Awards announced for juried artists exhibition

First Place and Benjamin Memorial Purchase Award - Larry Seymour, Piedmont; “Chui,” gouache

First Place and Benjamin Memorial Purchase Award – Larry Seymour, Piedmont; “Chui,” gouache

COUNTY — The Pickens County Museum of Art & History’s 34th annual Juried South Carolina Artist’s Exhibition reception and awards ceremony was held on Saturday, April 27.

The competition was open to all artists working in any medium, 18 years of age or older and living in South Carolina. The exhibition is on view until June 13.

Kristen Watts, director of collections and exhibitions for The Mint Museum in Charlotte, N.C., served as juror for this year’s competition. 

Watts has more than 15 years of museum experience in areas of exhibition development and management, donor cultivation, collections care and management, and public speaking. A magna cum laude graduate of the College of Charleston, she also holds a Master of Arts in Public History and Master of Library and Information Science from the University of South Carolina at Columbia.

Watts spent the day of April 12 looking at and contemplating 394 works of art representing 214 South Carolina artisans. The vast array of paintings, drawings, photographs, prints, ceramics, fiber and other mediums made for the difficult task of selecting works for, and eliminating works from, the final show.

The impressive final selection of 112 works of art represents 100 individuals currently creating visual art in this state.

“I was very honored to serve as the juror for the Pickens County Museum’s 34th annual Juried South Carolina Artists Competition,” Watts said. “The 394 pieces submitted showed the extraordinary range of talent in the area.  I was quite impressed by the diversity of media — painting, ceramics, turned wood, sculpture, printmaking, photography, jewelry, recycled materials — as well as broad range of styles from traditional landscape and portraiture to contemporary abstract paintings, photography, and sculpture.

“It was difficult in face of this broad range of diverse talent to make final selections. However, it was very rewarding for me to see the talent of these artists, and I look forward to seeing more in the future.”

The awards for this year’s competition represent not only a cross section of what is taking place in the visual arts of South Carolina today, but are also a fair representation of the variety of artists actively “at work.”

Watts chose the gouache painting, “Chui” by Piedmont’s Larry Seymour as the first place award winner.

Second place was presented to Sam Wang of Clemson for his photograph, “Hanging Temple, China.”

The third-place honor went to Greenwood’s Kathy Hendricks-Dublin for her glass mosaic window, “The Tree of Completion.”

Juror’s Choice Awards were bestowed upon Rhea A. Fletcher of Salem for her acrylic painting, “After Tea,” and to Belton’s Kathy Moore for her encaustic, found objects and ink assemblage, “19 Oak Tree Lane — Junk Drawer Series.”

In addition to the above awards, Watts presented honorable mention awards, denoting artwork of special interest, to: Bryan Hiott of Greenville for his wet plate collodion photograph, “Untitled Tintype #2”; to Pelzer’s Cindy Landrum for her photograph, “Life Without Television”; to Amanda Long of Greenville for her photograph, “The First One”; to Seneca’s Ernie Norungolo for her photograph, “Broken Ribs”; and to Pat Owens of Taylors for the woodcut, “For All Your Photography Needs Kudzu Cultivator.”

Museum director Allen Coleman chose the oil painting “Self Portrait on St. Valentine’s Day” by Lucy Nordlinger of Anderson as the recipient of the 2013 Director’s Choice Award.

Thanks to the kind sponsorships of Pickens County and the Pickens County Cultural Commission along with the Hiott Printing Company, Greystone Industries, Mary Howe Benjamin, Roger Benjamin, Sherrill F. Benjamin, J. Connie and June Bowers, Doreen Heimlich, Larissa Heimlich, Philip and Gilda Hendricks, Wayne Kelley, John and Judy Rozelle, Mrs. Shirley Sarlin, the Susan B. Benjamin Memorial Fund and the Seth Schafer Heimlich Memorial Fund, the Pickens County Museum selected six works that, within the scope of their mission directive, will be added to the museum’s permanent collection.

The Pickens County Cultural Commission’s Purchase Award honoring Shirley Sarlin was presented to Beth Munnings-Winter of Pickens for her oil painting, “The Watcher in the Woods.”

The 2013 Susan B. Benjamin Memorial Purchase Award was also presented to Larry Seymour of Piedmont for his gouache painting, “Chui.”

The 2013 Seth Schafer Heimlich Memorial Purchase Award was presented to Colleen McGhee of Greenwood for her “Untitled” graphic design.

Additional museum purchase awards were made to Salem’s Rhea Fletcher for her acrylic painting, “After Tea”; to Diane Hopkins-Hughs of Greenville for her mixed media work, “Beach Finds, Blue & Green”; and to Travelers Rest’s Steve Marlow for his Photograph, “Winterscape.”

In addition to the 51works of art singled out for special mention, there are 97 others on the walls and pedestals throughout the museum’s Sealevel Gallery, G-1 Gallery and Focus Gallery. No matter where your individual taste in art may lead, you will find some satisfaction in the exhibition. The variety of work represented is a generous reflection of the community of artists presently at work in South Carolina.

The Pickens County Museum of Art and History is funded in part by Pickens County, friends and members of the museum and a grant from the South Carolina Arts Commission, which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Located at the corner of Hwy. 178 at 307 Johnson Street in Pickens, the museum is open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., Thursdays from 9 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Admission is free but donations are welcomed. For more information call the museum at (864) 898-5963.