Juried Art Show:The Top Ten

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


Written by Caroline Elworthy

To be committed to the arts, one must have more than just passionate. The difficult, sometimes insecure path of a visual artist is fuelled by passion, yet ultimately propelled forward by hard work and persistence. This past weekend, coinciding with the annual College Royal Open House, the halls of Zavitz Hall were covered with original student art work for the 47th annual Juried Art Show. This annual exhibition gave Studio Art students to participate in a professionally judged show, which was also open for public interest.


The Juried Art Show is an annual event organized by the Fine Arts Network and works to give students an opportunity to display their works within a competitive show. Each year, three recognized individuals in the broader Canadian and International art scene are invited to Guelph for the day to view and subsequently judge the works.A list of the top ten works within the show are then decided upon, to which monetary prizes are awarded.


This year, the three recognized jurors invited to critic the students work were Sarah Robayo Sheridan, Marcin Kedzior and Kelly Mark.


Sheridan holds an MA in Curatorial Practices from the California College of Arts and has worked extensively across North American in various institutional gallery settings, including the Power Plant, San Francisco Museum for Modern Art, Mercer Union and Toronto’s Nuit Blanche.


Kedzoir has completed his BFA, M. Arch and received a SEED certification from Harvard University. Currently teaching the Masters of Visual Studies program at the University of Toronto, Kedzoir is also a faculty associate at Williowbank School for Restoration Arts and “wowed” U of G with his breakdancing skills at the JAS award ceremony. Those in attendance can certainly attest.


Mark is a Canadian conceptual artist, continuously exploring the mundane routines of everyday life through the mediums of sculpture, photography, drawing, video, sound, multiples, performance interventions and installation. Mark’s work has been exhibited widely across North America and in the international sense.


The three jurors arrived from Toronto this past Friday the 20th and set about the halls of Zavitz, critiquing over 150 student works ranging from paintings, drawings, prints, sculpture, installation and audio work.


The task of organizing such an event was no easy feat; coordinating over 150 works of student art, finding three suitable judges, fundraising for prizes and generally facilitating a highly anticipated weekend of competition was a mountain of work to be tackled.


This year’s JAS coordinators Tessa McDougall and Marie Eve Plante were well up to the challenge of running a highly successful event. McDougall and Plante are both upper year students of the Studio Art program, well established and confident individuals.


“It's one of the few times that we get an opportunity to compete for awards, to show our best work, and to see the best work that everyone else in our program has worked on throughout the year” , says Tessa McDougall, a fourth year Studio Art student on the brink of graduation.


“Despite being a competitive event, the most exciting aspect of JAS is seeing the entire building filled with nearly 150 works of art, in all different mediums. It makes it easy to be proud of our friends and colleagues and the program as a whole”, McDougall concludes.


“It's important for the students to showcase their work and have the opportunity to get recognition from the University staff and their peers, but also people from the art community outside of the University. It's a great way to create contacts”, says Marie-Eve Plante.


Plante and McDougall were hard at work as early as November, submitting PDR’s to various student organizations outlining the budget that was needed to host the show and the projected fundraising goals. A silent auction  was later hosted at the Albion Hotel earlier in the semester, with donated works from faculty members, students and various members of the Guelph community auctioned off to raise money for various Jas costs.


“We'll be wrapping up with a bake sale later this week to cover the rest of our costs. Every penny counts! McDougall concludes.


Various sponsorship and support from a number of organizations was given including; the College of Arts Student Union, College Royal, the Central Student Assocation, SOFAM, College of Arts Dean Donald Bruce, Interhall Council, Wyndham Arts Supplies, Student Affairs, Hospitality Services and the Fine Arts Network.


“I think simply having a Juried Art Show pushes the students to make their best work and it has become an opportunity for hundreds of people from across Ontario (due to College Royal visitors), as well as professional artists (the jurors) and the faculty to view what you've made”  McDougall says of the benefits that JAS brings to Guelph.


“It's a unique situation within our program as well -usually when we have critiques, our work is up for a couple hours…but in the case of JAS, it's up for about 72 hours- it really gives the students a little bit more flexibility in terms of the impact they want the work to make and allows them to respond to the site and the environment where the work is installed” McDougall concludes.


“A lot of students are unaware of what is going on in the Studio program and JAS gives them an opportunity to come and experience part of it” Plante agrees.


The top ten artworks at the Juried Art Show were selected by the three jurors and awarded monetary prizes, with first prize going to Allanah Vokes with her piece entitledUFC 184: Ronda Rousey vs. Cat Zingano and second prize was given to Ryan Grover for  an audio piece. Third prize was given to the newly formed undergraduate artist collective FY-CA (Fucking Young Canadian Artists) for their humorous, explosive installation entitled “Art- Tentative Title”. The collective includes Jessica Price Eisner, Dylan Evans, Ryan Grover, Alex Simons, Alexa Gargoum,  Emma Carney, Emma Welch, Chantal Monique, Maya BenDavid, Chelsea Nicole, Bogdan Chifa, Allie "Sunshine" Henry, Caroline Elworthy, Katie Holmes, and Kenneth Jeffrey.


Fourth prize was given to Melina Panara for a sculptural painting installation work,and fifth prize was awarded to Dylan Evans for a subtly beautiful work. Sixth prize was awarded to video artists Maya Ben-David, and seventh awarded to Rory Steels for a stunningly large-scale painting.  Katie Owen  was awarded eight prize for a conceptual installation work and Katie Shchultz picked up ninth prize for a sculptural work. Emma Carney was awarded tenth prize for her large scale painting.


“I was very surprised “ says JAS winner Allanah Vokes, a soon to be graduate of the Studio Art program this coming June.


“There was a lot of strong work shown at this year's JAS, especially coming from my peers in Specialized Studio (an application based- program available to Studio Art students), and I was really honored to have placed first” Vokes concludes.


As a highly successful student of the Studio Art program, Vokes offers some advice to fellow undergraduate students, saying “Make friends with your professors, especially ones whose work is relevant to your own practice. Find what you're interested in and focus on it - it's easier to develop a body of work and base an emerging practice on a few topics of interest, rather than jumping all over the place”.

The Top Ten JAS works will continue to be exhibited in the Zavitz Gallery until the end of the week.







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