By David Hall, Editor in Chief
James Glass didn’t drive down McCoy Rd to take a picture of some roadkill, he was headed for the river. But on the way, his 3 year-old son Eli, described by Glass as a “bad-ass,” became curious of the vultures huddled around the carcass. As soon as they got out glass said the birds flew away, but that didn’t stop Eli’s curiosity.
Glass snapped a picture of the boy as he reached down to touch the hoof of the animal, a picture that would go on to win first place at the 2017 Biennial Juried Exhibition. It opened up to the public Friday, January 27th and will remain open until February 26th. Glass said the photo, named Post Mortem, is one piece in a collection centered around a common theme of vulnerability.
¨In Post Mortem, my son is learning about the vulnerability of our biology, our fragile bodies, and the limitations we have as corporeal beings.¨ said Glass. ¨By understanding the deer’s death, my son can see his own mortality through empathy and understanding.¨
Jurors Joanne Leonhardt Cassullo and Beth Rudlin Dewoody looked at 369 pieces submitted by artists within a 200 mile radius of the college, as the crow flies. Those 369 entries were whittled down to a mere 56 due to the physical size of the space, said Gallery Director Taliaferro Logan.
Cassullo, who also happens to sit on the college’s board of Trustees, said it was joy to judge the exhibition, comparing looking at the different works of art with picking candy at a candy store. The artists’ use of nature in their work was a consistent theme that cassullo said took her and Dewoody off guard. As native New Yorkers entrenched in the city’s contemporary art scene, the use of the natural world isn’t something they come into contact with as often.
“[Nature] served as a background for a narrative, or was quietly rendered in exquisite detail.” said Cassullo. “…to us, it was a spectacular reminder that artists often just need to look just outside their front doors to find their inspiration.”
In addition to photography, paintings, drawings, sculptures, and mixed media are all featured in the exhibition, making for a diverse set of pieces. The event’s purpose is to showcase and bring attention to local art and artists Logan said. The range was increased this year from 180 miles to 200 in order to feature the strong art scene present in Richmond, according to Logan.