Pensacola, Florida
Friday December 15th 2017

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Balancing Variety

By Ali Rae Hunt

The first Pensacola Museum of Art (PMA) Members’ Juried Exhibition took place 61 years ago, and this summer an entirely new group of artists are getting the opportunity to showcase their talents.

Donan Klooz, the curator of exhibitions at the Mobile Museum of Art, is this year’s juror. Over 60 artists digitally submitted photographs of their artwork, with 3-D pieces being photographed from various angles. Each artist was allowed to submit three pieces under their anonymous identification number and forty-two pieces were chosen overall. Digital submissions—new to the museum—not only streamlined the process for both the artists and the curators, they also allow artists from a wider geographic area to submit their work.

Kelsey Irvin lives in California, but with her parents and godparents living in Pensacola she has strong ties to the area, which is why she submitted her artwork this year.  “I think the Members’ Exhibition is a great way to celebrate the community and art and the synergy between the two. All art museums need support from their surrounding community.”

The exhibition’s 42 pieces consists of mixed media and 3D pieces, ceramics, wood and glass sculptures, digital and traditional photography, as well as traditional acrylic, oil, and watercolor paintings and graphite drawings. “There’s a variety of mediums, styles, techniques—and variety is the key to a successful show” said the Guest Curator of this year’s show, Nicole Hatfield.

“Mom’s Clothing Line” (2013) by Svend Damhave, an acrylic piece, was awarded the exhibition’s coveted Best in Show honor. Other standout pieces include “Interruption” (2014) by Thomas Groth—which is an oil on canvas piece of a perfectly-askew woman caught off guard while mending and a soulful mixed media mosaic by Gila Rayberg. Entitled “Got Your Back” (2014), the piece is quirky and refreshing amongst more subdued photographs and sketches. Leland Leonard’s “Zebrawood Ballistic Cube’s” sheer intricacy is astounding, especially considering that it is the largest wood piece by far at the exhibition. Loren Miller’s oil painting on canvas, entitled “Empire” (2015) is beautifully dark and realistic, and is the show’s second place winner. Dominating over its surrounding pieces in both size and impression, “Empire” is a contemplative portrait of a seated young woman in a Star Wars tank-top, with a plastic toy light-saber hanging on the wall behind her.

Every piece in the show exemplifies the talent held by those close to Pensacola, either in residency or sentiment, and because the nature of the Members’ Exhibition is community-based, visitors are given the opportunity to vote for a “People’s Choice” award recipient.  The winner will be announced at the end of the exhibition in late August.

Damhave, this year’s Best in Show winner, will also by honored with a solo show in the Museum’s Gallery 5 during the 2016 calendar year. Dottie King, who won Best in Show last year for her photograph “Moonlight,” is presenting her solo show on August 15. Her show will be entitled Out of Light: A Contemporary View, and will run through September 20.

The Members’ Exhibition has grown incredibly since its conception 61 years ago, but many of the artists still feel there is an opportunity for fresh, young perspectives to make an impact on Pensacola’s art scene. Empire artist Miller has entered the PMA’s Members’ Juried Exhibition for two years now and would love to see more young artists like himself take advantage of the exhibition and the connections it provides. “Being apart of this exhibition has been huge for me because it allows my work to get exposure to a somewhat select group of people that are potential clients here in Pensacola.”

PMA offers affordable memberships to anyone interested in supporting the museum. An individual yearly membership, which costs $50, gives you the opportunity to submit one entry for the Members’ Exhibition. The family membership, which includes two adults and children under 17 for $75, also offers the opportunity to bring one free guest to a members-only event as well as discounted art classes at the museum.

Annual Members’ Juried Exhibition
WHEN: Now-Aug. 22
WHERE: Pensacola Museum of Art, 407 S. Jefferson St.
COST: $10 for adults; $8 for seniors and military; members and children 11 and under are free for the rest of summer
DETAILS: pensacolamuseum.org