New generations, beautiful artwork reign at 29th Sculpture Celebration
Sep. 08, 2014 @ 04:58 PM
Derek Lacey, News-Topic.net
Amazing artwork, beautiful weather and sculpture lovers came together Saturday at the J.E. Broyhill Walking Park in Lenoir for the 29th annual Sculpture Celebration, an exhibition of sculpture unrivaled in the South.
This year, 60 sculptors showed pieces ranging from small figurines and abstract designs to enormous works of metal, but for Lee Carol Giduz, executive director of the Caldwell Arts Council, the striking thing for this 29th year was seeing a new generation of sculptors starting to emerge.
Whitney Brown, a young sculptor who took home a Merit Award for her clay sculpture "After the Fall," which resembled a fallen tree, is the daughter of the winner of the very first Sculpture Celebration. "Seeing a new generation, ... to see that cycling around is really awesome," Giduz said.
Overall, the event, which organizers estimate drew between 2,000 and 3,000 visitors, was a resounding success, Giduz said.
"It was amazing again, and the caliber of the artwork just keeps getting better and better," she said.
Judge Randy Shull had the job of picking the winners and said the thing that struck him the most was the diversity of the work, from a sculpture featuring a skateboarding beaver to huge vinyl strips tied to a tree.
Awards were given for best in show, first, second and third places, six merit awards and a people's choice, chosen by attendees.
Best in show was awarded to James Darr for his piece "Wild," a roughly 6-foot sculpture resembling a miniature radio tower. The piece "speaks to the times in which we live," Shull said. Times when communications are buzzing over the tops of our heads constantly. Radio towers are "monumental communication devices we'd rather not look at," he said, but with Darr's piece, that device is "thrust upon us as a piece of art."
Carl Peverall took home the first place award with his work "Mentor," as well as the People's Choice Award for "Gift." Both pieces utilized rock, with "Gift" being a circle of rock, and "Mentor" featuring two stone columns, one topped with a bonzai tree and the other with an egg-shaped stone.
"Mentor" was a piece that Shull said felt at home in the park and looked like it belonged there. Shull said the two works, while similar, were also opposites, with "Gift" showcasing the tension it takes between rocks to keep the circle intact, but "Mentor" featuring a much more free-flowing aspect.
Second place went to a different kind of sculpture, an interactive game, where spectators could roll balls made of metal wire onto a target drawn in chalk on the walkway. The piece was called "Layered," by Jeff Menzer. Menzer pushed the bondaries of how sculpture and people interact, Shull said, and another thing that stood out to him was putting the piece in the middle of the walkway and encouraging people to get involved.
Keith Willis won third place, with "Liv," a piece featuring long swaths of green vinyl ascending in a spiral pattern from the ground to a tree, where the tallest was tied some 30 feet up its trunk.
Something about "Liv" stuck out to Shull, who said it was his lack of understanding of the piece that made it so appealing and interesting. He said the work struck him as outdoorsy -- the durability and color of the vinyl especially -- but also the placement and Willis' utilization of the trees.
Merit Award winners included 10-year-old Durant Lipford, who constructed "The Tree of Life," a tree represented abstractly, with a birds nest and other features.
"For me, art isn't always just about the object," Shull said. "The courage of this young man to (present his sculpture) at his age," was a big contributing factor as well.
Other Merit winners were Billy Prevatte for "Mountain Trails," Nathaniel Miller for "Leavin' Trunk," Anita Funston for "Kachina," and Robert Crowell for "Obama on a Stump with Jake I and Jake II."