The Variety and Beauty of Friends

November 4-23, 2016
The Variety and Beauty of Friends
Opening reception: Friday, November 4, 5:00-9:00 PM

Exhibition hours are Monday-Friday, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Please note, the Emporium is closed Thursday-Friday, November 24-25, for the holiday.

The Variety and Beauty of Friends is a collection from six artists, ranging in age from 30s to 80s, including Mike C. Berry, Steve Bryan, Tina Curry, Eun-Sook Kim, Cynthia Markert, and Ericka Ryba. Professional experience spans from none to nearly four decades, with work dated from 1968 to present. Various media are represented in styles from figurative to abstract.  Curating this exhibit was fun, and we hope viewers will enjoy it as well.

Artist Bios

Steve Bryan developed a love for art at an early age. With the encouragement of a wonderful high school art teacher, he began college as a visual arts major in 1968. Ten years later, including several years of construction work between majors, he graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering. Recently retired, he is greatly enjoying his return to the pursuit of art.


Tina Curry: My first experience with clay was at the insistence of a close friend who wanted to try a new hobby. I just went along for fun, but ironically it became my new hobby. Twenty-four years later working with clay has become part of my daily existence. I fell in love with the challenge of creating 3-dimensional clay sculptures from images I sketch out in my mind.

There is a fascination with trying to express nonverbal emotion through clay, especially with human portraits. Many of my animal sculptures take on more of a whimsical or humorous spirit. My equine sculptures were born from memories of my lifelong love of horses, beginning with my very first pony at age 6 through most of my adult life. And what better firing technique to use but actual horsehair to burn the intricate design into the clay body. Each sculpture is hand built and carries a little bit of my personality with it.

I have participated as a mentor in the Community School of the Arts Side by Side Mentor Program since 1997, working with students ages 9-18 to develop their skill in creating sculptural clay art. I served for two years on the show committee for Arrowmont’s Gatlinburg Fine Arts Show. I was also an art vendor in the show for 3 years and won Best of Show in 2013. Memberships include: Southern Highlands Craft Guild, the Oak Ridge Art Center, Foothills Craft Guild, Terra Madre Women in Clay, and the Arts and Culture Alliance of Knoxville.


Eun-Sook Kim received her B.A. in English literature from Ewha Woman’s University in Seoul, Korea in the early 1960s. She was accepted into a graduate program at the University of Tennessee, and upon moving to Knoxville, she married and then stayed home with her children until they finished college. At that point, she resumed her graduate studies and received an M.F.A. in ceramics from UT in the 1990s. Her work has been featured in various juried shows throughout the U.S. and in Japan and Korea, and she has held solo exhibitions locally in Ewing Gallery, The Art Market Gallery, Oak Ridge Art Center, and the American Museum of Science and Energy. She founded and directed both the Corner Gallery and the Upstairs Gallery in Oak Ridge for many years. Currently, Kim is a member of the National Council for Educators of Ceramic Art, the Tennessee Association of Craft Artists (TACA), Foothills Craft Guild and the Art Market Gallery. She has extensive experience leading workshops, lectures, and teaching. Her work has appeared in various ceramics magazines published globally.


Artist Cynthia Markert has been painting her images on wood for over thirty years, drawing inspiration from such icons as “The Odd Woman”, “The New Woman”, “The Flapper”, and “The Free Thinking Woman” as well as drawing from personal experience.

Her work has been exhibited at Louis Aronow Gallery in San Francisco, D. C. Space in Washington D. C., and Studio 33 in Palm Beach Gardens and is presently in Rala in downtown Knoxville, Liz-Beth Gallery in Knoxville, Kress Emporium in Asheville, Lagerquist Gallery in Atlanta, and the Knoxville Museum of Art gift shop.

Markert’s work is represented in the archives of the National Women in the Arts in Washington D. C. Visit her website at


Ericka Ryba: I have always sought solace in nature and it has never ceased to amaze me. As a young girl the simple wonders of nature entertained me: fireflies at night, clover necklaces, the fruitless search for four leaf clovers. I also started to appreciate my relationship to nature as I moved around the country and was exposed to many changing environments and landscapes. I can vividly recall many of these times. If all of our experiences help mold us, then I am very much a part of my surroundings. I also involuntarily gather and collect items from the natural world. I may find them on sidewalks by the side of the road, deep in the forest on hiking trails, or lapped by the edge of a river. The changing of the seasons, decomposition, and the passage of time can all change one’s recognition of an object. My process involves the careful collection, preserving, and storage of these found objects. These collections become the foundation for my work: whether evoking certain memories, inspiring a color palette, or recreating textures and patterns. I favor subtle color and decoration over vibrant hues or bold graphics. My intention is to create natural forms with an organic feel and to achieve a balance between form and function and to create a portal of interaction between nature and man.
Ericka Ryba is an art teacher and potter living in Knoxville, TN. You can find her work locally at Nest, the Knoxville Museum of Art, and Mighty Mud studios or online at


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