A group of Art + Design alumni return to where it all began, with recent works showing how far they have come. Contemporaries, a first-of-its-kind exhibition at Carolla Arts Exhibition Center, features the artwork of Madeline Brice, Zoe Hawk, Cortney Metzger, and Dryden Wells. The exhibition is on view now through February 17 and will be open for First Friday Art Walk February 3 from 6-9 p.m.
Contemporaries represents a range of media including ceramics, video, performance, fibers, and painting. The individual themes and mediums come together through the central idea that each of these artists are contemporary, defined as a person or thing living, existing, or making at the same time as another. “At the end of the day, we are all living and making something in this world right now, which makes us all contemporaries as our lives intersect here in Springfield, Missouri and at Missouri State University,” Director of Exhibitions Jodi McCoy explains.
Beyond their shared title as contemporaries, there are other similarities to be found in the works of this exhibition. Thoughts of self and identity come through in the work of Madeline Brice, Zoe Hawk, and Cortney Metzger. Madeline Brice (BFA in Art–Painting, 2015) explores an altered state of self brought about by one’s own perception of reality through her paintings. Zoe Hawk (BFA in Studio Art–Painting, 2005) uses the details of her paintings to act as metaphors for the varying emotions related to girlhood, feminine identity, and the relatable coming-of-age experiences involved in becoming a young woman. The combination of performance, clay, and textile work by Cortney Metzger (BFA in Art–Ceramics, 2016) acts as a way to reconnect to ancestors and reclaim her Osage heritage.
“Dryden Wells and Cortney Metzger also share some nice parallels through their use of clay and exploration of heritage,” Jodi adds. Dryden Wells (BS in Art Education and BFA in Art–Ceramics, 2004) works in the process of reassembly by cutting, pinching, and stretching clay used for his ceramic works to place emphasis on volume, pattern, and form.
For the alumni involved, returning to their alma mater also brings about a sense of connection to their past as students, and an appreciation for the work of their peers. For Zoe Hawk, a return to the Art + Design Department is a reminder of her artistic roots, “Although my work has changed based on my experiences over the years, threads of my current paintings can be traced back to my training and subsequent thesis show at Missouri State.”
Dryden Wells adds, “I continue to be inspired by so many of my peers who graduated from the Missouri State program and continue to grow as professionals and studio practitioners. To be a representative of the Missouri State program and its alumni is truly humbling. Also, the Robert & Margaret Carolla Arts Exhibition Center is absolutely beautiful. It is really wonderful to be able to show in such a gorgeous space.”
Carolla Arts Exhibition Center is located at 326 N. Boonville Ave, Springfield, Missouri. Gallery hours are Monday–Friday 11 a.m.–6 p.m. Call 417-837-2330 for additional details.
Taylor Ladd is a graduate assistant for the Department of Art + Design. She is working towards her master’s degree in writing at Missouri State University with professional interests in writing about art, culture, and food.