The JCC’s Annual Mazin Art Exhibit is extending its reach.
This will be the first year the multimedia juried art show displayed in the JCC Patio Gallery will be open to artists within 200 miles of Louisville, instead of just local artists.
The opening reception for the show is Sunday, November 22, from 2-4 p.m. Mazin will remain in the Patio Gallery through Tuesday, December 29.
“We wanted to make it a more competitive show,” said JCC Patio Gallery Director and Visual Arts Chair Bette Levy. “When you have a local show there’s a good likelihood you’re going to get the same artists entering each year. We wanted to broaden the pool of entrants so that we could get some artists who were unknown in this area…it has really become a show that people are clamoring to be juried into.”
Artists can submit pieces in any media or style to the show. The result is customarily a visual smorgasbord of painting, sculpture, textiles, assemblages, ceramics, stone carvings and more.
This year, the first place winner will receive $1,000, second place will get $500 and third place receives $300.
Mazin is pretty much a creative free-for-all. The only rules are that the artist must be 18 or older, the submitted pieces must have been completed after January 1, 2013, artwork must not exceed three feet in any dimension, and sculptures can’t weigh more than 50 lbs.
With such loose rules and so many entries, the selected juror has a major task choosing which pieces to include.
This year, Levy entrusted that responsibility to St. Louis-based textile artist Luanne Rimel, who is also Senior Director of Education at Craft Alliance Center of Art + Design in St. Louis. Levy said she’s been an admirer of Rimel’s work and taste for years.
“I know she has an exquisite eye for identifying wonderful artwork,” Levy said. “The show is going to be quite diverse and quite beautiful.”
Rimel has plenty of experience curating and judging art shows. She has been the sole juror or part of a jury for shows including the Laumeier Art Fair in St. Louis, Fantastic Fibers in Paducah, KY and the Kentuck Festival of the Arts in Northport, AL,
For Mazin, Rimel had to narrow nearly 150 submitted pieces from nearly 60 artists down to 29.
She said most of the artists who applied submitted digital images of two or three pieces for consideration. No artist can have more than one piece in the exhibit. It’s a blind selection process, meaning Rimel doesn’t know which artist created which piece when she makes her choices.
Rimel said its common these days for jurors to select from digital images instead of seeing the actual work. She added that using such a method always adds an element of surprise once the juror is physically in front of the work.
“I will be going to Kentucky this coming weekend to judge the work in person,” she said. “You never know exactly how it’s going to look in person and I’m excited to see it.”
Rimel really immersed herself in the selection process
“It’s several days of work. It’s involved,” she said. “The artists have taken a lot of time to make their work, and as a jurist I feel obligated to take enough time to really look at it.”
She said she was impressed by the breadth and quality of the submitted work, and paring the pieces down to 29 and finding the right balance of media and styles was a big challenge.
“There are some very expressionistic pastels that give you a sense of depth, some beautiful landscape paintings, some very abstract pieces, 3D sculptures, quilts…” she said. “It’s all over the place and very colorful.”
Rimel said one of the most unique pieces submitted was a clay rendering of a smashed oil can so detailed that it even includes a clay-crafted sales tag. She always gets a thrill from being bombarded with such a rich collection of imaginative work. “It’s a beautiful way to see what people are inspired to make,” Rimel said. “It fascinates me; what people want to make into reality.”
The Mazin Art Exhibit was created ten years ago by Bernice and Benjamin Mazin, and is funded by the Mazin Visual Arts Fund. “The Mazins were on the JCC’s visual arts committee and wanted to have a show that would celebrate local artists, so they set up a fund to underwrite the cost of having it on an ongoing basis,” Levy said. “We are so grateful to Bernice and Benjamin and their family.”