Meet the artists behind the exhibition, The Red Clay Survey: 2020 Exhibition of Contemporary Southern Art. Each week we will be featuring five of the artists included in this year’s exhibition.  A major recurring regional competition sponsored by the Huntsville Museum of Art , the Red Clay Survey “takes the pulse” of contemporary Southern art through a selection of work in all styles and media. This year’s exhibition includes 85 works by 67 different artists.

Donald Keefe

Apison, TN

Untitled Construct 4, 2018 oil on canvas, 30 x 28.25 in.

Donald Keefe was born in Des Moines, Iowa, and grew up in Southern California. He has lived and worked all over the country, from rural Appalachian Kentucky and West Virginia, to Miami, FL, Los Angeles, and New York city. He currently lives just outside of Chattanooga, TN, where he serves as Associate Professor of Art at Southern Adventist University. Him and his wife recently had their first child.

Donald earned an MFA from the University of Florida in 2013 after having received his BFA from the University of Kentucky in 2009.  His artwork has been exhibited nationally, won awards, and been published several times. He has also completed private commissions and was the recipient of a federal grant for a public arts project.

He feels the greatest thing he has learned from his varied life experiences is to empathize with others and maintain faith and hope through trying situations.

Janice Kluge

Birmingham, AL

The Space Between the Stars, 2018 mixed media installation, 144 x 240 in.

Janice Kluge received her M.F.A. degree from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and B.F.A. degree with Honors, from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. She was a Professor of Art at the University of Alabama at Birmingham where she taught from 1982- 2007. Currently, she is an Emeritus Professor and working full-time as an artist in Birmingham, Alabama.

Kluge has exhibited nationally and internationally and is included in various public collections among them- the Shengua Art Center, Nanjing, China, Centro Cultural, Chiguanyante, Chile, Huntsville and Mobile Museums of Art, Shaw Art Center, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, The University of Alabama at Birmingham, The University of Georgia, Athens, and many private collections within the southeast. Most notable national exhibition venues include the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC, Navy Pier, Chicago, A.I.R. Gallery, New York, NY; San Francisco State University, California; the Fine Arts Center in Taos, New Mexico; and The Hand and the Spirit Gallery, Scottsdale, Arizona.

Kluge has received recognition through numerous grants and awards. Her work has been reviewed and published in a variety of journals and art magazines, such as, SCULPTURE magazineMetalsmith magazineAmerican Crafts magazineART PAPERS, and CIRCA: Art Magazine, covering contemporary visual culture in Ireland. Her work has been pictured in the Lark Ceramics Books, 500 Teapots, Vol. 2, 2013 and Image Transfer on Clay, 2006, as well as Beginning Sculpture, Davis Publications, and The Sculpture Reference, 2005.

Lori LaBerge

Spruce Pine, NC

Swing Time, 2020 fiber, mixed media, 36 x 36 in.

Artist Statement:

Architecture has always fascinated me. Time and again I have found myself revisiting construction sites, transfixed by the process of what was once an indeterminate idea flourishing into a fully formed building.

This fascination has led me to explore the interaction between architecture and geometry through my work. I blend line and shape to artistically form new worlds: Lines become structural elements of the building process. Shapes drawn from observations morph into abstract works.

Using various materials in a single work combines stark opposites; wool, yarn and silk are juxtaposed with the hardness of construction materials. And while some pieces are stripped down to a few basic materials, others incorporate paint for a layered effect.

Architecture in all forms constantly surrounds us, defining how we interact with the world and with each other. Exploring it leads me to question what architecture means to us, how we interpret it, how it affects the way we live and the balance between its functionality and form.

 Spencer Nolen Laws

Nashville, TN

Wantonhave, 2014 cherry, forged steel, found objects, 78 x 24 x 8 in.

Originally from Decatur, Alabama, Spencer Nolen Laws currently resides in Nashville, TN. Laws earned their BFA in Sculpture from the Memphis College of Art in 2016 and has had work included in various exhibitions throughout the South including: Decatur, AL; Ocean Springs, MS; and Memphis, TN.

Laws’ work has earned recognition and awards to include the Dolphe Smith Emeritus Award, the Alice M. Armstrong Memorial Merit Scholarship and the Colonel Sam Plough Merit Scholarship.

Tara Stallworth Lee

Birmingham, AL

Joan Was a Delta Sigma Theta (Joan Trumpauer), 2020 encaustic collage in a barrel hoop, 22 x 22 in.

Tara Stallworth Lee is a photographer concentrating in analog processes. She is also a collage artist, papermaker and bookmaker. Her photographs address themes of affinity, kinship, motherhood, and loss. Lee uses any combination of her own images, harvested imagery, handmade papers, and repurposed materials to construct collaged portraits that explore human phenomena from around the globe and throughout history. She regards all of her work as a figurative language through which to communicate and contemplate perceptions of human behavior, interpersonal relationships, and the relevance of the natural landscape to the human condition.

Tara lives and works in Birmingham, Alabama where she is a resident artist at Ground Floor Contemporary. For more than fifteen years, she has enjoyed teaching specialty art classes to youth for The Smithsonian Associates summer camp program in Washington D.C. Previously, Lee worked as the Arts Education Coordinator for Space One Eleven, a visual arts non-profit in Birmingham.

Bio courtesy of Magic City Art Connection