“The Self Outside” A MFA Thesis Exhibit

March 3, 2021

March 1 – 11, 2021

Lee Gallery, Clemson University

Virtual Artist Presentations – Monday, March 8, 5:30 p.m. Contact to reserve your spot for this virtual presentation.

The Rudolph E. Lee Gallery at Clemson University, Clemson, SC presents The Self Outside, an MFA Thesis Exhibition showcasing drawings by Lori Brook Johnson and sculptures by Ashley Felder. The exhibit runs from March 1 through March 11. When shown together, these two artists’ work presents an existential lens through which the space within and without the self may be observed.

MFA Candidate, Lori Brook Johnson ’21

Lori Brook Johnson, was born in West Virginia and received her Bachelor’s of Arts from the University of North Carolina, Asheville. Her drawings place together moving parts of the past through layers of watercolor, graphite, charcoal, and pastel mediums. Often beginning with an archaeological type dig through digital collections, the references for Johnson’s work – anything from a painting to a novel or a stranger’s home movie from the 1960s – emerge the figures desire to share their stories. She spends time with the individuals in the archives she finds, pausing to ponder and look with a desire to resurrect, celebrate, and introduce audiences to the experiences of people who we otherwise would never meet.

Johnson’s drawings ask you to spend time with the figures. Coming from a research-oriented artist’s perspective, these drawings ponder our commitments to the past and stories that make us human. In one of her larger drawings, The Breaker Boys, the viewer must pause and spend a moment looking at the many faces of the young coal-mining workers who match your gaze. She pays close attention to fabric and clothing, as well as subtle tone changes in the faces of her figures. The artist states, “the goal for the drawings is to question in all the lives that had to be lived if the drawings can resurrect a touch and continue one that may never have existed.”

MFA Candidate, Ashley Felder ’21

Sculptor Ashley Felder received her BFA from Winthrop University. Her work is an immediate response to the beauty of nature, the draw to be immersed in it, and her desire to understand something about it.

Felder invites the viewer to join her in meditating on the effects of time and the subtle metamorphosis of our landscape and natural environment. She investigates identity by utilizing the traditionally feminine craft of quilting, stitching, and crocheting using fibers treated with alternative photography methods. Felder states that she “searches for the self with subtle imagery through a use of natural dyes made from harvested materials, stitching together leaves and other natural materials, using photography to capture ephemeral earthworks.”

Both Johnson and Felder are process oriented artists with a desire to better understand their place within our cyclical surroundings. The artists both depict interest in elevating quiet moments with individuals and nature to capture traditionally ephemeral moments. We invite the viewers to join in stepping in to ponder these transitory experiences. By Kat Eaves, BFA Printmaking Senior.

Lee Gallery remains committed to providing quality exhibitions while addressing the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Following Clemson University guidelines, the Lee Gallery is currently closed to the general public. However, the Gallery is open for visits by students, faculty, and staff of Clemson University. Images from the exhibition can be viewed by accessing the Clemson Visual Arts Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Article by BFA student, Kat Eaves ’21

About the Art Galleries at Clemson University

Campus galleries and showcase spaces include Lee Gallery in Lee Hall, the Acorn Gallery in Lee Hall II, College of Architecture Arts and Humanities Dean’s Gallery in Strode Tower, the lobby showcase at Brooks Center for Performing Arts, and in Sikes Hall on the ground floor.

The Rudolph E. Lee Gallery showcases regional, national, and international artists exploring a broad range of ideas, materials, and creative processes. In partnership with academic programs and university initiatives, the Lee Gallery develops exhibitions that examine contemporary issues and prompt discourse.