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Review: On Art - In this art competition, we all win
Juried exhibition of local artists work at the Averitt Main Gallery
W River Hunter-Penny Marz
Penny Marzs River Hunter, the Merit Award winner, sneaks up on a red-tailed hawk poised for action. - photo by Special

Twenty-nine works were selected for the Statesboro Regional Arts Association’s annual Juried Exhibition, and any one of them is worth a visit to the Averitt Center for the Arts.

All together? It’s a gallery of color and imagination, artistry and skill that’s not to be missed. Open now through Nov. 30, this exhibit of local talent may lure you back more than once. It did me.

Let’s take it from the top, with the Best of Show. Carolyn Morgan’s impressionist “Field Flowers” is a throng of tall white blossoms, outlined and silhouetted against grass of burnished bronze and gold. The metallic coloring, the textures of mixed media, and the delicate outlining of the petals creates a feel almost like cloisonné inlaid jewelry, only on a larger, grander and more exuberant scale.  

By contrast, nature in all its realistic glory perches in a nearby frame. Penny Marz’s “River Hunter,” the Merit Award winner, sneaks up on a red-tailed hawk poised for action – menacing, calculating, but cool. Astonishing in its lifelike detail, the bird’s piercing eyes are locked on target. Is it the intruding viewer or the prey beyond?
“Wilsons Arch,” by Larry Smith, is another natural wonder of sorts. Across the gallery, you spy a postcard-perfect photo of one of Utah’s towering sandstone arches. It’s only in coming close that you realize the sun-washed monument is carved in acrylic brushstrokes of crimson and russet. That realism earned the piece one of three Judge’s Honorable Mention awards.

There’s nothing somber about Ida Water’s “The Blues,” the next Honorable Mention winner. This mixed-media painting of hydrangeas is a celebration in azure, cobalt, sapphire and indigo. At once startling and oh-so-familiar, it’s a larger-than-life reminder of the beauty in everyday – if we have Water’s eyes to see it.

The best way to describe Rebecca Hibb’s “Summer of 2013” is that it’s the cover of a book you can’t wait to read, an illustration that tells the first line of a story. In the Honorable Mention watercolor, a woman in the proverbial “little black dress” flounces through sunny puddles of yellow, red and green, formed by crayon-colored raindrops trickling down her umbrella. Like Cinderella leaving the ball, she dangles ruby-red high heels from her fingertips.

What next?  Enjoy a juicy-ripe chunk of Wanda Woodcock’s “Sweet Watermelon,” stroll alongside Debbie Bailey’s “Bird in the Surf,” breathe in Julie Bressler’s “Magnolia.” 

And there are still 21 more jury-selected pieces to go. Which one will win your heart?

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