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Bits & Pieces - April 2015

Bits & Pieces

  • Exhibit dates: April 8-May 4
  • Opening Reception: Thursday, April 9, 6:30-8:00 pm
  • Juror: Millicent Young, sculptor
  • Awards: Anne Banks Collage Award ($200) and Best in Show ($200 Art League Gift Card)

An exhibit featuring works made of or about found objects.

Exhibit Links: View the exhibit program | View the works on Flickr

Also on view in April: the All-Media Exhibit.

Unlocked (and detail) by Noah Williams, winner of Best in Show

Juror's Dialogue with George Miller

As a sculptor, “Bits & Pieces” juror Millicent Young is attuned to the challenge at the center of this found-object exhibit: creating a cohesive whole out of disparate parts.

The call for artists asked for artwork that incorporated found objects as materials or subject matter. That meant one thing the juror was looking for was careful use of materials and a sense of materiality in each piece. When found objects are used, they need to be used together — to transcend the individual object and become something greater than the sum of its parts, Young said.

In addition, Young looked for solid composition and craftsmanship in the accepted pieces. Artwork with a design that didn’t cohere, or where individual objects didn’t contribute to the whole, tended not to be accepted.

Because of the nature of the jurying process, the exhibit started off as a blank slate, but as Young continued, she said several themes emerged: memory and the transcendence of fragmentation and loss. Artists are always working with memory and narratives in their work, she said. By incorporating found objects, in one way, they bring into play all the memories attached to those objects in their previous lives. In the pieces selected that are pure abstraction in a formal sense, void of a distinct narrative, Young still selected for work where the found objects used transcended their original purpose.

A “perfect example” of this use of memory was Unlocked, a mask by sculptor Noah Williams, Young said. With found objects like house keys, shells, and bones, it incorporates hundreds of memories through its materials. With its form, it references African art. It also transcends these traditions and material memories to become an object in its own right, she said. Young awarded Unlocked Best in Show.

A judge’s choice award went to Adieu, a “woodcut on old drawer” by Viviane de Kosinsky that took a different route in responding to the exhibition's call. As a traditionally made print, Adieu deals with the conceptual basis of “Bits and Pieces.” Its content, rather than its materials or process, poetically and powerfully addresses memory, loss, fragmentation and wholeness, Young said.

Kevin McCarthy’s Purpose, which repurposes old packaging materials into a composition with elements of weaving and embroidery, won the Anne Banks Collage Award.

Young encouraged artists to enter more sculptures and applauded the good craftsmanship she saw during jurying. Sculptors should pay special attention to how their work will be presented — whether wall-mounted, standing on a pedestal, or otherwise — and also to creating a sturdy construction. Finally, she said, submitting artists should strive to be “true and honest to one’s own voice” and not fear making mistakes.

About the juror: Millicent Young (millicentyoung.com) was born in New York City in 1958 and began studying art at Dalton School. Two years after receiving her Masters of Fine Arts from James Madison University in Virginia, she received her first of two Professional Artist's Fellowship Awards from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Her work is exhibited widely and has been recognized by curators and directors from the Whitney Museum, the Guggenheim Museum, the International Sculpture Center, the Hirshhorn Museum, Grand Rapids Art Museum, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Merida, Mexico. Young’s work received a top award at the 2005 Biennale of Contemporary Art in Florence, Italy.

Young recently completed a trilogy of solo exhibitions installed in DC and Virginia: “Known/Not Known” parts 1 and 2; and “Contemplating Koans: a collection of sculptures”. Young has taught art and art appreciation at the secondary and university levels for 16 years. Since 2003 she has been a studio sculptor.




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