The newest exhibit found in the Grand Hall of the Community Arts Center is titled “Horizon: Contemporary Landscapes.” This exhibit is a juried show, wherein a judge or “juror” accepts or declines works submitted by the artists based on the theme of the show and other qualifications set forth by its organizers. Forty-one pieces of artwork, many created by local and regional artists, have passed the first elimination round.
This year’s juror, Chris Segre-Lewis, is a professor of art at Asbury College in Wilmore. He is an accomplished artist in his own right. He was born in Jamaica, raised in Florida, and earned his Master of Fine Arts degree at the University of Kentucky. When Community Arts Center Programming Director Brandon Long saw Segre-Lewis’ art in Lexington’s Ann Tower Gallery, he knew Segre-Lewis would be an astute juror for this show.
Long decided last year he wanted to have a juried art show every year whose theme remained the same for a variety of reasons. “The main point of the show is to establish the Community Arts Center in the region as a valid venue for contemporary art,” said Brandon.
CAC Executive Director Mary Beth Touchstone also pointed out as the show continues to become a tradition and gain recognition, artists from around the country will see that, because there is a different juror each year, the winners’ styles of art will vary, and they will know they have a chance at getting accepted into or placing in the show.
Long chose the theme “Horizon: Contemporary Landscapes” because there is no shortage of landscape painters in this part of the country. He included the word “Contemporary” in the title because it encourages people to “push the envelope” and experiment. In addition, he believed that if he did not, many abstract artists might think their works would not fit in at a show like this and would not participate in the exhibit.
Several artists have asked what is meant by “contemporary” art. In truth, contemporary just means current or present-day, so if the art was created recently or if the artist is still alive, it’s contemporary. However, the word tends to give people a sense of edginess.
Segre-Lewis looked for a wide range in style and aesthetic when examining the works.
“I hope to see artwork that has a synergy of innovation, risk, honesty, truth, emotional investment and strong concepts,” he explained. “I would love to see work that engages the viewer in such a way as to have a rich, complex aesthetic experience.”
The Gathering Artists:
‘A Common Thread’
In the Farmers National Bank Gallery on the second floor of the Community Arts Center, it is easy to see that a common thread connects the works of the Gathering Artists, a local group of artists that have been meeting every second Saturday since 1995. The thread that connects these works and runs throughout is simply that — a thread. Each of the works in the exhibit feature a red thread — sometimes literal, sometimes painted — that connects to the piece next to it, which connects to the next piece and so on, in one continuous line around the room. It’s a collaborative exhibit that allows each artist to work in his or her own style, while also contributing to a larger work.
The Gathering Artists define themselves in their mission statement as, “An alliance of visual artists and fine craftspeople, meeting to find inspiration and encouragement for their artistic endeavors, to share educational and marketing opportunities, and to enhance social networking and artistic growth in our community.”
This is the Gathering Artists second collaborative exhibit — the first being, “Natural Cycles/Earthly Connections” in 2010.
“The Gathering Artists wanted to have an exhibit, and rather than just having them show the fine work that they normally do, I challenged them to put together a collaborative exhibition, where the artists could communicate with each other and develop an understanding of the styles and techniques of their group,” Long said. “I wanted the exhibit to present itself in a conversational style, much like a Gathering Artists meeting.
“The exhibit in 2010 was a great experience, showcasing some of the artists’ finest work I had seen. This year’s ‘Red Thread’ exhibit has done the same. I can’t wait to see what they come up for 2012.”
The exhibit features the works of Virginia Birney, Ella Clay, David Cornwell, Donna Forgacs, Barbara Hitchcock, Fox Hutt, Jack Kaiser, Marlene Martin, Nancy Martindale, Linda Neal, Virginia Robertson, Margie Sobol, Gerri Trinler, Paula Whitaker, Pat Williams and Madelyn Worley.