Ambitious, hardworking and inspired is how juror Hope Hilton described the students who submitted artwork to the 2011 Juried Student Exhibition at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
Opening Tuesday in the Fine Arts Center's Cress Gallery, the show is composed of 58 pieces representing the mediums of ceramics, sculpture, photography, video, painting, drawing and mixed-media.
Hilton selected the final display from 141 entries submitted by students enrolled in foundation/pre-art, painting/drawing, three-dimensional studio, graphic design and photography/media arts programs.
The juried exhibit has been an annual event for UTC's art department for 16 years. According to Ruth Grover, curator and director of Cress Gallery, the competition provides students with experience toward becoming professional working artists, designers and arts professionals. And it allows them to an opportunity to see how they stack up next to their peers.
"Also, in recent years, this exhibition has strongly reflected current trends and contemporary practices in the visual arts, thought-provoking content and remarkable application and use of materials," Grover added.
Essential to the exhibit is the selection of an impartial arts professional outside the Chattanooga area to serve as juror. Hilton is an artist, writer, curator and publisher who received degrees from the Atlanta College of Art and The City University of New York (Hunter College). She lives and works in Athens, Ga.
In jurying the show, Hilton said she spent days poring over the work -- considering the elements of medium, content, form, execution and concept. She was particularly interested to see artworks that combine mediums, such as textiles with painting and ceramics with assemblage.
"This exhibition will certainly show that artists here are working and informed by postmodernism, while utilizing traditional techniques combined with new strategies," Hilton said in her juror's statement.
Her observations affirm the goals that Matt Greenwell has tried to establish as head of UTC's art department.
"The department strives to balance a conception of art that respects traditional studio practice and process with a need to frame studio production in light of an increasingly interdisciplinary contemporary practice that leverages a range of traditional and emerging media," he said.
A reception and awards ceremony will be held Monday from 5:30 to 7 p.m. The show continues through Jan. 30.
Hilton will give a lecture concerning her work on Jan. 18 at 5:30 p.m. in Room 356 of the Fine Arts Center.
Cress Gallery, corner of Vine and Palmetto streets, is open 9:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 1-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Call 304-9789.
E-mail Ann Nichols at email@example.com.