Reviewed by Matthew Pitcher
There was no fooling around on April 1 at the Broome County Art Council when a panel of prestigious judges (Emily and Tina Corbin, Yvonne Lucia, Orazio Salati, Alisha Sickler-Brunelli and County Legislator Karl Bernhardsen) carefully evaluated 73 submissions to this year’s Broome High School Emerging Artists Competition. A total of 65 students from seven Broome County high schools (Binghamton, Chenango Forks, Chenango Valley, Deposit, Johnson City, Maine-Endwell, Whitney Point) participated in the event.
Looking over all the artworks, I was both delighted and grateful to see such an amazing display by talented students whose future art careers will be more than welcome here in Broome County. The students were judged on five categories: composition, line and color, originality, use of media and level of difficulty. An artist was honored in each category, and the student who excelled in all five categories was awarded “best of show.”
An awards ceremony was held following the adjudication, and proud parents arrived to admire their gifted children’s works. The winning artists and their works will be recognized by the Broome County Legislature at its April meeting and will be showcased in September at the BCAC’s Heart of the Arts ceremony. The winners deserved their awards as they displayed immense artistic talent.
The first artwork that stood out when I arrived at the show was Corrina, a pastel portrait of a two-headed woman with magical blue hair floating in space. The duality of emotions posed within the faces created a tension of mystery. Artist Kelly Wu from Johnson City High School displayed her talents well, using a medium — pastel — that can be very difficult to master. Her Best of Show award was well-deserved.
Kayla Ferris’ Emerging, a scratchboard piece honored for excellence in use of media, was a favorite of mine. It pulls the viewer in close with every finely-designed detail. You become a part of the artwork, imaging being several steps away from the man with the flowing trench coat. The wind from the outdoors blows his jacket as he prepares his departure. Looking out to the light of a new day, ready for that next challenge, he is “emerging” into the bright world and stepping away from the darkness. Absolutely well done. Congratulations to Ferris, a student at Chenango Valley High School.
Olivia Greene’s Breaking Free makes a statement with a depiction of a wooden drawing manikin pulling away from the power of a controlling hand. The Johnson City student’s piece was honored for Excellence in Composition, a category that required an effective use of forms, shapes and movement. Greene made great use of space and movement with the manikin literally “breaking free” from the god-like hand. Who do you become within this artwork? The controlling and manipulative human hand or the restricted, free-dreaming manikin trying to escape.
Mia Hause’s Thistle, showing a tall and decrepit thistle plant, received the ribbon for Excellence in Line & Color. Only using markers, the Chenango Valley student displayed precision detail can be seen clearly as each line is constructed confidently one after the next. Each stem guides the viewer’s eyes up to its prickly top. The thistle, although dead, is paradoxically brought back to life with color and line mastery.
The smallest artwork to be found in this show was Megan Canzler’s Old House, a free-hand pencil and watercolor depiction of a history-rich home that was awarded Excellence in Level of Difficulty. The honor was well-deserved as no rulers or tracing paper was used, only the delicate hand of the artist, a Maine-Endwell student. The amount of time put into this work paid off well. Canzler did this house justice as she reconstructed its outer beauty with fine detail.
In ink and watercolor, Megan Proutey’s Googly Eyes presents a whimsical environment with creatures similar to those in the popular “Angry Birds” game. This fun artwork won an Excellence in Originality award for the Chenango Valley student. Proutey’s magical and colorful world, cheerful and innocent, is a reminder that we all possess the freedom of creativity within us.
Once again congratulations to all the winners and those who participated. Not everyone could win but those who came close (in my opinion) also deserve recognition. Solo by Grace Czebiniak (Maine-Endwell) is a great swirling form of a women similar to something you would see from Picasso’s blue period. Childhood by Lea Kochis (Chenango Valley) was a fun piece displaying a Pokemon card collection coming to life, something I also fantasized about as a child. Bear Necessities by Aubrey Roe (Whitney Point), a pastel scene of a bear catching a salmon was quite realistic and admirable as well.
Thanks to everyone who participated in the event and those responsible behind the scenes for putting the rest together. These young artists are full of potential and have bright futures ahead of them.
IF YOU GO: The Broome High School Emerging Artists Exhibit is on display until April 29. The gallery at the BCAC office, 81 State St. Suite 501, Binghamton, is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.