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Smith Gallery Presents ‘Suggestive Structures’ at ASU

Aug. 28, 2014. The Smith Gallery at Appalachian State University presents “Suggestive Structures,” a new exhibition of works by Angela Piehl and Mark Cowardin.

“Suggestive Structures” will be on view Sept. 8 through Oct. 24. The artists will be on campus Sept. 2-5 interacting with students and working on a collaborative project with 32 art students that will be included in the exhibition. Piehl and Cowardin will also give a lecture Sept. 3 at 6:30 p.m. at Belk Library and Information Commons Room 114.

suggestive_structures_piehlAn opening reception will be held Sept. 5 from 5-6:30 p.m. at the gallery. The public is invited to attend.

“Suggestive Structures” is curated by Smith Gallery director Jody Servon, an associate professor in the Department of Art.

The exhibit includes a selection of Piehl’s drawings and sculptures by Cowardin. The artists delve into similar conceptual territory, yet approach their respective content differently in form and technique. They alter, connect and reimagine the seemingly oppositional elements of natural and constructed materials. Their works raise questions about our surroundings and probe at our complex identities within our environment.

When paired together, Piehl and Cowardin’s works provide commentary on how we exist in contemporary society.

Piehl’s drawings focus on internal structures, both organic and synthetic, and human’s disconnection from nature. Cowardin’s sculptures deal with external, architectural and structural relationships as they coexist and collide with nature.

Piehl’s black and white drawings critique tensions present in particular expressions of femininity, while Cowardin’s ebonized wood and mixed media sculptures fetishize and situate masculine forms. Piehl abstracts and combines alaborately decorative elements with organiz material like flesh, hair, tentacles, eggs, fat, bone, muscle, crystalline structures and wood. Using highly refined finishes and found objects, Cowardin’s works present a whimsical and ironic look at relationships to nature, domesticity and the constructed world.

One wall of the exhibition will feature a collaborative project created by painting and sculpture students under the direction of Peihl and Cowardin.

Mark Cowardin was born and raised in the Midwest. His sculptural work examines the complicated, and sometimes troubling, intersections between humans and the natural world.

His works present complex and layered narratives that are often tinged with yearning for a connection to the past and a hope for the future.

Cowardin received an MFA in sculpture from the University of Arizona and a BFA from the University of Kansas. He is an associate professor of art at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas. His work is included in numerous private and public collections including the John Michael Kohler Art Center, Kohler Corporation, the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art and Rockhurst University.

Angela Piehl was born and raised in Tomball, Texas. Her work addresses luxury, accumulation and alienation from nature. Piehl confronts these topics from a gendered/gender-queer perspective, and her images create allegorical and narrative allusions to decadent femininity, loneliness and opulent decay.

Piehl received an MFA in painting from the University of Arizona and a BFA from the University of Texas in Austin. She has exhibited widely throughout the U.S. and has participated in artist residencies including Vermont Studio Center, Jentel in Wyoming and Chashama in New York City.

She is an associate professor of painting, drawing and digital art at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Smith Gallery is located in the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts at 733 Rivers St. in Boone. Admission is free for all events and programs. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and during special events.

For more information, call 828-262-7338 or visit www.art.appstate.edu/cjs. Gallery information also is available at www.facebook.com/smithgalleryappstate.