Feature Articles

January 2011

FMU in Florence, SC, Offers Works by Ev Niewoehner & Johnny Nutt

Francis Marion University in Florence, SC, will present two new exhibits including: Art Interpreting Music, featuring works by Ev Niewoehner and Much Ado About Nothing, featuring ceramics by Johnny Nutt. Both exhibits will be on view in the Hyman Fine Arts Center Gallery, from Jan. 10 through Feb. 16, 2012.

Niewoehner was born in rural Iowa and at age ten moved with his family to Colorado. He graduated from Fort Collins High School and later earned history degrees from Colorado State University and the University of Northern Colorado. He also studied art at several universities. After teaching at the high school level for four years, he owned and operated an art gallery in Los Angeles. Teaching opportunities brought him to Tennessee where he taught for twenty one years.

In 1999, Niewoehner retired from teaching which allowed him to concentrate on his first love, oil painting, an activity at which he is working full time. Although working with a number of genres, it has been the subject of music which has dominated the bulk of his body of work. Niewoehner has exhibited in a number of galleries and art centers in Los Angeles, New Orleans, Nashville, Memphis, Birmingham, Atlanta, Rome, GA, Estes Park, CO, Fairhope, AL, and Dickson, TN, where he maintains his studio and home. He has a daughter, who lives in Nashville and is a teacher with Metro schools.

Niewoehner offered the following statement, “Although I have worked in a number of genres, including still life, landscape, cityscape, and surrealism, it has been the subject of music which has captured my imagination and has led to my most enjoyable and satisfying work.”

“Music is a universal language and, for most people, it speaks to the heart and soul,” adds Niewoehner. “For me, music is an essential part of my life. It has become the central theme in my painting career. I have developed at least four distinct styles of music themed paintings and have produced a large body of work in each style. But I’m not done. I continue to visualize, to explore, to experiment with new ideas, new techniques, new compositions, new colors, in order to illustrate and bring definition to the essence of music.”

Johnny Nutt is a native South Carolinian, born in Walterboro, raised in Chapin. He attended Furman University in Greenville, SC, where he studied under Bob Chance, and the University of South Carolina, where he studied under Tom Dimig. In the time between finishing school and now (20 years), he has worked in advertising, food service, the music business, and non-profit arts administration. He is currently teaching high school art at TL Hanna high school in Anderson, SC. He maintains a home studio in Easley, SC.

Nutt offering the following statement, “Around 1999 an architect friend of mine showed me an article in a trade magazine entitled ‘Hot jobs for the new millennium’. It listed ‘potter’ at #3. She asked me what I thought about that, to which I replied ‘It was obviously not written by a potter!’”

“I know I’m not going to affect any change in society, whether large or small, as an artist. I find that very liberating. Nor do I make what I make as a means of income. I did that at one point, and I hated what it did to my work. I found myself spending more time making stuff that would sell than I did being engaged in a joyous process. So I quit that. It’s meant that my time in the studio has decreased, but the percentage of my time in the studio spent doing what I want to do, instead of what I have to do, has increased dramatically.”

Nutt continues, “My work is, at its most basic, all about contrasts: busy and spare, glossy and flat, light and dark, smooth and rough, round and angular, mechanical and organic, substantive and superficial. I enjoy working on the wheel, plain and simple. I tend to work in long series, first producing a studio full of forms, stopping only when I have either run out of clay or adequate shelf-space. At that point I basically put the wheel away so I can turn my attention completely to the task of addressing the surfaces of the vessels and platters.”

“While I occasionally use some source imagery for my designs, such as sub-cellular structures, seed, leaf, and pollen forms, satellite photography and fluid-systems, I tend to abstract that imagery to the point of non-objectivity. I have no real interest in reality. If it already exists in the world, I see no need to rehash it. I prefer to make new stuff. I use very simple glazing techniques, usually limited to terra sigillata and a small amount of glaze.”

“I also enjoy indulging my need to create what I like to call Juvenile Poetry for the titles of my work,” says Nutt. “These titles serve no illustrative purpose though. While they satisfy the need for titles, it is my hope that by intentionally confusing the viewer it may be perceived that there is actually some substance to my work, which there isn’t. It’s entirely vacuous. There’s nothing there. Again, I find that very liberating. So much in life is necessarily serious. I feel no need to add to that.”

For further information check our SC Institutional Gallery listings, call FMU at 843/661-1385 or visit (http://departments.fmarion.edu/finearts/gallery.htm).

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