Members and friends of the St. Louis Artists’ Guild have been buzzing for months about the opening of the Metzger show ever since Marla Prather, of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art , accepted the Guild’s invitation to jury the 2012 biennial exhibit. While St. Louis is justifiably proud its vibrant and august arts community, even residents of the Show-Me State take notice when a juror of Prather’s caliber is associated with a local call for art.
Guests at the June 17 opening reception of the Ann Metzger Memorial National All Media Exhibition were not disappointed. Prather selected a liberal mix of media in a range of styles from classic to traditional to avant-garde, with one consistent theme: excellence.
Of her final selections for the exhibit, Marla Prather said “I am essentially looking for quality of craftsmanship, a uniqueness of vision, and the expressive power to convey that vision to the viewer. I have also aimed to fairly represent the diverse media of the works submitted.” Visitors to the Guild have been generous with praise for the high quality of the work in the show, as well as the variety of media.
Kathryn Nahorski, director of the St. Louis Artists’ Guild, wasn’t surprised at the unusually large number of entries, given that the Metzger exhibit is a national show with an internationally-renowned juror, but even Nahorski was surprised at the record crowd at the show’s opening on Father’s Day. It takes a special aesthetic, not to mention a well-trained eye, to install an exhibit like the Metzger without creating an incoherent jumble of pastiche and pigment, but Nahorski was up to the task.
“In a word, she’s fantastic,” said one of Nahorski’s volunteer assistants, artist Siobhan Wright. “Kathryn is dedicated not only to the show, but to each individual work of art, to the point where she uses a tape measure to determine the best possible presentation for each and every work of art in the exhibit.” With experience and a judicious sense of perspective and staging, Nahorski created an installation worthy of Prather’s selections.
Prather awarded nine prizes to artists whose works were selected for the show.
- Cynthia Berg Prize: Jerry Lamme, for “Alice (Room Series)” (Digital zone plate composite)
- Fred & Mildred Carpenter Annual Prize for Painting: Albert Kuo, for “American Landscape” (Oil)
- JHL & J Memorial Prize: Miguel de Aguero, for “Manifold Series–Tourmaline” (Mixed Media)
- Jill Hill Prize: John Schnellmann, for “Sasquatch Spine” (Ceramic on Steel)
- Viola Longmire Memorial Prize: Debi Pickler, for “Character” (Graphite)
- William K. Bixby Memorial Prize: Peggy Wyman, for “Fandango II, 2010” (Long-leaf pine needles, Irish waxed linen, pearl cotton, gourd, wire)
- Alice Gerdine Prize: Dan Scott, for “IH 2012” (Wood, embroidery floss, and encaustic on panel)
- Edgar L. Metzger Memorial Award for Photography: Brittany Ransom, for “Track Series Image #3” (Photography)
- Ann Metzger Award for Best of Show: Mimi Hart Silver, for “Nave” (Oil)
The exhibit includes 90 works of art by 75 artists from across the United States, many of whom expressed the sentiment that it was an honor just to be a part of such an exceptional show.
The Ann Metzger Memorial National All Media Exhibition will remain on display at the Guild until August 11, 2012. Located at Two Oak Knoll Park in Clayton, the St. Louis Artists’ Guild is open Tuesday through Sunday from noon until 4 p.m.
© M.T.Erickson 2012