Fictions of Fauna Exhibit coming to Tryon Arts and Crafts School 

Published 12:41 pm Friday, September 1, 2023

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TRYON—The Tryon Arts and Crafts School is set to host a new exhibit titled “Fictions of Fauna,” which will showcase the works of five contemporary artists who use animals as their imaginative subjects. 

Curated by Lili Corbus, PhD, and Executive Director Will Barclift, the exhibit features the works of Anne Ellis Berry, Todd Frahm, Lisa Hager, Bryant Holsenbeck and Barbara Schreiber. Each artist employs a different medium to create their animal representations, from photography to ceramics to painting. 

“As co-curators, Will Barclift and I chose images from a wide array of regional artists using diverse media and who investigate imaginative ways in which animals ‘speak’ to us symbolically,” said Corbus. “We also favored those who have not been showcased in TACS’ gallery space before, to bring new creative ‘voices’ to area viewers.” 

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An internationally recognized photographer, Anne Ellis Berry captures poignant images of animals often in peril, from primates in captivity to feral horses and donkeys. Todd Frahm, a stone and wood artist, creates unique animal forms that engage in philosophical dialogues. Lisa Hager, an earthenware ceramist, finds inspiration in the transformative nature of clay to create imaginative creatures such as opossums, bats, vultures, and sheep. Bryant Holsenbeck, a mixed-media environmental artist, constructs transcendent creatures from recycled scraps and cast-off materials, while Barbara Schreiber’s paintings touch on humanity’s encroachment on native habitats. 

The exhibit also features a side gallery with an “Animals in Art” theme, judged by Susan Jedrzejewski of Charlotte. The public is invited to submit one piece per submission, with the deadline for entries on September 10. 

“Work in all media is welcome,” said Barclift. “We anticipate there will be representational paintings of animals, nature photographs, functional pottery with brushed glaze depictions of animals, and so on. Our region has such a strong connection with nature that it is no surprise to find a wealth of nearby artists whose work focuses on animals.” 

“As a judge,” said Jedrezejewski. “My role in the exhibit is to evaluate all of the work submitted and award a best-in-show, taking into account several factors, including originality of the work, the artist’s use of materials and techniques, and overall aesthetic appeal.” 

In addition, Corbus will give a lecture on “Animals in Art History: A Brief Romp” on September 26 from 12-1 p.m., touching on powerful imagery and imaginative symbolism that have emerged from various Western artists depicting animals throughout history. Exhibiting Artist Barbara Schreiber will also give an informal talk on October 19 from 6-7 p.m., discussing how her work has changed over the years while still addressing a consistent set of themes. 

The exhibit runs from September 16 to November 1, with a public reception on September 15 from 6-8 p.m. The Tryon Arts and Crafts School also offers programming related to the exhibit, including a workshop on September 16 with Exhibiting Artist Bryant Holsenbeck, who will introduce participants to the wrapping fabric she uses when making her animals. 

Visitors to the exhibit can expect to see diverse works that reflect humanity’s relationship with animals and the natural world.