Art students feature in juried show

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Sean "Iggy" Runfola took first place in the Native Arts category and overall best in show at the annual spring juried art exhibition put on by the UAF Art Department. Runfola smiles as he is congratulated on his awards by peers and professors on opening night, Friday, April 28. Kael Knight/Sun Star Photo credit: Kael Knight

Art students put their skills to the test in the Spring 2017 Juried Student Expedition. All registered art students had the chance to submit up to three of their pieces to be judged by a professional artist. Out of the 204 pieces of art entered, 64 were chosen for display in the Art Department Gallery.

This year’s juror was local artist Elizabeth Irving. Irving is a professional artist with a portfolio that spans many different mediums including photography quilting, collage and bookmaking. She is also a founding member of ‘Fairbanks Sketchers,’ a local art group dedicated to sketching on location in areas throughout Alaska.

“One of the challenges for us is to find someone who is separate from the art department,” said Annie Duffy, an art professor. “Someone who doesn’t know the student’s work.”

The opportunity to participate in a juried show is an important opportunity to broaden your horizons according to students such as Chaweinta Hale.

“I would be really nervous going outside of this environment,” Hale said. “[The show] is a comfortable step out of my comfort zone.”

Hale’s piece titled “Vegetarian New Year” began as a less than serious artistic effort.

“It’s funny because it actually was made as a joke,” Hale said. “I really wanted to draw something with red in it and I decided to go with something that looked rather sinister. Most people seem to think there’s a sinister story behind the picture.”

The experiment with red paid off for Hale as the piece won Best in Show for Computer art.

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“Cuignilngucuar (little sea otter)” a wood carving by Sean "Iggy" Runfola. Sean Runfola and this year’s winner of best in show, on display at the UAF Art Gallery Friday night. Kael Knight/ Sun Star Photo credit: Kael Knight

Other prizes were given in various categories. Two of Kevin Carroll’s pieces “Birth of celestial” and “The Faces We Wear” were featured in the show and the later won Best in Show in the Paintings category.

“It shows a celestial being giving birth to another celestial being,” Carroll said, “and it’s watercolor and micron.”

Carroll said the show is an opportunity to get feedback from other artists.

“I don’t really believe that everyone’s opinion of your art makes it good art or bad art,” Carroll said. “I just think that sometimes, especially in this atmosphere, it’s nice to be looked at by your peers.”

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