TSU Alabama High School Art

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 24, 2001

Exhibition awards presented


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The opening of Troy State University Department of Art and Design’s first-ever high school art competition was held at Malone Gallery of Fine Arts July 22.

Students from across the state were invited to submit their work for the Juried Alabama High School Art Exhibition and

cash awards were presented to the outstanding artists.

Steven Ochs, an art professor from Magnolia, Ark., said there were several strong works of art in the exhibition.

"Even though I view thousands of student artworks each year, it is always exciting to discover what is significant in the eyes of our youth," Ochs said. "Their art gives us a visual diary of their thoughts and feelings and a glimpse into their future.

With the continued support of their parents and teachers, these young artists will acquire the skills to visually reinterpret the world.

"Whether they present us with new ways of seeing ourselves or create the designs that change the way we work and play, these high school students will be the ones that develop the images, environments and objects of tomorrow."

Ochs said the award winners and many others in the show should realize they are among successful works when they generate questions and develop dialogue.

The Judge’s Choice Award carried with it a $250 cash award and was presented to Andrew Procter, Hoover High School, Hoover.

Procter’s winning work is a three-dimensional model title "Sand Castle."

"The model exhibits whimsical imagination, the great sense of design and the focused discipline of its creator," Ochs said. "The forms produced by skillfully folded and cut paper are reminiscent of medieval European and oriental temples and explores faceted geometric forms, inside and out."

Ochs said the harmonious design of "Sand Castle" feels quite original and contemporary as architectural elements of East and West spiral together with the optical fancy of an M.C. Escher.

"What I found

most outstanding about this young man was his talent to create such a cohesive and unique design from such culturally diverse influences," Ochs said.

Awards of Outstanding Merit were presented to Lindsey Humber and Ashley Jehle of Booker T. Washington Magnet School, Montgomery, and Benjamin Ward, Bob Jones High School, Madison. The students received $100 cash awards.

Humber’s "Moving Up" presents a close-up of a woman’s legs and feet as they ascend a spiral staircase.

"I can’t help but draw parallels between the structure of the steel steps and the anatomical similarities of the legs and feet," Ochs said. "Another interesting aspect of the photo is its composition, or more precisely, its compositions. The lighting softly fragments the lower extremities of the figure and the vertical and horizontal lines of the staircase serve to generate multiple frames that untie these two subjects."

Ochs said "Confusion" by Jehle is confusing to some degree if only the subject matter is considered.

"But when you look carefully inside this photographed environment, it is rather intriguing," he said. "The background and foreground are so similar in tone that you have to rely on the subtle changes in the shifting planes, linear perspective and curved surfaces to grasp where you are as the viewer. Even though the actions of the two individuals are mysterious and blurred, their contrast and verticality lends a stability to the image."

Ochs said Ward’s "Self-Portrait" is an excellent example of well-tune observational skill in the execution of anatomical study and dramatic lighting effects.

"I like the rich texture of the paper that serves as a pointillistic screen for which the highlighted features push through," he said. "More importantly, the portrait is much more than a presentation of the artist’s image. It advances forward, confronts us and interacts with us like he is about to whisper his story."

The Juried Alabama High School Art Exhibition will run through Aug. 17 at Malone Gallery. Everyone is invited to view the work of 20 young Alabama artists. Gallery hours are 8 a.m until noon and 1 until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. There is no admission charge.