David Underwood; Underwood Artworks.

About the artist:

David Underwood has been making unique fine art photographs and mixed media artworks for 40 years. His composite photography and mixed media work expand the language of photography beyond the limitations of single-frame imagery, and make significant contributions to the continuum of the history of image-text and photo/mixed-media artwork. His work is included in the permanent collections of 16 art museums around the USA, including the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Underwood has held 33 solo exhibitions of his work, and had work included in more than 140 group exhibitions, most of which were juried by prominent curators and other art professionals. His fine artwork is currently represented by The Haen Gallery, in Asheville, North Carolina, and his stock photography is represented internationally by Universal Images Group.

Underwood was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, the third of six children to a musician mother and an architect father. In 1982 he earned his BA in Photography from Carson-Newman College (now University) in Tennessee, where he attended because of the college's unique major in Photography, and to be near the hiking and outdoor opportunities of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. With work in various 2-D and 3-D media, Underwood finished his Master of Fine Arts Degree in Studio Art at Florida State University in 1990, and was recruited to start teaching back at his undergraduate alma mater in Tennessee the same year.

Now in his 34th year of teaching Art and Photography at Carson-Newman University, Underwood is a Professor of Art and the Director of Exhibitions. He Chaired the Art Department for 13 years (2000 to 2013), and led his department through two successful accreditation cycles with the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. As an energetic classroom instructor and mentor, he has taught 22 different college courses, seven of which he initiated and created, and he has updated the curriculum for the university’s major in Photography twice during his tenure. Over the 32 years he has served as the Director of the university’s two art galleries, Underwood has directed and curated more than 300 exhibitions of work by invited professional artists and current students.

David is married to the poet and writer Susan O’Dell Underwood, who recently took early retirement from her position as Professor of English and Director of the Creative Writing Program at Carson-Newman University. She has published three volumes of poetry, and in 2022 published the epic American novel GENESIS ROAD. Together, the couple have travelled and photographed in 49 USA states and 11 foreign countries, and have visited more than 150 national parks and monuments.


Underwood’s complete 22-page C/V is available upon request. The 16 museums that have some of his mixed media artwork and composite photographs in their permanent collections are listed below:

Asheville Art Museum, Asheville, North Carolina.

California Museum of Photography, Riverside, California.

Center For Fine Art Photography, Fort Collins, Colorado.

Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, Ohio.

Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, California.

Griffin Museum of Photography, Winchester, Massachusetts.

Hunter Museum of American Art, Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Knoxville Museum of Art, Knoxville, Tennessee. 

Lancaster Museum of Art, Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Masur Museum of Art, Monroe, Louisiana.

Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte, North Carolina.

Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri.

Oakland Museum of California, Oakland, California.

Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.