Apex Student Juried Exhibit

Juror Statement for Apex Exhibition-- Jeremy Chen

 
Student exhibitions showcase artists’ work at an early and important stage in their production and their/your career as people who see that making art matters and who are beginning to take this act seriously. Like them, I believe artmaking—any cultural production—is needed and matters. I remember the vulnerable feeling of submitting my artwork to juried student exhibitions so I applaud you for the courage to submit your developing work and exhibit publicly. I can still feel vulnerable when I have exhibitions and always think of what cartoonist Ivan Brunetti says: “Admittedly art is somewhat like spit. It does not repulse or even worry us while it is still inside of us, but once it exits our body, it becomes disgusting.” My job as a juror is not to add to your insecurity as an artist. But I believe if I’m jurying right, it always gets excruciating at some point when I select some work and leave other work out. As a juror for a student show, it’s necessary to exclude some quality work that has merit and value.
 
This exhibition is also a celebration of the impulse to find your voice as an artist. Congratulations to each of you for working to develop your own distinct voice. The writer and thinker Wendell Berry asks each artist: how do we say something back to what is happening? And so much is happening. A dear friend told me: “Artists are professional noticers.” I agree with her and add: artists are professional listeners with a job of listen, tell, listen. Whether listening or noticing, our job is to find, collect, and filter.
 
It is a strange but important task to evaluate and judge artwork. Honestly, it is a job for more than a single individual— it is the work of an entire people, or what we abstractly call “culture.” And it’s a job that eventually happens over time, with ups and downs, with many voices agreeing or contradicting over many generations and places. We sometimes lose amazing artistic voices because we weren’t listening carefully enough or disregarded. We have biases or we just don’t understand the artwork through these thick (but therefore protective) skulls we have. But evaluating artwork is important and not random, arbitrary, accidental or frivolous. Assessing artwork helps us categorize what is being made and gives us insights about what is important at specific moments in time and place.
 
We should realize the assessment process is never really finished. My judgements of pieces in this exhibition are about the artworks, not their makers. My inclusion or exclusion of artworks is not a final declaration; it is not an end point. Each of these artists should keep making art and continue to push themselves to improve skills and strengthen their voices. We have hungry eyes so feed us more. Maybe you know you are capable of something better from a technical, conceptual or other standpoint. Maybe you hit limits of time, budget, energy, or maybe you know you cut corners and got lazy at certain points. Maybe you suddenly realize that what you submitted is really a prototype and only recognize that now that it is exhibited. Moments of honesty with yourself as an artist are important. Exhibitions are times to celebrate, but they are also opportunities for honest reckonings for every artist whether you get awards or not. Being truthful with yourself will help you push yourself toward excellence.

I am just one person, with specific training and experience, encountering your work. Art is an on-going exchange and engaged discussion. Inviting me to make selections as an external juror viewing the work online, is just one way to further your professional dialog and part of taking your artmaking seriously. Thank you for inviting me and allowing me to look at this artwork made by students here at Iowa State University. What a privilege and pleasure it was to view all the works. All of you remember: Make art; do not stop.
 

AWARD WINNERS

Best in Show
James Casad
Orifice II
Brass Sculpture, 2019
 
Merit Awards
Zach Stewart
Has the Globe Become the New Swoosh?
Risograph Zine, 2019
 
Joe Fentress
Thea
Ash & Fabric Lamp, 2020
 
Nathan Milko
Form-Y
Ash & Aluminum Bicycle, 2019
 
Honorable Mentions
Christian D’Cruz
G00nD0ck Future
Mixed Media Painting, 2019
 
Tristan Beilharz
Looking Back
Pen & Ink Drawing, 2020
 

Criteria 

COMPETENCY/CRAFT
  • Is the artwork well made for what it is?
  • Does the artwork employ or respond to elements and principles of art, design effectively?
  • Does the artwork demonstrate the student’s competencies, skills, understanding of craft, materials, techniques, tools, processes?
  • Amazing ideas and content (while very important), won’t save you from poor craft or inattention to the role of your materials, techniques, and processes.
  • High quality documentation is essential (in sharp focus, cropped, edited, well-lit, neutral/non-distracting background)
 
CREATIVITY/INNOVATION/ADAPTATION
  • Does the artwork move substantially beyond completion of an assignment?
  • Does the artwork move substantially beyond superficial ideas, clichés?
  • Does the artwork explore or investigate ideas, content, or media with breadth and/or depth?
  • Does the artwork explore materials, processes, techniques, or tools inventively?
 
CONTENT
  • Does the artwork have something to state, question, or investigate?
  • Is the artwork “about something” with complexity and depth?
  • What is the function of this artwork? What is its job in the world?
  • Does the artwork merely pose a solution or illustrate a point? Does the artwork explore questions to illuminate manifold meaning?
  • Does the artwork rely on clichés? Is it trite, oversimplified, derivative? Is the artwork heavy handed, condescending, ethical, accessible, inclusive, or elitist?
  • Does the artwork have an audience? Who? Why? Focused/narrow/specific or broad/general?
  • Amazing skills and techniques won’t save you from clichés.
  • Is the content in conversation with the materials, processes or techniques?
 
CONTEXT
  • Does the artwork demonstrate the artist’s awareness and understanding of larger contexts around it?
  • How does the artwork connect to the past, present, or speak to the future?
  • How, and to what, does the artwork respond?
  • What is the function of this artwork? What is its job in the world?
  • What are the connecting points for this artwork? What are connotations/denotations?
  • Where is the artwork’s ideal home? Where and how does it belong culturally? Where should it ideally live and operate?
  • What historical, contemporary, social, cultural, psychological, emotional, material, process, technical, geographic contexts support the meanings and interpretations of this artwork?

My thanks to artist and educator David Wells for sharing the initial framework of these criteria with me.

All Categories

Binti Ahmar
Binti Ahmar
Abon Ajang


Dimensions: 32 x 30 x 1.5
Media: Acrylic, oil
Year Created: 2019
Looking Back
Looking Back
Tristan Beilharz


Dimensions: 18 x 24
Media: Pen and Ink
Year Created: 2020
Creature of the Cave
Creature of the Cave
Catherine Berg


Dimensions: 24 x 18 x 18
Media: Ceramic bust
Year Created: 2019
Open Space
Open Space
Catherine Berg


Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 2
Media: Watercolor
Year Created: 2019
Black and White Triangles
Black and White Triangles
Jasmine Beul


Dimensions: 6 x 22 x 24
Media: Ceramic
Year Created: 2019
Burnt Orange Mugs
Burnt Orange Mugs
Jasmine Beul


Dimensions: 5 x 4 x 4
Media: Ceramic
Year Created: 2019
Genesis
Genesis
Laine Bullinger


Dimensions: 30.25 x 42 x 1
Media: Resin
Year Created: 2020
Orifice I
Orifice I
James Casad


Dimensions: 4 x 3.25 x 3.5
Media: Brass
Year Created: 2019
Orifice II
Orifice II
James Casad


Dimensions: 4 x 3.25 x 3.5
Media: Brass
Year Created: 2019
Sharp Whistle
Sharp Whistle
Naomi Chicoine


Dimensions: 6 x 3 x 1
Media: Brass, Silver
Year Created: 2019
Looking Outward, For Growth Of The Inner
Looking Outward, For Growth Of The Inner
Naomi Chicoine


Dimensions: 10 x 18 x 6
Media: Leather,ceramic
Year Created: 2019
Stance Lounge Chair
Stance Lounge Chair
Jonas Christian


Dimensions: 31 x 30 x 32
Media: Cherrywood
Year Created: 2019
Imperception
Imperception
Matthew Cook


Dimensions: 22 x 26 x 2
Media: Photography
Year Created: 2019
G00nD0ck Future
G00nD0ck Future
Christian D'Cruz


Dimensions: 60 x 48 x 1.5
Media: Mixed Media
Year Created: 2019
When U Go Right We Go Up
When U Go Right We Go Up
Christian D'Cruz


Dimensions: 48 x 48 x 2
Media: Mixed media
Year Created: 2020
Who am I Homunculus
Who am I Homunculus
Charles Esker


Dimensions: 34 x 36
Media: Acrylic
Year Created: 2019-20
Boy with the Blue Earring.
Boy with the Blue Earring.
Charles Esker


Dimensions: 30 x 24
Media: Acrylic
Year Created: 2019
Snack
Snack
Charles Esker


Dimensions: 14 x 11
Media: Acrylic
Year Created: 2020
Thea
Thea
Joe Fentress


Dimensions: 10 x 7 x 7
Media: Ash, Fabric
Year Created: 2020
Convergence
Convergence
Brett Garrett


Dimensions: 18 x 10 x 10
Media: wood
Year Created: 2019

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