Communication Arts and Design juried student art show winner "Wrapping"

Four students receive top honors in Communication Arts and Design 2021 juried art show

Four students received awards in the juried student art show currently on display in the King-Shivell Gallery in the Cannon Student Center.

Seniors Jessie Greene and Amber Corvin took best in show for their collaborative digital video “Wrapping.” The video depicts women recounting instances of harassment or body shaming while being wrapped up or concealed by various materials.

In a statement about the piece, Greene and Corvin said, “As women, we take criticism about our appearance our whole life and unfortunately it affects the way we see ourselves and how we present ourselves to the world. We worked very hard on this piece for almost 2 months and it’s really nice to be acknowledged for the effort that we put into it.”

Second place went to Tessa Wells for the oil painting “Eli,” and Sueann Bunker took third place with “Fairy Dust,” an acrylic painting.

Wells said, "It brings me great satisfaction to know that others enjoy something I've created. To win an award for my art inspires me to create. It inspires me to improve my technique, imagine new pieces and always work harder than the years prior!"

“Winning an award for my art definitely helps me feel more like an artist. I often forget that I have the ability to be creative,” Bunker said. She explained that the painting is “a symbol for how strong we can be despite our many challenges,” and hopes it helps people recognize they aren’t alone in their struggles.

This is the third year the King-Shivell Gallery has hosted a juried art show for students. Any student attending Lees-McRae can submit their work, although the majority of submissions come from Communication Arts and Design students. The art in the 2021 show featured a variety of mediums, including 3D-printed sculpture, digital photography, and charcoal.

For students in the major, a chance to display their work and have it judged by a professional artist strengthens their craft and prepares them for future exhibition experiences.

“Art making can be intensely personal, sometimes to a fault,” said Michael Iauch, assistant professor of Communication Arts and Design and coordinator of the King-Shivell Gallery. “Students gain a deeper understanding of the creative act when exhibiting and sharing their work with others.”

The guest juror selected to distribute the awards was Asheville-based artist, educator, and public speaker Jack Michael. Michael has taken part in art shows and residencies across the world and is currently an instructor at Blue Ridge Community College.

“Michael is an accomplished commercial printmaker and studio artist, so her experience matches the wide-ranging goals of students in our Communication Arts and Design program well,” said Iauch.

Michael visited the gallery Thursday, March 11 to deliver an artist lecture and review the exhibit. In her juror statement, she discussed the value of submitting art work to be judged and explained the thought process behind the award distribution.

“Evaluating artwork is, in many ways, a subjective exercise mediated by personal taste. But it is also a skill honed by experience, research, and by regularly considering artwork from ancient eras to the present day,” she wrote in the statement.

When evaluating the submitted pieces, Michael first looked at craftsmanship, composition, and technical skill, making a “first cut.” Michael then evaluated the works that met this criteria based on factors such as how well the piece conveyed the artist’s message or mood, whether the piece demonstrated creativity and avoided cliché, and if the piece grappled with a larger idea and moved beyond decoration.

“I want to emphasize that every submission I reviewed had positive attributes; there were several of solid merit that did not receive an award,” Michael wrote. “To those of you who did not receive an award: please continue (or start) to believe in your ideas and commit to technical expertise and attention to craft. If you do, good things will happen.”

“To those of you who did receive an award: I wholeheartedly congratulate you! I, as your humble juror, did not give you an award—you earned it,” she continued. “Ultimately, the pieces selected for award in this show positively addressed the above questions in a way that marked them out from the crowd while also evincing technical proficiency and attention to craft.”

Michael also reminded students of the importance of having thick skin and that artistic development is never finished. She advised students to continue submitting to art shows and to use rejection as an opportunity to recommit to their ideas and professional growth.

The student art exhibition will be on display in the King-Shivell Gallery until April 8.

Eli (Tessa Wells)
Fairy Dust (Sueann Bunker)
By Emily WebbMarch 16, 2021