published Friday, June 29th, 2012

Masks, abstract works ask viewer's perception in Coyee Langston exhibit

If You Go

• What: "See Through."

• When: Opening reception 5-8 p.m. Friday. Gallery hours 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 1-5 p.m. Sunday.

• Where: In-Town Gallery, 26-A Frazier Ave.

• Admission: Free.

• For more information: www.intowngallery.com.

The Association for Visual Arts and Faces: The National Craniofacial Association partnered last August for a new fundraiser in which local artists indulged their creativity by designing masks that were auctioned to benefit Faces.

AVA member Coyee Shipp Langston said that benefit served as the inspiration for her new series of five masks. They are being unveiled today in "See Through," her monthlong exhibit at In-Town Gallery.

Langston's 3-D masks are papier-mache faces about 5 by 7 inches in size. The five masks are attached to larger canvases, and all suggest an Asian influence. In addition to the mask pieces, Langston will be showing several of her abstract works.

"This will be the first time I have displayed these pieces," said the artist, who is the art teacher at East Ridge Elementary School.

She said her inspiration for the series is a lifelong love of Chinese and Japanese art and architecture.

"As a child, I had a family friend whose husband was in the service in China and Japan. They sent me all kinds of neat things as I was growing up. I have collections of geisha dolls and all sorts of cool things. I think that's where a lot of this may have come from."

Langston said a portion of sales from her exhibit's pieces will be donated to the craniofacial association. The nonprofit's staff will attend Friday night's opening reception to answer questions about their work.

"Last year was our first year for Faces' UnMasked, which is where Coyee met us. Coyee just had such a great time, we were really pleased that she was excited about doing something more," said Kim Teems, communications and program director.

"Faces helps children and adults with craniofacial differences, and the idea of a mask just seems to fit us like a glove because so many people are judged by their face. Faces is all about trying to help them fix their faces and give them inspiration," explained Teems.

Langston said she hopes exhibit visitors see the emotion in her work as well as learn more about Faces.

"What I get from people when they look at my work is that every person sees something different, which I love. I always get a lot of different types of feedback, but they all talk about the emotion it brings out in them," the artist said.

Want more masks? AVA and Faces will sponsor the second UnMasked on Nov. 1.

Contact Susan Pierce at spierce@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6284.

about Susan Pierce...

Susan Palmer Pierce is a reporter and columnist in the Life department. She began her journalism career as a summer employee 1972 for the News Free Press, typing bridal announcements and photo captions. She became a full-time employee in 1980, working her way up to feature writer, then special sections editor, then Lifestyle editor in 1995 until the merge of the NFP and Times in 1999. She was honored with the 2007 Chattanooga Woman of ...

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