The Pickens County Cultural Commission is pleased to announce that the “Pickens County Museum’s Thirty-Sixth Annual Juried South Carolina Artist’s Exhibition”will open to the public with reception and awards ceremony onSaturday April 25, from 1:00 until 4:00 pm. The announcement and presentation of awards will take place at 3:00 pm. The competition was open to all artists working in any medium, 18 years of age or older and living in South Carolina. The exhibition will remain on view until June 11, 2015.
The panel of jurors for this year’s competition represents the best and brightest in South Carolina. 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. Recently, Arendt was short-listed for The 1858 Prize for Contemporary Southern Art. His work was awarded the top prize at ArtFields, Best in Show at Hub-Bub Gallery’s Emerging Carolina and was included in the 701 Contemporary Center for the Arts 701 CCA Prize 2012. He was awarded Best in Show during Fantastic Fibers at Yeiser Art Center, Paducah, KY. His work has been included in Fiberarts International 2013 in Pittsburgh and the 2013 Museum Rijswijk Textile Biennial, Netherlands. Jim received his B.F.A. from Kendall College of Art & Design and his M.F.A. with a concentration in painting from the University of South Carolina. He has studied art in England and Spain and participated in residency programs including The Fields Project in Illinois, Arrowmont’s Tactility Forum, and has been an instructor at Penland School of Craft.
Victoria Cooke joined the curatorial staff at the Columbia Museum of Art in January 2013. She holds an M.A. 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. She became an associate curator of painting at the New Orleans Museum of Art in 1997 and was named the senior curator of painting at in 2002. In New Orleans she was the curator of Degas and New Orleans: A French Impressionist in America and Jefferson’s America and Napoleon’s France: An Exhibition for the Louisiana Purchase Bicentennial. She left there in 2007 to become the Assistant Director for Curatorial Affairs at the Louisiana State University Museum of Art where she stayed for 3 years. After a year as a museum director in Florida, Cooke decided to return to curatorial work exhibitions and in 2013 she joined the staff of the Columbia Museum of Art.
Director of Hampton III Gallery for over 25 years, Sandra Rupp works with numerous living artists, as well as the several artists’ estates, focusing mostly on Southern artists, particularly those with a SC connection. In addition to her gallery work, she assists museums in their programming. In recent years she has worked with the University of Ga. Museum in Athens, Ga., in organizing the Leo Twiggs’ retrospective; curated the Sigmund Abeles’ retrospective at the Burroughs-Chapin Museum in Myrtle Beach, SC; worked on the Carl Blair retrospective and the Merton Simpson Confrontations exhibition at the Greenville County Museum in Greenville, SC. Serving on Greenville’s committee of Art in Public Places, Sandy has consulted with the Falls Park leadership in helping to secure a Joel Shapiro sculpture among other public art placements throughout the city. In 2009 she organized the Chairman’s Exhibition for Artisphere in Greenville, S.C. and has served on the board of Artisphere since that time
Arendt, Cooke & Rupp spent April 10th 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 individuals currently creating visual art in this state.
About the jury, Sandy Rupp stated, “A nice variety of various mediums and subjects faced the judges as we attempted to narrow down the selections for the exhibition. Congratulations to all who submitted to the jurying process and who have the courage to face an empty canvas or pick up a tool.”
Jim Arendt added, “The pleasure and difficulty of selecting this year’s show from so many 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.”
Victoria Cooke summed up the day saying, “It was thrilling to see artists that embraced such a diverse array of materials, subject matter and modes of expression. 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.”
Thanks to the kind sponsorships of Pickens County & the Pickens County Cultural Commission along with Mary Howe Benjamin, Roger Benjamin, Sherrill F. Benjamin, Mrs. Doreen Heimlich, Ms. Larissa Heimlich, Philip & Gilda Hendricks, Mr. Chris Hepler, Wayne Kelley, Shirley Reese and Mrs. Shirley Sarlin, cash and purchase awards will be presented at theApril 25 opening reception.
The Pickens County Museum of Art & 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.
No matter where your individual taste in art may lead, you will find satisfaction in this exhibition. The variety of work represented is a generous reflection of the community of artists presently at work in South Carolina.
Located at the corner of Hwy. 178 at 307 Johnson Street in Pickens SC, the museum is open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., Thursdays from 9:00 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. until4:30 p.m. Admission is free but donations are welcomed. For more information call the museum at (864) 898-5963. If you’d like to learn more about events going on in Pickens County, do be sure to visit www.visitpickenscounty.com/calendar – you’ll always be just a click away from the many great experiences available in Pickens County.