By KIT B. FASSLER
The Louis Carlos Bernal Gallery was packed with visitors on April 16 during a reception and award ceremony for 91 Pima Community College student artists whose work was accepted into a juried exhibit.
The Annual Juried Student Art Exhibition will be on display through May 8 at the gallery, in the Center for the Arts complex located on West Campus.
The free exhibit presents a diverse mix that includes oil-mixed media and acrylic paintings, photography, drawings, ceramics, jewelry, book arts, metals and printmaking.
“All Pima campuses are represented,” gallery director David Andres said. “Other art pieces are on display at Tucson International Airport.”
Art students, families of winners and artists from the Tucson community turned out for the April 16 reception.
The “Best of Show” award went to printmaker Blair Frederic. Other top award winners were Phillip Abbott for his “Best of 3D” sculpture and Adam Gilliland for “Best of 2D.”
Juror Stephen Strom, a photographer and writer, said many pieces caught his eye but he was particularly impressed by the imagination and skill of the printmakers. He especially had kind words for Frederic.
“The fine and diverse work of the Best in Show award winner is evocative of Motherwell and Siskind,” he wrote in his judge’s remarks, comparing Frederic to prominent artists. “It would be a handsome addition to many a collection.”
Juror Diane Dale, a visual artist who works as a painter, printmaker and sculptor, complimented Abbott’s sculptor, “Dodo.”
“It was cleverly constructed by switching vertical and horizontal planes integrating metal and wood elements,” she wrote. Abbot had a second entry, “Wolf,” which Dale called “equally imaginative.”
Juror Simon Donovan, a painter and sculptor, called Gilliland an artist to watch.
“He is already an heir apparent to the late artist Luis Jimenez,” Donovan wrote. “He should definitely move forward in his artistic endeavors.”
The jurors and 25 vendors were acknowledged for their support of the exhibit. Frederic received a gift certificate for a three-night stay in a resort and each student winner received a gift certificate and other gifts.
The Arizona Designer Craftsmen, a state arts organization, also awarded $75 certificates and one-year memberships to Keli Beth Smith Ceramics), Virginia Ericson (Fibers) and Kathy Broneck (Metals).
Smith said the inspiration for her work, came from life’s experiences and relationships. The piece is derogatory, sexual and funny, representing both a woman’s strength and her vulnerability.
“The woman is holding the heart above her head,” Smith said. “Putting yourself in position as a woman but still vulnerable.”
One Pima art student regretted that she didn’t make it into the competition.
“I was late in submitting my work,” Yelitza Tamayo said. “I just needed the frame but I’ll try again next time.”
Carol Carder, Center for the Arts marketing director, said the annual art exhibit celebrates student success.
“We do this to educate the community and be a part of what students learned,” she said. “It’s awareness about the role of art in the community.”
Andres and Carder gave kudos to full-time and adjunct faculty for their painstaking efforts to teach art in the best possible ways and to make the award ceremony a showcase of the students’ stellar accomplishments.