The Smith Gallery Presents: PROM? The BFA Senior Studio Exhibition for Spring 2015

The Smith Gallery at Appalachian State University presents PROM? the BFA Senior Studio Exhibition for Spring 2015. The exhibition is on view from April 8-17, 2015 and includes work by the candidates for the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Studio Art. These student artists are exploring a wide variety of studio techniques including metals, installation, ceramics, illustration, relational aesthetics, video, and painting. A reception for the artists will be held at the gallery on April 10th from 5 to 6:30 pm.

The gallery is pleased to present works from the following artists: Alexandra Bird, Audrey Boyle, Emily C. Grabowski, David Jones, Madeline Lee, Haley McElroy, and Catherine Michniak. All of the students will be represented in the exhibition at the Smith Gallery in the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts. For the past year, these students have been working with Ila Prouty, professor in the Department of Art. Prouty states, “This BFA show promises to be engaging. These students are employing a wide variety of artistic practices from painting, to video, installation to express their ideas about contemporary topics such as hunger, intimacy, identity and the grotesque.”

Public Events

Friday, April 10

Reception for the artists is from 5 to 6:30 pm at the Smith Gallery

About the Artists

Audrey Boyle grew up in Charlotte, NC and has been drawn to the mountains since she was a little girl. She is a painter and mixed media artist, who is currently exploring relational aesthetics. Boyle’s personal experiences and struggle with painful emotions continue to fuel her work. When she was young, her father lost his job and she came to realize how precious every aspect of life was, especially having equal access to food. In her work for her BFA exhibition, Boyle investigates how to redefine what it is to be in a community through re-experiencing human interaction over a communal meal. Her work has been published in the 2012 issue of the Artistic Rebuttal and exhibited at the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts and the Nth Gallery in Boone, NC.

Emily C. Grabowski is an aspiring video artist and editor. She started dabbling in video as a teenager, and returned to it during her college career, taking a more artistic approach. Grabowski currently exploits aspects of her own life, in an effort to create understanding and community between herself and her viewers.

Born and raised in North Carolina, David Jones always imagined himself as an artist. He began taking studio art classes in middle school and has continued to do so throughout his college career. Shy and reclusive since the day he was born, he views the world from the perspective of an outsider and often works from observation. For Jones, the painting process is a meditative activity that allows him the time to focus his mind as he escapes surrounding troubles. To avoid growing stagnant as an artist, Jones seeks out new ways to challenge himself through a persistent search of growth and development.

Madeline Lee was born in Augusta, Georgia in 1992, and has lived all over North Carolina. Lee’s current work is made up of acrylic paintings. She explores the “demons” we struggle with in daily life, such as depression, anxiety, and disappointment. Her work also has a hint of irony with cute characters being put in chancy situations. Lee has exhibited in the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts and has collaborated on work for the Smith Gallery.

Haley McElroy was born in Omaha, Nebraska in 1991. She is double majoring in Studio Art and Art Education. Inspired by her interests in biology and psychology, McElroy creates anthropomorphic creatures that straddle the line between the humorous and grotesque.  McElroy believes these organisms are projections of self-analysis and social issues.  She received two jurors’ awards in Art Expo 2011, held at the Smith Gallery.  In the spring of 2014, McElroy showed her work in an exhibition at 3rd Place, called Sarap Sarap.  After she graduates, McElroy wants to pursue a Masters of Fine Arts and eventually travel to the corners of the world to find a home for her creatures and herself.

Throughout her childhood, Catherine Michniak was fascinated by her family background. Her mother’s family comes from the Southern United States, where her grandmother grew up during the Great Depression. Her father’s parents moved to the United States from Poland. Both families ended up in North Carolina, where Michniak was born. As she grew up, Michniak spent large periods of time with both grandparents, listening to the stories they loved to share. These stories later influenced Michniak as an adult, and shaped her work in metals. She is currently working on a series of enameled necklaces.

Alexandra Bird was born in Charlotte, 1992 and raised between the North Carolina Mountains and Florida. Bird grew up visiting Blowing Rock, Linville, Fort Lauderdale and Bald Head Island throughout her youth. These travels formed important bonds with friends and family that became the cornerstone of her work. The connection between people, places, and objects from memories, drives Bird to produce jewelry that may become the objects worthy of beloved memories.

The Smith Gallery is located in the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts at 733 Rivers Street on the campus of Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. Admission is free for all events and programs. Hours are from 9 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday and during special events. For more information, please call 828-262-7338 or visit Like us on Facebook at


Published: Mar 31, 2015 8:38am