category: Campus News

C-N’s Chad Airhart to Have Solo-Exhibit at Knoxville Gallery

Pallet Life, an oil on canvas work by Dr. Chad Airhart, will be one of several works in “Clusters, Chao and Control,” which opens at The District Gallery in Knoxville on Friday, May 4.


The District Gallery of Knoxville will feature “Clusters, Chao and Control,” a solo-exhibit by Dr. Chad Airhart. The show, which opens on May 4 at 5:30 p.m., is one of the “First Friday” exhibitions that seem to be growing in popularity around Knoxville.

An art historian on Carson-Newman’s faculty, Airhart is fascinated by the idea of assemblage, which is another way of noting how things collect or gather.

“My paintings develop from two basic forces—chaos and control,” said the Texas native and Jefferson City resident. “I see this polarity of extremes as the ambivalent to and fro of decision and uncertainty, observation and imagination, and the incessant struggle between impetuous enthusiasm and intellectual detachment.”

The artist says his ideas may come from a hike in the woods or a walk in town. “I am drawn to the myriad worlds of gathering people, flower clusters and social insects as means to both an imaginary fiction and as reliable design modules to lend structure and unity. I experiment with the ambiguity between figure and ground, color schemes, tactile surfaces, and different sequences of gestures that create rhythm and asymmetrical balance.”

Born and raised in Dallas, Airhart earned the PhD from the University of Texas at Dallas; his dissertation consisted of a creative project that blended history, philosophy and art theory. His research focuses on the thought, motivation and context of American and European artists between 1910 and the start of WWII. His current work includes essays about art in Knoxville and Charleston in the early 20th century and a piece that considers the work of painters Soutine, Bacon, De Kooning, and Dubuffet.

“We are very fortunate to have on our faculty an art historian as dedicated and active as Dr. Airhart,” praised David Underwood, chair of the art department. “We feel especially fortunate because, in addition to being a serious scholar, Chad is also an active artist, which is a rare combination. That allows our Carson-Newman art students to easily relate their studies in art history to their own production.”

Airhart, a veteran of numerous exhibitions, is represented by the Valley House Gallery & Sculpture Garden in Dallas, Texas and The District Gallery, which is located at 5113 Kingston Pike, Suite A. For more information, call 865-200-4452. 

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