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Looking Glass Gallery at Appalachian State Presents Nourish and Enrich: The Importance of Communal Meals

May 2, 2012. The Looking Glass Gallery presents Nourish and Enrich: The Importance of Communal Meals, a BFA senior studio exhibition by Meagan O’Connor. The exhibition will be on view from April 30 – May 11, 2012 in the Plemmons Student Union Looking Glass Gallery at Appalachian State University, and is happening in correspondence with the BFA Senior Studio Exhibition: Spring 2012 at the Catherine J. Smith Gallery in Boone, NC. A closing reception will be held on Friday, May 11 from 7 p.m. – 8 p.m. in the gallery, immediately following a corresponding reception at the Catherine J. Smith Gallery from 5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m. These events are free and open to the public. 

Many people view the action of eating as a necessity to nourish and enrich our bodies, but we often overlook the fact that sitting down to a meal is a routine that can equally nourish and enrich the soul. Meagan O’Connor embraces this everyday experience and enhances it by sharing meals with her closest friends. A weekly potluck she started last year slowly evolved into a phenomenon where food and friends connected on a communal level that can only be experienced by passing the plate. 

Dianna Loughlin, curator of the Looking Glass Gallery, feels humbled to have observed these events each week. “Walking around the gallery, viewing Meagan’s work and hearing our conversations over the speakers… hearing my friends laugh, sing, and even break things once in a while,” she explains, “I’m placed back within each of those gatherings that we had together, with some of the dearest friends I’ll ever meet. Many of us are moving on in different directions, but every meal I experience from now on will reflect what we had here. It was a group effort, sure, but Meagan acted as the flame that brought this to life, to my life and all our lives. I’ll never forget it.”

Works on display in Nourish and Enrich: The Importance of Communal Meals are based on these weekly get-togethers, but as personal as they may be, Meagan’s installation offers an open chair, so to speak, for the gallery’s latest passerby. She states, “[The work] is meant to show the personal significance of these communal gatherings and provoke others to appreciate these relationships within their own lives.”

Employing a background in ceramics, Meagan has thrown, worked, glazed, and fired each of the dishes on view in the gallery, a select grouping that accompanies a set of over one hundred handmade pots, plates, bowls, cups, pitchers, and vases. The gallery is proud to host such an impressive collection through an exhibit that encompasses the interrelations between traditional craft and fine art, and even further gratified by the welcoming presence Meagan has created and will be sharing with all who visit the space.

About the Artist

Meagan O’Connor was born into a creative family. Her father built model airplanes, rockets, and constructed stained glass windows as some of his various hobbies; her aunt dabbled in drawing and photography; her grandmother wins the award for “all-around superhero” for her skills in knitting, canning, gardening, and cheese-making. It was no surprise when Meagan’s childhood love of making mud pies turned into a passion that she would pursue at a professional level. Meagan’s dedication to clay landed her the award for Student’s Choice in the 2011 Art Expo Student Exhibition in Catherine J. Smith Gallery. Influenced by her friends, family, and food, Meagan creates functional ceramic work for the purpose of dining, sharing, and being enriched. She will graduate from Appalachian State University with her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in May of 2012, at which time she will move on to her next great adventure.

The Looking Glass Gallery is located on the first floor of the Plemmons Student Union at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. – 10 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. – 10 p.m., and Sunday from 12 p.m. – 10 p.m. Gallery admission is free. For more information, visit LookingGlassGallery.appstate.edu.