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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Meghan O'Connor, Clemson University MFA Alumna, in Three-Person Exhibit, "Critters," at Riverworks Gallery

Trapped in the surreal, forced to adapt to human-made forces, yet retaining our idealization of cute, maybe even warm and fuzzy, these are the critters created by sculptor Anne Lemanski, printmaker Meghan O'Connor (MFA-Art, printmaking, 2007), and photographer Alice Sebrell. Critters offers fetching, humorous images with a sad and frightening commentary on human power over nature. Each artist questions the relationship of humankind with nature and each demonstrates the possibility of our action and inaction on the future of the natural world. The artists included in Critters have also drawn, photographed, or built appealing, smile-eliciting animals. Their appeal opens our imagination to the artists' cautionary tales and invites us to replace these critters with ourselves, fellow inhabitants of the natural world and also affected by the power of a selfish, short-sighted, consumer culture.

21st Century Super Species: Jack-Dor is a mixed media rabbit stitched by Anne Lemanski to sci-fi dimensions of ten feet. Anne comments: "The 21st Century Super Species is a new breed of animal in reaction to extinction... As consumers, we need to acknowledge the need for balance, and renegotiate our constantly shifting relationship with the natural world." Meghan O'Connor's prints are masterfully drawn, sweet little birds that grab you with an "ahh". You smile as you rush up to admire all that cuteness, then suddenly, you are slammed by the subtle image of the birds tangled in electrical wires or scissoring their own wings.

According to Meghan, "Animals become a stand-in for the human figure and mechanical  forms are metaphor for harmful systems of power. The level of detail within the forms is a representation of control; whereas the embossed layers of loose mark-making symbolize letting go... to evoke empathy toward the human condition and show that outside variables are ultimately out of our control." In contrast to Anne's and Meghan's definable mediums, Alice Sebrell builds sculpture utilizing eerie, grinning taxidermy forms combined with found objects. She then photographs her sculptures creating ghostly, floating images combined with text. Each photograph asks a question, "Where do you hide your affection? Where do you hide your beauty? Where do you hide your innocence?"

RIVERWORKS Gallery is operated by and for the faculty and students of the Department of Visual Arts at Greenville Technical College. RIVERWORKS Gallery is located at 300 River Street, Suite 202, along the scenic Reedy River in downtown Greenville, SC.

Public reception: 6-9 pm, Friday, August 5, 2016.

For more information, contact:
Fleming Markel, Director                   
RIVERWORKS Gallery                         
(864) 271-0679 or email                             
or visit 

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