BY TOM LAVIS
Regional artists will once again have their time to shine.
The 81st annual Allied Artists of Johnstown Juried Exhibition will be on display through Dec. 13 at Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art at Johnstown, Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center, Pitt-Johnstown campus, Richland Township.
This year’s exhibition features 61 works from 34 artists.
The exhibit features photography, oil, acrylic, colored pencil, jewelry, pottery and mixed media.
Diane M. Safko, president of Allied Artists, said the exhibition demonstrates an exceptional level of creativity and skill represented by the artists in the display.
“It is a tribute to the many exceptionally talented individuals in our communities,” Safko said.
“Their pride in being a member of Allied Artists of Johns-town is a tribute to the exceptional reputation of our organization.”
The organization has more than 110 members.
“We had 82 works submitted for consideration to be selected for the exhibition,” Safko said.
Serving as exhibition juror is Michael Campbell, professor of art at Shippensburg University since 1990, and director of the university’s Kauffman Gallery.
In regards to the works submitted and judged, Campbell discovered that the individual visions within the exhibition were plentiful.
“From the literal, to the fantastic, to the minimal, there is something for everyone,” Campbell said.
“Whether you appreciate the expressive, the delicate, the raw, the introspective, the romantic, the explosive, or the bizarre, you will not be disappointed.”
He described the works as rich in content, color and surface texture, saying each piece provides a rich visual adventure to embrace and savor.
“Award winners surfaced with some ease,” he said.
“Their clarity of vision and concept, their selection and control with materials and techniques, their inventiveness and their professional presentation were valued greatly. “
Kathleen Kase Burk, exhibit co-chairwoman, and Kenneth Cotlar, both of Ebensburg, are pleased to see budding artists take such an active role in the organization.
“I’m especially pleased to see several new, young members joining the group, such as Kira Hovanec, who won one of the top prizes,” Burk said.
“There are strong works in the show by familiar “old-timers,” such as Ned Wert, Joseph Berezansky, Georgia Akers and Sallie Zoerb.”
Collectively, 11 works were chosen to receive awards and three received honorable mention.
They are “Beachfront,” an abstract painting, by Ned Wert of Brush Valley; “I carry a Knife … In case of Cake,” a pencil drawing, by Kira Hovanec of Johnstown; “Turning Pollock’s Key,” an oil on canvas, by Ann Dougherty of Johnstown; “Untitled,” a pencil portrait, by Sam Howard of Johnstown; “In Memory of GeGe,” a watercolor, by Nadine Toth of Loretto; “Lilac Crazy Lace,” a beaded necklace, by Lisa Mull of Davidsville; “Three Skins,” a painting, by Katie Respet of Salix; “Olive Wood,” a colored-pencil drawing, by Burk; “Longwood Rusted Evolution,” a photograph, by Sherrill Begres of Blairsville; “The Echo of Churchbells,” an acrylic painting, by Joseph Berezansky of Johnstown; and “Image C. J.,” a photograph, by Sallie Zoerb of Somerset.
Honorable mention was awarded to Georgia Akers of Johnstown for “Tea Burst,” Joy Fairbanks of Blairsville for “Umbrellas” and Burk for “Contentment.”
Safko said any artist whose work wasn’t selected should not be discouraged.
“Art is very subjective,” she said.
“Certain jurors have concepts or benchmarks by which they judge and some pieces may not meet their criteria.”
Jurors often look at subject content, use of media, color, composition and the level of skill the artist displays.
“Our organization has artists at every level of experience,” Safko said.
“We have some who are teenagers and others who are known nationally and internationally.”
But having younger artists involved bodes well for the future of Allied Artists.
“When our organization began in 1932, artists were using either oil or watercolor paints,” Safko said.
“Nowadays, we see digital photography, wood burning and sculptures made from unusual and unique materials.”
The variety of media also impressed Burk.
“In addition to traditional painting and drawing, there are surprising works in unusual materials, such as recycled glass, printing/painting on wood, beaded jewelry and even one work made out of tea bags,” Burk said.
“And of course, photography continues to be a very popular medium for many artists.”
Tom Lavis covers Features for the Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter.com/Tom LavisTD.
What: 81st annual Allied Artists of Johnstown Juried Exhibition.
Where: Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art, Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center, 450 Schoolhouse Road, Richland Township.
When: Through Dec. 13.
Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.
Information: 421-1523 or visit www.johnstownart.com.