Hearing loss, peers and mentors inspire UAB art student graduating with full MFA scholarship to Clemson University

Caroline Myers, whose partial hearing loss informs her latest works, graduates May 1 with a BFA degree from the UAB Department of Art and Art History and Honors College; this summer she will study at the New York Academy of Art.

myers.stream.1Myers' work, "Disrupted Reality," in the BFA Exhibition currently on display at UAB's Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts AEIVA.Caroline Myers, graduating with honors from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, has been awarded a full scholarship with annual stipend by Clemson University.

Myers earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the UAB College of Arts and SciencesDepartment of Art and Art History and the UAB Honors College. At Clemson, she will pursue her Master of Fine Arts degree. First, she will study at the New York Academy of Art this summer, where she hopes to further explore her passion and refine her technique.

Myers paints the human figure with the purpose of better understanding the people around her, she says.

“When I was 15 years old, I was diagnosed with a tumor that took 50 percent of my hearing and, with it, the literal ability to understand the people around me,” Myers said. “This new-found urgency to understand my peers and loved ones brought a reliance on constant observation.”

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, there was an unexpected consequence: Lip reading, a skill that took her so long to perfect, was no longer possible in a mask-wearing society.           

“Inspired by my own reality and my love for disrupted realism — a distortion of traditional realism painting — my final BFA show, ‘Disrupted Reality,’ came to life,” Myers said. The works are part of the DAAH BFA exhibition currently in UAB’s Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts.

Myers photographed her subjects in varying levels of motion, “some even telling me stories so that I might capture their authentic methods of communication in the smallest of details,” she said. She then overlaid these images to create reference photos for these “moving” portraits.

The resulting five paintings demonstrate her reliance on motion in communication, “whether it’s the slight shift of a person’s eyes or the dramatic hand movements that accompany a passionate story.

myers.2Caroline Myers“My hope is that this body of work is not only a unique visual experience for the viewer but that it compels a sense of curiosity in how we communicate with each other on a daily basis,” Myers said.

The past four years as a student within the Department of Art and Art History have helped her to grow, as a person and as an artist, more than she ever imagined, she says.

“When you tell people that you go to UAB and they ask you what your major is, they’re not expecting you to say, ‘Studio Art,’” Myers said.

The “relatively small program, at least by UAB standards,” is made up of a diverse group of students and faculty united through a passion for the arts, she said. Professors like Gary Chapman and Doug Baulos have become friends and mentors during the four years she was able to spend with them in the Department of Art and Art History at UAB.

“These mentors and peers have pushed and inspired me, grown alongside me, and gone far beyond their ‘job descriptions’ to make sure that I succeed,” Myers said. Myers’ work is featured on her website, carolinemyersart.com.

  • In 2021, Myers was awarded Honorable Mention in the DAAH 45th Annual Juried Student Exhibition; her work was selected for the 42nd and 43rd Annual Juried Student exhibitions, for which she won two awards.
  • Her work has been exhibited in “Antarctica: A Disappearing Continent” by Allyson Comstock.
  • She was published in the 2020 Vulcan Historical Review, Vol. 24, and will be published in the 2021 Vulcan Historical Review.

Scholarships Myers received include:

  • The Collegiate Honors Scholarship from 2017-2021;
  • The 2019 and 2020 Betty Loeb Scholarship for Painting;
  • 2020 Friends of the Department of Art and Art History scholarship; and
  • The 2020 Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts Scholarship, which was canceled due to the pandemic.
  • In 2018 and 2019, she was awarded DAAH’s The Kluge and Langley Scholarship,
  • and in 2017 the DAAH Incoming Freshman Scholarship.