The Lens of the Emerging Artist

Student art in the heart of downtown Chapel Hill

Hoarders 1 by Ali Halperin, part of the Border Glitches exhibit.

When graduate student Ali Halperin learned that the Frank Gallery in downtown Chapel Hill wanted to feature her art, she immediately thought about the undergraduates she teaches. They were busy producing digital photos in her Introduction to Digital Photography class. Her assignment for them: each of the images had to conjure one of the senses. Vision, obviously, would be easiest to achieve. But what about taste, touch, smell, and hearing?

The project made Halperin’s students think, and they came through with a series of images titled A Sense, currently featured in the Hanes Art Center’s John and June Allcott Gallery.

The Frank Gallery liked the images enough to cosponsor the Allcott exhibit with UNC’s art department and include it in the Frank: In Focus Photography Festival this fall in Chapel Hill and Hillsborough.

Meanwhile, Halperin installed her own art at the Frank Gallery. Her exhibit—also part of the festival—is titled Border Glitches. Halperin’s installations, as well as those from fellow UNC grad student Michael Iauch, explore the blurring lines between our actual lives and the virtual lives we experience online or through media such as video.

Untitled 1, by Hyukjoo Na from the Sense exhibit.

At the same time the gallery was collaborating with Halperin and her students, its curators were working with Frank Gallery undergraduate intern Kaitlin Knapp on a third exhibit. To fulfill her duties as an intern, Knapp had to think up an exhibit theme and manage the installation from start to finish—culling art from fellow undergrads, finding a location, installing images and lighting, ordering hors d’oeuvres for the opening.

She called her exhibit The American Landscape, which sounds traditional, almost Ansel Adams-like. Far from it. Her art, which combines printmaking and photography, is inspired by the ready-made houses that became popular during the mid-twentieth-century housing boom and then turned into the staple of suburbia. The images from the other artists speak to cultural stereotypes and consumerism.

Frank Gallery has put the three exhibits under one umbrella it calls The Lens of the Emerging Artist.

The above slideshow begins with images from A Sense, continues with Halperin’s Border Glitches, and ends with Knapp’s The American Landscape.

The three exhibits opened October 12, 2012, at Frank Gallery, Hanes Art Center, and University Square and will run through November 4, 2012. Check Kaitlin Knapp’s gallery intern blog for more information about Frank: In Focus Photography Festival and Knapp’s exhibit. The exhibit, A Sense, can be viewed on the first floor of the Hanes Art Center. 

[ Story by Mark Derewicz, Endeavors ]