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March 2011

FRANK in Chapel Hill, NC, Features Exhibit of Narrative Imagery and Works by Barbara Tyroler and Keith Allen

FRANK, the Franklin Street Arts Collective in Chapel Hill, NC, will present, StoryMakers, featuring a member and invitational exhibit focusing on narrative imagery, on view from Mar. 8 through Apr. 24, 2011. The exhibition was curated by Jean LeCluyse, B. Michele Maynard, Sudie Rakusin, and Luna Lee Ray all FRANK member artists. The gallery is also featuring works by Barbara Tyroler and Keith Allen through Mar. 22, 2011. A reception will be held on Mar. 11, from 7-9pm.

Artists have always told stories with pictures, whether drawing inside of a cave, illuminating one of the world’s great books, or painting on the ceilings and walls of a cathedral or temple. Narrative art engages our curiosity and imagination when a common thread is stitched between the viewer and the image. The common thread can be a memory, a poem, a dream or childhood fantasy to list only a few.

The show will highlight the work of invited artists Aggie Zed, Quentin Warshauer, Kirsten Stingle, Charlotte Foust, Patrick Fitzgerald, Henryk Fantazos, and Nancy Baker. Participating FRANK artists will be Luna Lee Ray, Sudie Rakusin, Michele Maynard, Jean LeCluyse, Jane Filer, and Carmen Elliot.

The ‘StoryMakers’ invite you to step into their stories through their images.

With an MFA in digital art and an M.Ed. in education and community, Barbara Tyroler served on the University of Maryland art department teaching staff offering courses in lens based critical theory, wet darkroom, and digital print-making before returning to her hometown, Chapel Hill. As founder and director of the University of Maryland Photographic Arts Outreach Program, and the Family Arts Enrichment and Leadership programs, Tyroler wrote over 25 visual arts and community education grants to provide multicultural arts-in-education projects integrating fine art and documentary photography.

Tyroler is a founding advisory member of fotoweekdc, a week-long photographic arts festival collaboration with the Corcoran, and the co-founder of the Metro area Digital Ladies support group for professional women photographers.

Tyroler’s commercial photography emphasizes the creative and journalistic approach. She was voted among the best wedding photographers in the DC metro area by the Washingtonian magazine for the past 10 years before returning home to Chapel Hill. She currently teaches at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke.

Tyroler has been photographing bodies in water since the early 80’s when she began experimenting with infrared black and white film. Several years ago through a series of collaborative portrait-making sessions when her father was ill and approaching 80, she encouraged him to explore art during his aquatic rehabilitation at the Duke Health and Fitness Center. Together they made portraits of each other under water, using the computer to share images and poetic thoughts about health, the fragile body, and the soothing aspects of water. Issues relating to truth-telling and the camera’s capacity for illusion, power, and gift-giving were explored as well.

Tyroler produces site-specific portraiture for corporations, universities, and health-oriented non-profits while creating abstracted figurative water portraiture for exhibition, individual clients, and families. As an educator, she brings this process to her university classrooms and conducts workshops and portrait-making experiences in community pools, nursing homes and special education programs with children.

Keith Allen has been designing and making furniture for more than 40 years. It all began in graduate school, when he needed a desk for the corner of an oddly configured dorm room, and built one using his trusty saber saw and electric drill and a couple of sheets of birch plywood. Later, when he got his first real job teaching mathematics at UNC Charlotte, he filled his apartment with a vast array of furniture made of plywood, foam rubber, naugahyde, etc. Still later, teaching math and computer science at UNC Asheville, he bought some real woodworking tools and renovated a house he had bought.

By the time Allen had morphed from mathematician into computer scientist and was teaching computer science at Clemson University in SC, he managed to set up a woodworking shop in a one-car garage, and spent most weekends there teaching himself to build “real” furniture. Moving to Orange County in 1988, leaving math and computer science behind, he began making and selling furniture as Allenwood, from a 750 square foot shop that he built starting from a sturdy open tractor shed, a metal roof on telephone poles.

Through the years, Allen’s furniture has evolved, and he still experiments with new ideas. He says, “I like natural materials, including natural edges and defects. I also like geometric forms, no doubt a throwback to my earlier years as a topologist. Topology is, after all, a kind of geometry. In my furniture, I often find myself contrasting natural aspects of material with geometrically motivated designs or architectures. My strongest external influences have come from the work of George Nakashima, an American architect-turned-furniture-maker, and Gerrit Reitveld, an early 20th century Dutch cabinet-maker-turned-architect. Nakashima’s work hinged on letting natural material speak for itself. Rietveld’s work was starkly geometric and (consistent with the ideas of other members of the De Stijl movement, of which he was a founding member along with the painter Mondrian) often featured primary colors.”

For further information check our NC Institutional Gallery listings, call 919/636-4135 or visit (

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