Welcome to my web site, and thanks for taking a look.
I was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, the third of six children of a musician mother and an architect father. I graduated from Upper Arlington High School in 1977, and went to Carson-Newman College in Tennessee in order to be close to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and explore an environment rather different than the place where I grew up. In college I discovered photography as a way to document my hiking and backpacking in the Smoky Mountains and the Blue Ridge Mountains, and then also quickly began exploring the more esoteric, personal, and artistic possibilities of photography and of art in general. I graduated from Carson-Newman College with a BA in Photography in 1982, in the first class of grads with a major in Photography (there were three of us that year) from the small, liberal arts school.
In 1985, Susan O'Dell and I wrote marriage vows for each other that included commitments to forever support each others' artmaking, and we married in her hometown of Bristol, Tennessee. [Jump to the present; 30+ years later, we are still happily married, and we do a lot to support each other's artmaking and creative thinking.] Soon after marrying, we moved to Greensboro, North Carolina, so that she could earn her MFA in Creative Writing from UNC-G, and I learned how to operate an offset printing press at a small printing company. Then we moved to Tallahassee, Florida, so that Susan could earn her Ph.D. in English and I could earn my MFA in Studio Art, both at Florida State University. I worked primarily with Robert Fichter, George Blakely, and Trevor Bell, and graduated in 1990 after doing graduate work in photography, drawing, painting, sculpture, and mixed-media.
In the summer of 1990 my wife Susan and I both accepted offers to return to our common alma mater and begin teaching back at Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, Tennessee. Susan is now a Professor of English and the Director of our Creative Writing Program. I am a Professor of Art and Director of Art Department Exhibitions. During the 13 years I chaired our Art Department (2001-2014) I led our department in two successful reaccreditation processes with the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. During this 25+ year teaching career, I have redesigned our curriculum in Photography twice, initiated 8 new art/photography courses, and taught a total of 19 different photography & art courses. As Director of Exhibitions, I have curated/directed more than 200 exhibitions by professional guest artists and our own students in our two on-site galleries. "Carson-Newman College" changed its name to "Carson-Newman University" in February, 2013.
During my 25+ year teaching career and my 30+ year career as an artist/photographer, I have continued to make fine art photographs and mixed-media artworks. My work is included in the permanent collections of 15 art museums around the USA, including the Smithsonian American Art Museum (Washington, DC), the Columbus Museum of Art (Ohio), the California Museum of Photography (Riverside), and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (Kansas City). I have held 26 solo exhibitions, and my work has been included in more than 100 group exhibitions, many of which were juried by prominent curators and art directors. My first solo exhibition in an art museum was in 2011, at the William King Museum of Art, in Virginia. I continue to make new photographs & mixed-media artwork, evolve with my ideas, materials, and techniques, and seek new venues to exhibit my work.
In the summer of 2014, my wife Susan O'Dell Underwood and I started a new publishing company, Sapling Grove Press. Our mission is to publish well-crafted hardcopy books of poetry, fiction, and art, from deserving & talented voices from Southern Appalachia. Susan is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief, and I am Art Director, our web site manager, and a book designer. I juried and edited the contents of our 3rd publication, released in May 2015, titled, RICH COMMUNITY: AN ANTHOLOGY OF APPALACHIAN PHOTOGRAPHERS, which includes new, contemporary photographs and artists' statements from 82 photographers living in Appalachia. Check out our books and more about Sapling Grove Press on our web site: www.saplinggrovepress.com. Travel greatly informs personal ideas and artmaking for both of us, and we have together explored 49 states of the USA and more than 150 national parks and monuments.
Upon request, I will be happy to e-mail you a PDF copy or snail-mail you a paper copy of my complete 17-page CV, which includes my complete exhibition record and a list of the museums that include my work in their collections. My darkroom and my main artmaking studio are on campus where I teach, and I'd welcome a studio visit if you would like to see some actual work. Please send me an e-mail or give me a call with any questions: email@example.com; phone 865-471-3572. Cheers!