DCCA NEWS: Choosing the best amid abundant excellence


GREENVILLE—The High School show currently on display at the Anna Bier Gallery featuring the admirable work of students from all area high schools as well as a homeschooled teen contains many delights; how can a viewer pick a favorite? When I talked to artist Selena Burk who chose the show’s winning entries, she explained that judging is not choosing your own favorites, but instead looking deeper to evaluate the best adherence to basic criteria such as originality, color, contrast, center of interest, etc. However, Selena’s choice for Best of Show is certain to attract likes from all viewers for its sense of fun; Greenville senior Skylar Fletcher’s innovative “Orange Portrait” will inspire smiles as well as admiration. That sensibility also animates “Wizard of Oz” by Ella Strawn, chosen as Director’s Pick by Anna Bier Gallery Director CeCelia Rice; the window frame surrounding the bright stained glass piece looks as though it might have survived a tornado, adding to the message of the charming work.

Drawings: Aubrey Deal’s exceptionally well-done “Cowgirl Portrait” earned first place with its amazing sense of dimension, while Lillian Severance created a unique dual portrait of “You and Me” displaying a connected couple from an interesting perspective. Other such work includes the simply-titled “Portrait” by Damien Gates, an up-close drawing of a wide-eyed attractive face, and “From Above” by Aeris Butler which looks down upon an attractive young man.

Trenton Holden’s “Chocolate Strawberry” inspires the desire to taste the luscious drip enticingly hanging from the fruit. An imaginative intriguing “Glob” by Emma Lavey demands careful examination, while Montana Pulfer’s bright and happy “Macaw” colorfully displays a mischievous personality.

Photography: “Mysteries of Life” by Aubrie Cooley, a fascinating close-up of a praying mantis, earned first place. In “Walk of Fame,” Lucas Miller re-creates a seemingly unending school hallway displaying artifacts from the past. Creatively-titled “Snow Neigh Day” by Caitlin Haines displays a horse behind a curtain of falling snow as seen through a glass barrier. “Ananas Comosus,” the botanical name for a pineapple, is also the name of an elegant picture of a stunning pineapple by Zoey Johnson.

Paintings: First-place-winning “Portrait” by Rebekah Bunch shows exceptional utilization of reflected color, while Lillian Severance’s portrait of a young handsome Elvis entitled “The King” uses song lyrics to create fascinating background. Streaks of rain shimmer against a bleakly dark streetscape in Elke Huang’s “City Drowned in Rain;” a completely different mood is evoked in Hailery Woolery’s sweetly detailed “Turtle.” Shay Swick used concentric circles to encircle a “Tree of Life” that seems to become a living breathing creature.

Sculptures: Exquisite form earned first place for Trey Wilson’s stunning “Donut Vase;” “Life from Death” is the fitting title of a sculptural piece by Aeris Butler using a tree limb from which hangs a skull-shaped planter sporting a cheerful blooming geranium. Gabe Zumbrun’s “Found Monster” is a charming creature created in part with bent spoons and forks, while Olivia Medve’s untitled pottery vessel sports ceramic patches displaying color and character.

Miscellaneous: First place winner Alexus Nelson’s “Skeleton” demands study with its attention to detail; Sarah Beckstedt created a fascinating collage with paint and paper to illustrate a glamorous “Celebrity.” Ascher Garber’s stained glass “Train” displays depth in addition to brilliant color as a locomotive moves through a glittering landscape. “Face of a Champion” by June Cooke shows a helmeted soldier displaying bravery and resolve; Sydney DeLong’s “Kobe Mosaic” illustrates the iconic basketball player sporting a Lakers jersey peering up at an unseen basket. An untitled portrait by Maddie Puterbaugh expertly uses light to highlight a girl’s face; in a portrait of a totally different kind, Dakota Wooten has created “Louise Lizard” in painstaking detail.

”Wine Glasses Mosaic” is an appealingly structured still life by Ashlyn Burk that is striking in its detailed simplicity, while Mason Shelton’s “Red Eye” is a remarkably complicated feathered creature. These and other delights are on display at the Anna Bier Gallery through the month of April; the Gallery is open Sundays from 12 noon till 2 p.m. For more information, contact CeCelia Rice at CeCeliaRice@darkecountyarts.org or call 937-564-7568.