked on film, television and commercial productions creating storyboards, motion graphics, promotional art for HBO, several music videos, and Dior’s J’Adore. He would also create promotional materials for exhibitions at the Guggenheim Museum, MOMA, and the Studio Museum in Harlem. His licensed images have been featured on HBO, FOX Network, and Aspire Television for Friday Night Fights, Empire, and The Exorcist. Matthew’s most recent illustrated novel “Love, Sex and Drunk Texts, which treks the coming-of-age traumas of personal and interpersonal relationships, was recognized by Huffington Post in 2012, featured in exhibitions throughout the country and was awarded a grant by the Tennessee Arts Commission in 2013. His commercial licensing clients include Hilton Hotels, Stanford Hotels, Park Terrace Hotel in NYC, The Ballantyne Hotel, Club Quarters and Zom Living. Matthew is currently producing his latest illustrated book, set for release in Spring 2020.