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Explore 'New Developments' at ETSU’s Reece Museum

Contributed • Jun 28, 2018 at 4:30 PM

JOHNSON CITY – This summer, the Reece Museum at East Tennessee State University is featuring three different photography exhibitions, beginning with the “New Developments” and “Renewal” exhibitions and ending with “Personal Impressions.”

“New Developments,” an exhibition by local photographer Matthew J. Brown that continues through July 20, captures how the local region transitioned from being dependent on agriculture to relying on real estate and commerce industries.

“What is most different about this contemporary, shifting landscape is the non-specificity and ubiquitous nature of it – the ‘Anywhere USA’ nature of it,” Brown said. “Nowhere is this non-specificity manifested more clearly than in the homogenized, ‘big box’ store – a symbol of a region and nation in transition.”

Brown, who resides in Kingsport, graduated from ETSU in 2015 with a bachelor of fine arts degree, and his work has been exhibited internationally and featured in regional and national magazines. He was recently accepted into the master of fine arts program at the University of Georgia and plans to begin his studies this fall.

Along with “New Developments,” the “Renewal” exhibition will also be on display until July 20. “Renewal” is a collaboration between Katie Sheffield and the Elizabethton/Carter County Public Library. Images of Elizabethton in 2018 are paired with images from 1969 to show the visual changes of the area.

After the Elizabethton Department of Planning and Development transferred over 200 photographs to the Elizabethton City Archives, housed in the Elizabethton/Carter County Public Library, library archivist Joe Penza began organizing and digitizing the new collection. Katie Sheffield, an artist and visual resources curator in the ETSU Department of Art and Design, aided with this project by capturing high-resolution photographs of each document to generate digitized copies.

Sheffield became more involved with the project as she revisited the addresses of the archived photographs and captured images of the current residences and businesses.

“Out of the 260 properties, I chose a cross-section to re-photograph. During my research, I revisited the addresses and found many properties, as well as entire neighborhoods, no longer existed. I wanted the new photographs to have a contemporary look and feel, but still be similar to the original photographs,” Sheffield stated.

In addition to her work at ETSU, Sheffield is an adjunct professor for the Digital Media Art and Design Department at King University. In 2016, she completed her master of fine arts degree at ETSU. Her work has been exhibited regionally, nationally and internationally.

The final photography exhibit at the Reece Museum this summer is “Personal Impressions” by the Johnson City Amateur Photography Club. This exhibition opens June 26 and will continue through Aug. 17.

With 31 images from 14 club members, this exhibition will highlight the diversity and significance of having different perspectives in life.

Maureen Mulroy, the founder of the Johnson City Amateur Photography Club, states, “The photographs in this exhibition represent the unique, diverse and personal world views of club members. As you will see, significance is in the eye of the beholder.”

For community members interested in the club, meetings are held on the first Monday of every month at the Memorial Park Community Center, located at 510 Bert Street, from 1 to 3 p.m. All are welcome.

To bridge the connection between all three exhibits, the Reece Museum will host a panel discussion on Thursday, July 12, at 5 p.m. The panel discussion will feature a representative from each exhibit. A reception will be held following the discussion.

The Reece Museum is located on ETSU's campus and is open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The exhibits, as well as the reception and panel discussion, are free and open to the public.

For more information about the upcoming exhibitions and events, call (423) 439-4392 or visit www.etsu.edu/reece. For disability accommodations, call the ETSU Office of Disability Services at (423) 439-8346.

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