Vera Tracy's "Life Series: Agony of Addiction" took home top honors at this year's 49th Annual Appalachian Art Show.
Vera Tracy’s “Life Series: Agony of Addiction” took home top honors at this year’s 49th Annual Appalachian Art Show.
Winners were announced March 2 during the show’s opening reception in the Kingsport Renaissance Center’s Main Gallery, where the exhibition will remain on display through March 27. Admission is free.
“Jurying the 2014 Appalachian Art Show was a wonderful opportunity for me to see the diverse approaches to art production in the area,” Enid Williams wrote in her juror’s statement. “I was very impressed with both the range of responses and the level of technical mastery of works included for consideration. Many pieces, both figurative and abstract, evidenced a deep connection to place and culture and the genre of landscape and portraiture figured prominently into the submissions.
“Many examples that I viewed were ambitious, accomplished works. Assemblage and mixed media figured strongly in my selections. These works conveyed meaning in very different ways, and were compelling on a number of levels beyond showing a high level of proficiency.”
Williams said that when given the task of jurying an exhibition, specific criteria she looks for in a work of art include:
• Conceptual strenth. Does the work move beyond the familiar description of subject matter to compel the viewer into a longer, more thoughtful examination of meaning?
• Artistic investment/personal voice. Does the work present the viewer with the artist’s subjective response to the subject in some way?
• Technical mastery. Does the work exploit the media’s possibilities to the fullest?
Tracy received $600 as this year’s Best in Show winner.
“Vera Tracy’s intensely personal narrative, ‘Life Series: Agony of Addiction,’ skillfully conveys both the physical strain and inner turmoil through her imagery and use of materials,” Williams wrote. “Its ambitious scale commands the viewer’s attention and reinforces its psychologically charged iconography. The space is flattened, encouraging the viewer into a more careful examination of the work’s descriptive qualities.”
Second place and $400 was awarded to Anita Long for her “Relics Reborn,” and Mary Nees took home $200 for her third place-winning piece titled “Achor.”
“Anita Long’s ‘Relics Reborn’ compels the viewer using an altogether different tactic,” Williams wrote. “This work is unabashedly beautiful, but not predictably so. Her sensitivity to color and design are carried out using the simplest of domestic artifacts: shards of glassware and the remains of pottery provide the viewer with a unique glimpse into the region’s cultural history. Meaning is embedded in the exceptionally physical surface of her imagery, and presents itself as a sense of time and place.
“Finally, Mary Nee’s ‘Achor’ creates intrigue and mystery through a complex networking of marks and densely layered linear structures. There is something very satisfying in works that are carefully titled and can be interpreted in more than one way. Place is no longer literal in Nee’s modestly scaled panel, and this is part of its strength.”
Receiving Awards of Excellence were Sheryl Daniels for “Summer Flood” and “Reflection From a Bridge”; Judith Fitzgerald for “Alex”; Hannah Justis for “Cup Pa”; April Jordan for “Kaboom”; Mary Alice Kelly for “Beside Still Waters”; JoAnne McDonough for “The River”; Steven Reeves for “Elder Blessings”; Joyce Samuel for “Backbone Rock II”; and Anne Thwaites for “Near Wild Heaven II.”
Williams moved from Texas to Ohio in 1990 and began her art studies at the University of Toledo. After completing her undergraduate work, she was accepted into the Arts Program at Kent State University. Her graduate work consisted of an extensive study in painting with an emphasis on contemporary issues and theory.
Her current work explores the tenuous and temporal nature of perceptual experience as it relates to the viewer’s understanding of pictorial space. It is featured in both private and public collections.
She has been the recipient of many awards, most recently the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant in 2012. She teaches painting, drawing, design and printmaking at Greenville Technical College.comments powered by Disqus