AU Press Releases

Cohen Gallery to host alumni exhibit with a ‘Fascination of Decay’

The Alfred University (AU) School of Art & Design presents “Fascination of Decay,” running from Friday, Nov. 9-Wednesday, Dec. 12, 201 at The Cohen Gallery, 55 N. Main St., Alfred.

There will be an opening reception on Nov. 9 from 6-8 p.m. including a gallery talk at 7. The program is free and open to the public.

Curated by Kate Roberts, “Fascination of Decay” features work by ceramicists Walter McConnell, Roberts, and Lee Somers, and painter Alexis Grabowski. All of the artists are Alfred University alumni. Based on a book of the same title depicting how artists throughout history have found inspiration in ancient ruins, the gallery show will focus on how contemporary artists are fascinated with today’s ruins.

McConnell, professor of ceramics at the University, earned a master of fine arts degree in ceramics from the College of Ceramics. His works have been featured in exhibitions in St. Paul, MN; Chicago; New Haven, CT; and Lincoln, NE. He has received numerous grants, including the European Ceramic Work Center Residency Grant in Den Bosch, the Netherlands, and a University of Connecticut Research Foundation Research Grant.

Roberts earned a bachelor of fine arts degree from the College of Ceramics with minors in art education and art history. She has served as a resident artist in Paris and a studio assistant in Certaldo, Italy. Her pieces have been featured at exhibitions in Syracuse, NY and Tampa, FL. She has received numerous awards and fellowships, including the Lisa Elwell Ceramic Artist Award and the Regina Brown Undergraduate Student Fellowship in Ceramics.

Somers is an assistant professor of art and instructor of three dimensional design at the University of Montevallo, Montevallo, AL. He earned a bachelor of fine arts degree in ceramics and glass and a master of fine arts degree in ceramics, both from AU. He has previously served as a visiting professor at the China Central Academy of Fine Arts City Design School, Beijing, China, and was a collaborative assistant at the Wayne Higby (AU professor of ceramics) Studio, Alfred, for Higby’s EarthCloud project, which now adorns a wall in Alfred University’s Miller Performing Arts Center. His work has been shown in major exhibitions including those in Fort Collins, CO; Lincoln Center in Colorado; the Seattle Design Center; and several cities in China, including Beijing.

While studying at the University, Grabowski received many awards and scholarships, including the AU Presidential Scholarship, the Clara Nelson Art Scholarship, and the Painting Department Award. Recently she received individual artist grants from the Lower Adirondack Regional Arts Council and The Puffin Foundation. She has served as an artist-in-residence at the Contemporary Artists Center, Troy, and her work has been featured in many New York cities including Albany, Glens Falls, and Lake George.