Four Charlotte Area Artists Receive NC Arts Council Artist Fellowship Awards

Raleigh, N.C. (October 12, 2016) — Andrea Vail, John W. Love, Jr., Stephanie J. Woods, and Thomas Schmidt all of the Charlotte area, have a received a North Carolina Arts Council Artist Fellowship Award in the category of visual art or craft.

The artists are among 17 from across the state to receive the 2016 – 2017 North Carolina Arts Council Artist Fellowship Award. Artists receive a fellowship to support creative development and the creation of new work. Recipients were selected by panels comprised of artists and arts professionals with expertise in each discipline.

The N.C. Arts Council’s Artist Fellowship program operates on a two-year rotating cycle by discipline. Songwriters, Composers, and Writers are eligible to apply for the Tuesday, November 1, 2016 deadline.

About Andrea Vail (Visual art)

Andrea Vail has a conflicted relationship with junk. On the one hand, she recognizes its shallow allure and its capacity to proliferate, swamping our best intentions and our lives. On the other hand, she admits, “I’m at odds with how I can’t get enough of it and the overwhelming accumulative space it fills. Things seduce and repel.”

Her artmaking thrives on this tension. She haunts second-hand shops looking for cast-off materials, eager to explore both the artifice and cultural messages they carry with them. Drawn to mass-produced home goods from the last century, now stylistically obsolete by contemporary standards, she incorporates them into sculptures and installations to tell their stories in new ways.

She also exploits these objects’ strange fascination through community events, encouraging participants to contribute their own attic discards to a public art project, and kindling human connections through the recognition of their shared attachments to these cultural artifacts.

Vail is an M.F.A. graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University and was awarded a Goodyear Arts residency in 2016. She has exhibited at form & concept (New Mexico), Sediment Gallery (Va.), and LIGHT Art & Design (N.C.), among others. She teaches at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Visit her website at http://andreavail.com

About John W. Love, Jr. (Visual art)

“There is a place for the mercurial, irreverent, poignant, hilarious, and devastating beauty that comes with this thing called my existence. There must be.” With this declaration, we are invited to enter John W. Love, Jr.’s extraordinary world.

As described by Lynn Trenning, “Love is an observer, a chronicler, a wordsmith, and a believer in process.” His work evolves from his awareness of his surroundings and his responses to it.

“It can be a sight, a sound, a vision, something that sparks something; it can be a feeling” Love says. His work emerges through unforgettable characters like The Perpetually Pregnant Man, elaborate costuming that includes black feather kimonos and inline skates, and unusual materials, such as salt, string, and alum crystals that grow to adorn his sculptures and installations. Love’s primary medium is performance and it is his compelling presence and the way he inhabits his characters that make his work memorable.

Love has had many exhibitions and performances, including at the Davidson College Galleries, Mint Museum of Art, and Winthrop University Art Department. He has had residencies at the McColl Center for Art + Innovation and the Anchorage Museum. He received a B.F.A from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. https://www.facebook.com/johnwlovejr

About Stephanie J. Woods (Visual art)

Charlotte resident Stephanie J. Woods is interested in the borderlines between public and private space. Looking at the ways in which we adorn and cover our bodies, what we choose to present and what we choose to hide, she explores both how others see us, and how we see ourselves. She asks, “What are the ways we mask and transform our identities before entering the world each day?”

To describe them, she employs various media as needed, using photography, sculpture, film, collage, and installation interchangeably. Though her work is rooted in African American culture, the questions she asks are universal, urging us to consider how we accept and enforce gender roles, racial signifiers, and beauty standards as social norms.

“My artwork is dictated by my environment. It conforms to the space I am working in and the materials I am able to find or purchase around me.” In her hands though discarded objects, and everyday items like styling gel, beauty magazines, synthetic hair weave, and makeup, are transformed into powerful examinations of race, culture, gender, and identity.

Woods is a 2015 M.F.A. graduate of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She received a Regional Artist Project Grant and a three-week residency to Ox-Bow School of Art and Artists’ Residency in 2016. She has exhibited her work in both North Carolina and New York, including the Womble Carlyle Gallery in Winston-Salem, the Fields Projects Gallery in Manhattan, and the Southfirst Gallery in Brooklyn. To learn more about her work visit www.stephaniejolisawoods.com.

About Thomas Schmidt (Craft)

“I am fascinated by the history of ceramics as a representation of the handmade and how the use of digital methods might challenge this preconception.” With this elegantly simple statement, Charlotte artist Thomas Schmidt summarizes his creative project.

His work both pays homage to traditional methodologies and iconographies and subverts them by introducing technical approaches that distance making from the work of the hand.

Using methods such as mold-making, scanning, and photography, he captures what he calls “material moments” which he then prints, casts, layers, and distorts. The result are objects that carry and obscure the strata of decisions and manipulations that created them, the hidden stories of their production. He sees the tension in his work between the handmade and computer-aided design as part of a larger societal negotiation of boundaries in a world where the dividing lines of the virtual and the real are increasingly blurred.

Schmidt has exhibited at numerous venues in the United States, Europe, and Asia with works in such public collections as Museo Internazionale della Ceramiche in Faenza, Italy; the Daum Museum of Contemporary Art in Sedalia, Mo.; and the Alfred Ceramic Art Museum in Alfred, N.Y. A studio assistant of renowned ceramic sculptor Ruth Duckworth for three years, he received an M.F.A. from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred. He is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Art and Art History at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. To learn more about his work visit www.thomasschmidt.org.

For more information on the North Carolina Arts Council’s Artist Fellowship program visit www.NCArts.org.

About The North Carolina Arts Council

North Carolina has long been recognized for rich traditions in crafts, literature, historical drama, and music. Since 1964, the N.C. Arts Council has worked to strengthen North Carolina’s creativity, invention, and prosperity through its four core functions: creating a strong and efficient arts infrastructure across North Carolina; planning and implementing economic development initiatives; educating our young people; and researching the impact of the arts on our state. NCArts.org

About the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources 

The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR) is the state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state’s natural and cultural resources to build the social, cultural, educational and economic future of North Carolina. Led by Secretary Susan Kluttz, NCDNCR's mission is to improve the quality of life in our state by creating opportunities to experience excellence in the arts, history, libraries and nature in North Carolina by stimulating learning, inspiring creativity, preserving the state’s history, conserving the state’s natural heritage, encouraging recreation and cultural tourism, and promoting economic development.

NCDNCR includes 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, two science museums, three aquariums and Jennette’s Pier, 39 state parks and recreation areas, the N.C. Zoo, the nation's first state-supported Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the State Archives, the N.C. Arts Council, the State Preservation Office and the Office of State Archaeology, along with the Clean Water Management Trust Fund and the Natural Heritage Program. For more information, please call (919) 807-7300 or visit www.ncdcr.gov