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Honors Exhibition 2017

The Ewing Gallery would like to congratulate the 7 students selected by School of Art faculty to exhibit work in this year’s honors exhibition.

The following student are:

Drew Justice
Ryan McCown
Catherine Meadows
Byeol Shim
Paris Woodhull
Pippin Long
Grant Barbour



Our first group of MFA students will be exhibiting in the gallery from Friday March 24 – 31.

Solo MFA Thesis Exhibitions:





soft opening – Friday, March 24th, 4-6pm
CLOSING RECEPTION – Friday, March 31st, 6-9pm

In Memoriam: Eleanor Creekmore Dickinson

Eleanor Evelyn Vaughan Creekmore Dickinson, February 7, 1931 to February 25, 2017. Eleanor Creekmore Dickinson was a powerful artist, dedicated professor, and beloved friend and matriarch. She passed away peacefully, surrounded by family at home in California on February 25, 2017, just after her 86th birthday. Eleanor built a successful art career on solo shows that boldly depicted those who she called “unpopular and unlikely subjects.” She reveled in transgressing the assumptions of medium, using lucite, black velvet, video, and sky-writing as fine art materials. For all her high-flying passions, Eleanor was deeply rooted. She returned to her birthplace in Knoxville Tennessee nearly every year of her life, and her decades-long work documenting Pentecostal revivals throughout the region is housed at the Smithsonian. Eleanor was a member of the first regular art class at the University of Tennessee, graduating from the program in 1952.

She was recognized nationally in her lifetime with public collections and archives hosted by the Smithsonian Institution, the Library of Congress’s Archive of Folk Culture, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, the Tennessee State Museum, the Oakland Museum, the Huntington’s Archive of American Art, and the University of Tennessee Libraries, among many others. She received a Lifetime Service Award from California Lawyers for the Arts (2016), the Lifetime Achievement Award from Women’s Caucus for Art (2003), and was named an Emerita Professor of Drawing by California College of the Arts after serving as a professor there for 30 years. Throughout her career, she was recognized by being named an Artist-in-Residence at the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco (2000), Arkansas State University (1993), University of Alaska (1991), and University of Tennessee (1969).
Friends and family are invited to a funeral on Sunday, March 12, 2017 at Highlands Memorial Cemetery (5315 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, TN 37919) at 2pm with reception to follow at Highlands Memorial. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the UT Knoxville’s Ewing Gallery. Arrangements by Berry Highland Memorial.

School of Art Alumni Juror Milestone Student Art Competition


This year, the Ewing Gallery of Art and Architecture is pleased to present the 70th Annual Student Art Competition. The competition was begun in 1947 by C. Kermit “Buck” Ewing, the founder of UT’s Art Department. The Ewing exhibition has become one of the oldest competitions in the country and is one of the highlights of the Ewing Gallery exhibition season.

For this year’s competition, we have invited 6 talented alumni of the School of Art to jury our exhibition and award prizes in fine art, graphic design, and academic papers. The Exhibition will open on Monday, February 27 from 6-8PM with the award ceremony to take place at 7pm. The exhibition will be on display at the gallery through March 19.

Jeff Baxter and Paul Schlacter will give a public lecture in McCarty Auditorium (room 109 of the Art + Architecture Building) at 7:30 PM on Thursday, February 23 at 7:30PM

Rob Tarbell and Mike Calway-Fagen will give a public lecture in McCarty Auditorium (room 109 of the Art + Architecture Building at 7:30PM on Tuesday, February 21 at 7:30 PM.

Our juror for art history and architecture papers is Dr. Charissa Terranova. She received her BA in art history from UT in 1992 and went on to earn an MA (2001) and PhD (2004) in architectural history and theory from Harvard University and an MA (1996) in art history from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Terranova is author of Art as Organism: Biology and the Evolution of the Digital Image (2016) and Automotive Prosthetic: Technological Mediation and the Car in Conceptual Art (2014), and coeditor with Meredith Tromble of TheRoutledge Companion to Biology in Art and Architecture (2016). She also edited a two-volume issue of the journal Technoetic Arts on “complexism” (2016). Associate Professor of Aesthetic Studies, she lectures and teaches seminars at the University of Texas at Dallas on modern and contemporary art and architectural history and theory, the history of biology in art and architecture, and media and new media art and theory.

Our co-jurors for the design category are Jeff Baxter and Paul Schlacter. Both graduated from UT in 2005 with degrees in graphic design. Jeff & Paul met in Graphic Design 201 at the University of Tennessee. They were probably randomly assigned to a group project, it was their first collaboration. In 2005, after graduation, they both headed to NYC where they’ve been designing, animating, coding, illustrating, directing, and collaborating ever since.

After graduating from The University of Tennessee in 2005, Paul Schlacter moved to New York to join Trollbäck+Company as a designer and animator. A weekend collaboration with Jeff Baxter lead him to the Google Creative Lab, where he worked on everything from banner ads to major product launches. Today, Paul works in-house on the Google Design team, focusing on and the annual SPAN conference.

Jeff has created brands, products, and services, from the ground up, for a wide range of clients. After his graduation from The University of Tennessee in 2005 he designed and launched the original Nike+ Platform at R/GA. He was then the founder of a small design studio where he worked with cultural institutions such as Rhizome and MoMA, and consumer brands like GE, VH1, and Mercedes. Before founding Cord Project in 2014, he was leading design teams at Google’s Creative Lab working across nearly all of Google’s products and brands. Cord Project was acquired by Spotify in 2016 where Jeff is currently a Product Design Manager.

Our co-jurors for the fine arts division are Mike Calway-Fagen and Rob Tarbell.

Mike Calway-Fagen is an artist, writer, and curator based in Athens, GA. He received a BFA from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and an MFA from the University of California, San Diego. Recently he opened solo exhibitions at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, Ditch Projects in Oregon, and the Soo Visual Arts Center in Minneapolis. Mike has attended residencies at the

Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, The Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, The Fine Arts Work Center, and Sculpture Space in Utica, NY. Mike has lectured at a number of institutions including the Universities of California, Tennessee, Oregon, Nevada, SAIC, Bowdoin College, MCAD, Auburn, and others. Mike's work has been reviewed in Art Papers, World Sculpture Magazine, Art F City, and is the focus of a chapter in a soon-to- be-published book, The Phenomenology of Art and Animals (Routledge Press). Mike is Head of the Sculpture Department at the University of Georgia, Athens.

Rob Tarbell began his education at Auburn University receiving his BFA in Painting and Graphic Design. At the University of Tennessee, Rob earned an MFA in Painting and Drawing and an MS in Curriculum and Instruction.

Over the past ten years, Rob Tarbell has shown in twenty solo exhibitions and numerous group exhibitions throughout the United States, Korea, China, and England. During this period, Rob has developed unique and unorthodox processes involving the indirect manipulation and exploitation of inherent material properties of smoke and porcelain. The resulting work balances chance and control while fostering preservation and permanence through transformation and loss.

Since 2000, Rob has taught art and design at Limestone College, James Madison University, Virginia Commonwealth University, and most recently at Ringling College of Art and Design and New College of Florida in Sarasota, Florida.

Currently Rob’s work is represented by Claire Oliver Gallery in New York City.

ORANGE 5 Happening in New York during CAA

University of Tennessee MFA students will be exhibiting their work at Unix Gallery during CAA. If you are an alum in the New York area, we invite you to come to the reception for a reunion.

February Artist Lecture: Lee Benson


In conjunction with Common LineageThe Bensons currently on view at the Ewing Gallery, artist Lee Benson will give a lecture on Thursday, February 9 at 7:30 PM in McCarty Auditorium. (room 109 of the Art + Architecture Building) We hope you can join us for this event and the closing reception for the exhibition immediately following the lecture in the Ewing Gallery. The artists will be present.

The Ewing Gallery of Art and Architecture and the University of Tennessee Potter’s Club are pleased to present Common Lineage: The Bensons, an exhibition featuring the work of Tennessee natives and University of Tennessee Alumni, Lee Aaron, Zac, and Mary Benson/Carbonell. Patriarch, Aaron Lee Benson, who received his BFA, BS in Art Education, and his MFA in ceramics from UT in 1989, is currently a Professor of Fine Arts in Sculpture and Ceramics at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee.

Lee, with his wife Elizabeth – who he met while in graduate school, started Benson Sculpture LLC. Working collaboratively with their four children, (Aaron, Zac, Mary, and Sarah), they create large-scale public sculptures out of timber, earth, and stone. These sculptures have been exhibited nationally and internationally. Recently, the Bensons have developed a relationship with Habitat for Humanity and Habitat for Humanity International to repurpose materials used in their sculptures to build homes in the community where the sculptures were exhibited.

Their oldest son, Aaron Tennessee Benson, received his BFA in Ceramics from UT in 2009 and went on to earn an MFA from the New York State College of Ceramics, Alfred in 2013. Aaron is currently and Assistant professor of Art, Ceramics/Sculpture/3D at the University of North Alabama in Florence, Alabama.

Zac Chyanne Benson received his BFA in sculpture from UT in 2011. Zach is currently pursuing his MFA in studio art from the University of Maryland, College Park and will graduate this spring.

Mary Benson/Carbonell received her BFA in ceramics in 2013 and is currently pursuing her MS in art education, also from the University of Tennessee Knoxville.

Whether working individually or collaborating as part of Benson Sculpture LLC, the Benson family is driven by their Christian faith to create contemporary art that touches on themes of eternity, material worth, politic, moral, religious, ad other social justice issues.

Lee will be giving a lecture on the exhibition Thursday, February 9th in McCarty Auditorium in the Art + Architecture Building on UT’s campus. A reception immediately follows the lecture in the Ewing Gallery. Common Lineage: The Bensons runs through February 10.

January Exhibition in the Ewing Gallery


January 11 – February 10, 2017

Join us for the first exhibition of the Spring semester. The Ewing Gallery is excited to present A Common Lineage: The Bensons.

Since 2005 Lee Benson, professor of sculpture and ceramics at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee  has worked with his wife Betty, and later their four children, Zach, Aaron, Mary, and Sarah to make sculpture and public works. They work mainly in mixed media, the earth, stone, timber, wood, clay and 24k gold producing large-scale architectural forms as well as figurative, narrative monoliths. Residing across the country, they maintain five studios.

The Bensons have produced works from New York City to Australia and have had wide public recognition. They have also recently developed a relationship with Habitat for Humanity and Habitat for Humanity International to use materials used in their sculptures to be repurposed into homes throughout the community.

Their powerful works seem to always declare “We were on this earth!”

Lee will be giving a lecture on the exhibition Thursday, February 9th in McCarty Auditorium in the Art + Architecture Building on UT’s campus.

Ewing Gallery of Art and Architecture
College of Arts & Sciences

1715 Volunteer Blvd.
Knoxville, TN 37996-2410
Phone: 865-974-3200 Email:

The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System and partner in the Tennessee Transfer Pathway.