Coastal Now Menu

Four CCU faculty and student are ArtFields finalists

by Prufer

Start planning your road trip to Lake City in April. It’s only about an hour from Conway to the west and directly south of Florence. Your Coastal Carolina University artist friends need your vote.

Four faculty members and one student have been accepted into the prestigious ArtFields competition in Lake City, S.C. They are among 304 artists in 10 Southeastern states selected for the show. They are: James Arendt, Maura Kenny, Brian "Cat" Taylor and Christine Todd, all members of the faculty of the Department of Visual Arts, and senior art major Caroline Cockfield of Hemingway, S.C.

The ArtFields’ Art Competition is mostly based on the votes of attendees, who must vote in person. The artists are vying for $100,000 in cash prizes, including a a $50,000 Top Prize, a $25,000 People's Choice Prize and a $25,000 Juried Panel Prize.

Attendees may vote for their favorite art in person between April 19 and 27 (except for no voting on Sunday, April 21). Attendees can participate on-site at voting computers, or cast their votes from a personal computer. Attendees may only vote for a piece once, but may vote for more than one artist.

Here's an update on CCU's featured artists:

Jim Arendt, art lecturer and gallery director

In his work, Arendt is currently exploring the shifting paradigms of labor and place through slightly three-dimensional, wall-mounted, narrative cut denim renderings of figures. He submitted "Jamie," a cut denim wall piece that measures 96 inches by 150 inches.

"It's a great honor to be included in this inaugural competition," says Arendt. "Much of the content of my work comes from my own experiences in rural America, and I enjoy showing my art where people understand my work because of our shared experiences."

Arendt will use social media to promote his work in Lake City and mobilize friends throughout the state to come out and support his work. "It will take many people I've never met to gain enough votes, so I hope they will like the work enough to vote for it as well," he says.

Though ArtFields is a new art competition, Arendt points to similar models such as Artprize in Grand Rapids, Mich., which uses the combination of popular voting and big prize money to engage and transform a community.

"What's different about these types of combinations is the radical openness of the judging. This allows many more people to join the discussion about what type of art should be recognized for a prize. The results can't be predicted easily, but this form of competition engages more voices in the process, often leading to interesting results."

Caroline Cockfield, CCU art student

Caroline Cockfield, an art student from Hemingway, will graduate in May with a bachelor's degree in art studio. "I can't wait to see what my future holds in the art world!"

Her watercolor that was accepted into the show is called "Waiting," a poignant portrait of her 96-year-old grandfather. "This piece is special to me because I have wanted to paint this subject matter for a long time. The portrait is of my grandfather doing his everyday activity, sitting in his chair and waiting. He either waits for someone to come and visit or waits for a phone call. It is a subject anyone could relate to with their own grandfather."

ArtFields is Cockfield's first juried art show, so she's hoping friends and family will travel to Lake City and vote for her. Her work will be on display at the Lake City Mattress Outlet.

"My hometown is about 30 minutes from Lake City. The towns are very similar, both rural areas. I have never heard of site-specific competition, but I am happy ArtFields is doing one. This allows rural areas to get excited and be a part of the arts like never before."

Maura Kenny, art professor, painting and drawing

"ArtFields sounds like an exciting way to get visitors to Lake City and, hopefully, it will be mutually beneficial to artists and businesses. I hope it is successful," says Kenny. "It would be wonderful if the art event could become an annual venue for artists, one that artists looked forward to each year."

Kenny has taught drawing and painting courses at CCU for more than 26 years. Watercolor, oil and mixed media painting are her areas of expertise, and she has taught beginner, intermediate and advanced level painters. Originally from Connecticut, she graduated from Southern Connecticut University with an art education degree. Graduate school brought her south, and she earned an MFA degree in painting and drawing at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Kenny’s award-winning paintings have been exhibited in regional, national and international juried art exhibits.

Her painting will be on display at the  iH3 Wellness Center at 148 Sauls St. in Lake City.

Brian 'Cat' Taylor, art instructor and artist

Taylor's piece is called "Transverberation," a colorful painting of a woman with a mosaic stained glass behind her. "Transverberation" is defined as "religious ecstasy … characterized by greatly reduced external awareness and expanded interior mental and spiritual awareness which is frequently accompanied by visions and emotional/intuitive (and sometimes physical) euphoria."

While Taylor is honored to be accepted into the show, he praises Lake City for "taking a real shot at bringing high quality art work to the region." He says he will share his news on Facebook with his 700 friends "and just see what happens. "

"The thing Lake City is doing is drawing positive attention to itself to help its local economy. I wish more cities in South Carolina would do the same."

Chris Todd, instructor, studio technician

Todd is a woodworker and sculptor who for years has been exploring dysfunctional chair forms. She found out about ArtField late and applied "about five minutes before the deadline," so she was especially thrilled to be accepted into the competition.

"I don't have a strategy for getting people to the site to vote for my piece," says Todd, who entered a chair called "Terra." "Most folks I know in South Carolina are Coastal faculty and, with the show over an hour away, it's difficult to get busy folks out. I am happy just to participate and really enjoy opportunities to show my work outside of the gallery. ["Terra" will be in the Lake City Library.] I like exposing new people to art in various locations."

Article Photos