Artists Leading Elon

Mixed Media piece by Megan Coyle

Associative Body by collage artist Megan CoyleNovember 5 – November 28, 2007
Elon Arts West Gallery; Elon, North Carolina

This exhibition was run by art students—they organized thesubmission process, advertising, installation, and hired an outside juror for the show. Megan helped with the marketing efforts—which included designing and posting flyers, painting a mural, and contacting numerous newspapers and local organizations.

Kate Kretz, a North Carolina artist, was the juror of the exhibition. Kretz is well known for her “Blessed Art Thou” painting that gained international recognition. Kretz is primarily a painter and fibers artist.

Megan’s mixed media paintings, “Associative Body,” “Woven Self-Portrait,” and “Fridge,” were accepted into the exhibition. Kate Kretz awarded Megan’s “Associative Body” the Juror’s Choice Award (Best in Show). All of Megan’s work for the exhibition was created with two canvases—one stretched and one unstretched. She collaged paper and used oil pastels on the stretched canvas and cut up pieces of the painted unstretched canvas that she then stitched into the stretched one.

The “Artists Leading Elon” exhibition featured Megan’s best multi-media artwork from that year.

Kate Kretz’s juror’s statement:

Fridge by collage artist Megan CoyleWith extensive experience on both sides of the jury process, I have come to the conclusion that, despite any juror’s best efforts to remain impartial, selection of work is subject to the taste and biases of the juror. If a juror attends graduate school at a certain time or particular place, for example, they might have learned to value abstract art over figurative work, or think that “painting is dead”. As an entrant, you might find yourself in the unfortunate situation of entering work that reminds the juror of their ex-wife, or the background in your work is the color of the pea soup the juror was force-fed as a child. My point is this: do not be discouraged if your work was not chosen, as it is not a refection of the empirical value of your work.

My biases are as follows:

Woven Self Portrait by collage artist Megan CoyleAs this is a fine arts exhibition, I tended to avoid anything that looked too much like advertising… we all see too much of that, and unless you are using the language for a subversive purpose, I see no reason to make more of those images. There were some very eccentric choices, as I have a soft spot for kitsch, whether deliberately ironic or unintended. I was also drawn to work where you could feel the raw emotion, or the love, behind the making. Some pieces were chosen because they looked like one thing, but became something else upon further inspection. Some were beautifully executed, which allowed them to transcend the ordinary subject matter that they depicted. The very best pieces that I saw here had a personal voice. The unique language of these works drew me in to look at everyday things in a new way, to experience human vulnerability, or revel in pure visual delight.

My thanks to the students for sharing your work with me, and for “putting it out there” to be chosen by others (never an easy thing).