Selecting work for the USI student exhibition was a pleasure and a challenge. I am truly impressed by the quality of the student work overall, and am happy to see such a high number of entries. In selecting the work, I chose works that I found to be successful in terms of concept, execution, or some combination of both.
I gave the Best of Show Award to Christopher Thompson’s Everything Was Blurred. I find all of Christopher’s work to be immaculately executed as well as quite thoughtful, and his combined use of graphic imagery and text has strong impact.
Other award winners, including Jamie Williams (Weren’t They All Once Someone’s Baby?) and Nathan Pietrykowski (The Build Up), create compositions that present the viewer with an open-ended narrative. And Wes Dossett (This Box is Hip-Hop), Veronica Koester (Appropriation Assimilation and Urban Expansion), and Christopher Wilke (Ned Ludd’s Nightmare: An Enlightenment Pandora’s Box) also address narrative with smart material and form choices.
Some works were awarded for their level of ambition, such as John Brother’s Tele-Dragon and others for their technical skill, such as Bryce Burnett’s Ceremonial Salt. While I cannot mention each work specifically, all pieces selected for the show exhibit qualities desirable in student work including craftsmanship, concept, innovation, and authenticity.
I would like to thank the USI Art Department for inviting me as well as all of the students who submitted work. For those students whose work was not selected, please know that I too have been declined from many competitive art shows. One of the most valuable traits among artists is the drive to keep trying.
Exhibitions and Programs Director
Lexington Art League in Lexington, Kentucky