April exhibitions at the Emporium

Suzanne CadaDowntown, Our Town Arts

We hope you will join us for our April exhibitions! A free reception with the artists will take place at the Emporium on First Friday, April 7, from 5-9 p.m. with live music by Nicholas Horner & friends.

The Arts & Culture Alliance will present new exhibitions throughout the Emporium Center from April 7-29, 2023. The new exhibitions include:

  • No Bigger Than a Breadbox 3rd Biennial Small Works Show
  • Adam Rowe: Knot Theories III & Rob Scott: Mental States Across Time
  • Amanda Barbarito: We Just Let It Happen
  • Jessie Van der Laan: permutations
  • Recent Work by Cody Swaggerty

In April, the Emporium is open to the public Monday – Thursday, 9-5; Friday, 9-7; and Saturday, 10-1. Closed Monday, April 10. The exhibitions are on display at the Emporium Center, 100 S. Gay Street, in downtown Knoxville.

Amanda Barbarito: ‘We just let it happen’

A featured artist at The Emporium for April is Amanda Barbarito, whose new exhibition will be comprised of pieces created from 2020 to present. The opening reception for We Just Let It Happen is Friday, April 7, from 5-9 p.m.

With bright colors and an array of creatures, the work appears light and playful; upon closer inspection, one will find there is more to it than fun and color. Barbarito wants her paintings to make people think about issues around the environment, and more recent pieces are reaching into social issues that plague our community. She approaches these topics in a way she hopes will lead to healthy discussions rather than creating feelings of hopelessness.

Her artist’s statement:

My work is a reaction to my experiences with people versus my experiences with animals. As a child growing up in rural West Tennessee, I was happiest when wandering through the forests and fields around my grandparents’ farm. I looked under logs and in holes. I waded through creeks looking for these mysterious and “evil” snakes that handed out fruit and ruined everything. I picked clover and stood perfectly still until the cow ate it from my hand. I knew the black widows under the logs didn’t want to hurt me. I learned bees didn’t want to sting me. In nature I found a world that made sense.

She adds: “I want my work to reflect that appreciation for the small things, the insects, and other under-appreciated critters. When we look at a garden we see the flowers, but if you bend down and look closer, there is so much more to find, so many delicate little lives. Curiosity and wonder are what inspire me to stack so many things into my work. I often choose to include a little touch of litter, so as not to ignore our impact on nature. I don’t include actual humans, but I do include our existence.”

Suzanne Cada is deputy director of the Arts & Culture Alliance


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