Seven students take top honors at annual art exhibit
Friday, Feb 08, 2019
Ashley Dever
Junior Ashley Dever and her experimental, untitled sculpture took Best In Show Feb. 8 at Lander University’s 2019 Juried Arts Exhibit.  Photo by L. C. Leach III

More than 100 art patrons showed up on Feb. 7 to see three seniors, three juniors, and one sophomore 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 more than 40 art pieces in the Monsanto Art Gallery from all levels of arts students.

The occasion marked several first-time-entry winners, and sophomore Brianna Clayton was the only one to win awards in two separate categories.

“I was not even expecting to get into the show,” said Clayton, a native of Greenwood, who placed 2nd for “Untitled” in Painting, and 2nd for “Looking For Comfort” in Sculpture. “So winning two awards is a great honor.”

Lander alum and Exhibit juror Jennifer A. Smith, now the Gallery Director for The Arts Center of Greenwood, awarded 1st-, 2nd-, and 3rd-place prizes to 18 students in six categories.

First-place winners and exhibit pieces included:

  • Senior Nick Spitzer, of Lugoff, Photography – “Wyoming Trades”
  • Senior Spencer Bautista, of Greenwood, Sculpture – “Untitled”
  • Senior Andy Merritt, of Greenwood, Ceramics – “Wet Wife Beater Contest”
  • Junior Chloe Compton, of Greenwood, Painting – “Remembering Terry”
  • Junior Macks Stacie Lazo, of Greenwood, Graphic Design – “Animation Infographic”
  • Sophomore Rebekah Smith, of Lewisville, N.C., Drawing – “Beauty in the Beholder”
Chloe Compton
Junior Chloe Compton was a first-time winner for her painting entry “Remembering Terry.” Photo by L. C. Leach III

“It was hard to pick a winner in any category at this show,” said Smith, who has organized over 120 art exhibitions from 2010-19. “Sculpture was especially strong, very tough to judge, and I really wanted to award a Best In Show to more than one entry.”

But Smith awarded Best In Show honor to junior Ashley Dever, of Lexington, for her entry “Untitled” – a sculpture depicting what at first appears to be two globs of colored molten stone that were twisted and shaped as they cooled in the aftermath of a volcanic eruption.

But on closer inspection, images of tilted crosses and hidden 7s emerge – and the more you stare, the more you’re tempted to think that the two globs might start crawling if you get too close.

“In terms of color, mystery, presence, and the way it makes you feel, Ashley’s entry had every part of the argument,” Smith said. “But again, it was a very tough category to pick only one winner.”

For Dever, a visual arts major, it was her second time winning one of the top three places in the Exhibit.

“I like to experiment with different materials,” said Dever, who also works in ceramics and graphics. “So this experimental piece will act as a springboard for future projects and I’m really thankful to a lot of people for it.”

All student works will be on display through Feb. 28 in the Monsanto Art Gallery, and all Lander students are encouraged to stop by and enjoy the new pieces.

Brianna Clayton
Sophomore Brianna Clayton was a double first-time winner, placing second in two categories, including her sculpture “Looking for Comfort.” Photo by L. C. Leach III

“The Juried show is always one of the most anticipated exhibits of the year,” said gallery director Jon Holloway. “It is a great opportunity to showcase a wide variety of talent and for students to share these accomplishments with their peers.”

First-time winner Chloe Compton added that this year was extra special to her because it helped her deal with some unexpected family grief.

“I lost my uncle Terry in July 2018 – it was very sudden, and it really upset me,” said Compton, who poured out part of that grief into an inscription in her 1st-place painting “Remembering Terry.” “And I wanted to create something that would honor him and allow me to say all the things I didn't get to say to him when he was alive. I was trying to write him a letter that I couldn't send – and I used this painting to do it.”