ASU art alumni express personal experiences through artwork

ALAMOSA – Two talented Art Department alumni, Matthew Capell ‘10 and Nora McBride ‘11 recently returned to Adams State University to exhibit their artistic talents in the Hatfield Gallery show, “Fractalrefinery Inspaceonline.”

Capell and McBride draw on very different sources of inspiration for their collaborative show. Three years ago, McBride was diagnosed with breast cancer. “The work I have made since then has to do with trying to cope with anxiety and worry related to that diagnosis, as well as living in the current political/social climate. I guess celebrating life in all of its weirdness with full knowledge that it is finite.” Fortunately, due to early detection, McBride is cancer-free.

The Hatfield Gallery exhibit of Capell’s work is based on space, science, geometry and natural fractal patterns. His favorite piece, “Penrose,” brought these inspirations together, in “a visually compelling work that is aesthetically pleasing. I use skills and recycled materials from sign making at Extreme Graphics in combination with printmaking techniques. I am drawn to more process oriented mediums.”

Also a printmaker, McBride chose a different medium for this body of work. The majority of her work in “Fractalrefinery Inspaceonline” is embroidery. “Embroidery is a definite contrast to the nature of linocuts. It is incredibly tedious and time consuming. For me it is really calming.” As an artist, she views her role in the community and society as “creating art in the most effective way I know how to digest and make sense of the world, and articulate my voice in it.”

An Alamosa High School graduate, Capell earned his BFA in printmaking at Adams State and currently works for Extreme Graphics. “I gained an appreciation for the San Luis Valley in regards to beauty and cost of living. It just made sense for me to stay here and continue my education through Adams State.”

After her stint as an Americorp volunteer in the San Luis Valley ended, McBride enrolled in the Adams State graduate art program, completing her master’s degree in art. “One of the most important experiences was proposing and writing my thesis and creating a body of work around it.” She continues to feel the support of the Adams State faculty even after graduation. “Professor Gene Schilling continues to be a source of encouragement.”

Capell agrees, he appreciates and is inspired by Schilling’s nonobjective paintings, the landscape and figurative paintings of local artist Randy Pijoan, and the artwork of his fellow alumni Kendall McNeilsmith and Henry Blount.

Capell and McBride dedicated “Fractalrefinery Inspaceonline” to their friend and former art student Joshua Butters Hendren, who passed away in 2017. “He made a huge impact on our lives as students at Adams State and as artists. He was a great loyal friend and very passionate about art. His presence in the Art Department was impossible to ignore, as he had an energy and exuberance that was unparalleled and brought life into any situation,” Capell said. “More than anything it was the absolutely amazing people I met at Adams State that truly changed my life.”