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Bowie State art faculty exhibits variety of works at Montpelier

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Photo by Wanda Jackson. Bowie State University art faculty member and abstract painter and printmaker Gina Lewis talks about her two works,“Hot” and “Cold.”

Photo by Wanda Jackson. Bowie State University art faculty member and abstract painter and printmaker Gina Lewis talks about her two works,“Hot” and “Cold.”

Published on: Wednesday, November 21, 2012

By Wanda Jackson

Typically their day is spent at the head of the classroom, teaching art and various design disciplines.

But, through Nov. 28, artists teaching at Bowie State University are displaying their works in the Main Gallery at the Montpelier Arts Center in Laurel.

The exhibit is an opportunity for members of the university’s art faculty to show their creative endeavors and illustrate their artistic skills, and it introduces a group of creative artists to a new audience of art appreciators, collectors, critics and casual viewers.

The exhibit features 22 contemporary and traditional works in a variety of mediums including paintings, mixed media and sculptures. Nearly half are not for sale, but others range from $150 to $5,000.

Members of the university’s art faculty express themselves boldly, and not only inspire but also surprise their audiences while exploring themes that range from politics to fashion.

Phaedra Byrd, a landscape photographer, also teaches in Prince George’s County Public Schools. She holds a degree from the Maryland Institute College of Art.

Clayton Lang, who earned a master’s degree in fine arts from Howard University, is  a mixed media artist who works with “cut leather.”

Gina Lewis, now a tenured professor at Bowie State University, is an abstract painter and printmaker whose work is in the collections of the National Park Service and Howard University Hospital. Lewis has a master’s in fine art from Howard University and has studied with renowned abstract artist Sam Gilliam.

Lewis’ works are comprised of methods learned through a group project called “In Unison: 20 Washington, DC Artists” sponsored by Millenium Art Salon; each artist created five monoprints at George Mason University’s print studio and later exhibited the works at the Kreeger Museum.

“The first print is one of the monoprint collages that I did,” said Lewis, referring to her work “Transparent Overture II.”

“The inspiration itself was really just working in a new medium, trying to explore the parameters of that medium … how it works ... how it fits into ideas and techniques that I’ve used before,” she said.

Two other works by Lewis titled “Hot” and “Cold” use bold-colored mixed media to push viewers to think about beauty and the environment.

For others interested in pursuing art as a career, Lewis advises that “you have to follow your heart. You have to do what you really love to do because if you don’t, you’ll set off in another direction. Then 10 or 15 years down the line, you’ll realize that you really hate what you’re doing. People who know that what they love is art should make art.”

Clark Mester is a sculptor whose figurative wood pieces have been exhibited throughout Maryland. You might recognize him from the many years that he worked as the offensive line coach for DeMatha High School football.

Yanique Moore, a fashion designer, has her unique handbags on display. Moore attended Spelman College and has worked for Ebony magazine.

Natalie Thomas-Wade is a graphic designer and illustrator with a degree from the Rhode Island School of Design.

Doreen Vernon teaches fashion design, and works as a design consultant and illustrator with Donegar Design Group in New York.

Vernon took images of models from fashion magazines that she has collected over 15 years and pasted the images to a 5-foot dressmaker’s form. Many of the models are recognizable, including Naomi Campbell. The work titled “Models (Dress Form)” represents “the vast beauty in the industry,” said Vernon.

“It’s just about beautiful women and how they mimic each other,” she said.

 Vernon used images from traditional fashion magazines including Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Elle.

Robert Ward, a printmaker and illustrator, is a long-time art educator with a doctorate in art education from the University of Maryland.

The exhibition is a rare opportunity to see the range and depth of works by select Bowie State University’s art faculty.

For additional information about the “Bowie State University Art Faculty” exhibit at the Montpelier Arts Center, call 301-377-7800 or visit

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