Sunday, 20 June 2010 07:47
Sculpture festival offers outlet for 3-D artists
- DATE: June 20, 2010
- PUBLICATION: Athens Banner-Herald
Athens' reputation as an artsy city is no secret - once again the Classic City has landed a spot on AmericanStyle magazine's annual Top 25 Arts Destinations list. Any casual visitor to Athens is sure to lay eyes upon local artwork galore as the walls of coffee shops, restaurants, hair salons and bars across town offer dozens of outlets for artists to get their work in front of the public.
But for artists working in three dimensions, exhibit opportunities are mostly limited to the more traditional museum and gallery spaces. Offering a new outlet for three-dimensional artwork, the Classic Center Arts Foundation's first Athens Sculpture Festival allows the public to get a glimpse of the wealth of talented sculptors in our little city. Sculpture will be on display in the Grand Hall of the Classic Center on Thursday through Saturday. Winners of $2,000 in cash prizes will be awarded at a Patron Preview Party on Wednesday and an additional $1,000 People's Choice award will be announced Saturday.
"Part of the mission of the foundation is to provide recourses to entertain and educate our community about art and to support the local diverse arts in Athens," says foundation director Julie Walters. "We are proud that the walls of the Classic Center are adorned with art that we have purchased from local artists."
Inspired by a similar event in Hill City, S.D., Walters conceived of the Athens Sculpture Festival more than a year ago. "The board decided that it was a need that needed to be filled and we were just the organization to fill it," she says, adding the open call for entries received a great response and a selection committee had a difficult time narrowing down the number of works. "We wanted to limit the number of artists to only 20 our first year," Walters says. "They did a great job and you will see the festival represents a wide and diverse selection of art and artists," she adds.
Featuring monumental works such as Beverly Babb's meticulously crafted oversized steel jigsaw puzzle; Ann Hamlin's African-inspired welded found-object construction "Stop screwing the elephants"; John Kehoe's elegant Carrara marble abstract "Bird of Peace"; Doug Makemson's chrome and car-part "King Heron"; Tony Ransom's graffiti-adorned "There's Always Something"; and Daniel Sizemore's undulating ceramic monolith "Barrallathon," the exhibit includes small-scale, mechanical and hanging pieces as well.
Jaclyn Enck's "Evil Fuzz Magic" is a seemingly delicate dangling collection of familiar and abstract forms while Donald Goldstein's "Mask" is a burnished golden wall piece calling to mind a fuzzy bunny gone bad. Smaller than a shoebox, Will Eskridge's "The arrival" is a three-dimensional maritime collage, and Steve Lober's tabletop-scaled "Iron torso" is an exercise in sleek, subtle abstraction. Matt Boland's "Gift Horse" features a pair of doll-sized ceramic figures in a battle of struggle and assistance while Sarah Heath's "Wedding rites" is a pair of life-sized hollow steel forearms perforated with delicate tattoo patterns.
The show offers quite a few nods to the mechanical. Travis Christopher's steel and iron toy-sized dump truck, "Madison 1978," and Andrew Rosen's engine-part construction, "Son of robot monster" both offer nods to little boys' childhood obsessions, while Karol Patterson's "World of gourds" is an ironic reimagining of a once-ubiquitous reference tool rendered obsolete in the age of Google Maps. And Benjamin McKee's "Heart Strings" is a tall, whirring contraption that leaves little to the imagination.
Also part of the exhibit, Stan Mullins' bronze figurative piece "Icarus" pays tribute to a Greek tale. The artist's monumental "Hands of Respect" will be on display outside the Classic Center throughout the festival. The realistically rendered pair of human hands were created in association with the Australian organization World-Equity.org as a symbol of ideals of cross-cultural respect as a means of achieving human equality in the world.
The Athens Sculpture Festival is planned to be an annual event and the foundation will continue to expand upon the collection of local artwork on permanent display in the Classic Center. "Our vision is to have a sculpture garden here at The Classic Center," explains Walters, "where our community can enjoy the works and our out-of-town convention guests can enjoy it as well."