Life/Work: CBU Faculty Exhibition
AUGUST 14 – SEPTEMBER 26, 2020
This exhibition highlights the work of full-time and adjunct professors in the Department of Visual and Performing Arts at Christian Brothers University, featuring work by Jana B. Travis, Nick Peña, Alan Caballero LaZare, Scott A. Carter, Christine Ruby, and Kelly Cook Harmon. 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.
Jana Broussard Travis
Jana Broussard Travis holds an MFA in Fine Arts from the University of Memphis. She is the Chairman of the Visual and Performing Arts Department at Christian Brothers University where she created the BFA degree in the Visual Arts and has taught for the past 17 years. Prior to her tenure at CBU she lived with her husband and two daughters in Guadalajara, Mexico for three years. It was in Mexico where she first observed nature in its most lush and untamed formed and began to use it as a catalyst for her work. More recent influences have been the Japanese designs and garden prints of the 18th century. She seeks a fluid and organic path to her work hinting at both naturalistic and architectural forms through a multi layered painterly approach. Her lively and colorful paintings can be found in corporate and private collections throughout the United States and abroad.
Nick Peña is a Memphis-based visual artist and educator with an extensive exhibition record and numerous honors and publications, including two features in New American Paintings. 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 has studied abroad at the Hospitalfield House, Art Centre in Arbroath, Scotland. Known for creating paintings and installations that question the ever-changing psychological landscape of America. Peña’s works deconstruct the notion of the American home as a symbol of stability by juxtaposing our collective hopes and dreams within a fragmented and shifting landscape. Nick is currently an Associate Professor of Art at Christian Brothers University and the co-founder/owner of Wonder/Cowork/Create, a coworking space for creative thinkers.
Alan Caballero LaZare
Alan Caballero LaZare is a Colombian American, multidisciplinary, graphic designer, and artist. As a student at Pratt Institute, he began his design career as an intern with the legendary architect and designer, Michael Graves. After graduating from Pratt, he was hired as a full-time graphic designer at Michael Graves and worked under Donald Strum, the Principal of Product Design. As a designer at MG he created branding and packaging for the Michael Graves / Drive Medical partnership, packaging for Michael Graves-branded Target products, branding for Chef Charlie Trotter’s concept restaurant Sea, and the global rebrand of Wyndham Hotels. In 2008, Alan was accepted into the Rutgers University MFA program and was awarded a teaching fellowship and full scholarship. His research and work focused on the complexities of racism, segregation, and our inclination as human beings to want to divide, separate, label, and control one another. His performance TOW addressed some of these issues and was performed at White Box in NYC. In addition to teaching, Alan has an active freelance practice and has worked with the Speyer Legacy School in Manhattan, Sheldon Wiley – the World’s Fastest Bartender, and Foundation — an underground house party in NYC hosted by Vivacious from Ru Paul’s Drag Race. He is currently working on album artwork for Uncall, a rising Ukranian hip-hop artist.
Scott Carter 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) and the first-place recipient of the Beers Contemporary Emerging Artist Award in Sculpture (2013). Scott was recently included in the publication 100 Sculptors of Tomorrow, authored by Kurt Beers and published by Thames and Hudson. 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.
Christine Ruby is an artist and educator living and working in Memphis, TN. She earned a BA in Visual Art from Loyola University New Orleans, and an MFA in Ceramics from the University of Memphis. In addition to teaching Ceramics and Art History at Christian Brothers University, she serves as an adult and senior outreach art instructor for the Dixon Gallery and Gardens. Ruby’s work focuses on the symbiotic relationship between form and its environment. Working in many different media, she explores the constructs of interior and exterior, positive and negative, shadow and light, and the communication that passes through these spaces.
Kelly Cook Harmon
Kelly Cook Harmon is a visual artist and adjunct instructor based in Memphis, TN. She received her BFA from Memphis College of Art in 2015 and her MFA from the University of Memphis in 2018. Her work has been exhibited in Tennessee, Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, and Colorado. In Kelly’s work, the unforgiving nature and transparency of watercolor is synonymous to the human experience. Using figures from her daily life, multiple bodies are layered on top of one another to reflect motion and memory. She currently teaches for both Christian Brothers University and the University of Memphis.