Call it a trifecta of artistic expressionism.
Fourth-year painting majors Austin Smith, Courtney Shea and Ryan Cox construct their own version of this idea in Metanoia; a three-person art exhibition opening Friday, May 13 and running until Monday, May 16 at the Lee O’Neil Gallery.
Together, their work explores the transformation and nuances found within its subject’s many forms. Shea’s work analyzes a dialogue between traditional still life painting and contemporary installation art. Cox’s pieces address the evolution and transformative capacity of individual persona. Where as Smith’s work addresses the transition of childlike ideals to that of a confusing and contradictory environment of adulthood.
“The assemblage of pre-manufactured, bright and crafty materials and mature content are primarily how I relate my message to my viewers; the contrast can make you hesitate,” Smith.
“At first glance the eye is drawn in by the bright colors and textures, but the text or underlying content within the work brings up a completely different feeling.”
Deciding to participate in a group exhibition as opposed to a solo show was a choice primarily of practicality, according to Smith.
“Solo shows can be expensive and time intensive; collaborating is an easy way to cut costs and share the workload,” Smith said.
“As a group, we chose each other at the recommendation of colleagues and a trusted mentor, the work flows together and looks cohesive in the space while retaining individuality.”
Though the work in the show varies in medium and appearance, Smith said she and her fellow artists are united in both visually cohesiveness and concept, because all of the works deal with transition in some shape or form.
“Our group came to the name Metanoia after hours of searching through thesauruses and dictionaries for the perfect term to tie in all of our work,”said Smith.
“Metanoia is a transition, especially in a spiritual nature. We felt after examining our work and artist statements that transition was the uniting factor for our group.”
As an artist, Smith is primarily inspired by the environments in which she creates and lives, with regards to social settings.
“I find my works primarily being inspired by the environment I reside in at the time… I’m affected by opinions, politics, social ideas and what others are saying around me. I try to make artwork that addresses issues within social context that I’d like to work through or think more about.”
Smith, Cox and Shea are anticipated to graduate this June.
“For a while I plan on staying in Savannah, continuing to work on my artwork and apply to shows,” Smith said.
“I’m working on finding a new direction for my work. I feel that my body of work being exhibited in Metanoia is completed and it’s time to move forward with my art practice.”
Smith encourages her fellow students and artists to come out and have a good time while also supporting her work along with Shea and Cox’s.
“This show is diverse and cohesive all at the same time,” Smith said. “The colors are punchy and the energy is high. If for nothing else, come to the show to have a good time. The work radiates fun.”
“Nonetheless, Metanoia is a professional fine art exhibition, which in Savannah is something we need to encourage and cultivate. If we want the city’s art scene to grow, attendance to shows is crucial,” she added.
Metanoia’s opening reception will take place Friday, May 13 from 5-7 p.m. at the Lee O’Neil Gallery. The event is free and open to the public.
Written by Emilie Kefalas.