AiR Biennial Exhibition
The Ewing Gallery of Art + Architecture hosted the 2018 Artist-In-Residence Biennial Exhibition this past January. Featuring the four most recent resident artists, Ezra Tessler (fall 2016), Dana DeGiulio (spring 2017), Clare Grill (fall 2017), and Caitlin Cherry (spring 2018), the exhibition showcased this group’s diverse styles of work. The January 12th reception drew a large crowd of alumni and current students, many of whom commented on the difference between seeing the works in person and seeing slides during lectures.
“These artists and their paintings are real and current voices contributing to the conversation that is currently happening in and driving the direction of the art world,” says Sarah McFalls, collections manager for the Ewing Gallery.
The Artist-in-Residence program has been running since 1982 when painting professor Carl Sublett retired and the faculty decided to convert his position into an ongoing semester-long visiting artist position in the painting and drawing department. According to McFalls, it was important to show the work of the visiting artists in addition to having them come to campus and teach. Over the past 36 years, the series has changed from an annual to a biennial exhibition to reflect the university’s change from a quarter system to a semester system. The artists, who used to be based in New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles, are now almost all based in New York.
The artists live in the Artist-in-Residence apartment, located within walking distance of UT, and have studio space in the Art + Architecture Building. Each artist teaches a graduate seminar and courses in painting and drawing for undergraduate students in their junior year. They also deliver a public lecture during their stay. The AIR Biennial provides access to the residents’ works that is highly anticipated and valued by students and faculty alike, according to McFalls. The exhibition also serves as a reunion for the artists themselves, some of whom have attended graduate school together, or shown together previously.
An important part of the Ewing Gallery mission is to use its university ties and budget to bring to the city and campus artwork that is not readily available in Knoxville. The gallery actively collects work by past artists-in-residence.
“To have a donor purchase the work of an artist-in-residence for the gallery would be a wonderful thing,” McFalls says.