WEST LIBERTY, W.Va., July 10, 2017 — West Liberty University can claim four of the winners in the current Crosscurrents Exhibition, Oglebay Institute’s annual art show now on display at the Stifel Fine Arts Center.
“Congratulations to our fine art faculty and library director Cheryl Harshman, also an active artist, who were recognized for their work recently. It’s a real honor for University employees to be singled out in this manner by Oglebay Institute, a state-wide leader in arts, history and culture for many years,” said WLU President Stephen Greiner. “I also congratulate our alumnus Robert Sako, a well-known artist and art educator, on his award.”
First Place went to Assistant Professor of Art Robert Villamagna for his work entitled, “Man with the Cowgirl Tattoo,” done in repurposed litho, metal and nails on panel.
Second Place went to Elbin Library Director Cheryl Ryan Harshman for her work entitled, “Tree of Life,” an acrylic and lace on paper.
Third Place went to Professor of Art Brian Fencl for his work, “Decisions (Regret),” an ink-on-paper work.
There were two Honorable Mentions awarded and the first one went to Robert Sako, a WLU alumnus, for his pastel work entitled, “Rainbows.” The second went to Monica Mull of Valley Grove, for her photograph entitled, “Alice.”
The exhibition was open to all artists 18 years or older, working in any medium, living or maintaining a studio in West Virginia, or within an 80-mile radius of Oglebay Institute’s Stifel Fine Arts Center.
Director of Exhibitions Michael McKowen curated the exhibit and juror duties were performed by award-winning artist Thomas Wharton, who studied painting at The Art Student’s League of New York, The New York Studio School, The New York Academy of Art, The Grand Central Academy, and The National Academy of Design.
“It’s been my pleasure to act as juror for the 2017 Oglebay Institute Crosscurrents exhibition. A show like this is both exciting and challenging to judge, given the broad range of styles, media, and artistic aims. In evaluating each entry, I looked for how successful the artist was technically in the use of their materials, in creating a distinctive style, and in delivering on their artistic aims. Those aims varied widely. Some artists worked to create pieces that would inspire contemplation or bring beauty into the world. Others had a story to tell. Still others, commented on political or social issues. And some created work that was based on a fascination with the possibilities of their medium for purely abstract expression. In considering these artistic aims, I looked for how clear those aims were, and how successful the artist was in expressing them,” states Wharton in the exhibition brochure.
“In the final analysis though, what determined the selections I made was how all these elements came together to create a work that had a vivid presence, something with a life of its own. I hope that the results of this selection will present a meaningful picture of the widely varied artistic activity in our area, one that will inspire artists to go back to the studio, and that will expand an awareness in the rest of us, of the richness they bring to all our lives,” he adds.
The exhibition will remain on display and open to the public through Friday, Aug. 18. The Stifel Galleries are open from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Saturdays.