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October 18, 2013
Vol. 55 No. 6

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Gallery shows 'humanity' in art competition

"The human figure is a fascinating thing. It's ever-changing, it's unique, it's an object, and it's a person," said artist Alessandra Sulpy, Susquehanna's juror for the Fifth Annual Figurative Drawing & Painting Competition.
The gallery opening will take place on Saturday, Oct. 19 at 7 p.m. in the Lore A. Degenstein Ggallery. The gallery will be on display from Oct. 19 until Dec. 6.
The show has been running for five years, with previous exhibitions including "Alternative Photography," "The Paintings of Ann Piper and Aaron Morgan Brown," "The Senior Show 2013" and "Bob Diven's Wall Street," which were chalk street art on the gallery's walls.
The theme for this year, according to Director of the Lore A. Degenstein Gallery Dan Olivetti, is: "Figurative, anything relating to the human figure."
Each year, a juror is chosen by Olivetti and Associate Professor of Art Ann Piper, and this year's juror is Sulpy.
According to Olivetti, the juror is sent three works per contestant, and it is the task of the juror to choose their favorite piece from these works to be placed on display within the gallery.
From the selected entries, the juror will go on to decide the best piece overall.
This year, 59 artists from around the country are competing, with each artist bringing a different subject or style to light. According to Olivetti, there were over 220 initial entries. Sulpy said that she had some challenge in limiting them down to approximately 50 pieces for display.
According to Olivetti, the showcase tradition began after Piper became a professor here at Susquehanna.
"Ann and I thought it would be a fun annual event to showcase figurative artists from around the country," he said.
Almost in parallel, Sulpy explained the necessity of having a gallery.
"With a gallery comes rotating exhibitions, meaning that new artists, jurors and curators are going to be in town and this gives students the chance to hear and meet these artists/art critics," she said.
Sulpy said that she has participated in one of the preceding galleries and had gained attention from Piper and Olivetti since she is a figurative painter herself, as well as a college educator.
Some of the pieces that will be on display this year include "The Sacrificial Lamb" by Kim Martin, "Phantoms" by Sandra Stanton and "The Invisible Music" by Julia Clift.
"The drawings and paintings in this show were selected for a variety of reasons. I chose work for its narrative, quality of mark making, enigma or mystery, color, composition or emotion," Sulpy said. "The best pieces shone through when humanity and the human figure were equally examined."
Sulpy said that although it was difficult to narrow down what was going to be featured in the gallery, she is very excited about the opening..
"I was very impressed with the caliber of work submitted to the show, and it ultimately was a difficult procedure to whittle down 400 images to just about 50," she said.
Sulpy added, "I'd say, prepare yourself to be blown away. There is going to be some seriously good work up soon."
The show will encompass four different styles of figurative artwork: nude, naked, portrait and character. According to Sulpy, it is about how the figure interacts, or doesn't interact, with its surroundings that dictates these characterizations.
"Figurative art is a historic yet constantly evolving creature. The past 20-30 years have seen figure painting pick-up again, and it's great to have a show celebrate the vast array of different styles and contextualization of contemporary figurative drawing and painting," she said.
Sulpy said: "Every artist's intent is different, but the fact that it ultimately boils down to is the fact that the human figure is at the heart of every piece, and is the glue that brings the works together for a successful show."

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