The Cultural Arts Council of Douglasville/Douglas County presents the First National Open Visual Arts Show with works selected by the Cultural Arts Council’s Gallery Committee. The exhibition opened on Sunday and will be on view through Nov. 30. Hosted by the Douglas County Art Guild, the gallery is free and open to the public.
After twenty-five years of great success with its annual National Juried Art Exhibition, the Cultural Arts Council of Douglasville/Douglas County, Inc. decided to change course in 2012 and to present its first national non-juried exhibition. As the National Juried Art Exhibition has done since it was established, the FIRST NATIONAL OPEN VISUAL ARTS SHOW (NOVAS) will also promote an appreciation of the visual arts, enable artists to exhibit their works, and allow local citizens to enjoy a wide variety of high-quality art from around the country. Since 1986, the Cultural Arts Center, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, has presented hundreds of exhibitions of works by more than 2,400 artists.
Of the 140 artworks submitted by 49 artists living and working in six states, the 2012 Gallery Committee selected 65 pieces by 49 artists from six states for the current exhibition. Those selected included many artists who have participated in the National Juried Exhibition during the past 25 years and newcomers to the Douglasville venue as well. As has often been the case with our National Juried Exhibition over the years, paintings and photographs are the great strengths of the exhibit. This year’s exhibit features photography that is advanced both technically and artistically. Photographer Mike Nalley’s “Exit” is one of the strongest pieces in the exhibit; “Exit” features weathered interesting textures from the decaying interiors of an abandoned building to create a mysterious and intriguing image. Natasha Stansel exhibits the use of a pinhole camera solargram in her piece, “Two and Three-Fourths Sunny Days in Heflin, Alabama.” While another local photographer, Nicolette Dunn, who has often exhibited work at the Cultural Arts Center, presents “One More Glass,” which artfully uses light and its interaction with glass. The photograph uses repetition to create rhythm and convey a fragile space tightly filled with delicate glass.
Artist Majorie Foster has three oil paintings featured in the show including “Happy Hour,” “Bakery Shop” and “Grocery Shopping.” Each painting depicts a charming vernacular scene executed with vibrant colors and patterns. Another oil painting, “Rainy Night” by Barry Benner, uses painterly brushstrokes and cool colors to transport the viewer into a moving, cold and wet environment that plays into the somber feel of the work. Artist Elizabeth Henry has two delightful paintings in this year’s exhibit. “Lightning Bugs and Southern Stars” and “Ode to Southern Living;” both display bright, active landscapes filled with engaging characters and patterns that have an almost textile texture. Tony Jackson also has two evocative pieces in the exhibit made with powdered graphite on paper: “Mne Mosyne Lost” and “Exodus” share a gloomy dream-like quality that effectively captures the viewer’s attention with their monochromatic color scheme and use of high contrast.
Along with oil and acrylic paintings, the First National Open Visual Arts Show also includes several fine watercolors. Tom Butter’s “Submerged,” created with both ink and watercolor has a topographical aesthetic that appeals to its historical and geological references. A brilliant abstraction, “Submerged,” juxtaposes organic and geometric lines to create variety and visual interest to the viewer. “Cantaloupe Kaleidoscope,” a watercolor by Marsha Chandler, is an intriguing still life that illusionistically recreates the look of thick, rippled glass and fresh cut fruit for a synaesthetic experience. In addition, this month’s show exhibits a number of three-dimensional art forms. M. Gail Jones’ assemblage, “Girls in the Hood,” uses different materials with a photograph to create an introspective narrative piece, evoking a nostalgic feel in the viewer. DeaVan Samuel’s “Turned Tide” and “Transformed Steel” are formed by sharp geometric steel pieces welded together to form structural sculptures, while Doris Crispell demonstrates her experience with quilling and weaving in her wonderful pieces, “Quilling Cards,” “Quilling Notes” and “Antler Basket, ” which add pleasing variety to the exhibit.
All submissions for this exhibit were reviewed and selected by the Cultural Arts Council of Douglasville/Douglas County’s Gallery Committee. With Allen Culpepper as its chair and assisted by Mack Porter as co-chair, the Gallery Committee has met monthly during the past year in order to develop and implement visual arts programming for the Cultural Arts Council. During 2012, its active members have included Adam Beaudoin, Linda Britt, Allen Culpepper, Marcella Kuykendall, Jerry Leath, Laura Lieberman, Tamara Morgan and Mack Porter. In its advisory capacity to the Arts Council, the Gallery Committee recommended that it sponsor the new non-juried open competition for the first time this year.
Historically, the National Juried Show competitions were selected by a juror in what is known as a blind process, i.e. the artists’ names were concealed during the selection process and the juried selections identified only by numbers. Although each artist entering art work for the inaugural open show was guaranteed at least one piece would be selected for display, the Gallery Committee followed the established blind jurying procedure in order to identify which work (or works) would be chosen for the exhibition. It was a fascinating decision-making process, first based on democratic voting after much discussion of aesthetic (and other) values and finally decided by an even more lively conversation until satisfactory consensus on the inclusions for the show.
“We are delighted with the response to the inaugural national open and unjuried visual arts show,” stated Laura C. Lieberman, Executive Director of the Cultural Arts Council. “We believe the quality and variety of the art works submitted by artists from all over the country were every bit as strong as those in our previous juried exhibitions. We also think the outcome of those submissions and our selections is a truly outstanding show of diverse art works created by a wide variety of talented individuals from across the country just as we had hoped.”
The mission of the Cultural Arts Council of Douglasville/Douglas County is to nurture, guide and stimulate the enjoyment of and participation in the arts among residents of and visitors to Douglas County. The Cultural Arts Council and its exhibitions at the Cultural Arts Center are supported in part by our members and sponsors, the City of Douglasville, the Douglas County Board of Commissioners, and the Georgia Council for the Arts, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes a great nation deserves great art. The Cultural Arts Center is located at 8652 Campbellton Street in historic downtown Douglasville, Georgia. Hours of operation are Mondays through Fridays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For directions and more information, please contact the Cultural Arts Council at 770-949-2787 or visit www.artsdouglas.org.