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Friday, March 17, 2017

Alicia Peterson and Parker Barfield, Clemson University BFA in Art Alums, Open Exhibition at Redux, Charleston, SC

L: Alisha Peterson, Coverings, Ink and gouache, 17” x 14”,  2016 
R: Parker Barfield, Fuzzy Feeling, Oil on canvas, 31” x 31”, 2016

The natural world has always been a place where we go to contemplate existence or to question meaning and purpose. We find escape, reprieve and pleasure while experiencing nature. There is a fleeting, romantic quality about being outside, a feeling that draws you in to something larger, more complex, and more profound than you can understand, and yet current anthropogenic influence on the global ecosystem reminds us of the precarious relationship we have with our planets’ environmental condition. Artists Parker Barfield [Clemson University BFA in Art, 2016] and Alisha Peterson [Clemson University BFA in Art, 2016] are interested in how contemplating landscapes, plants, natural objects and natural histories prompt changes in consciousness and ultimately how these changes can usher in ecological, psychological, and spiritual actions or insight of positive consequence. Often utilizing unexpected shifts in scale, repetitive and nuanced mark making, vibrant color palettes, and layered drawing installations, Barfield and Peterson create dream-like, fantastical, and challenging visions of some of the most interesting components of the South Carolina environment.

In both representational and abstract works, Barfield employs a cast of ordinary rocks, sticks, and mosses gathered from Upstate South Carolina to represent a dialectical understanding of existence, where one is constantly caught between familiar and mystifying experience. He then, suggests that meditating on or opening yourself to listening to the natural elements can be a means of navigating from the everyday towards transcendent psychological or spiritual states. In some work he uses realism to create surreal or distorted views of these objects, while in other work he allows the objects texture, color, or shape to overrun his psyche, and intuition and abstraction direct composition and construct incorporeal spaces. Additionally, he explores the tension between high and low art by implementing cartoon outlines, blocky shapes, and keyed-up color. Contemporary and historical artists Peter Doig, Philip Guston, Odillon Redon, Paul Gauguin, and ancient Chinese painters of the Tang and Song Dynasties influence this work, as well as tenets of spiritual worldviews including Zen and Buddhism and traditional indigenous spiritualties.

Alisha Peterson uses layered drawings to focus on the relationship between the ubiquitous kudzu and the rare Oconee Bell. These two plants have special relevance to South Carolina, defining the landscape both now and in the past. Influenced by classic botanical illustration and art nouveau aesthetic, the work calls attention to and comments on potentially overlooked aspects of the world that we live in. Various methods of mark making and deliberate manipulation of scale serve to draw the viewer in. Delicate renderings both monumentalize and challenge the viewer’s perception of these plants. Altering scale promotes consciousness of the natural world, and encourages the viewer to question flora’s place in their daily life. Referencing the intersection of a plant’s history with our own reveals life outside- yet intertwined with- our own.

Exhibition on view: March 14 - April 1, 2017

Charleston, SC 

About Redux
Redux Contemporary Art Center (Redux) is a nonprofit organization committed to  fostering creativity and the cultivation of contemporary art through diverse exhibitions, subsidized studio space for visual artists, meaningful education programs, and a multidisciplinary approach to the dialogue between artists and their audiences. Redux offers free year round art exhibitions, artist and curator lecture series, and film screenings, while educating art patrons of all ages through fine art classes and workshops, community outreach, and internship opportunities. Redux is instrumental in presenting new artists to our community through our artist-in-residency program, and our many artist and music performances. In addition, Redux remains a bustling center for contemporary art with 16 private artist studios, and the only community printmaking and darkroom facilities in the lowcountry.
For more information about Clemson's BFA in Art Program, and to apply, please go to:

To learn more about Clemson University's Master of Fine Arts in Art program and to apply, please go to:

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