published Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

New AVA exhibition features wide variety of artwork from the greater Chattanooga area

Oil painting by Jane Newman.
Oil painting by Jane Newman.

If You Go

What: AVA Juried Members Exhibition

Where: Association for Visual Arts, 30 Frazier Ave.

When: Opening reception 5:30-8 p.m. Friday; runs through Jan. 1.

Hours: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday

Admission: Free

Information: 265-4282.

Participating Artists

Andrew Merriss

Ashley Hamilton

Brent Sanders

Catherine Stetson

Daniel Swanger

Gabriel Regagnon

Harriet Chipley

Jake Kelley

Jane Newman

John Stone

Khambrel Green

Maddin Corey

Marie Lauer

Mary B. Lynch

Matthew Dutton

Neely Hyde

Petra Fimberger

Renel Plouffe

Thomas Shaw

Toneeke Runinwater

Arlyn Ende

Coyee Shipp Langston

A broad spectrum of regional artists will offer their work to the public eye this week — but one of them will eventually stand alone.

The 500 members of the Association for Visual Arts were invited to submit work for consideration in AVA's annual Juried Members Exhibition. About three dozen applied, says AVA Education and Exhibitions Director Lauren Goforth, and 22 made the cut.

But at Friday night's opening reception, one will be named Best in Show and win a solo exhibition in November 2013, Goforth says.

Harriet Chipley, a founding member of AVA, says she has shown in a number of group shows, and this is her second appearance in the Juried Members Exhibition.

Chipley said winning a solo exhibition "would mean a lot of hard work to get busy and create a show, but it would be a wonderful compliment and very gratifying."

In the upcoming show, her piece "Collectibles" is a watercolor still life.

"The point of the painting is answering the question: 'What do the things we keep reveal about us?' And I have a hodgepodge of things in this painting," she says.

An off-the-cuff expression made by his cousin inspired Jake Kelley's mixed-media work for the show -- a colorful swirl of acrylic, latex, resin and ink on aluminum.

Kelley, art teacher at Signal Mountain Middle-High School, says this is his second juried Members Exhibition appearance. Winning a Best in Show would be significant because "AVA has always supported me and promoted my work more than any other group or individual in Chattanooga."

This is the second year that AVA has offered a solo show as the top prize, says Executive Director Anne Willson.

"It's the only solo exhibition AVA presents," she says. "To have the focus on one artist is monumental. Most galleries share multiple artists. It's quite advantageous to the career of an artist."

Watercolor artist Maggie Vandewalle won Best in Show for the 2011 Members Exhibition, and her solo show of 11 large paintings and two salon-style smaller works concluded last week.

"The show was titled 'Eclectica,' which allowed me to explore a range of subjects without restriction," Vandewalle says. "It's always exciting to have a solo show, but this one was particularly beneficial because AVA has such a wide reach in the community. It was also a great opportunity for me to show some of my very large pieces in an environment that was able to accommodate them."

Goforth says Paul Lee of Knoxville, a photographer and professor of art at the University of Tennessee, judged applications and selected the 22 exhibitors.

"I search for pieces that are visually intriguing and intellectually engaging," said Lee via email. "I enjoy looking at pieces that pose more questions than present answers. I think these pieces will have the biggest impact for the viewers."

While the norm for a juried show is that perhaps one-third to one-half of those who apply to a show are selected, Goforth says, Lee took a different tack.

"He says he's an artist and applies to shows like this. He says he would prefer to have one of his pieces selected and get in the show, than many pieces of his chosen and others not get in the show. So he chose one piece from a lot of artists," Goforth explained.

Lee says variety is what he wanted to see, "more diversity of medium, style and subject matter in a juried group exhibition."

AVA will take this exhibition on the road after it closes. The local nonprofit has formed a new partnership with the Knoxville Arts and Culture Alliance, which will sponsor the AVA show at the Emporium Center in Knoxville in June, Goforth says.

In return, the Knoxville Alliance's member show will be sent to AVA for a January exhibition.

about Susan Pierce...

Susan Palmer Pierce is a reporter and columnist in the Life department. She began her journalism career as a summer employee 1972 for the News Free Press, typing bridal announcements and photo captions. She became a full-time employee in 1980, working her way up to feature writer, then special sections editor, then Lifestyle editor in 1995 until the merge of the NFP and Times in 1999. She was honored with the 2007 Chattanooga Woman of ...

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