Ross Gallery: January 17- February 28, 2017
Opening Reception: Wednesday, February 1, 6—8p.m., Ross Gallery
Artist Lectures: Wednesday, February 8, 6-7:30p.m., Tate Hall
A mannequin, a puppet, a porcelain head,
A marble bust, a figurine, a doll…
These false figures are the vessels that contain our many selves, those we own outright, and those we do not always wish to display. They are where we store our fear and longing, our pride, our shame, our tiny truths. They become something beyond a substitute, more like an extension of self, a reflection that both duplicates the familiar and insinuates the foreign.
Artists Stacey Davidson and Jason Watson both use these figurative forms to explore themselves and the social worlds they navigate, along distinct, but sometimes parallel, paths. Davidson’s paintings and drawings begin with keen observation of both live models and the dolls she makes to serve as live models. Her probing of these real and newly imagined bodies is an ongoing investigation of portraiture and what it reveals to both herself and her viewers. With painterly grace, she investigates dolls not to dispel their uncanny nature, but instead to enter into its deep mystery.
Jason Watson also draws from found figures, but along with dolls looks at museum mannequins and portrait busts made from marble, wood, and bronze. He encounters these heads in museums and sketches them onsite, translating hard materials into lyrical drawn line, and adding to the archive of faces he later pieces together in tangled, cryptic compositions. Found objects and fractured text animate these works into something caught between narrative suggestion and the absurdity of dreams.
Both artists make to learn, about both their chosen subjects (the doll, the marble bust, the other…) and themselves (the artist, the maker, the inner psyche…). The hybrid German / English word “Doppelgängers” is a fitting title and introduction to this ongoing creative process, as it alludes to both the physical reality of the portraits before you, and to the ever elusive faces and bodies they depict.
Stephanie Neely: Secret Garden
Pease Gallery: January 17- March 2, 2017
Artist Lecture: Wednesday, February 15th 10:30am- 11:30am, Pease Gallery
Opening Reception: Thursday, February 16th 5-7p.m., Pease Gallery
Stephanie Neely’s relationship with art making has long been one of guarded secrecy. Beginning in childhood, drawing and painting became strong creative impulses in her life, though for a long time they remained only as secondary pastimes. Initially pursuing diverse academic and professional routes such as landscape horticulture, law, and religious studies, her interest in painting continued to develop as a latent and ever-growing source of intrigue, eventually culminating in a newly defined connection to the medium of oil pastel.
For the past decade, Neely has concentrated on depicting plant and flower materials in the form of beautifully detailed and enigmatic still life paintings. Her large-scale works take various elements of the natural world as their muses and render them with a deeply-felt sensitivity towards the subject matter at hand. Drawing on skills acquired through her training in landscape horticulture and land surveying, Neely is able to transform her objects with both remarkable exactness and a keen sense of wonder. No longer simply a diversion from other aspects of her life, Neely utilizes her art to reveal the hidden and mysterious nature of her subjects, allowing viewers to take part in that same process of discovery.
Neely’s works are the result of many challenges, frustrations, and, ultimately, the joys of overcoming the temperamental nature of her adopted medium in order to arrive at something truly fulfilling. For her, experimentation, patience, and failure are all integral parts of the creative process. Entirely self-taught, she maintains the same fundamental joy and fascination in painting that motivated her in her early life, always striving for perfection and never short of emotional depth.
Each summer, instructor Elizabeth Ross takes a group of students to a farm in Middlebrook, VA, to participate in a resident program presented by the Art Department of CPCC. During their week-long stay, students take part in an intensive exploration of the creative process of finding one’s own voice in the visual arts. The artwork on view is the product of each student’s own reflection on their experience.
An exhibition of the works of Marcia Goldenstein and Todd Johnson
Ross Gallery I: October 24–December 5, 2016
Artist Lectures: Thursday, November 3, 12:30–1:45 PM, Ross Gallery
Opening Reception: Thursday, November 3, 5:30–7:30 PM
Art history, scale, and craftsmanship are characteristics that unite the work of Marcia Goldenstein and Todd Johnson— Goldenstein’s embroidered portraits of women artists that reference photography and Johnson’s painted miniatures of historical works on commercial paint chips.
In Ladies in Stitches, Goldenstein celebrates women artists in a traditional craft which represents the domestic demands that they had to overcome to achieve their professional accomplishments.
Johnson selects commercial paint chips whose names evoke famous works of art, then faithfully reproduces the work in miniature directly on the chip.
Friends & Family Market
Ross Gallery II: October 24–December 5, 2016
Holiday Reception: Thursday, October 27, 5–7 PM
Market Hours: Monday–Thursday, 10 AM–2 PM
and Saturday, November 5, 12–6 PM
Join us for our third annual Friends & Family Market fundraiser: Alumni, faculty, and student artists offer work for sale for under $50. Commission from works sold will go towards Gallery educational programming and to support the Visual Arts Club, ClayBodies or the Metal Arts Club. This is a wonderful opportunity to collect affordable art by prominent Charlotte artists or to find that perfect, one-of-a-kind holiday gift!
Pease Gallery: September 9–November 3, 2016
Reception: Thursday, September 29, 5:00–7:00 PM
Pervasive Pollution is a collaborative exhibition of the Metalsmithing and Jewelry Design Departments at Central Piedmont Community College, North Carolina; Indiana University Bloomington, Indiana; and Winthrop University, South Carolina; focused on the exploration of pollution and contamination on a small, personal scale. Artists from each school interpreted the topic of pollution as it applied directly to their person or personal surroundings with the collaborative goal to cultivate an appreciation for personal intimacy, as well as the personal sphere and how it can be encroached upon.
Amy Herman: it wasn’t important until it was
Ross Gallery: August 15- October 9, 2016
VIP/ Media Preview: Thursday, Aug 18, 6-7pm
Opening Reception: Thursday, Sept. 8, 5:30-7:30p.m.
Artist Lecture: Thursday. Sept. 15 2-3:15p.m. (in Ross Gallery)
Amy Herman constructs photographs as a parallel to the construction of her own house. Projections of nostalgic family snapshots are ingrained onto her body and her home’s unfinished walls, representing the faux interaction facilitated by technology and confounding our sense of time: Disparate moments appear, simultaneously and chaotically, in the same frame.
Cara Truitt: In Flight
Pease Gallery: July 28 – August 31, 2016
Make-up artist Cara Truitt brings her illustrative vision to-light in this inaugural exhibition with photographer Colleen McFiggins, and installation artist Chris Kollman. An invitational to CPCC’s Cosmetology School, the exhibition teaches the importance of collaboration and the possibilities of a career trajectory within creative fields.
In Flight is a metaphoric invocation to rise up to our own authenticity. Women of varied nationalities are transformed into winged creatures, heralding fearlessness, creativity, and free expression before the lens. Using the human face and form as her palette, Truitt seeks to empower each young woman to adopt her own feathered alter-ego, begging the question: Can a temporary transformation inspire strength for lasting change?
Artist Lecture, Tate Hall (2nd Floor, Overcash Building)
Wednesday, August 24
10:30 – 11:15 am
Gallery Reception, Pease Gallery
Wednesday, August 24
5:00 – 7:00 pm
2016 Student Juried Exhibition
Pease Gallery: April 4 – July 14, 2016
The 2016 Annual Juried Student Show presents the finest CPCC student visual artists and their works in painting, photography, drawing, ceramics, jewelry, and sculpture. A variety of awards are presented, including the Presidential and CPCC Foundation Purchase Awards, in this festive and celebratory event for students, faculty and guests. Our honored juror this year is Dr. Jennifer Sudul Edwards, Curator of the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art.
Charles Williams: Continuum I Night
Ross Gallery: March 4 – June 30, 2016
Continuum: A sequence of events that allows us to move forward on our lives, from fear to freedom.
The story of our keynote Sensoria Visual Artist, Charles Williams, is fraught with challenge, beauty, and triumph— a potent illustration of success and tenacity in the face of life’s myriad challenges. Growing up as a young African American male in rural Georgetown, SC, Charles suffered three near-fatal drowning accidents. These traumatic experiences not only shaped his aquaphobia, but highlighted deeply-felt racial stereotypes throughout his adult life. Rather than shy away from the subject matter which almost killed him, Williams has dedicated his life’s work to tackling the nature of fear itself, breaking down barriers of regionalist racial stereotypes in his wake.
In his solo exhibition, Continuum, Williams will elucidate his personal journey in facing his fear through artistic practice. Ross Galleries will be turned into a dramatic, multi-media experience evincing the ocean at night. Artworks will each have a unique QR code, preloaded with poetic passages from Williams’ sketchbooks. Students and our community guests will be encouraged to write, draw, or paint on the walls of Ross Gallery II, under the vinyl lettered question, “What is your greatest fear?” Thus the Continuum exhibition will be a living, breathing, ever-evolving community piece as we share our deepest fears, connecting at the very nexus of what defines our collaborative humanity. As a greater articulation of the nature of fear itself, Continuum is a metaphor for life’s turbulent challenges, and how to face fear with buoyancy and grace.
Artist Lecture: Thursday, April 14
6:00 p.m. – 7:15 p.m., Tate Hall (second floor Overcash)
Opening Reception: Thursday, April 14
7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m., Ross Gallery
1206 Elizabeth Avenue
Charlotte, NC 28204
Miranda Pfeiffer Rock Line is a collection of graphite drawings, textiles and animations that evoke natural forms through excavation and touch. In the modern era, we scroll through images on our news-feeds and snap photos before a moment has passed. Amidst the disparate spray of a technological milieu, Miranda lingers with objects long enough to depict their minutest tendrils, building massive drawings with an everyday mechanical pencil. Through representational drawings and hand drawn animation, a moment of present observation can last eternally, keeping a viewer from assuming prejudice and extending one’s sensory delight.
Artist Lecture: Thursday, January 28
1:00 p.m. – 2:15 p.m., Tate Hall (*second floor in Overcash)
Opening Reception: Thursday, January 28
5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m., Ross Gallery
Animation Workshop: Friday, January 29
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., Central for Arts Technology (AU 102)
*RSVP Required to firstname.lastname@example.org
Désirée Petty’s previous education in Architecture instilled within her with an attraction to the beauty of both function and sculpture. In her clay practice, Désirée reexamines the line between functional and sculptural artworks. Her aesthetic is propelled forward by exploring new relationships between the two. Marks is inspired by a more personal narrative, exploring the effects experiences have on us as physical and spiritual beings.
Artist Lecture: Wednesday, February 17
2:00 p.m. – 2:45 p.m., Pease Auditorium (*first floor LRC)
Opening Reception: Wednesday, February 17
5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m., Pease Gallery
1200 Sam Ryburn Walk
Charlotte, NC 28204
Pease Gallery , Pease Building
Times : Monday – Thursday 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Opening Reception : Thursday, November 19, 5 – 7 p.m.
V.I.P. Reception : Friday, November 20, 6 – 9 p.m.
Each summer, instructor Elizabeth Ross takes a group of students to a farm in Middlebrook, Virginia, to participate in a resident program presented by the Visual Arts Department at CPCC. During their week-long-stay, they take part in an intensive exploration of the creative process of finding one’s own voice in the visual arts. The artwork on view is the product of each student’s experience at the farm.
Ross Gallery II, Overcash Building
Times : Monday – Thursday 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Fridays, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Holiday Reception: Thursday, October 29, 5 -7 p.m.
Join us for our second annual Friends & Family Market fundraiser. Alumni exhibiting artists, faculty members, and former and current students will have work for sale for less than $50! The commission from the works sold will go toward Gallery educational programming and to support the student Visual Arts Club. This is a wonderful opportunity to collect affordable art by prominent Charlotte artists or to find that perfect, one-of-a-kind holiday gift.
October 14 – December 18
Opening Reception: Wednesday, October 14 from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Artist Lecture: Thursday, October 15 from 2:15 – 3:15 p.m.
Barbara Schreiber creates colorful paintings that combine pretty pictures and tough subjects. Her work tells a distinctly American story – one of restlessness, one of real estate, bracketed by the open road and the gated community. In the purest sense, her works are landscapes, filled with deserts, mountains, fields and subdivisions – but at the heart, they are about the collision of the built and natural worlds, about battles in which outcomes are uncertain – with a twist of sardonic wit and humor. Barbara welcomes dialogue from viewers – especially those outside the art world – and if often inspired by their novel or unexpected observations.
2015 Visual Arts Faculty Exhibition
August 17 – October 29 in Pease Gallery
Opening Reception: Thursday, September 24, 4 – 6:30 pm
A tradition that spans decades, the CPCC Faculty Exhibition celebrates the art and educators whose original and innovative works influence the artists of tomorrow. Contemporary works in a variety of media including painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, photography and ceramics will be shown, and represents the fascinating and varied vision of more than 20 instructors at CPCC!
Featured artists include Danny Crocco, Paula Smith, Richard Thomas, Eliana Arenas, Ed Burnam, Al Torres, Nelli Levental, Elizabeth Ross, Jenny Zito-Payne, Felicia van Bork, Chris Pittman, Heather Felts, Roceun Kim, Stephen Hayes, Isaac Payne, Chelsea Arthur, Andrea Vail, Nancy Nieves, Carolyn Jacobs, Ashley Knight, James Spence and Justin Liddell.
Susan Brenner: Natural Histories
August 17 – October 1, 2015
Susan Brenner is the recipient of a Pollock-Krasner Grant, two North Carolina State Arts Council Fellowships, and has been a practicing, professional artist for more than 20 years. Her recent series, Natural Histories, is comprised of biomorphic abstract works on paper that she created by combining digital and hand drawing/ painting techniques. From these she stripped the color, “weathering” them to the point that they were nothing but a complex maze of lines. As Susan states, “I felt as though I was traveling forward in time to a point when, as an archaeologist, I would discover these “skeletal reamains” of my own making. Once I had discovered the remains, I layered and built them up to create new structures to which I added color, thereby “reincarnating” them into new life forms.”
The resulting works can be viewed as conjured maps or recordings of (un) natural processes. Elements are held together precariously, making the images seem like they are in a state of flux. the vertical pieces point to portraiture. The large format horizontal pieces make reference to cinema in their proportions and are intended to suggest the unfolding of activity over time. They picture explosions that seem to be happening in slow motion and are as much, if not more, about creation as they are about destruction.
Susan Brenner’s work has been featured in exhibitions acress the United States such as the Mint Museum, the Columbia museum of Art, the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, and Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions. She received her M.F.A. from the University of Southern California and is Associate Professor in the Department of Art and Art History at UNC Charlotte.
Shaun Cassidy: The Sound of Everything
Ross Gallery : March 16 – July 23
“There is an inherent transferal of the senses when memories are sucked through the lens of time. If pressed, you could verbalize the smell of happiness, the touch of a perfect memory, even the taste of the sea as it meets the shore. Each of our pasts is laden with a synesthesia that defies logic, meaning our senses become conflated and confused, and all blend into various times and places…
It is through this lens that Shaun Cassidy pulled memories to acquire the forms and colors of (his) work. He has translated sounds into their physical counterparts, labeling them with color in an intuitive way. Together they make a collection of jewels, highly prized precious objects whose formation took the decades long compounding and compressing of memories.”
– Grace Cote, from The Sound of Everything, Shaun Cassidy 2015 Exhibition Catalog
Designers Dan Romanoski and Eric Hurtgen explore the intersection of physical and digital space through the medium of animated GIFs. The inherent abstraction of imaging the physical world is accentuated by the action of the endless loop. Mathematically modeled filters systematically destruct these images frame by frame according to preset functions, only to be reconstructed again in a seemingly eternal configuration.
Airy Knoll Farm Show
November 12 – January 8, 2014
Each summer, instructor Elizabeth Ross takes a group of students to a farm in Middlebrook, VA to participate in a resident program presented by the Art Department of CPCC. During their week-long stay, they take part in an intensive exploration of the creative process of finding one’s own voice in the visual arts. The artwork on view is the product of each student’s own reflection on their experience.
The Boxing Gym, de’Angelo Dia and Shaun El C. Leonardo
October 20 – December 18, 2014
Through performance, photographs and video, Dia and El C. explore the hype and demise of one boxer, examining the media and public’s contradictory desire to build up our heroes (specifically our colored athletes) only to see them torn down. This boxer, once headed toward glory, is now a man who clearly did not live up to his potential. Photographed in the gym where he once trained, he and his environment are now a mere shell of the macho grandeur, aggression and intensity they once symbolized.
Objects in Perspective: Collaboration by Aspen Hochhalter and Natalie Abrams
September 15 – November 6, 2014
Aspen Hochhalter, a photographer, and Natalie Abrams, a sculptor, met while in residence together at the McColl Center for Art + Innovation, and quickly formed a lasting partnership. They will debut new work in this exhibition: Abrams’ looped and folded latex paint sculptures will sit on pedestals while Hochhalter’s large format (96” x 44”) photographs of the work will line the gallery walls next to original glass plate ambrotypes.
Hands Held to Empyrean
August 18 – October 9, 2014
Seth Rouser will present a series of original paintings depicting cloudscapes overlaid with gestural marks and emotive color. These paintings are a manifestation of the artist’s thoughts on time, change, and the human experience. Rouser uses his clouds to symbolize and confront existential issues and the significance of being.
July 14 – September 4, 2014
Pease Gallery will show prints from, Denisovan, an interactive artist’s book by Heather D. Freeman, Associate Professor of Art at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
The story is a fictional imagining of a girl who died 40,000 years ago. Bone fragments from a single individual were found in a Siberian cave, and paleogeneticists at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology mapped the genome, determining that the fragments belonged to a previously unknown hominid.
The story of human evolution is many things. One part of this story is the nurturing of children by mothers and fathers, generation after generation. We know that the denisovan girl had brown hair and eyes, but we can only speculate on her family structure, and how parent-child relationships may have evolved in the last 40,000 years.
In addition to these beautiful large prints, smaller (8.5″ x 11″) prints and printed books will be available for purchase ($10-$15). Proceeds benefit the Art Gallery’s student initiatives and programming.
May 14 – August 7, 2014
Andi Steele is an installation artist working with colored monofilament line. Her installations, which are highly measured and planned, involve stringing the monofilament across her site in order to alter the way visitors interact with the space and with each other. A true hands-on artist, Steele believes that craftsmanship and touching the work are important, taking great care to design and fabricate the pieces, which can involve tying thousands of knots. Because of this unique process, all of her installations are completely one of a kind and specific to their site.
Anyone’s Ghost: Kyle Worthy
Ross Gallery II
May 14 – August 7, 2014
Kyle Worthy is an abstract landscape photographer living and working in Charlotte. The action of taking a photograph is just the beginning of his extensive development process, which involves digitally abstracting the image, printing, and sometimes even treating the surface with encaustic to give it a velvety finish. Worthy’s work deals with themes of memory and time, specifically with how images of our past lose detail and specificity as we age away from them, though they still retain great significance.
Past Perfect: Kirsten Tradowsky
March 17 – July 3, 2014
San Francisco artist Kirsten Tradowsky takes inspiration from the past, specifically the objects that represent a person’s history and placement in life. For this exhibition, she has painted objects she found in the “for sale” section of Craigslist, capturing the quality of the seller’s photographic presentation in all its awkwardness, overexposure and strange angles. Using loose brushstrokes, she sympathetically renders these unwanted items in both rich and faded hues, delicately revealing the imperfections of time. Her artwork seeks to bring quality and validation to these objects and to painting itself.
Tradowsky received a BFA from The Cleveland Institute of Art and an MFA from the California College of the Arts. She has exhibited nationally and has been featured in Wallpaper Magazine, New American Paintings Magazine, and popular art/design blogs Design* Sponge and The Jealous Curator.
March 24 – May 1, 2014
This year’s student show contains 76 individual artworks by 50 CPCC Visual Arts students, created over the past year at CPCC. Works on view represent all media taught at CPCC, including painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, ceramics, jewelry/metalworking and more. Selections for the 2014 show were made by Seth Rouser.
CPCC Galleries will host a jewelry and metals invitational show titled “Jewelry + Metals of the Carolinas.” This exhibition is an abbreviated survey of what established and emerging artists in the Carolinas are currently producing. Exhibiting artists include Courtney Starrett, Mi-Sook Hur, Eliana Arenas, Claire Avery, Loring Taoka, Caitie Sellers, and Katie Poterala. The work on view will explore metal processes and techniques through examples of body adornment as well as wall sculpture.
Through their individual bodies of work, Pamela Winegard and Betsy Birkner explore cultural limitations imposed on communities and individuals and the behavior that occurs despite these artificial constraints. Pamela Winegard, an encaustic artist and painter, explores architectural facades while Betsy Birkner, a ceramicist, communicates limitations on femininity through glazed corsets embellished with color and adornment.
Presence: Figurative Sculpture by Janet Lasher
November 25 – January 30, 2014
Janet Lasher is a Charlotte, NC artist working in fiber, textile, and handmade paper. The pieces in this exhibition are from her most recent body of work that focuses on idealized concepts of the female. Ross Gallery I will show Conscription, a unique installation that visitors are welcome to interact with by walking through and around it. Ross Gallery II will feature embroidered and felted pieces considering the same themes.
Seeing… Observations from Nature
Airy Knoll Farm Show 2013
November 11 – January 3, 2014
This exhibition contains work by students of the Airy Knoll Farm in Middlesburg, VA, and focuses on capturing the contemplative nature one must embrace as a member of the class. Long time CPCC Instructor Elizabeth Ross encourages her students to open their minds to a more subjective way of seeing and appreciating the world.
Forged Landscapes: Ahmad Sabha and Sharon Dowell
October 3 – November 14, 2013
In this exhibition, the paintings of Sharon Dowell will be shown with the ceramic work of Ahmad Sabha. The industrial, cylindrical ceramics, glazed in appealing colors, sit upon dark gray casted concrete forms and forged steel stands. Dowell’s paintings are a bright, organic, vivid contrast, which, through their visual components of maps, streets, and buildings, provide a wonderful visual echo.
Zachary Tate Porter
Groundwork: Tracings, Excavations, and Burials
September 16 – November 1, 2013
Porter is currently a doctoral candidate in the School of Architecture at Georgia Tech in Atlanta. His work draws upon his architectural education, as well as influences from other fields such as archaeology and cartography. Characterized by their use of topographic surveys, textual fragments and found artifacts, Porter’s drawings and models construct complex narratives that connect the viewer to imaginative landscapes. These landscapes, which often serve as sites for sacred events such as excavations, burials and outdoor sermons, confront questions of figure and ground, and ritual and place.
Janet Williams: A Topography of Touch
August 12 – September 26, 2013
The exhibit will feature a collection of ceramic and porcelain works inspired by the concept of identification. Born in the United Kingdom, Williams recently became a citizen of the United States, a process that required the documentation of her physical body through fingerprinting. This experience inspired her to explore the ways people identify themselves from a cultural and geographical standpoint.
As a result, she commonly uses her fingerprint as a starting point; with digital and hands-on techniques, she translates it into a porcelain relief piece, creating topographic and architectural structures. This juxtaposition, using a technological program to digitally map out ways to manipulate an ancient, organic material, led her to a new question of identity: humanity’s place in a technological world.
2013 FACULTY ART SHOW
May 8 – September 6, 2013
The 2013 Faculty Show features work exclusively by CPCC Faculty, including Ashley Knight, Carolyn Jacobs, Isaac Payne, Elizabeth Ross, Chris Pittman, Heather Felts, Jenny Zito-Payne, Byron Baldwin, Rachel Goldstein, Rae LeGrone, Ta’Vondre Quick, Paula Smith, Geoff Blount, Nancy Nieves, Al Torres, and Kappy McCleneghan.
Amy Bagwell: The Factories Don’t Install Emotion Tapes
Ross Gallery I
April 3 – June 14, 2013
In “The Factories Don’t Install Emotion Tapes”, Amy Bagwell explores the boundaries of poetry by re-envisioning the link between poetry and visual art. With an underlying motivation to make poetry more accessible, each piece is an assemblage of found objects, usually mechanical, whose purpose is to highlight the themes and visual presence of her words.
KIT KUBE: TURBULENT TRAJECTORIES
Ross Gallery II
April 3 – June 14, 2013
Through his sculpture, Kit Kube explores spheres of movement, visual feedback and interaction with found artifacts, forging symbiotic affinities with elemental forces such as gravity and angular momentum. In “Turbulent Trajectories”, remnants from our mechanistic past are reinvented, incorporating movement, light and shadow. The pieces challenge viewers to reinterpret connections to their surroundings.