In February, UCA students competed for the chance to showcase their artwork in a juried exhibit that will be on display from March 2-16 at the Baum Gallery of Fine Art.
The Baum Gallery opened its doors from 2-4 p.m. Sunday for the 2014 Annual Student Competitive Exhibition grand opening. The reception was free and open to the public.
The exhibit showcases only UCA student work. All students had the chance to enter work of any medium they desired.
Not all works entered made it into the show. Applications were reviewed by a panel, which decided what works would appear in the showcase.
The Student Competitive is a juried show. Arkansas artist Dusty Mitchell juried the artwork this year. Mitchell is a graduate of Arkansas State University. He has been on Bravo’s Work of Art: The Next Great Artist.
Mitchell said he was honored to be invited to jury the exhibit.
“It doesn’t feel like that long ago when I was entering work into my student exhibitions at [Arkansas State University],” he said. “That was always an exciting time to see how my work measured up against my peers’ work.”
Mitchell said the jurying process was more difficult than he imagined.
“It is difficult to figure out how to draw the line between which pieces should be included in the exhibition and which should not, especially because there is such a wide variety of media and ideas to consider,” he said. “Ultimately, as a juror, you go with your gut and make decisions based on your education and experience as a professional.”
Mitchell said the best work is work that stands out as being the perfect combination of materials, craftsmanship, presentation and creativity working in harmony with a good idea.
“Particularly in a student exhibition, things that stand out have a strong quality of individual style,” he said. “As a juror, I was looking for artists that were doing their thing rather than completing a project-based assignment. Great work always has an x-factor. The thing that makes it interesting for whatever reason.”
Mitchell has displayed his art in many galleries, such as The Mobile Museum of Art in Mobile, Ala. and The Brooks Museum of Art in Memphis, Tenn.
He currently does sculptural and installation work.
Mitchell will exhibit his artwork in the Baum Gallery starting March 16.
The student showcase in the Baum Gallery consists of 3D work, installations, drawings, paintings, prints and photography.
Alumnus Michael Hinds said he’s a left-brained mathematician.
“So to go to the exhibit and to see the sheer variety of ways in which the students have expressed themselves in both 2D and 3D art — paintings, photographs, sculptures, lamps, a mobile, a carved-up book, a plastic dress — it was all thought-provoking about the notion of art and its power over human emotions and extra-sensory inputs,” he said.
The exhibit does not have a theme; therefore, students could enter art with any content they desired. Without a required subject matter, the works displayed in the collection were diverse.
Senior Rebecca Bennett said it was exciting to be able to showcase her work in a juried show with her peers.
“I love being able to see all of my peers’ artworks and see the variety of things that we all have worked so hard on to make,” she said. “I am thrilled to be able to show my work along with the other amazing artists that got in.”
Awards were announced at the reception in the Best in Show, Award of Excellence and Honorable Mention categories.
Best in Show went to senior A.J. Sawatzky for his “Shotgun Effect” installation.
Awards of Excellence went to Matrice Bolden for “Untitled” painting, junior Jared Holt for his “Office Space” photograph, junior Sarah McDorman for her “Words Cut Deep” painting and Erik Rivera for his painting titled “The Mattress.”
Honorable mention awards went to Shelbie Thomas for her “Recovery” photograph and Katelyn Robertson for her “Offspring” painting.
Sawatzky said he felt lucky to be recognized for his installation.
“You have to have a certain amount of confidence in your work just to enter,” he said. “But when you see it on the walls with all the other works it’s pretty humbling. There are a lot of talented people in the show and getting to see all those different styles together is great.”
Hinds said, “To see some of the recent best works of art from UCA’s up-and-coming artists of tomorrow all in one place was truly inspiring.”
For more information, visit uca.edu/art/baum.