Pickens Museum hosts 36th annual Juried SC Artists Exhibition

Show on display until June 11

PICKENS — The Pickens County Museum of Art and History’s 36th annual Juried South Carolina Artist’s Exhibition reception and awards ceremony was held on Saturday.

first place — “Balancing Act,” mixed-media  sculpture by Greenville’s Diana Farfán

first place — “Balancing Act,” mixed-media
sculpture by Greenville’s Diana Farfán

The competition was open to all South Carolina artists 18 or older working in any medium. The exhibition is on view until June 11.

The panel of jurors for this year’s competition represented the best and brightest in South Carolina. An associate professor and gallery director at Coastal Carolina University, Jim Arendt is an artist whose work explores the shifting paradigms of labor and place through narrative figure painting, drawing, prints, fabric and sculpture. Victoria Cooke joined the curatorial staff at the Columbia Museum of Art in January 2013. She holds an MA in art history, specializing in 18th and 19th century French painting, from Tulane University and became a doctoral candidate in art history at the University of Delaware before deciding to devote her career to museum work. Director of Hampton III Gallery for more than 25 years, Sandra Rupp works with numerous living artists, as well as several artists’ estates, focusing mostly on Southern artists, particularly those with a South Carolina connection.

Arendt, Cooke and Rupp spent April 10 looking at and contemplating a vast array of paintings, drawings, photographs, prints, ceramics, fiber and other mediums created by the hands of South Carolina artists. This made for the difficult task of selecting works for, and eliminating works from, the final show. The impressive final selection of 149 works of art represents 110 people currently creating visual art in the state.

“A nice variety of various mediums and subjects faced the judges as we attempted to narrow down the selections for the exhibition,” Rupp said. “Congratulations to all who submitted to the jurying process and who have the courage to face an empty canvas or pick up a tool.”

Arendt said the “pleasure and difficulty” of choosing the artwork that make up the final exhibition from such a wide array of “outstanding” submissions “is a credit to all the hard-working artists who submitted work.”

“My co-jurors and I were able to select those pieces that displayed the highest level of technical skill, content and innovation,” he said.

“It was thrilling to see artists that embraced such a diverse array of materials, subject matter and modes of expression,” Cooke said. “I think that every visitor to the exhibition will find art that touches them and thrills them, art that challenges their expectations and even art that amazes them and makes them laugh.”

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.”

The panel of jurors chose the ceramic with mixed media sculpture “Balancing Act” by Greenville’s Diana Farfán as the winner of the first-place award. Second place was presented to Tom Dimond of Seneca for his mixed media “Book II S.H.I.E.L.D.” Third-place honors went to Greenville’s Ryan Roth for his acrylic on paper painting “Business Laocoön.”

Juror’s choice awards were bestowed upon Tanna Burchinal of Clemson for her monoprint “I 57” and to Clemson’s Sam Wang for his photograph “VW Van.”

In addition to the above awards, the jurors presented honorable mention awards, denoting artwork of special interest, be presented to Steven A. Chapp of Easley for his reduction linocut print, “The Debate,” Spartanburg’s Jim Creal for his ink monotype, “Cursive Practice,” Deborah Feiste of Central for her assemblage, “Jack,” Seneca’s Amanda Mensing for her oil painting, “Indian Motorcycle,” and Kathleen B. Wood of Greenville for her sterling silver jewelry piece, “Tree Box with Pendant Lid.”

Museum director Allen Coleman chose the acrylic with wood painting, “High Lonesome Sound # 5” by Glen Miller of Greenville as the recipient of the 2015 Director’s Choice Award.

The Pickens County Cultural Commission’s Purchase Award honoring Shirley Sarlin was presented to Melody M. Davis of Salem for her oil painting, “IF.”

The 2015 Susan B. Benjamin Memorial Purchase Award was presented to Mary E. Barron of Seneca for her oil painting, “First Light.”

The 2015 Seth Schafer Heimlich Memorial Purchase Award was presented to Kathy Moore of Belton for her assemblage, “Nonconformity.”

Additional Museum Purchase Awards were made to Chapp for his linocut, “The Debate,” and to Bev Peeples of Taylors for her photograph, “Floating.”

In addition to the 15 works of art singled out for special mention, there are 134 others on the walls and pedestals throughout the museum’s Sealevel Gallery, G-1 Gallery and Focus Gallery. 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 U.S. Highway 178 at 307 Johnson St. in Pickens, the museum is open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Thursdays from 9 a.m.-7:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Admission is free, but donations are welcomed. For more information, call the museum at (864) 898-5963 or visit