January 20, 2021
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator
VSU Fine Arts Gallery Hosts Virtual Valdosta National
Samuel Dunson earned the $500 first-place award for Self-Portrait, mixed media on canvas.
Jesse Egner earned the $400 second-place award for Untitled, an inkjet print from his Disidentifications Series.
Alex McClay earned the $350 third-place award for If Only, a piece created with an emergency blanket, fabric, and thread.
Joseph Kameen earned the $250 four-place award for Not Going Backwards, oil on panel.
VALDOSTA — A total of 875 individual works of art by 304 adult artists from across the United States were submitted for the Valdosta State University Dedo Maranville Fine Arts Gallery’s Valdosta National 2021. The all-media juried competition and exhibition is now open at www.vsugallery.org.
For the 33rd annual showcase of contemporary visual art, Claire Dempster, Valdosta National 2021 judge, selected 70 works by 66 artists from 29 states to be featured and to compete for $1,500 in awards. The selection process was extremely competitive.
Julie Bowland, Dedo Maranville Fine Arts Gallery director and Department of Art and Design professor, said selecting a strong and cohesive exhibition out of so many entries was a “very tough task” for Dempster.
“In 2020 so many of us had to wrestle technology into fulfilling our work, home, and social life, thinning the already nearly invisible line between the virtual and the real,” Dempster shared in her judge’s statement. “The arts, in most forms, are at a distinct advantage for online viewing as our digital technology is increasingly designed for enhanced visual experiences. But a virtual exhibition loses some of the communal intimacy and the tactility of the 360-degree experience of a physical gallery, a familiar lack in a year spent in isolation and turmoil.
“For Valdosta National 2021 — virtual by necessity — I sought to capture the intimacy of a physical show while acknowledging the unique circumstances of a digital space and the particularly bizarre specifics of 2020. Through articulations of small moments — considered self-portraits, arcane textures, ritual objects, a set table, the warmth of a body, or the distinct loneliness of an empty room — the works of this collection of 66 artists navigate the heavy themes of 2020, including pandemic, racial and economic justice, personal trauma, and isolation alongside the powerful and often joyful presence of being in a myriad of identities and forms.”
Dempster’s duties as judge only got more challenging when she had to select the first-, second-, third-, and fourth-place award winners. They are:
- Samuel Dunson earned the $500 first-place award for Self-Portrait, mixed media on canvas.
- Jesse Egner earned the $400 second-place award for Untitled, an inkjet print from his Disidentifications Series.
- Alex McClay earned the $350 third-place award for If Only, a piece created with an emergency blanket, fabric, and thread.
- Joseph Kameen earned the $250 four-place award for Not Going Backwards, oil on panel.
Dempster is an Atlanta-based writer and arts administrator. She currently works for Burnaway Inc. As an arts administrator and fundraiser, she hopes to contribute to the radical transformation of art institutions as accessible resources for all communities. As an artist, her current work focuses on the influence of technology on the consumption and creation of visual culture; her previous research explored monuments as they relate to national identity and mourning. Her writings have appeared in such publications as Art Papers and Burnaway. She earned a Master of Arts in Art History from the University of Georgia and a Bachelor of Arts in Art History from the University of Texas at Austin.
Due to the ongoing global health crisis, the Dedo Maranville Fine Gallery’s physical on-campus location will remain closed throughout the spring semester. The gallery staff will temporarily host all upcoming exhibits on a virtual platform at www.vsugallery.org.
The next show, Student Art Competition, opens virtually on March 15.
Contact Julie Bowland at (229) 333-5835 or firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about VSU’s virtual gallery.