PARKERSBURG - Many local artists took a creative journey to see where it would lead them in the Parkersburg Art Center's annual Regional Exhibition and Competition.
The exhibit, which opened Sunday, revolved around the theme of "You Are Here," like as seen on a map.
Many of the 102 pieces represented variations of taking a journey, whether it is between two physical points, a journey through life or some other personal notion of a journey.
Photo by Brett Dunlap
Gerry Enrico, of Point Pleasant, is a professional artist who won the Best of Show Award in the Parkersburg Art Center’s annual Regional Exhibition and Competition for a portrait he did of his daughter, entitled “Isabella 16,” done in charcoal pencil.
The show will run through Aug. 31 at the art center, located at Eighth and Market streets in downtown Parkersburg. The Regional exhibit was open to any artist within a 70-mile radius, with artists allowed to submit up to two pieces of their work, said Abby Hayhurst, executive director of the art center. There are 62 artists participating in the show this year.
"It is a great opportunity for these artists to get together," Hayhurst said. "They all meet each other and are able to exchange ideas.
"This is one of our favorite shows of the year."
The pieces in the exhibit cover work in a number of mediums, including painting, photography, digital composites, woodcarving, tapestries and more. One artist even utilized a car door in one piece.
"Many of them are amateur artists," Hayhurst said. "Many of them do it as a hobby.
"This is an opportunity for their work to be judged with their peers. It is also an opportunity for their work to go on display in a professional gallery setting."
Alison Helm, the chair of the West Virginia University Art Department, was brought in as a juror to pick the prize winners of the show.
Hayhurst believes many of the artists, in talking with the other artists, will get ideas and will try to incorporate those ideas in their own work.
Sarah Cordonier, of Parkersburg, is showing for the first time in this year's Regional show. She entered a three-dimensional ceramic piece and a three-dimensional piece that looks like a typographical map made out of foamboard. She made the pieces while working with an instructor who urged her to put them in a local showing, but Cordonier didn't.
"I saw an advertisement for this show and thought there was no reason why I shouldn't honor her and enter these pieces," Cordonier said.
She was impressed with the quality of work being shown at the exhibit.
"There are a lot of incredible artists with some really nifty pieces of art here," Cordonier said. "I am really enjoying this because the artwork is so diverse.
"I would encourage any artist to enter a show like this. It is a great way to get your name out there as far as artwork goes."
Steve Morningstar, the art chair at Parkersburg High School, used maps of the Inyo National Forest and the Sierra Nevada Mountains as well of pictures of he and his friends during a recent fishing trip to make a collage detailing their experiences. His collage won second place in representation of theme.
Morningstar was also impressed with the quality of work represented in the show.
"It shows how much talent is in this (70-mile) radius," he said. "It brings in enough professional, amateur and artists who are teachers from places like Marietta College and Ohio University.
"You see a nice mix of the different talented artists from throughout the area."
The show's theme can be interpreted in a number of different ways.
"The idea of a theme really works out good, because that creates a parameter for artists so they have something to focus on," Morningstar said. "When you see all of the different ways they manifest using those parameters, they come up with all these different ideas.
"It brings a whole different perspective to using one concept which is something we teach the kids in school as well," he said.
Gerry Enrico, of Point Pleasant, is a professional artist who won the Best of Show Award for a portrait he did of his daughter, entitled "Isabella 16," done in charcoal pencil.
Enrico has tried to do a portrait of his daughter every year since she was little.
"I draw her every year so I can see her growing up," he said. "You can see the changes in her face."
The portrait was done a couple of years ago as his daughter is now 18 years old.
"She lives in New York," Enrico said. "It is to show her that I think about her all of the time."
With all of the talent entering the show, Enrico thought he might be lucky to get an honorable mention.
"It is a surprise," he said. "When I look at the artwork here, this is a great show and a good competition.
"I really didn't think I would get Best in Show. I am very thankful for that."
One of the museum's docents, Carol Bidstrup, will give a gallery talk at noon Wednesday at the art center. She has a couple of pieces in the show. She is going to talk about how an artist looks at artwork and explain things from an artist's point of view.
Hayhurst said the public who comes to the show will be surprised by the number of talented people in the area.
"We are so lucky here in the Valley," she said. "We have an extraordinary amount of talented artists."
The art center is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and daily admission $2 for adults and no charge for children under 12.