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Spring Show Juror_ArunaThe 97th annual Spring Show was judged by Aruna D’Souza. D’Souza writes about modern and contemporary art; intersectional feminisms and other forms of politics; and how museums shape our views of each other and the world. Her most recent book Whitewalling: Art, Race, and Protest in 3 Acts (Badlands Unlimited) was named one of the best art books of 2018 by the New York Times. Her work appears regularly in 4Columns.org, where she is a member of the editorial advisory board and has also been published in The Wall Street JournalCNN.com, Art News, Garage, Bookforum, MomusArt in America, and Art Practical, among other places. She is currently editing two forthcoming volumes, Making It Modern: A Linda Nochlin Reader, and Lorraine O’Grady: Writing in Space 1973-2018, and is co-curator of the upcoming retrospective of Lorraine O’Grady’s work, Both/And, which will open in November 2020 at the Brooklyn Museum.

[photo credit:  Connie Tsang]

A Note from the Juror:
Before I received the works to review, I asked my Facebook friends what art they were looking at to sustain themselves through this period of self-isolation, of financial precarity, of fear about the future, and—for many—of illness and of caretaking. I was surprised that so many of the respondents—largely artists, art historians, and art writers—referred to the music they were listening to, the books they were reading, the movies and television they were watching. They spoke of the things they were making themselves—even those who did not consider themselves to be artists. They showed me the pictures their children were making, or the crafts they were doing to keep themselves busy. They talked about the ways that they were discovering to share their work with others and to have conversations about what art can  do to help people at this moment.

When I opened up the set of over 500 images I had been asked to weigh in on, it was with this conversation in the back of my mind. And what I discovered was, in a word, sustenance—the sustenance I was looking for among my Facebook friends. Because what was contained in the submitted images was a kind of persistence and hope—people making art, in whatever form they are most drawn to, sometimes as part of their regular studio practice and other times in the time that they manage to steal between jobs and families and community obligations. With all that weighs on our minds during times of crisis, the propensity to create, to make, to think with our hands and our minds at once is a survival skill for so many of us.

I wish I could tell you that I had a set of strict criteria that I was using to make my decisions, but I’m afraid that my approach to art has always been, at root, very intuitive—I know what I like if you know what I mean. There were some terrific riffs on the traditional genre of portraiture—taking it towards abstraction or towards hyperrealism, placing figures in romantic or even futuristic landscapes or in their quotidian surroundings, using painting, photography, and sculpture. Often, these varied approaches to portraiture were attempts to map out communities, making visible people who are often overlooked. I saw a tremendous spirit of experimentation in the use of materials and media—painting melded with photography, photography rooted in collage or printmaking, uses of shaped canvases and a variety of supports in painting, collage, and assemblage, digital manipulations in photography, use of fiber and of ceramics, woodworking, and so on. There was even a painted denim jacket and a hand-decorated eggshell, done in the style of traditional Ukrainian Easter eggs. Subject matter was somber and serious, or joyful and playful.

What I hope is consistent in what I selected was a combination of skill and imaginative daring—a willingness to take risks and push oneself beyond the expected, whether that is in the type of subjects an artist addresses or their play with materials and method. The works made me smile or made something catch in my throat—but whatever the reaction, they made me feel. Above all, they made me feel like there might be hope for our species yet.

Congratulations to all the artists who had the courage and the faith to submit their works for the show—keep doing it. It is an act of generosity to share your creativity with the world, and I thank you for sharing it with me.

With warmest regards,

Artists of Distinction: D’Souza chose 5 artists of distinction. A few have multiple pieces in the show. Here is an example of each of the artists’ work.

Fred Scruton
Hubbell’s Rubble,
Howard, KS 2019

Gwen Waight
Shitting Balls

Fredy Huaman Mallqui
Puchka (Spindle)

Bruce Adams
Untitled 029 (Shop Vac)

Carol Amidi
Milquetoast I

Click here to download a pdf of all accepted participants in the show.

Tilden Abercrombie, Dr. Ghost Pepper and his Mecha Rex

Bruce Adams, Untitled 029 (Shop Vac)

Bruce Adams, Untitled 032 (Flannel)

Bruce Adams, Untitled 035 (Shell)

Jessica Alesso, Moses

Carol Amidi, Milquetoast i

Carol Amidi, Milquetoast ii

Daniel Austin, Federal Hill

CIVITAS, 15 Years in Erieland

CIVITAS, Pictorial Map of Eastside Erie (After Lorenzetti)

CIVITAS, Don’t Tear Down Our Bridge

Shelle Barron, Study for second line

Ron Bayuzick, Kyoto

Chuck Benson, Divided Canvas

Trey Blystone, Dreamy Sunset

Margaret Brostrom, Polk Girls #1

Margaret Brostrom, Polk Girls #2

Margaret Brostrom, Polk Girls #3

Kathleen Kase Burk, Boxed Set

Kimberly Chapman, Bridled Women: Penelope Pig &
Stubborn as a Mule Molly

Audra Clayton, Coffee in Bed

Kristen Cliffel, Little League Elegy

Ashley Cloud, ABC

Ashley Cloud, Entwined

George Cooley, Chevalerie

Ken Coon, Heritage

Ken Coon, Vermont Shrine W/C

Rebecca Coppock, One Woman to the Next

Matthew Cote, Landscape XXVI

Matthew Coté, Full Circle

Mitchell Cunningham, I Waited

Nicole Daley, Grandpa’s Waves

Nicole Daley, Look up?

Diane DeLarme, The River of Dreams

Lori Ditrich, Cup Tea Room Egg

Jennifer Dworek, A Mother’s Love is Strength

James East, Desert Song

James East, Crossroads

Douglas Eberhardt, Old homes and new visitors

Douglas Eberhardt, Unnatural Monoliths

Douglas Eberhardt, Occupied

Nancy Ensign, The next step in human evolution

Samantha Gaton, Puppies to Pork Chops

Mark Giangaspero, Terry

Mark Giangaspero, Shelley

Mark Giangaspero, Dave

Stephanie Hall, Farewell Yellow Brick Road

Benjamin Haytock, Iguazu Falls Sunset

Passle Helminski, Lake Effect

Judith Hodge, Trees for a Green Cow

Fredy Huaman Mallqui, Puchka (Spindle)

Tom Hubert, Black and White Two Lid Teapot

Ed Jonasen, Mysterious Memories

David King, Wet Dream

Gabrielle Knappenberger, Me Time

Suzan Kraus, Circle the Things That Matter #4

Jason  Lewis, Return To Clear Creek

Jason Lewis, Diagonals

Ann Magenau, Lake Affect

Ann Magenau, Untitled 1

Joan Martin, Dust City

Charles Mintz, The Snow Day, Washington DC

Charles Mintz, The Flower Man, Evansville IN

Jody Neugebauer, A Voice for the voiceless, no matter the cost

Frank Novel, Untitled sketchbook enlargement #2

Ashley Paskov, Microscopic Study of Wood #3

Paul Pasquarello, Olmsted Camp

Paul Pasquarello, Yesterday in Portugal

Paul Pasquarello, Home Again……

Jacqueline Sajewski, Todays Fear

Ruth Scanzillo, Nude Gesture

Ruth Scanzillo, Nude With Curly Hair

Lisa Schultz, Abandoned

Eric Schwartz, Planes, Trains, Automobiles and a Robot

Fred Scruton, Joe Minter; Birmingham, AL 2018

Fred Scruton, Charles Wince’s WinceWorld bathroom; Columbus, OH 2019

Fred Scruton, Hubbell’s Rubble; Howard, KS 2019

Deborah Sementelli – Hoenes, The Sting of Death

Paula Siebieda, Alleyway On Fifth

Darrin Simmons, Sad, Sad Headphone Man #1

Roland Slade, Celebrity Activist

Jack  Stone, Purple Maze

Jack Stone, Gypsy Eyes

Sandy Tanner, Majestic…thy name is tree

Gwen Waight, Free Abortion

Gwen Waight, Shitting Balls

Mark Weleski, Playing The Game

Mark Weleski, Someday

Mark Weleski, Old MacDonalds

Gary L. Wolfe, 00110001 00110001

Gary L. Wolfe, 01100111 01110111

Gary L. Wolfe, 00110001 00110011

Carlyn Yanda, Coffee Connections

Carlyn Yanda, Digital Chaos

Barbara Yerace, The Crow Stole