The Pickens County Cultural Commission in Pickens, SC, is pleased to announce that the Pickens County Museum of Art & History’s “Thirty-Fifth Annual Juried South Carolina Artist’s Exhibition” reception and awards ceremony was held on Saturday Apr. 26, 2014. The competition was open to all artists working in any medium, 18 years of age or older and living in South Carolina. The exhibition is on view until June 12, 2014.
The Juror for this year’s competition was Clark Whittington, an artist and the creator of the Art-o-mat; retired cigarette vending machines that have been converted to vend art. After moving to Winston-Salem, NC, Whittington was setting up a show at a local venue and he used a recently banned cigarette machine to create the first Art-o-mat. The show opened in June 1997 and the original machine was installed along with 12 of his assemblage paintings. Scheduled to be dismantled in July 1997, the owner of the space asked that the machine stay permanently. Whittington felt that the machine would create a conflict in the space unless it was open to artists in the community. She then introduced Whittington to a handful of other local artists and Artists in Cellophane was formed. Today, there are 90 machines around the world and over 400 artists involved. Six of the machines are featured at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
Whittington spent Apr. 11 & 12 looking at, and contemplating 315 works of art representing 170 South Carolina artisans. The vast array of paintings, drawings, photographs, prints, ceramics, fiber and other mediums made for the difficult task of selecting works for, and eliminating works from, the final show. The impressive final selection of 113 works of art represents 94 individuals currently creating visual art in this state.
About the jury, Whittington said, “It was an honor to be asked to be a juror for this show and to be allowed to experience what is happening culturally in your community & state. When entering the space, I was immediately overwhelmed with the quantity of submissions. Shortly after, I was overwhelmed by the quality until eventually pulling myself together. This was when it became obvious that the work submitted to this exhibit was very strong while encompassing a wide range of approaches, techniques, vision, etc.”
Whittington continued, “With any exhibit of this nature, the juror’s job is to make selections based on their background, vision and general preferences. Being an artist who has always lived in the western half of the Carolinas, I feel connected to the landscape and its inhabitants. At the end of day, the artworks awarded in this exhibit were chosen because they made me feel comfortable…..as if we were having a visual conversation.”
The awards for this year’s competition represent not only a cross section of what is taking place in the visual arts of South Carolina today, but are also a fair representation of the variety of artists actively “at work”. Whittington chose the mixed media painting, “Escape Pod # 13″ by Hopkins’ Richard Morgan as the First Place Award. Second Place was presented to Karen Maters of Liberty for her collage, “Eat Your Asparagus”. The Third Place honor went to Spartanburg’s Jim Creal for his lithograph, “Donnelley Wildlife Management Area: Storm Clouds Gather”.
Juror’s Choice Awards were bestowed upon Linda Hyatt Cancel of Laurens for her oil painting, “A Mother’s Glove” and to Clemson’s Sam Wang for his photograph, “Untitled (Dogwoods)”.
In addition to the above awards, Whittington presented Honorable Mention Awards, denoting artwork of special interest, be presented to: Jamie Lee Gillespie of Pickens for the oil painting, “Table Rock from Papa’s Canoe”; to Easley’s Shaula Jo Johnston for her paper & acrylic collage, “Some Glad Morning”; to Hamed Mahmoodi of Greenville for his mixed media painting, “Monkey Maze”; to Greer’s Tracy Metge for her acrylic mixed media painting, “A Singing Bird Will Come”; and to Patricia Stalb of Central for her jewelry work, “Bird in Hand”.
The Museum’s Director, Allen Coleman chose the charcoal & white pastel drawing, “Portrait of Mona Canino” by John Schaeffer of Seneca as the recipient of the 2014 Director’s Choice Award.
Thanks to the kind sponsorships of Pickens County & the Pickens County Cultural Commission along with Mary Howe Benjamin, Roger Benjamin, Sherrill F. Benjamin, Dan & Kathy Brazinski, Doreen Heimlich, Larissa Heimlich, Philip & Gilda Hendricks, Wayne Kelley and Mrs. Shirley Sarlin, the Susan B. Benjamin Memorial Fund and the Seth Schafer Heimlich Memorial Fund, the Pickens County Museum selected six works that, within the scope of their mission directive, will be added to the museum’s permanent collection.
The Pickens County Cultural Commission’s Purchase Award honoring Shirley Sarlin was presented to Kolton Miller of Central the watercolor and graphite work, “Aristocracy”
The 2014 Susan B. Benjamin Memorial Purchase Award was presented to Diarmuid Kelly of Moore for his oil painting, “I was Just Thinking”.
The 2014 Seth Schafer Heimlich Memorial Purchase Award was presented to Patricia Stalb of Central for her copper, enamel, onyx, silver & steel jewelry “Not For The Timid”.
Additional Museum Purchase Awards were made to Easley’s Bill Jordan for his photograph, “Paul’s Birthday”; to Kathleen Wiley of Walhalla for her oil painting, “Tiger Portrait”; and to Greenville’s Lu Wixon for her acrylic painting, “Paris Mountain from Pickens Wildlife Overlook”.
In addition to the seventeen works of art singled out for special mention, there are ninety-six others on the walls and pedestals throughout the museum’s Sealevel Gallery, G-1 Gallery and Focus Gallery. No matter where your individual taste in art may lead, you will find some satisfaction in this exhibition. The variety of work represented is a generous reflection of the community of artists presently at work in South Carolina.
The Pickens County Museum of Art & History is funded in part by Pickens County, friends and members of the museum and a grant from the South Carolina Arts Commission, which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts.
No matter where your individual taste in art may lead, you will find satisfaction in this exhibition. The variety of work represented is a generous reflection of the community of artists presently at work in South Carolina.
Located at the corner of Hwy. 178 at 307 Johnson Street in Pickens SC. For more information call the museum at 864/898-5963 or visit (www.pickenscountymuseum.org).