The 39th annual Juried Student Exhibition has been on display in the main gallery of the Art Museum of the University of Memphis (AMUM) for students and visitors to observe since February 11.
The exhibition features 27 artistic creations from 15 University of Memphis student artists, all of which were selected by this year’s juror, Julie Pierotti. The creations range from ceramic sculptures to digital illustrations and oil paintings.
While last year’s exhibition was entirely online, AMUM has reopened its main gallery to the public to allow an in-person experience of ongoing and future exhibits.
“We are very excited to give the students the opportunity to exhibit in an actual gallery again,” said Kristy Griffin, the assistant director of the Art Museum.
The featured artists include Mohamed Adbo, Aaron Binkowitz, Shelby Brown, Anna Clements, Madison “Raine” Irby, Carly Johnson, Sara Mosely, Kendrick Pendleton, Rashawn Penister, Mark Rawlinson, Danielle Sierra, Sarah Stobbe, Daniel Twedt, Chetana Reiley Wilson and Erica Vanhaute.
Of the 44 submissions this year, 27 pieces were selected.
Unlike a curated exhibition that centers around a singular artist or theme, the Juried Student Exhibition allows artists the freedom to create all types of art without specifications.
“I wanted to explore the emotions of depression, anxiety, and loneliness,” said Anna Clemons, a sophomore studio art major, whose ceramic sculpture “Poor Pierrot” won the Dixon Gallery & Gardens membership award. “With clay, it’s easier to show what I want to say as opposed to drawing.”
Danielle Sierra, an art graduate student and two-time Juried Student Exhibition featured artist, paid homage to her Mexican and Catholic backgrounds with the religious charms in her self-portrait piece, "Milagro."
"The colors are bright and vivid, but when you look closely, the face is crying," Sierra said. "But it doesn't look extremely sad. It's the in-between when you're dealing with something, but in a positive way." Sierra's other featured piece, "He Saw that Her Suffering Was Great," won the President's Purchase award with a prize of $1,000.
In all previous Juried Student Exhibitions, a student must have taken an art course within the past year to be eligible to submit their artwork. That is no longer the case.
“We should be making opportunities for students and not barriers,” said Griffin. “We flung the doors wide open this year and allowed anyone from any department to apply.”
After careful deliberation, the Department of Art selected Julie Pierotti as this year’s guest juror. Julie is the Martha R. Robinson Curator at the Dixon Gallery and Gardens, a position she’s held since 2007. Julie recently published "Dixon Gallery and Gardens: Paintings, Sculptures, Works on Paper", which is an “an updated catalog of more than a hundred works of art in the Dixon’s collection.”
“We look for people who have the education and professional experience to look at artwork and make those decisions,” said Griffin. “Julie is fantastic.”
The Art Museum held a virtual reception Feb. 11 to mark the opening of the exhibition. The reception included a lecture by Julie Pierotti and the presentation of awards by Department of Art Chair Richard Lou.
“It’s really an achievement for these students, and it’s beautiful,” said Dr. Anne Hogan, dean of the College of Communication and Fine Arts, at the virtual reception.
The exhibition runs through March 26, 2022, and admission is free.
A catalog of this year’s exhibition is available on the AMUM website, containing artist statements and details of medium/media/materials used.
Artwork from past Juried Student Exhibitions is also available online.
Applications for next year open in late November.
“If you feel like you’re ready to see your artwork up on the wall, take a chance,” said Griffin. “Life is too short not to.”
Anna Clements, a sophomore studio art student, stands next to her ceramic sculpture, "Poor Pierrot," which serves as the focal point for this year's Juried Student Exhibition exhibit.
Danielle Sierra, a graduate student in the painting department and back-to-back Juried Student Exhibition featured artist, proudly poses next to her atypical self-portrait entitled "Milagro," which won the Dixon Gallery & Gardens membership award.
Aaron Binkowitz showcases his range with three distinct pieces at this year's Juried Student Exhibition, including a self-portrait style oil painting and two design heavy oil and gouache paintings.