TAGGED exhibition opens for its spring 2016 season

By Sydney O’Gwynn
Staff Writer

painting

Junior art major Corey Frey won Best in Show with his piece, “Quiddity,” a painting of a baby girl, modeled after his daughter.
Photo by Sydney O’Gwynn.

Junior studio art major Corey Frey took home the Best in Show award at the opening reception of the TAGGED Student Art and Design Exhibition on Thursday night.

The exhibition was open from 5 to 7 p.m. at The Art Gallery (TAG) in the Center for Fine and Performing Arts. Five juried awards were given out: two honorable mentions, two runners-up and a Best in Show award. There was also a People’s Choice award decided by the viewers at the opening reception.

The TAGGED exhibit is “an opportunity for students to compete in a juried competition, much like they will do once they graduate,” said Nick Croghan, director of TAG.

Croghan said there were more than 120 student submissions, and 13 members of the University of West Florida’s faculty narrowed the selection down to 45 pieces of artwork. Then, Croghan said, he brought someone outside of UWF to select the winners. This year’s guest judge was Raven Holloway, executive director of the Pensacola Museum of Art.

Holloway said there were several factors that went into the selection process.

“Obviously, the quality of the work, but also the creativity and imagination,” Holloway said.

She praised Frey’s winning piece.

“The painterly qualities of that piece were just outstanding,” Holloway said.

While the two runners up and the Best in Show winner received cash prizes from UWF, Holloway and the PMA awarded one-year memberships to the two students who received honorable mentions.

Frey’s winning piece, “Quiddity,” is an oil painting on wood panel. The painting is of a baby girl, modeled after his daughter.

“I’m exploring the relationship between visual imagery and the narrative that paint provides as a substance,” Frey said. “So I’m exploring whatever the subject matter may be, but I’m also really interested in what paint can do and the process of painting.”

Frey said it is nice to be in these shows because the artist sees the support in their work from others.

“For one, it’s just a confidence boost,” he said. “I think any student can just be excited that their work is being appreciated and just hearing that support is a huge deal and it keeps you going.”

Senior art major Jane Hatcher, who usually can be found taking pictures and videos at various art events, stepped out from behind the camera to accept the People’s Choice award.

“It’s a big honor because people are actually voting on your artwork,” she said about winning the award. “I love it.”

Hatcher said she had the materials for her work, which shows a tree stump with vines leading up to an upside-down chair, in her possession for the past four years. Her fascination with mushrooms inspired the outdoor theme in her piece. “It’s kind of bringing outside in,” she said.

The annual TAGGED event has been held for more than a decade. It is an all-student show, which associate professor Valarie George said is extremely important for both the students and the community.

“It’s important for a million reasons,” she said. “[Students] have to have some experience in applying for shows, being selected, being rejected; going through the motions of that process.”

Croghan agreed with George, citing art as a form of communication.

“You can talk about aesthetic issues, political issues, gender issues,” Croghan said. “Whatever platform you think is important, you can use this as a venue for expression.”

Hatcher also said student shows are important because it is an exposure opportunity for students as well as a way for the community to see the next generation.

“We’re upcoming artists; this is what we want to do for the rest of our lives,” Hatcher said. “When the community sees that, it encourages us.”

The 2016 TAGGED exhibition runs through March 12. TAG is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays. For information on the Department of Art, including TAGGED and other upcoming events, visit their website.