Dr. Tammy Smithers work include in “What Remains” at the Coop Gallery


August 1-30, 2015 – opening reception Saturday, August 1, 6-9pm

COOP Gallery is pleased to present “What Remains,” an exhibit featuring work by new members, Melissa Newman, Jennifer Pepper, Tammy Smithers, and John Warren. Each year COOP invites local and newly transplanted artists to join its ranks in recognition of the seriousness of their work and their commitment to fostering Nashville’s artist community. This multidisciplinary exhibition demonstrates the shared dedication of the new members to offer a unique and engaging dialogue in our local arts community.

Each artist’s work deals with acts of preservation and the exhibition offers a variety of media including 16mm film, beeswax, found object, and 3-D printing.

Melissa Newman’s work is mainly two-dimensional and is currently investigating outdated technology, the mundane and the pitiful. Jennifer Pepper combines left-over parts of beekeeping with her interest in cursive writing as a way of examining the mortality and functionality of both. Tammy Smithers’ digital photography captures fleeting moments and favorite rituals from her research stays in Rome, Italy over the last several years. Her latest work is based on events surrounding the opening of Raphael’s grave in 1833. John Warren’s video installation celebrates banal domestic life, transforming the landscape into a diary written with light.

Dr. Smithers and APSU student Marcus Eiland collaborated on a 3D print of Raphael’s skull for the exhibition.


The FrameMaker presents the work of Professor Paul Collins

Paul Collins APSU Art & Design

Golden Lights: New Work by Paul Collins

The Framemaker proudly presents Golden Lights: New Work by Paul Collins. The exhibit is part of Clarksville’s First Thursday Art Walk on August 6, 2015. An opening reception will be held from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. The artwork will remain on display at The Framemaker throughout the month of August during normal business hours (Mon. through Fri. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.).

Paul Collins is an Associate Professor of Art at Austin Peay State University. He creates paintings, drawings and sculpture that combine humor, tactility and observation to examine the world. Collins earned a Master of Fine Arts from Yale University and has been an artist-in-residence at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Anderson Ranch Arts Center and the Vermont Studio Center. His work has been featured in New American Paintings, Art Voices, Fresh Paint Magazine and has been exhibited across the United States. Paul Collins is represented by Zeitgeist Gallery in Nashville.

According to Collins, “This exhibit examines the construction of natural beauty under the scouring light of ecological armageddon. My work pits the imagery of the inspired-but-needy naturalist with the indifferent gaze of nature itself. These works utilize layering, intense chroma and gesture to bring discrete realities into conversation. In doing so, these works act as ‘flytraps’ for the contradictions that embody the ambivalence of our place in the natural world.”

Professor Virginia Griswold selected for “Gullkistan: 20 Years” at the Árnessýsla Art Museum in Hveragerði, Iceland

APSU Art & Design


Professor Paul Collins Featured in Fresh Paint Magazine

APSU Art & Design

Visit the magazine here: http://freshpaintmagazine.com/paul-collins/

Professor Virginia Griswold included in “The Gold Standard: Graduates of the Last Decade” at VCU


Professor Billy Renkl and alumnus Greg Sand to show collaborative work at the Framemaker

APSU Art and Design

Light Work:
Collaborative Images by Billy Renkl and Greg Sand

The Framemaker proudly presents new collaborative work by artists Billy Renkl and Greg Sand. This exhibit is part of Clarksville’s First Thursday Art Walk on July 3, 2015. An opening reception will be held from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. The exhibit will remain on display at the Framemaker throughout the month of July during normal business hours (Mon. through Fri. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.). The Framemaker is located at the corner of North Second Street and Georgia Avenue, across from the Clarksville Academy.

Billy Renkl currently teaches drawing and illustration at Austin Peay State University (APSU) in Clarksville, Tenn. He attended Auburn University where he earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Communications and the University of South Carolina, where he earned a Master of Fine Arts in Drawing. Renkl alters old, retired, images and documents to create meaning and metaphor in their peculiar beauty and often accidental aesthetic. Renkl states, “In images, diagrams, and maps, the world is represented as both sensible and miraculous, systematic and astonishing. These images were originally made to be clear and objective, a rational distillation of a mechanical world. Instead and in addition, though, they are made rich in beauty and poetry.”

Renkl’s work has been featured in many solo and group exhibitions, including solo shows at The Cumberland Gallery (Nashville, Tenn.), Marguerite Oestreicher Fine Arts (New Orleans, La.), Vanderbilt University, The University of Kentucky, The Tennessee Arts Commission, and the Galerie Neue Raume (Berlin, Germany). His work can be found in several permanent collections, including The University of Alabama at Birmingham, Kiwanis Club International, The Tennessee State Museum, and The College of Notre Dame, Baltimore. In addition to gallery exhibitions, Renkl has worked with many clients on illustration assignments, including SouthWest Airlines, How Magazine, Vanderbilt University, Klutz Inc., Strategy & Business, The River Styx, Poems and Plays, and Rigby Publishing.
Greg Sand is an artist and photographer who explores the issues of existence, time and death. He works primarily with digital photography to produce art that addresses the nature of photography and its role in defining reality. Sand received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography from APSU in 2008. He has captured acclaim from both jurors and audiences, winning numerous awards and honors. In 2009, Sand was selected by critic Catherine Edelman and the Griffin Museum of Photography as one of “the most exciting new artists emerging in the world of photography.” Sand currently produces work in Clarksville, Tenn., and exhibits across the United States.
On working together, Renkl and Sand state, “In our culture, the practice of making art is often an exclusively self-referential activity. The popular model is for the artist to disappear into his or her attic of anguish, emerging eventually with a personal, insular, self-referential triumph. Or, often, not. Collaboration favors regard over self-regard, conversation over solitude, empathy over self-expression. It is, really, a relief to have a voice outside of oneself to ratify what is effective and clarify what is not. Though both of us primarily work with found imagery, the way we use it is quite different. One of us emphasizes accrual, for instance; the other often employs subtraction. Even so, working together has been surprisingly easy, calling to mind the old adage, ‘Many hands make light work.'”

Professor Billy Renkl currently has works included in 4 juried and curated exhibitions

APSU Art and Design

Professor Billy Renkl currently has works included in 4 juried and curated exhibitions:


‘Mash-up: artists do cardboard’ at David Lusk Gallery, Nashville, June 2-July 3 (exhibition will travel to Memphis this summer) david lusk gallery | mash-up: artists do cardboard


‘Tributary” at at Verum Ultimum, Portland, OR, Opening June 6 http://www.verumultimumartgallery.com/#!tributary-exhibition/c1ad2


‘The Second Annual Art of the South Exhibition,’ at the Hyde Gallery at the Memphis College of Art, May 20-July 31


‘You Are Here’ (artworks utilizing maps and cartography) at the Ann Street Gallery, Newburgh, NY, June 13-July 25 http://www.safe-harbors.org/events/youarehere/

Professor Paul Collins featured in the Project Space at Zeitgeist Gallery Nashville

APSU Art and Design


Professor Paul Collins Selected for Inclusion in Fresh Paint Magazine

logo_1020x139 copy


Dr. Tamara Smithers Awarded Princeton University Research Grant

Dr Smithers has been awarded a Friends of Princeton University Library Research Grant for 2015. She will travel to Princeton this summer to access several rare books from the 18th and 19th-centuries for her Cult of Raphael project.

APSU Art and Design Tammy Smithers

Amber Briggs and Amy Dean awarded APSU Art & Design’s first Student Summer Research Award

The Student Summer Research Award is sponsored by the Austin Peay State University Department of Art & Design and the Center of Excellence in the Creative Arts. It was established to create opportunities for selected art students to conduct studio research during the summer when they might not be registered for classes. The award provides $2500 to two students who propose a well conceived and intriguing body of work. The award will culminate in an exhibition on the campus of APSU in the fall after the award. This is the first year of the award.

The 2015 Summer Research Awards were granted to Amber Briggs and Amy Dean.

The jury was delighted with the quality of the applications! This is the first year for this award, and we didn’t know what to expect; every one of the submissions had merit. A broad range of techniques and sensibilities was represented – from classic documentary photography to performance art, from paintings based on ancient techniques to collaboration as a contemporary art practice. The applications were of a professional level, and ratified for us that our advanced students are already transitioning into their lives as professional artists.

– Professor Billy Renkl, Chair of the Summer Research Award Committee

Amber Briggs will  use the funds to create a body of collaborative works based on her family dynamic. In her proposal she stated “Truly at the heart of this motivation are motherhood and my relationship with my four year old son, Parker”.  She is inspired by her son’s creativity and way of looking at the world.

Amber Briggs APSU Art & Design

Amber Briggs, “Wax Blanket Reprise”, Photograph



Amy Dean will use the award to travel to New York City to gather images to advance her work. Experiencing a crowded, urban, multicultural environment will help put her paintings and drawings into a specific context. In her work, Dean explores her emotional experience of life and the particular way that she sees the world.

Amy Dean APSU Art & Design

Amy Dean, “At the Beach” 27″ x 20″, india ink, gouache, and watercolor

Three APSU art students received Presidential Research Scholarships

APSU art students Macon St. Hilaire, Matt Watkins, and Nicole Santoyo each received Presidential Research Scholarships. Details on their projects are below.


Macon St Hilaire received a scholarship to complete research for her art history project “<Opus Anglicanum>: The Work of the English, Preserving the Bequest of Medieval Embroidery and the Craftswomen Who Made Them.” As an artist, Macon’s artwork has explored legacy and success using the study of Art History and historical studio practices. Research into the Bayeux Tapestry, an example of 11th-century embroidery illustrating the events leading to the Norman Invasion of England, led her to other embroidery works collectively called <Opus Anglicanum>. Translating to the “Work of the English”, <Opus Anglicanum> were expertly crafted embroideries that became highly sought after in church collections creating an economic commodity for the crafters. Her research will uncover the role women had in the creation of <Opus Anglicanum> and how they were exposed to the aesthetic they utilized in the creation of the embroidery that closely resembles other examples of surviving Medieval and Gothic artwork. She plans to travel to London next year to conduct first-hand object and archival research.






Matt Watkins intends to make sculptural models of knots for his PRS project. Knot theory is a field of mathematics that he has been researching independently. Through the process of sculpting knots Matt will be able to visualize mathematical data currently being developed by knot theorists in three dimensions. Courses specializing in knot theory are not currently offered at Austin Peay State University and the opportunity to participate in the Presidential Research Scholar program allows him to further investigate this field.

Matt’s project also gives me an opportunity to work collaboratively with Dr. Ramanjit K. Sahi
​ in the Mathematics Department. We will be co-mentoring him on this project


Nicole Santoyo‘s project “Southern Epic” attempts to examine the peculiarities and strange beauty of Tennessean life without resorting to romanticized cliches and stereotypes. This project aims to be the antidote to the sanitized works of the American Regionalist artists of the 1930s, and provide a fresh and dynamic look at the contemporary South. A series of paintings will be presented as the result of exploring the community and gathering visual imagery and experience.

APSU student Macon St. Hilaire is the Artist of the Month at Yeast Nashville

APSU Art and Design

From the artist…

I am searching for my own place and how the work that I do and the person I am will fit into the wider world. The restless urge I have to travel is combated by my strong desire to understand where I have come from and what traits I have inherited. My artistic practice explores the connections between ancestry, traditions, legacy, and place.

This series of work, icons of the 27 club, came about when I realized after turning 28 that I was now older than Jim Morrison when he died. This realization spawned personal reflection in to my own successes, failures, and legacy. I found a connection in the way that we revere pop cultural figures and skew their lives while living or in death, and the use of Icon paintings of martyrs and saints in medieval and byzantine ecclesiastic settings, this led me to research the art historical tradition of icon paintings and look for a way that I could translates them to reflect contemporary subjects and materials.

As an artist with a strong connection to the past, Marcel Duchamp’s concept of ready-made art reflects the modern availability of artist materials. I am interested in understanding how the material components of an artwork are created. I have conducted and continue to research art historical practices used to manufacture art materials such as pigments, binders, and painting supports. There is an artistic tradition in making all aspects of an artwork that is lost when using manufactured art supplies. I am interested in preserving the inherent traditions of artists and being closer to my work through all steps of art production. I have worked to manipulate the techniques of art tradition with contemporary suburban materials and found objects; this was most successful in my work utilizing Kool-aid drink mix as a pigment for egg tempera paint.

For more information how I made these paintings, please visit: www.maconststudio.com

The Center of Excellence for the Creative Arts presents “Still in Motion”

APSU Art and Design

Allison Hamilton presented on Tlingit war objects at the state Honors Conference

APSU Art and Design

Art Education major Allison Hamilton presented a paper “Objects of Beauty and Destruction: The Art of Tlingit Warfare” at the Tennessee Collegiate Honors Council Conference on Saturday April 18, 2015 hosted this year at APSU (here pictured at the Q&A with two artifacts on loan from Ashley McClelland). She also exhibited a poster on the topic.