The Floyd Center for the Arts is pleased to welcome three new exhibits to the Center, February 12, 2022 to April 2, 2022. The Emerging Artists Exhibition, joins us in the Hayloft Gallery, Structure and Entropy by Ceramic and Mixed Media artist is in the Falcon Gallery, and the New River Valley Montessori Student Exhibition is in the Breezeway.
This year emerging artists in our region display their work in our Ninth Annual Emerging Artists Exhibit. Every year the Center invites regional university art instructors to recommend current and former students who are either just starting along their artistic paths, or who are somehow changing their artistic journey in a significant way.
Get to Know this Year's Emerging Artists
Alexys Rivers (b. 1997) is an artist born and based in Northern Virginia. She graduated May 2020 from Virginia Tech’s School of Visual Arts, receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts concentrated in Studio Art. Alexys’ practice is primarily concentrated in painting, drawing, and photography, often using the mediums to serve one another. From a young age, Alexys took to drawing as a way of documentation, replication, and imagination. Since attempting to recreate cartoon characters and toys as a kid, she has continuously explored the satisfactory creation of imagery. Public school art classes became essential and a place of fostering her artistic instincts. DC and Virginia museums with work of old masters to Kehinde Wiley and county art shows fueled her desire to skillfully and stylistically depict her own visions. With guiding teachers, artist idols, and family encouragement, she continues to mold as the artist rooted at her childhood. Alexys aims to emerge into and expand upon the art world through continuing practice, studies, and professional work. She has worked in gallery settings, interning at Target Gallery of Alexandria, VA’s Torpedo Art Center and recently attended a Summer Undergraduate Residency at the New York Academy of Art. She most recently interned as a Digital Marketing assistant with Arlington’s National Landing BID. She also earned a Bachelor of Arts in English concentrated in Creative Writing.
“As an artist and a miniaturist, I create 1:12th scale miniature scenes and dioramas that challenge the idea of the “traditional” dollhouse. I draw inspiration from my personal experiences with mental health, my childhood, and my environment. Using visual storytelling, I transform my memories into sculptural viewfinders. From a tiny piece of crumpled trash to a microscopic cigarette in an ashtray, I engage the viewer with minuscule details of unoccupied spaces that form a complex narrative. The focus of my work has always been my fascination with the accumulation of objects. As humans, we have a natural urge to collect items that hold meaning to us. I build miniatures of places in time that have special significance in my life. My miniatures explore themes of loneliness, emptiness, and realism framed in a small, curated snapshot. When taking photos of my work, I like to include my hand for scale and to remind the viewer that all is not what it seems. Amanda is currently a Graduate Teaching Assistant and is pursuing her Master’s in Fine Arts with a focus on Sculpture at Radford University. She has built miniatures for various clients including Coca-Cola, Disney, and Dreamworks. Her work has been featured in art galleries and museums including The Museum of Museums in Seattle, Blackbird Gallery in New York, and the Greenpoint Gallery in Brooklyn. In 2020, she was a finalist on the HGTV show Biggest Little Christmas Showdown. Originally from New York, Amanda now lives in Roanoke, VA with her fiancée and 3 cats.”
“I first came to clay while digging in the bottle dump with my father and brother behind our old farmhouse in rural Maine. While they uncovered shards of blue glass bubbling to the surface, I was struck by this land that molded to my touch. The time I spent digging through dirt to find clay fragments showed me both the life and death of the objects we use in one instant. The elemental qualities of clay allow me to feel I am touching both the past and the present. I am currently exploring my emergence into womanhood through the language, form, and surface of clay. The functional forms I have been developing are a physical manifestation of my questioning my identity; Delicate or strong? Light or sturdy? Unsteady or balanced? I consider the metaphors of inside vs. outside as well as personal vs. public, while using the symbols of my childhood home in the subtle, muted, and layered surfaces of my work. I invite the touch and trust of the user by attending to the entirety of the form. The floral patterns surrounding the exterior of the form are reminiscent of the wallpaper that peeled from my bedroom walls. This imagery represents intimacy, innocence, and the interior. By carving these designs on the exterior of a form, the user is able to witness and interact with the shapes and visuals that shaped me. Each object has an ability to enter and influence our days, to become familiar, and to accrue layers of meaning with each use. In designing objects with my fingertips, hands, and body I find a kinship to my ancestors, to others, to home, and to myself.”
“I am an artist living and working in Virginia’s New River Valley. I primarily paint and draw landscapes and portraits, with an emphasis on trees and leaves. I use a bold color palette in an impressionist style. I am currently employed with Radford University, where I also live with my family.”
“Hi! I’m Clara Granger, I am currently enrolled at New River Community College, where I am working towards my art certificate. My goal is to transfer to a university to study creative technologies. Art and science are two important areas of my life, so they often coincide. This can be seen in my photography work, which I use to express my personal perspective towards nature. I love the outdoors and can often be found on a mountain hiking, by the ocean relaxing, or sitting by a pond enjoying the wildlife. I like to photograph these moments because they help me remember happy times. I have a bubbly personality which can also be seen in my art through bright colors, fun characters, or my variety of mediums. I enjoy using a variety of traditional and digital mediums. Discovering which medium is the best fit for each piece is one of my favorite parts of the creative process. Art has given me an outlet to visually communicate my perspective, and I am so grateful for the memories it has helped me to create!”
“I am a North Carolina native that grew up on my family’s farm in Efland NC. I graduated with a degree in Studio Art at University of North Carolina at Wilmington and a minor in Art History in 2012. My love of clay evolved from taking ceramics courses during college. After graduating I worked as a floral designer in Wilmington, NC, where I worked for a busy wedding florist from 2012 to 2017. To follow my passion for clay, I began taking classes at a local community arts center, Orange St. Pottery in Wilmington, NC and also joined the Coastal Carolina Clay Guild. I decided I wanted to pursue my passion further and did a year long wood firing ceramics residency at Cub Creek Foundation under Director John Jessiman, in Appomattox,Va. during 2018. My time there was a catalyst for a deepened appreciation of pottery and furthering my exploration in clay. In 2019, I participated in the working artist program at Longwood University in Farmville, Va. I was a studio assistant at a small craft school, Sugar Maples, in Maplecrest, NY for the summer of 2019. From the fall of 2019 to fall of 2021 I apprenticed for potter Silvie Granatelli in Floyd, VA. I recently moved into a studio space in the Floyd Center for the Arts to pursue my craft.”
Emilie Apel is a self-taught artist who enjoys exploring complex themes regarding the nature of human consciousness. She is a multi-media artist, working in a variety of mediums such as photography, painting, drawing, and digital art. She has had a consistent practice since 2019 but started to become more serious and passionate in 2021. Needless to say, she is very new to her practice; however, she has been creating and making things since she was little and gravitated towards photography in her teenage years. The focus of her practice is not centered around technical skills, but more so focused on the message the work sends to her audience. Every work she puts out is meant to challenge some way of thinking or change perceptions, but above all her work examines higher levels of consciousness. Her work is inviting you to ask questions and explore new thoughts. Her practice is very spontaneous, with most ideas coming to her as she is creating the piece. Working this way allows for more space, more creativity, more experimenting, and less constriction. Aside from creating, she enjoys reading, hiking, and listening to live music. She is grateful to have gained some formal training through Virginia Tech’s School of Visual Arts. In the future, she is considering applying to MFA programs, but enjoys the freedom and exploration that comes from teaching herself as she practices. With or without an MFA she will continue to develop her practice for many years to come.
Grace Lamberth was born in Giles in 2002. She is currently a student at New River Community College. In the future, she has plans to major in counseling and minor in art. She realized her passion for art in elementary school and has been drawing ever since. She has worked with different mediums including graphite, colored pencils, pastels, acrylic paint, and digital art with the use of an iPad. She has an interest in creating art involving people and fictional characters. She wishes to keep improving her art and wants to continue doing art in the future, hoping to make a side business where she sells her art online.
“The main inspirations for my art are literature, nature, culture, and history (particularly Egyptian.) Until recently, I grew up overseas in the North African region living in Sudan, Egypt, and Ethiopia for the first eighteen years of my life. My American father and mother work for NGO’s and I want my art to reflect the culture I grew up in. I enjoy working in a variety of mediums and I feel that all comes back to the same basic theme: nostalgia for countries of my childhood, a place I hope to come back to one day. Nostalgia for the people, the breathtaking surroundings, animals, and childhood memories. I have only lived in the US for about a year and a half, and I see nostalgia creeping into my work. These feelings take form in images of flora, fauna, landscapes, written work, and portraits. Some of the imagery I use are stories from books. I love to recreate the story using a variety of mediums. For a while I focused strictly on painting and drawing, as these were the mediums I was originally introduced to, consequentially making them a very comfortable medium, but I have gradually learned to enjoy working with other mediums such as printmaking and ceramics. I want to express the full range of emotions I have felt moving to the states as well as my love for the places of my childhood “
“As a child, I felt a great deal of comfort by diving into art and entomology- the study of insects. I would seek solace in the wonders of the outdoors looking low to the ground, on flat surfaces, and on or around many species of plants in search of insects and other curiosities. As a very observant child, I would note the texture, form, contrast, and colors of all there was to discover out there. This desire to observe nature sprung from the immense comfort I took in the study of insects as well as a strong need to understand and connect with the world around me. As I developed as an artist and continued to observe nature and things of interest to me, I realized that I was actually a heavily visual thinker. As time went on, I discovered that my brain and thought process worked differently from others around me. I was first introduced to sewing and embroidery by my Granny when I was young. She expressed how important it was to make sure the stitching was clean and well thought out. I remember her describing how, when you turn around your embroidery work, the stitches on the back should never overlap, and you should remain consistent in working from the left to the right always keeping this in mind. This left a long-lasting impression on me. I was able to pre-plan all of my artistic steps due to my highly visual thinking process and this influence. This shaped me as an artist and influenced my now meticulous and detail-oriented artwork. I work in a way that is fluid and in tune with my intuition in order to guide me in the creation of my fine-craft work. This accounts for my transmedia approach to my pieces. The subject of my pieces is the technique itself, as well as various elements of nature that are often manipulated to have a more whimsical appearance. I encourage my viewers to focus on the technique, details, colors, textures, and contrasts, much like I do when observing my subjects throughout the creative process. If it were safe, I would encourage touching my pieces because, to me, the sensory experience of interacting with my work is one of the most important qualities, especially as an autistic individual who uses textural stims as a way to calm and center myself as well as to focus. I encourage looking at my pieces and imagining what it would feel like to be able to touch certain parts, such as the beading, the embroidery, the various fabrics, or even the ridges of the detail of the wood burns. I believe that my artwork is a direct extension of myself and my mind. My work is crafted with meticulous care, focus, and mental visualization. I hope that by viewing my work, having all this in mind, you leave with a different perspective of something that is very personal to me and that you were able to, even for a moment, take a step into my mind and my mental process when it comes to my art.”
“I grew up in a family with many talented artists I always found myself envying. After decided to pursue interior design, I began taking art classes at New River Community College and have found more joy through drawing than I anticipated. Throughout my last semester NRCC I have been experimenting with a variety of styles and mediums in attempt to broaden my range of skills. This is a collection of the pieces of which I am most proud. In attempt at connection during the pandemic, graphite portraits of loved ones became a personal favorite. I chose to draw a portrait of my cousin Liam who I found myself missing most often. I also discovered a new love for soft pastels. Their signature dreamy hazy felt perfect for lavender. Though I would say most notably I found myself enamored oil pastels. These pieces are meant to capture moments of stillness in nature. In recollection of childhood summer evenings, the moments when the crickets seem near deafening over the aching silence around you. I have always been fascinated with wildlife, especially in relation to “human superiority,” animals have a funny way of reminding me I am small. I hope my pieces can do the same for you.”
Katie Horning is an artist and graphic designer from Christiansburg, Virginia. She has always been inspired by art from an early age. Katie just recently graduated from Christiansburg High School and currently attends New River Community College. She plans on transferring to a four year college where she will pursue a degree in graphic design. Katie Horning works with various mediums in her art including drawing, painting, and digital art. She uses a minimalist style when it comes to her art, as seen the most through her digital art. Inspired by the world around her, Katie often uses themes of nature, expression, & imagination in her art. She hopes to inspire others through her artwork.
“My name is Kennah Hebert, and I am a junior Studio Art major at Hollins University. I have grown up in and around Roanoke County in Virginia. I have had a love for art and creativity since I was a child, particularly painting and drawing, but my time at Hollins is allowing me to both branch out to new mediums and explore my skills in mediums I am already familiar with. Film photography has provided recent inspiration for me as I explore this new outlet for creative expression.”
Laura Anderson was born 1999 in Roanoke, Virginia. She recently graduated from Virginia Tech with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art. Laura’s primary focus is in oil painting but also works with printmaking, drawing, and photography. She pulls from her own life experiences as inspiration for her work.
Mariah Nolen is an undergraduate student at Radford University, who is getting a BFA in Art with a concentration in photography. Mariah started creating art in high school which led to her passion for photography. She looks inward from life events to create meaningful artwork to make a statement. She uses her experience of hardship from her early childhood to comfort her and others with similar experiences. Mariah’s proudest moment as an artist is when she presented work to a leading artist named Colby Caldwell, who encouraged her to continue to express herself through her work. Mariah has also had her work placed in a few juries shows to be seen by the public.
“My name is Mina Hatami, I am a Studio Art graduate student at Radford University. I have been concentrating on self-portraiture throughout photographic media during my studies. For this series I cast my hand and sculpted smaller hands and put them on a tulle fabric. The fabric symbolizes the unknown, humans are driven to explore and discover. Humans push the boundaries of what they know and pass their knowledge and unique experiences to the next generation to complete the puzzle. This series purposes to show this endless process. I tried to include past and current photographic technologies in my process for this series. The photographs are taken by a large format film camera and printed digitally from the negative scans.”
“My name is Morgan Johnson. I am a photographer based in Virginia. I have a passion for expressing creativity. Whether that means capturing life’s moments or just taking a picture of my watch. No matter what is in front of the camera, I love the creative process behind the lens.”
Robin is an educator, musician and artist who enjoys projects involving the intersection of multiple art forms. She has worked for Montgomery County’s Junior Appalachian Musicians program, Virginia Tech’s Appalachian Studies program and as a state park interpreter. Passionate about her region, she grew up just under Floyd Mountain in Woolwine and remembers playing and listening to music at the Floyd Country Store and pulling up a chair and jamming among the shovels, rakes and tools at the store next door when it was still full of hardware! This is her first experience in visual arts. She plans to use expressive arts modalities as a platform for advocating for rural issues including mental health awareness, health care access and environmental sustainability. She admires the work of author Beth Macy, playwright Jo Carson, and artist/musician Willard Gayheart. “I see rural people and places enduring economic, environmental and mental/emotional stress but I believe the strengths and gifts of the culture, its people and its supporters can counteract these challenges to create lasting, positive change. In the age of COVID, the arts in every form can be a catalyst to address these issues as well as a method of healing and self-realization for individuals and whole communities.”
Sofia Grochowski is a student of photography, currently enrolled at Radford University. They were born in Lynchburg, Virginia and grew up in the Roanoke Valley where they currently live. Sofia’s photographic works are focused on the digital medium using a mirrorless camera. Inspired by the lush scenery and rich historic culture in Virginia, Sofia focuses their work in exploring these themes in a fine art perspective.
“I was born in a post WW 2 refugee camp. When I was a grade school girl, my family moved to America, Chicago, Illinois. From the time I was three, my favorite pastimes have been reading, drawing, and classical ballet. Once grown, I worked as a translator and taught Community College humanities and history courses. In 1995, my husband, our children, and I moved to Virginia where I have worked as a French and German teacher until I retired in 2020. No longer teaching, I decided to be a student once again. In autumn 2021, I signed up for my first drawing class at New River Community College to begin expanding my insights and skills to see what I may draw, paint, create in the time ahead.”
“I’m an artist based in Roanoke, VA and currently a senior B.A candidate at Hollins University. My practice is primarily alternative photographic processes and film photography.
My approach in alternative photography is very dependent on experimentation of techniques and methods. I test various materials repeatedly and rapidly, often without thinking about what I’m doing. Once I start to see different textures, forms, and colors that interest me, I slow down the experimentation to make note of what materials and applications create those elements. I then apply the notes to create more controlled abstractions.
My spirituality is also a crucial part of this process. Shadow work is often used to decipher meaning in my abstract prints and meditation is used throughout the experimentation process.
This is a slow growing series, and it develops the more I develop as an artist. Personally, what’s so exciting about these pieces is that they serve as documentation of my process. For every print, there are about 20-50 experiments that led to its creation. Each of the portraits is a milestone after a series of failed attempts, trials, and errors.
Beyond being celebrations of what I’ve learned throughout experimental practices, the figures presented carry an amicable spirit to me. After spending some time with the portraits, I’ve concluded that they are embodiments of past and present variations of myself.
They each hold an experience, a memory, that is expressed in their characteristics.”
In the Falcon Gallery:
Structure and Entropy by Eric Cowan
Eric Cowan was born in Barberton Ohio in 1982. Having his first ceramics class as a freshman in high school, he would go on to graduate from the University of Akron with a BFA. During 2013 he moved to Radford, VA and continues to practice in clay while allowing his style to evolve.
"My fingers move in a meditative process as if on their own, a random movement causes ripples throughout the piece. What at first was an icon to nothingness became a resemblance of molecular models of proteins. Not representations but contemplations of the inner workings of the cell. "
"We have been failed, exploited, excluded and executed over and over again. In disillusionment comes the void, but in that coldness there is a spark that floods nothingness into everythingness. Someplace damp, strange forms start to appear, large strings of amino acids coalesce and tangle into shapeless infinitesimal machinery."
"The philosophies of men are fickle and bend to one's self interest but the laws of the universe and the automatons it has assembled tick on unfeeling and unknowing that they are our creators."
In the Breezeway Gallery:
The New River Valley Montessori Student Exhibition
Created during the 2021-2022 School Year, Grades 1st through 7th
"Our art projects are created using the art elements and styles professional artists study, and subjects taken from our other course studies. We have an art class one day a week as well as two designated art shelves for further study of concepts."