Artists question human identity through artwork


Photo by: Kaylin Brown

Elaine Quave says her ceramic sculptures are inspired by her desire to understand what it means to be human.

Ashley Krause, Copy Editor

The FMU Fine Arts Department invited Neva Campbell and Elaine Quave to showcase their art in the Adele Kassab Art Gallery from Jan. 12 to Feb. 5.

Neva Campbell, a Myrtle Beach, S.C., native and the creator of “Flesh and Bones,” said, as a modern impressionist, she strives to use vivid colors to convey emotional light and density in her artwork.

According to Campbell, Vincent Van Gogh has been an inspiration for her when it comes to the emotions that go into her artwork.

“I paint the way I paint because it is what feels natural to me, not because someone else does it that way,” Campbell said. “But, I strive to be as honest and emotional in my brushwork, composition and colors as Van Gogh was.”

Campbell is using impressionism in the “Flesh and Bones” exhibit by depicting skulls and bones in a vivid way.

“Their lines, texture, and colors are varied, beautiful and intriguing,” Campbell said.

Campbell used gouache, ink, charcoal and acrylic paint as the different mediums in her artwork to depict her subjects in a detailed way.

Campbell’s fascination with nude portraits and skulls as separate items contributed to her inspiration for this exhibit.

Though there is a controversy surrounding art dealing with the human body, Campbell believes it is part of what makes humans interesting.

“I see flesh and bones as both the magnificent and pedestrian framework that makes each of us unique and animated,” Campbell said.

According to Campbell, her past history affects the artwork she produces today.

“Some parts of my childhood were magical and other parts were quite dark,” Campbell said. “All of those experiences shaped who I am today and they inspire my art.”

Campbell said being a southern girl who does not follow traditional values has created interesting conflicts in her life.

“I have been through some traumatic events in my life that sometimes have lifted me to a higher level of personhood and other times made me a vulnerable and anxiety filled child again.”

Campbell is not the only one whose history affects her work. For Elaine Quave, her experience living in California and then coming to a place vastly different than what she knew previously has contributed to her art.

“I felt a bit like an outsider because my parents weren’t from the area, I didn’t have other family around and I didn’t have a southern accent,” Quave said.

Quave said “ANTHRO/BOTANICAL” was  inspired by a desire to understand what it means to be human.

“I want to look at how we define and comprehend the world around us, how we understand the substance of our physicality and our relationship to our environment,” Quave said.

According to Quave, her goal is to try and inspire others by using her positive feelings about art. As a ceramics teacher, her goal is to introduce others working with clay.

“Through my career, I want to teach my students to be creative, perceptive, reflective, responsive, thinking individuals who become active members of society,” Quave said.

According to Quave, part of her love for sculpting comes from the materials always presenting problems because they never do exactly what you think. Quave said this offers opportunities to be creative and to make something more interesting than what you set out to create in the first place.

Quave’s own art education began when she started attending the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts.

Her collegiate career began when she attended the University of the Arts in Philadelphia for her bachelor’s degree in fine arts. She attended Tyler School of Art at Temple University in Philadelphia for her Master of Fine Arts and Humanities.

Both Campbell and Quave will display their work in ArtFields, a local art festival in Lake City, S.C.