2019 Corey Anne Celebration of Women in the Arts

Participating Artist Information

Kim Abernethy is an artist who knew at six years old that she wanted to be an artist. Like many people, she did not listen to that voice until much later in life. Finally, she did stop to listen, started painting fulltime, and has never looked back.

Kim and her husband, Tom, have lived in Boone for thirty plus years. They met in college: She attended Appalachian State University and he attended Lees McRae College. After marrying, they settled in Boone where they raised their two children. During those years, Kim’s art took the form of photography and interior design. These days, she can be found painting by the scenic pathways, byways, and rivers of the High Country.

Kim has a deep love for the mountains and focuses on those places untouched by development. She has always possessed a heightened awareness of, and an appreciation for, the beauty in the world around her. Using oil as her medium, much of her work is done outdoors or en plein air. The experience of creating art outdoors gives her a connection to the work and allows her to convey a strong sense of place and time in her paintings. She expands on this experience by using the plein air pieces as a basis to create larger works in her Boone, North Carolina studio.

Kim is a member of Oil Painters of America, The American Impressionist Society, and North Carolina Plein Air Painters. She has participated in numerous juried group and solo shows. Kim is represented by several galleries across the Southeast and her work can be found in collections throughout the United States.

It’s never too late to be what you might have been.”   George Eliot


Elizabeth Lauer is a local elementary school art teacher at Blue Ridge Elementary. When she is not in the classroom she’s renovating her home in Fleetwood and throwing on the pottery wheel in the evenings. Clay was first introduced to Elizabeth when she was of elementary school age and she still associates wonderful memories with her art education experience in Kansas City, Missouri.

Ten years ago she sat down at the pottery wheel for the first time during her senior year of high school. This laid the foundation of seeking an undergraduate degree that would allow for access to a ceramics studio and continue her trend of clay covered corduroys. Elizabeth ventured away from the midwest and found herself at Appalachian State University studying art education. During college Elizabeth continued to fall in love with ceramics as well as fibers and all mediums sculptural. She studied abroad for a semester in Cortona, Italy where she studied Renaissance art, taught in a second grade classroom and created a habit of visual journaling while traveling. After four wonderful years, Elizabeth graduated in May of 2013.

Elizabeth has been teaching for 6 years, first in Hickory and currently in Ashe County. As she grows her home studio, Elizabeth creates work through the Craft Enrichment Program at Appalachian State University. This group of potters have been a revitalizing community that have helped her to grow as an artist and an educator. Elizabeth has found that continuing to create art while teaching has been crucial in providing a sense of balance between work and life. She feels extremely lucky to have found a home in this corner of North Carolina. She is thrilled with the opportunity to put clay in the hands of many young artists and mugs on the countertops of numerous kitchens.

 


Jennifer Murphy, as the daughter of an artist, was born with paintbrush in hand. Sharing in this way and painting alongside her mother felt like having a secret language. Jennifer’s love of roaming the Appalachian countryside has always offered spirited inspirations. She searches for sights that have memories to share. Jennifer’s brushstrokes seem like moments of joy as her painted story unfolds.

Jennifer Murphy, as the daughter of an artist, was born with paintbrush in hand. Sharing in this way and painting alongside her mother felt like having a secret language. Jennifer’s love of roaming the Appalachian countryside has always offered spirited inspirations. She searches for sights that have memories to share. Jennifer’s brushstrokes seem like moments of joy as her painted story unfolds.


 

Born (on the eighth day of the eighth month) and raised in Bethel, in rural Watauga County, Norma Farthing Murphy is known as one of the most imaginative watercolor and mixed-media artists in the High Country.
Norma grew up playing out­doors in the woods and creeks, dreaming of lovely ladies in flowery dresses while paging through the Sears & Roebuck catalog.  As a child, she would cut out these figures and outfits and play paper-dolls with them, making up her own games and adventures. “I felt nurtured by that early solitude,” she says. “It gave me time to think and to reach within myself and find what was there, and do something with it.”  The early influences were·posi­tive. “I am definitely a captive of my mountain background,” she admits.
“I was drawing when I was 3 years old,” she says. “I’ve been interested in painting people, es­pecially women, for·as long as I can remember.”
From 1965 to 1968, she left home and majored in art at Berea College. Stimulated to learn more, she studied French lmpression­ism at Delaware State University from 1968 to 1969. From 1975 through 1986, she took classes at Appalachian State University. earning her· Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1986. In 1980, she was one of twenty artists from around the world, who participated in the “Great Blue Ridge Fresco Experi­ence” with master fresco artist Ben Long. Since that time, she has won awards, honors, and grants from a long list of institutions and sponsors.
In 1983, she was designated “Representative Artist” for Watau­ga County’s 400th Anniversary, and in 1991, she appeared as a Rep­resentative Artist in the Southern Appalachian Historical Associa­tion’s publication, Women’s Work: Carrying the Culture, by Sharon Stapleton Fairweather. That chapter commented, “Murphy has inherited the artistic flair of her grandmother, as well as the strength and sense of humor of the Appalachian woman.” She commented, “For me, art has always been a way to escape reality, a means by which you create your own reality.”
She has been featured in ex­hibits and one-woman shows since 1981, in Blowing Rock, Boone. Valle Crucis, Banner Elk. Greensboro, Ra­leigh, Greenville, Taylorsville, Char­lotte, and the Research Triangle Park in North Camlina, as well as in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and New York City. Locally, she is represented by The Art Cellar Gallery in Banner Elk, North Carolina.

Artist’s Statement
“The world of a painter is an intimate place where life has con­trol, sometimes a sanctuary from a life where control seems to have gone astray.
Having painted for fifty years, I feel I am finally coming into a deeper appreciation of life and art, and how they support each other. I have survived life’s little struggles so far because I have found in art, escape, exploration, joy, solitude, companionship, confidence, and growth.
I realize now that painting has becorne my diary, and my way of understanding life.”