Seymour High graduate Paige Burchell honored in UT art exhibition

May. 01, 2014 @ 11:59 PM

Art is Paige Burchell’s first passion.

“It’s something I always wanted to do,” the UT student and Seymour High School graduate said.

Beginning today, her commitment will be recognized in UT’s Honors Exhibition, a show gathering work by seven graduating art students in various disciplines. Participants were chosen by UT faculty members and outside reviewers.

The Honors Exhibition runs May 2 through June 5 at UT’s Ewing Gallery. A reception is Friday, May 2, 3-5 p.m.

A drawing and art education major, Burchell is finishing a bachelor’s in fine arts. She is contributing six works to the show, including two large pieces, “Glamour Work” and “Pop.” Both are collage and acrylic on paper.

“I do a lot of collage work,” Burchell said. “I’m very fascinated with the old. I collect Life magazines from the ’50s and ’60s, and that’s what I collage from.”

After Burchell assembles her collages, she scans them and blows them up. “Then I paint on top of the blown-up image,” she said. “It’s a long process.”

With the imagery of “Glamour Work,” Burchell examines shifting gender norms. “Clearly it’s a woman working on a typewriter – in gold gloves,” she said. “Who does that? I thought it was very odd, and I wanted to play that up.”

Burchell studied art “all four years” at Seymour High School, she said. “As much as they would let me.” Before she began at UT, she studied graphic design at Pellissippi State Community College.

“I thought I’d get a better job that way,” she recalled, referring to her practical Pellissippi coursework. Shifting to fine art at UT was, she said, “a big jump for me, a big risk.”

For that reason, being included in the Honors Exhibition “means a great deal,” Burchell said. “It proves to me that I can do it, that I made it.”

After she graduates this month, Burchell will begin a master’s program in education at UT. She would like to get a job teaching art.

“I can’t see myself doing anything else,” she said. “I want to help show how important art is.”

kburns@themountainpress.com