Noelle Gunn

MFA ’21 Painting and Drawing

Noelle Gunn is a third-year Painting and Drawing MFA candidate at East Carolina University. Originally from the fields and forests of a small town in Virginia, she was trained in traditional painting, drawing, and printmaking at The College of William and Mary. After finishing a Master of Arts in Teaching at Christopher Newport University in 2005, she taught high school art on both coasts for nine years. Since 2018, she has been awarded three scholarships to attend residencies at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts; this year she was awarded the Hannah Graduate Award, The Claire Armstrong Scholarship, and the 2020 Purchase Award by the Friends of the Joyner Library, for the East Carolina University Joyner Library Permanent Collection. Noelle is currently enjoying being a new mom of a beautiful son and experimenting with mixed media materials to paint the lush, rich textures she experiences in life.


The work I make is a self-portrait narrative of my life experience. This specific body of work reflects the transformation that has come from doing daily work with others to be healthy. I have taken all the bits and pieces I have collected, all the trash and turmoil that once was my life, and arranged and stitched it together into something new and beautiful. As someone who makes intuitively with a specific memory, experience, or vision as a springboard, I have come to learn that what was made represents the people, places, and experiences that build the ground, the solid foundation within me for a healthier life. Each are a part of me, and I am a part of them. Each share their light, teaching me the light within myself. The payoff of working with others—sharing openly and honestly with them—has, little by little, helped shed the armor. It has revealed where the enjoyment and wonder of this life is, and what is real and present for me today.

Grounded, 2021

detail with Walking Houses
Abaca and Found Materials, Goldenrod and Dog Fennel Shafts, Cotton Twine



Grounded, 2021

detail with Floating House
Abaca, Handmade Paper, Found Materials, Goldenrod and Dog Fennel Shafts


Grounded, 2021

detail with Floating House
Abaca, Curtains from a Friend’s Childhood Home, Found Materials


Grounded_First Panted, 2020~2021

left: Canvas, Charcoal, Pastel, Acrylic, Coffee, Yarn Imprints, Knitting, Found Wood
right: Goldenrod and Dog Fennel Shafts and Upholstery fabric
background: Discarded and Found Materials


Grounded_What Soars, 2021

Found and Discarded Fibers, Lashed Sticks, Inked Newsprint, Crochet


Grounded_The Lights, 2020

Abaca, Handmade Paper, Found Materials


Grounded_What Grows, 2020

Abaca, Handmade Paper, Found Materials



Thesis Committee

Scott Eagle, MFA
Beth Blake, MFA
Lisa Beth Robinson, MFA
Gabe Duggan, MFA