Aaron Calvert, the ceramic artist whose whimsical creations in high-gloss enamel got our attention in the 60th (and top-notch) “Delta Exhibition” at the Arkansas Arts Center, came away with the Grand Award in this year’s 62nd show of work by artists in Arkansas and the region for his “Rocket Rabbit.”
Juror Stephanie Fedor, the executive director of the Visual Arts Center of Richmond in Virginia, announced the winners last night after a Zoom conversation with AAC chief curator Brian Lang that was open to members. Fedor talked a lot about seeing a reflection of our stressful and socially distanced lives in the works of the artists.(Some works predate the pandemic, of course, but the past few years have been loaded with many stressors of the environmental, societal and political kind; the pandemic has just been the icing on the cake). In particular, she noted Anton Hoeger’s Delta-Award-winning “Woman with Red Shoes,” an oil on canvas, for the whirl of white and the jumble of images surrounding the central figure.
Other winners were Leah Grant, who Lang noted was an art student and who earned a Delta Award for her cyanotype and screenprint “Notice,” and Chris Hynes, who earned the Contemporaries Award for his clay-and-found-object fantastical animal “Spirit.”
It is frustrating that the “Delta,” which was to have been divided between the Historic Arkansas Museum in Little Rock and the Thea Foundation, ACANSA Gallery and the Argenta Branch of the Laman Public Library in North Little Rock, had to go digital. Art is best appreciated in person: I would like to see Anaïs Dassé’s charcoal “Hog Hunting” in its 48-by-77-inch glory, David Mudrinich’s almost-pointillist pastel “Discordant Hives” put up against Steven Wise’s truly pointillist “Lost Valley.” I want a closer look at Euphus Ruth’s wet-plate collodion photograph of a cemetery alongside a cotton field and Jeanie Hursley’s charcoal of an overgrown cabin “Imminent,” and I want to touch Barbara Satterfield’s luscious vessel “Buckeye Seed Pods.” I want to stand in front of Mildred West’s nonconforming composition in “Rooftop, Havana” and think hard about why I think this is such a great photograph. I know John Allison’s abstract 60-by-96-inch expressionist painting “Diptych — Pathway to Compassion” is meant to be stood before to get its full impact. The texture in Joe Barnett’s “Grace” cries out to be seen in real life.
I could go on, but will quit my whining. When you go to the site, be sure and click on the little box at the top of each enlarged image to get an even larger view. The website also lists upcoming programming, such as virtual studio tours and gallery talks with various artists.