On Monday, March 23, Boyden Gallery’s latest exhibit opened, to the sound of music playing in the background. Photographs, paintings, drawings, and sculptures lined the exhibit’s perimeter, two walls rising up from the floor created their own miniature hallway, and computers in the corners displayed various digital creations. It was the opening of the 40th Annual all-student art show, and students and faculty alike flocked to attend.
“I really like it,” said junior JaVon Townsend. “I’m really impressed with some of the stuff I’ve seen today.”
Sophomore Brittany Sigley, an art history major who also attended the show, agreed. “I thought that the art show was great,” she said. “The work presented was impressive and incredibly varied—there were so many perspectives.”
The art show was organized by Mary Braun, director of the Boyden Gallery. According to Professor Joe Lucchesi, the head of the Art and Art History departments at the College, the faculty’s role was more informal, involving talking to students about their work and encouraging them to submit to the show.
“It’s great for the students to have the experience of choosing work, submitting it to be juried, and having someone they don’t know review their work,” said Lucchesi. He said that the
College tries to rotate between art professors at other colleges, people involved in professional galleries, and curators or museum professionals to expose the students to a wide variety of juror styles.
This year’s juror was Ledelle Moe, the department head of sculpture at the Maryland Institute College of Art. Several years ago, she had spent a year at the College when sculpture professor Lisa Scheer was on sabbatical. As juror, she chose and arranged the works that would be on display.
Moe said that in every piece, she was looking for “resonance, not only on its own but with each other…no work operates alone.” The photos at the front of the gallery were “still,” and the sculptures functioned as “natural interrupters” to create a sort of “weave” as attendees walked through the gallery.
“I was reaffirmed that the quality of work is remarkable, and the diversity of the work is incredible,” Moe said.
Moe also selected an artist from each of the four years to receive an award for “Outstanding Work,” which came with a $50 cash prize, as well as a work to receive the Patti Runco Arts Alliance Purchase Award, in which the College buys the piece for $500 and adds it to the College’s collection. The winners were, respectively, first-year Yujia Dong, sophomore Dana Gittings, junior Kate Pollasch-Thames, senior Dan Bedford, and senior Spike Meatyard. Moe said that giving awards was especially difficult because “it’s a hierarchical system, and that’s not how art works.”
“It was quite a surprise,” Meatyard said about winning the purchase award.
Meatyard said of his work, “It’s a wide range of stuff that I’ve collected. A lot of it is architectural and cultural as well.” His wooden sculpture came from a 1960s cruiser boat that was burnt at his family’s marina, and his purchased piece was a painting done on a piece of canvas that came off of his sailboat.
“It’s interesting to find new materials that can be recycled for art’s sake,” he said.
The art and art history departments also presented their own awards. The first was the Vasari prize, a book award for a junior or senior for scholarly accomplishment in the study of art history (winner: Kate Pollasch-Thames). Two awards were given for outstanding work in art history as evidenced by submitted essays (winners: Anna Danz and April Morgan). Awarded last were the Stephen Szabo award for excellence in both art history and studio art (winner: Bonnie Veblen) and the Frank McCutcheon Memorial Award for a junior or senior who demonstrates artistic promise (winner: Kelton Bumgarner).
All in all, the show was well-liked.
“I loved this year’s show,” said Lucchesi. “I think it’s really strong…and it really represents our curriculum. What’s important to us to teach students, I see a lot of that reflected in the show.”
Senior Kris Fulk, who had two pieces in the show, was happy with the show as well. “I wish I wasn’t a senior so I could be here next year to submit some more work!”