Greg Howser, a figurative artist who lives in Bluff City, Tennessee, was hoping to draw Pluto as his inspiration for his piece in"Mapping the Cosmos," "because I wanted to explore the idea as to whether it is or isn't a planet."
Instead, the Universe gave the Cancer Constellation to him. "After some thought,I am glad I got it," he says. "Some special people in my life are in the Cancer sign of the Zodiac, and it reminds me of going to the planetarium as a child."
Howser says that most of his work is "a visual exploration of my personal relationships and experiences with people that I am or have been close with, people I have loved, laughed and cried with. Some of them are gone from my life now, some I feel I have known forever, and some I am just getting to really know. My work records the time spent with my family and friends and preserves the memories of the ones that mean so much tome." So it seems the Universe chose an apt theme for him.
He says he approached the theme the way he does all his creations. "First, I researched the Zodiac and the Cancer Constellation.Then I began sketching – thinking about how I could make it true to myself and relate it to my other works."
He carried his studies of the human figure and personal relationships into an accordion-fold book for this exhibit. "My mother's portrait and my grandparents' house are depicted in this piece," he says. Howser says that all of his work "shows the more intimate or private aspects of a family member or close friend. I explore what makes them an individual and what makes them beautiful to me. To truly know the identity of an individual is to know their stances,their crooked smiles, their noses, their moles, the way they walk, their body language and their vulnerabilities. In each piece I literally and symbolically reveal the individual to provide an intimate glimpse of what makes each specific person unique to me. I allow the viewer to engage with my subjects as I do,as if the viewer were looking through my own eyes at the moments shared only between friends."
Perry Johnson, another figurative artist, chose Howser to join the exhibit. "I am not really sure why he asked me,but I know he likes my artwork," Howser says.
Howser has a MFA in printmaking and Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting from East
Tennessee State University in Johnson City, Tennessee. He teaches at Appalachian State
University in Boone, North Carolina.
His work can be viewed at www.greghowser.net.
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