The Valdosta State University Dedo Maranville Fine Arts Gallery presents the Valdosta National 2022 artist exhibition and competition.
A total of 344 individual works of art by 136 adult artists from across the United States were submitted for the Valdosta State University Dedo Maranville Fine Arts Gallery’s Valdosta National 2022. Admission to the all-media juried competition and exhibition is free of charge and open to the public through Feb. 4.
For the 34th annual showcase of contemporary visual art, Samuel Dunson, Valdosta National 2022 judge, selected 58 works by 58 artists from 30 states to be featured and to compete for $1,500 in awards. The selection process was extremely competitive.
Julie Bowland, Dedo Maranville Fine Arts Gallery director and VSU Department of Art & Design professor, said the exhibited artworks show an excitingly diverse variety of media and artistic visions.
“The show is united by strong social, political, and conceptual concerns as well as implied narrative and undercurrents,” she added. “There are many surprising aspects to the artwork that are delightfully unpredictable. The show is bold, colorful, and strongly relevant to our times.”
Matthew Schellenberg of Farmington Hills, Michigan, earned the $500 first-place award for “Her Beauty Gained her Everything She Ever Dreamt of …,” cherry, black walnut, ash, cyprus, goncalo alves, and steel.
Upon viewing this work, Dunson said, “I was struck with one overwhelming feeling — presence. It would have been very easy to choose this magnificent work as the grand prize for its craftsmanship, its stylization, and even its concept. But its presence stands on the shoulders of each of these necessary artistic methodologies. There’s a sense of continuous movement that is evident throughout the work — until you allow yourself to engage with the faces. The gaze in each face stills you and forces you to slow down and care for the being that is held within.”
Gary Chapman of Birmingham, Alabama, earned the $400 second-place award for “WO MAN,” oil, mixed media, and found objects on wooden panels.
Dunson said, “This work plays amid construction and deconstruction in its physical nature as well as in its title. When engaging the work, we see a physically strong and athletic body. This body, at first glance, forces the viewer to either accept the body as female or to question its femininity. The separate perfect circles are home to the parts that make up the wholeness of the woman. These circles also seem to be planets that may reflect the light of the sun that is ‘WO MAN.’ There is a presence of the mysteries of time and possession of the physical nature of womanhood as well as a goddess-like nature that exudes power. One cannot help but marvel and be blinded by the nature or nurturing of this work.”
Kate Cummins of St. Petersburg, Florida, earned the $350 third-place award for “Fancy Shoes,” mixed media.
“When engaging abstraction,” Dunson said, “it is implied that the audience will interpret form as subject matter along with the recognition of that form in perceived representational space. That being said, Kate Cummins’s ‘Fancy Shoes’ is stunning in its deceptive simplicity. When I stand in front of her painting, I automatically engage with the somewhat winged, four-legged being that casts a shadow on a terrain. You may be led to believe this as the only solid standing to take in this painting. But you would be wrong, as the remainder of the piece is beautifully inundated with thin washes of pigment that allow you to take in the complex layering that has been built over time. Muted colors take on much more saturated hues the closer you get to the painting, which breaks the work into infinite non-objective fields of color, form, and texture. But, once you pull yourself away from the enjoyment of that experience, you are again met with the whimsical nature of the figure that started you on your journey.”
Layl McDill of Minneapolis, Minnesota, earned the $250 four-place award for “Buttons the Chicken Teapot,” polymer clay, found teapot, and buttons.
“Due to its size, Layl McDill’s polymer clay, button, and found teapot sculpture would otherwise be lost amid so many amazing works,” Dunson said. “But what the work lacks in size, it makes up in magnificent wonder. ‘Buttons the Chicken Teapot’ pulls you in, not unlike a genie being pulled back into its lamp. At first glance, it takes on the look and feel of a teapot that has been recovered from the Great Barrier Reef. Coral is the first thought that comes to mind from a distance. With its layering of color and texture, your sense of touch is activated. But once you move closer, you begin to marvel at the level of detail in each of the separate motifs. The teapot begins to weave a fanciful story with the main characters being a chicken, a cat, a dog, and miraculously the ocean. Amazing.”
Adrian Hatfield of Ferndale, Michigan, earned honorable mention for “If This Isn’t Nice, What Is?” S. Dickey of Columbus, Mississippi, earned honorable mention for “The Wanting Seed.” Jeremy Blair of Cookeville, Tennessee, earned honorable mention for “Arcadia.”
Dunson is an award-winning artist and professor of art at Tennessee State University. He holds a Master of Fine Arts in Painting from Savannah College of Art and Design and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art from Tennessee State University. His mixed media on canvas titled “Self-Portrait” earned the first-place award during Valdosta National 2021. His work will also be featured in the Dedo Maranville Fine Arts Gallery’s upcoming exhibit “Black Is …,” which opens Feb. 14.
The Dedo Maranville Fine Arts Gallery is located on the first floor of VSU’s Fine Arts Building, at the intersection of Oak Street and Brookwood Drive. It is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Fridays. Due to a staff shortage, guests are urged to call ahead to be sure the gallery is open before they arrive. Masks covering the nose and mouth are strongly encouraged.
Contact Julie Bowland, Dedo Maranville Fine Arts Gallery director, at (229) 333-5835 or firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more or to schedule a guided tour of the exhibition.
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