"Art Alive!" is a juried exhibition of fine art by Lycoming County artists, showcasing the unique vision and emerging aesthetic ideas within the region. The exhibition will allow the community to experience and interact with new and exciting contemporary artwork created by regional artists. The exhibition was open to all residents of Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, 18 years of age or older. All artists were required to submit six works of art that were original and completed since 2008.
Gallery director Lenore Penfield chose an exhibition of local artists for the Pennsylvania College of Technology Gallery's first juried show because of "the importance they (the local art community) are exhibiting here," she explained. "It's exciting for us."
"The art scene has really grown over the course of the past few years and we really wanted to showcase some of that talent," she added.
An artwork by Gary Steele, “Steps to Wonder,” is seen. The piece will be on display at the Gallery at Penn College’s “Art Alive!” exhibition, which will open May 30 with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m. Prizes will be awarded at 6 p.m. by prize juror Carrie Wissler-Thomas.
That talent includes regional artists Chad Andrews, Paul Barrett, Marguerite Bierman, Brenda Blackwell, Donna Britton, Steve Buggy, Fred Gilmour, Casey Gleghorn, Jeremiah Johnson, Edward Jonasen, Richard Karp, John McKaig, Deborah Mezick, Penny Young Miller, Timothy Miller, Matthew Parrish, Veera Pfaffli, Roger Shipley, Theresa Crowley Spitler, Gary Steele, Jackie Thomas, Howard Tran, Ralph Wilson and Maureen Wroblewski.
The "Art Alive!" show marks the first exhibition for the Pennsylvania College of Technology Gallery to have a selection of the work voted in by the general public.
"We felt it was a great way to get the public involved; instead of just coming in to see the exhibit, they can actually help to choose what pieces of art they would like to see," Penfield said.
Artists were not limited to a narrow range of media, and could submit 2 and 3-dimensional work. Digital work and video were just as acceptable as more traditional media like painting or photography.
"We got a diverse range of work," Penfield said of the submissions, "We were really excited; it won't be a show of just one medium."
Matthew Parrish submitted a selection of ink drawings focusing on Argus Panoptes, "the mythological Greek giant who had 100 eyes," he explained. Leading up to the creation of the Panoptes drawings, his work utilized myriad circles, taking on their interplay as a focus in abstract compositions. "Since I had been obsessed with circles for a long time, drawing eyes totally made sense. And I liked the idea of imagining a creature with so many eyes and thinking things like, 'Wouldn't it suck if he had to wear contacts?'," he said.
For Parrish, showing work in the "Art Alive!" show came as an exciting prospect: "I'm very happy to have the opportunity to show my artwork in the Gallery at Penn College. It's a beautiful space and was actually the first place, after I moved to Williamsport, that gave me faith that I'd find good artwork in this city," he said.
Once the submissions were in, three independent jurors - Gary Mesa-Gaido, Florence Putterman, and Joyce Robinson - selected twenty-four artists based on various categories like artistic integrity, communication, composition, and control of medium. "We chose qualified jurors from outside of the area so that there wouldn't be any favoritism," Penfield said. Mesa-Gaido and Putterman show their work both nationally and internationally. Mesa-Gaido is a tenured professor of art at Morehead State University, and Putterman maintains two studios: one in Selinsgrove, Pa. and a second in Sarasota, Fla. Joyce Robinson has been a curator at the Palmer Museum of Art at Penn State University for nearly 15 years and is also an affiliate associate professor of art history at Penn State.
Penfield and gallery assistant Penny Lutz chose one of three pieces to be displayed by each of the selected artists, the artists chose one piece, and the final selection was determined by online votes cast by the general public during the month of March.
Now that three selections were made both by-and-for each artist, prize juror Carrie Wissler-Thomas will determine a first prize winner who will receive $500, and second and third prize winners who will receive $300 and $100, respectively. What's more, a Viewer's Choice prize will be award at the close of the exhibition - something Penfield said the gallery has done for exhibitions in the past. Anyone attending the gallery during the show's run can write their vote for the best overall piece and submit it into a designated ballot box.
The exhibit will be on display in the Penn College of Technology Gallery from May 30 through June 28. The exhibit's opening reception will be 5 to 7 p.m. May 30, and prizes will be awarded at 6 p.m. by prize juror Carrie Wissler-Thomas. The Gallery is located on the third floor of the Madigan Library, on the campus of Pennsylvania College of Technology, which is located at One College Ave. in Williamsport.
For more information, visit www.pct.edu/gallery.