Smith Gallery presents Suggestive Structures
The Smith Gallery at Appalachian State University, located in the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts, presents Suggestive Structures, a new exhibition of works by Angela Piehl and Mark Cowardin. Suggestive Structures will be on view from September 8 through October 24, 2014. The artists will be on campus from September 2 through 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 on September 3 at 6:30 pm at Belk Library and Information Commons. Suggestive Structures is curated by Smith Gallery Director Jody Servon, an associate professor in the Department of Art.
Suggestive Structures includes a selection of Angela Piehl’s drawings along with sculptures by Mark Cowardin. Cowardin and Piehl delve into similar conceptual territory, yet approach their respective content differently in form and technique. Cowardin and Piehl alter, connect, and re-imagine the seemingly oppositional elements of the natural and the constructed. Their works raise questions about our surroundings and probe at our complex identities within our environment. When paired together, Piehl and Cowardin’s work provide commentary on how we, as gendered beings, exist in contemporary society.
Piehl's drawings focus on internal structures, both organic and the synthetic, and our 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 elaborately decorative elements with organic 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 our relationship 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.
About Mark Cowardin
Mark Cowardin was born and raised in the Midwest. Cowardin’s 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 currently an Associate Professor of Art at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas and also a father, a husband, and an artist. His studio practice consists of an essential and delicate balance of these four jobs. Cowardin currently resides with his family in Lawrence, 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.
About Angela Piehl
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. Piehl 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.