IU East announces 43rd Annual Whitewater Valley Art Competition awards, entrants

Jurors called the entries for this year’s annual Whitewater Valley Art Competition (WVAC) thought provoking with a depth of talent and wide-range of mediums to immerse viewers into thought and discussion.

painting shows people overlapping in an outdoor scene

Benjamin Duke of East Lansing, Michigan, is the first-place winner of the 43rd Whitewater Valley Art Competition for his oil painting, Vicarious Causation.

Originating in 1978 with open judging, the WVAC has hosted prestigious artists and art experts of national acclaim for the jurying.

Jurying for the 43rd WVAC was held on IU East Facebook Live on September 24.

Artwork was selected by this year’s jurors Brigham Dimick, chair and professor for the Department of Art and Design at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville; Marcella Hackbardt, professor of Studio Art at Kenyon College; and Cathy Mayhugh, director of Exhibitions at the Fitton Center for Creative Arts.

Jurors selected the awards and entries for the WVAC announced during a reception on October 15.

Sixty-Six artists living in Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, and Ohio, working in a wide range of mediums including painting, drawing, ceramics, printmaking, fibers, sculpture, photography, and metalsmithing submitted 239 images featuring 193 works of art. After hours of individual review by jurors, Brigham Dimick, Cathy Mayhugh, and Marcella Hackbardt they selected 55 works of art created by 42 artists for the final exhibition.

The 43rd Whitewater Valley Art exhibit is on display now through December 10 at in the Tom Thomas gallery and Meijer Artway, both located in Whitewater Hall.

The exhibition is presented by First Bank Richmond.

About the Jurors
Hackbardt is a visual artist, curator, and educator living in central Ohio. She is a professor of studio art at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio. Her current work explores aspects of knowledge, self-reflection, the environment, and symbolic states. She received her M.F.A. in studio art/photography from the University Mexico, Albuquerque, and a B.A. in studio art from the University of Alaska Anchorage. Her work has been included in exhibitions at The Girl’s Club Collection in Fort Lauderdale, Station Independent Projects in New York, Cleveland’s Museum of Contemporary Art, and at The University of Notre Dame, among others.

Hackbardt has received recognition and support for her work from OAC Individual Excellence Grants, Kenyon College Faculty grants, the Midwest Society for Photographic Educators, and the Great Lakes Colleges Association.

“All of the works submitted sought to make meaning and challenge the viewer, and provided an exciting several hours of absorbing and discussing the rich messages and materiality of all of the entries, whether included in the final selection or not,” Hackbardt said. “As a juror, I seek to recognize works that exhibit aesthetic, technical, and conceptual expertise–or that succeed and exceed in even one of these areas in a powerful way. My co-jurors also took time to reflect on each work, and through our discussions helped illuminate for me new ways of seeing and receiving the artworks, enriching my experience even further.”

Dimick studied at the Barnstone Studios, a privately run atelier, as a teenager where he developed a portfolio that helped him earn a four-year scholarship to Tyler School of Art, where Dimick received a B.F.A. in painting. Before going to Indiana University for an M.F.A. in painting, Brigham spent four years hitchhiking across the country, living in northern California, traveling in Mexico, painting houses, and drawing.

His teaching career includes four years each at the Savannah College of Art and Design and the University of Pennyslvania, as well as years as a part-timer at Moore College of Art and St. Joseph’s University. Since 2002, Brigham continues as the Drawing program head at SIUE and currently serves as chair of the department of Art and Design.

Some of his drawings are in the corporate collections of Morgan Stanley and Fische & Richardson, and in the university collections of Lamar University, Emporia State, and St. Ambrose University.

Dimick said the quality and breadth of submitted works were substantial and allowed the jurors to arrive at an exhibition that represents a wide range of sensibilities, technical processes, social and conceptual concerns while maintaining a satisfyingly high standard.

“As a juror, I try to see beyond my personal tastes and approach each artwork on its own terms. Hence, the question is not whether I like the work, but whether it is compelling on the terms the artist set, and whether the work is bold enough to go beyond the familiar while exhibiting a command of visual syntax,” Dimick said. “I found myself most drawn to work in which an artist’s range of entries reinforced their underlying concerns foundational to their creative practice. A common denominator of these impactful artists was the balancing act of making each work a fresh adventure while ensuring that the collective impact of their portfolio reveals a larger and enduring focus.”

Mayhugh has been the Director of Exhibitions at the Fitton Center for Creative Arts in Hamilton, Ohio, since 2000. In this role she curates, designs, coordinates and installs a wide range of exhibitions of visual art.  She also leads gallery talks, creates community collaborative projects and serves on Hamilton’s StreetSpark Mural Selection Committee.  After years of collaborating with other artists to present their work, she is reemerging as an art maker herself.

Mayhugh holds a B.F.A. in Painting from Miami University and a Graduate Certificate in Museum Studies from the University of Cincinnati, DAAP.

“A diversity of artistic materials and processes and obvious abundant talent made judging this regional exhibition both a challenge and a joy,” Mayhugh said. “Brigham, Marcella and I agreed that we wanted to select and award artworks that would strongly represent the range of media we encountered and include both abstract and representational content.”

IU East’s 43rd Annual Whitewater Valley Art Competition Top Entrants

First Place ($2,000 award and a 2022 IU East galleries solo exhibition invitation)

  • Benjamin Duke, East Lansing, Michigan – Vicarious Causation, oil

Second Place

  • John Humphries, Cincinnati, Ohio – Calvino’s Ten Forgotten Cities, cut paper, pencil

Third Place

  • Charles Mintz, Cleveland, Ohio – “The Flower Man” Evansville, IN, inkjet print from scanned film

Honorable Mention

  • Steve Loar, East Grand Rapids, Michigan – Inner Vistas # 2, found and gifted materials, mostly wood
  • Devan Horton, Bellevue, Kentucky – Wade, oil on canvas
  • Sam Kelly, Dayton, Ohio – Two Figures and the Muybridge Horse, charcoal, paper collage on paper

Chancellor’s Choice Purchase Award (IU East Campus Art Collection)

  • Nathan Taves, Columbia City, Indiana – Pasture Canyons, oil on panel

In addition to the award winners, work from the following artists is included in this exhibition:
Shelby Alexander, Cincinnati, Ohio; Abby Beneke, West Alexandria, Ohio; Walt Bistline, Richmond, Indiana; Gregory Bryant, Lafayette, Indiana; Susan Carlson, Cincinnati, Ohio; Hector Del Campo, Westfield, Indiana; Casey Dressel, Cincinnati, Ohio; Claire Fullam, Indianapolis, Indiana; Carl Gay, Richmond, Indiana; Nicholas Hill, Granville, Ohio; Angie Hubbard, Alexandria, Kentucky; Ann Johnson, Muncie, Indiana; Erica Keener, West Alexandria, Ohio; Colleen Kelsey, Oakwood, Ohio; Amy Kollar Anderson, Dayton, Ohio; Michael Lorsung, Muncie, Indiana; Josh Lovitt, Richmond, Indiana; Steven C. Meyer, Porter, Indiana;  Rob Millard-Mendez, Evansville, Indiana; Kathy A. Moore, Casstown, Ohio; Paloma Nunez-Regueiro, Ann Arbor, Michigan; Jim Pearson, Lawrenceville, Illinois;  Kate Santucci, Dayton, Ohio; Francis Schanberger, Dayton, Ohio; Constance Scopelitis, Indianapolis, Indiana; Neil Simak, College Corner, Ohio; Barb Stahl, Indianapolis, Indiana; Joseph Swanson, Richmond, Indiana; Nancy Taylor, Richmond, Indiana;  Jerry D. Thompson, Richmond, Indiana; Barbara Triscari, Lebanon, Indiana; Mark Van Buskirk, Richmond, Indiana; Cass Waters, Chicago, Illinois; and Clinton Wood, Cincinnati, Ohio.