//VSU announces winners of student art competition

VSU announces winners of student art competition

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VSU Fine Arts Gallery Presents Virtual Student Art Competition, Exhibition

VALDOSTA — Valdosta State University’s Dedo Maranville Fine Arts Gallery presents the 23rd annual Juried Student Art Competition and Exhibition at www.vsugallery.org.

A campus-wide invitation to participate in the 2021 Juried Student Art Competition and Exhibition was issued earlier this year to all currently enrolled VSU students. Regardless of their major area of study, students were encouraged to share their artistic talents by submitting a maximum of four two-dimensional and/or three-dimensional works, including graphic design, illustration (digital and traditional), interior design (presentation boards, illustrations, models, and so on), bookmaking, computer animation, drawing, printmaking (lithography, etching, silkscreen, relief, collographs, etc.), painting, aqueous media, jewelry, photography (digital and darkroom), collage, ceramics, small metals, sculpture, and mixed media. 

Julie Bowland, Dedo Maranville Fine Arts Gallery director and professor of art, said that 55 students submitted 180 different works of art for the event. 

Mark Dickson, 2021 Juried Student Art Competition and Exhibition juror, reviewed the submissions and selected 50 individual works from 34 students to be featured and to compete for various cash and other prizes — first place, second place, third place, fourth place, and honorable mention honors. 

“When approaching this opportunity of selecting work for an exhibition such as this, I employ certain basic criteria starting with an instant visual and emotional response to the work,” he shared. “From this point I examine craftsmanship, attention to detail, execution and continuity of design. Then comes the deeper look, an attempt to understand the artist’s voice and intent. Overall it can be a daunting task — but also a rewarding one. 

“It is my hope that the artists who were selected and those who received awards will take inspiration from their success in being chosen to exhibit. I hope that those who weren’t selected will not become discouraged, but instead will continue to create, refine, and explore the vastness of what it means to be a visual artist.   

“As a visual artist myself I am acutely aware of the struggles and triumphs of creating and exhibiting, the associated excitement and anxieties involved in sharing publicly something personal that you have created. The process of submitting your creations to be scrutinized, interpreted, and inevitably selected or not for exhibition is a bold step. I applaud all of the artists who demonstrated the courage to step forward and share their work.” 


“Trayvon,” an animated gif by Rasheem Callender of Jonesboro, Georgia, earned first place honors.  

Dickson described the work of art as “a power work in this tumultuous social climate that we exist in and navigate through.” He said it was “not only a demonstration of artistic skill but also of presentation and the power of visual storytelling.”  

“I am impressed with the artist’s incorporation of stop-motion animation, which is difficult and a time-consuming process. The subsequent story is communicated with strength and skill, leaving the viewer with no doubts to the urgency of the message.” 


“Orange 1” by Isabelle Redenius of Jacksonville, Florida, earned second place honors. 

“For me this is a visual feast,” Dickson noted. He described the mixed media collage made with string, glue, ink, oil pastels, and oil paint as “a composition filled with the loud colors of emotional expression and existential angst, executed with an eye for the frantic nature of what it means to be human and vulnerable, while still maintaining the sense of beauty and intrigue.”  


“Wilting,” a metals piece by Faith Thompson, Valdosta, Georgia, earned third place honors.  

“Being a sculptor of metal I am well aware of the intricacies and challenges associated with this work,” Dickson shared. “Here we see a clear juxtaposition of color, texture, and subject matter demonstrated, the delicate dying bloom immortalized with such skill in nonferrous alloys, defying decay and the ravages of the relentless marching of time.”  


“Red, Blue Against Yellow,” an acrylic on canvas Jen Padron of Manteca, California, earned fourth place honors. 

“I love the dramatic and turbulent blending of color that creates such texture and light in this work,” Dickson said. “The painting pulls the viewer deep into the composition, transporting them into a timeless cosmic landscape. I feel the artist has done an impressive job in communicating the violent strength and beauty that is the natural world.” 


Honorable Mention honors went to “Isolation,” a charcoal on paper by Faith Thompson of Valdosta, Georgia; “Monkey Mayhem,” a lithograph by Hannah Gandy of Valdosta, Georgia; “Nature,” an ink on paper by Laura Henry of Lilburn, Georgia; and “Black Lives Over Blank Eyes,” a stop motion animation by Makevia Moore of Sasser, Georgia.  

A native of northern California, Dickson’s fascination with art was influenced by his grandmother, who was a collector of art and a museum docent. He is currently a full-time sculptor with a working studio in the RailRoad Square Art District in Tallahassee, Florida, and a part-time faculty member at North Florida Community College in Madison, Florida. In 2012 VSU added one of his sculptures — Guardian — to the campus’s outdoor art collection. It stands 14 feet tall between Odum Library and the Fine Arts Building and is made of welded steel, stainless steel, and bronze.  

Due to the ongoing global health crisis, the Dedo Maranville Fine Gallery’s physical on-campus location will remain closed throughout the spring semester. The gallery staff will temporarily host all upcoming exhibits on a virtual platform at www.vsugallery.org.

The next show, Art & Design Spring Senior Exhibition, opens virtually on April 18. 

Contact Julie Bowland at (229) 333-5835 or jabowlan@valdosta.edu to learn more about VSU’s virtual gallery. 

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