Emerges VIII

Emerges VIII

July 11th, 2015 – August 23nd, 2015

Opening Reception July 11, 2015 6-8 PM

Our annual exhibition featuring local emerging artists.

Curated by Linnea West

Featured Artists:

Jessica Machacek
Michael Ross
Winnie Gier
Saegan Moran
Cameron Lyden
Ben Rouse

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What emerges from an image?

In this year’s annual exhibition featuring local emerging artists, the answer is narrative. Eschewing realism, these six artists produce works of art that invite the mind to reconsider the unreal.

In saturated color and theatrical lighting, Winnie Gier’s photographs stage unpeopled arenas of unclear scale or purpose with magazine-style gloss for the eye to luxuriate in. Jessica Machacek hacks household blinds so that the slats, when turned by the viewer, reveal an idyllic, commercial, and patently false image rather than a window onto the prosaic real world.

Rather than commercial artifice such as Gier and Machacek riff on, Cameron Lyden and Michael Ross find adventure in the fantastical. Lyden makes sculptural objects, often of brass or wood, that on the first glance seem like ordinary tools and on the second are beautifully crafted apparatus of unclear function—at least in our reality. The installation’s title Of Those Who Call the Woods Their Home suggests to whom such objects, suspended on the wall amidst a graphite swirl, might belong. Michael Ross’s large oil painting, Checkered Hearts, brings history painting in touch with magical realism, as his accurately rendered Finnish soldiers of World War II are entranced by visions of glowing Christmas magic.

Finally, sensual works by Saegan Moran and Ben Rouse invoke the tactile and invite the viewer into the narrative. Moran’s fanciful style bewitches with a deliberately handmade, softly-textured approach in Saliva Diamonds, while her sculptural installation Vinyl Forest takes a markedly plastic approach to nature, echoing Gier’s photographs. An untitled series of black and white images by Ben Rouse, featuring Laura Estrada as model, allow the viewer to construct his or her own meaning from the mysterious symbology of eggs and contorted body postures.

If the picture plane can be a window onto an unfamiliar world, perhaps it can also be a door into our world. The narratives on view in this exhibition highlight the exciting and unsettling possibilities of strange worlds, and what might reach out of them, to us.

–Linnea West, Curator


About the Curator

Linnea West, an Athens, GA native, is a NYC-based freelance writer, editor, and curator. She received a master’s degree in art history from The University of Georgia in 2015. She has written a noted contemporary art blog, Art Ravels, since 2008.


About the Artists

Winnie Gier was born in Gainesville, Florida where she received her BFA degree in photography from the University of Florida in 2012. She currently lives and works in Athens, where she is a recent graduate from the MFA program at The University of Georgia.


Cameron Lyden is an Athens-based artist who received his MFA in Jewelry and Metalwork from The University of Georgia, and his BFA in Jewelry from Kent State University. He uses his work to construct a narrative for the viewer by creating fictional tools with ambiguous and fantastical functions. Working predominantly in wood and brass, he utilizes traditional jewelry making techniques to adorn carved and fabricated wooden tool forms.


Jessica Machacek received her MFA in Printmaking from The University of Georgia in May 2015. She was born in Omaha, Nebraska and received her BFA degree in Studio Art from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2011. While in graduate school, she received the Graduate Research Award from the Wilson Center for Humanities and Arts. Machacek has been selected to attend forthcoming artist residencies at Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, Vermont and The Wassaic Residency in Program in Wassaic, New York.


Saegan Moran began her undergraduate studies at College of the Sequoias in California where she discovered a love for printmaking. In 2010, Moran transferred to The Ohio State University, concentrating in printmaking, where she received a BFA with distinction in 2012. Moran moved to Athens, Georgia in 2013 to pursue an MFA at The University of Georgia. Moran’s newest works explore themes of curiosity, seduction, and desire through the interaction of prints, modified found objects, and sculpture.


Michael Ross grew up in Scandinavia and in Maryland, and received a B.A. in anthropology from the University of Maryland in 2000. He lived in Washington, D.C., and later in San Francisco before coming to Athens, where he is beginning his final year in the MFA program at The University of Georgia. In his work, Ross explores the interplay of the human, natural, and mythical worlds in a manner that emphasizes emotional and sensory experience.


Ben Rouse is an Athens-based, experimental photographer. A self-taught artist, he has long used art to explore and communicate his departure from the Mormon Church into the wider secular world. This collection of images, made in collaboration with Laura Estrada, largely revealed itself through dreams and explores the interplay of pain, pleasure, self-defense, and fertility through the lens of the subconscious.


Sponsored by:

FCA • Athens Ford • Todd Emily • ACC • AOC Twilight • Full Circle Realty • Josh Koons Environmental Design • Ross Eric Vaughn/Coldwell Banker Realty • Big City Bread • Flagpole • King Post Construction • The Grill • Parent Supporters of Clarke County School District