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Six Students Take Top Honors at Annual Art Exhibit

Adam Myers of Ware Shoals, left, stands with Lander University art professor Jon Holloway during Lander's annual Juried Student Exhibition, held Feb. 1 in Lander's Monsanto Art Gallery. Myers was judged as the Best In Show for his painting "Ihepakelo," shown in background.

Nearly 200 art patrons showed up on Feb. 1 to see two seniors, two sophomores, one junior and a freshman win top honors at Lander University's annual Juried Student Exhibition.

The public exhibit, run by the College of Arts & Humanities since the mid-1970s, featured 70 crafted pieces in the Monsanto Art Gallery from all levels of arts students.

Sophomore Phillip Powers was a first-time winner, and he, along with freshman Grace White and junior Olivia Paradis, all won awards in two separate categories.

"I made both of my pieces in my free time," said Paradis, a native of North Augusta, Ga., who placed 3rd for "Self-Portrait" in Computer Graphics, and 2nd for "Harmony" in Photography. "For them to get accepted into the show is an honor and a great motivator to keep experimenting and trying new mediums."

Upstate artist and exhibition juror Fleming Markel awarded 1st, 2nd, and 3rd-place prizes to 15 students, plus two honorable mentions.

First-place category winners and exhibit pieces included:

  • Ricardo Macias, Ceramics - "Simios"
  • Brandon Hernandez, Computer Graphics - "Dejection"
  • Phillip Powers, Drawing - "Unspeakable Duress"
  • Grace White, Painting - "Splotches"
  • Lauren Jarecki, Sculpture - "Leaving my mark"
  • Taisha Williams Caldwell, Photography - "Pierced"

"I thought the quality of the work was amazing," said Markel, manager of Greenville Technical College's Riverworks Gallery. "It's obvious the students at Lander are hardworking and enthusiastic, and it shows in the quality and guidance of the instruction they are getting from their professors."

Markel held the best for the end, awarding senior Adam Myers as the winner of Best In Show for his entry "Ihepakelo" - a vivid red and green adaptation of a 1927 Georgia O'Keefe oil painting called Blue Abstraction.

"I was impressed with how Adam took a feminine subject and turned it into something masculine," Markel said. "The edges were definitive, the color palette striking, and whereas the original by Georgia O'Keefe looked as though you were looking through a vaporous blue and white fog, Adam's edges and colors were quite definite, and his handling of the paint and size of the work was ambitious for a student."

Myers, a Visual Arts major, who chose O'Keefe's model because of "her use of line and color," was honored to be recognized for something internally personal.

"Ihepakelo" is my middle name - it's Hawaiian for spear or lance - and growing up in Ware Shoals, I didn't like the name because it was too different," said Myers, who also placed 2nd in ceramics. "But after coming to Lander, I met a lot of people who were open to 'different' … so I named the painting after my middle name as my way of accepting who I am."

All student works will be on display through Feb. 22 in the Monsanto Art Gallery.

"The juried exhibit is one of my favorites during the year," said gallery director Jon Holloway. "It allows all the students to participate in the process of exhibiting artwork, and this show represents the incredible talent we have in our art student majors."

Senior Kaitlin Sherfield added that the 2018 Exhibit was not only an exciting way to end her art showing at Lander, it will serve to strengthen her chances for success in the world after graduation.

"This show really made me feel a sense of accomplishment," said Sherfield, a Laurens native who placed third for her ceramic entry "Cup Study." "I plan on getting a job in graphic design - and since my freshman year, acceptance into the juried exhibit was always a way to celebrate the growth I experienced as an artist and a person, and to take a look at where I wanted to be this time next year."