Ken Abbott wins second place in Annual Juried Exhibit at Toe River Arts

The Toe River Juried Exhibit, originally called the Fall Celebration of the Arts, has been a principal part of the annual Toe River Arts exhibit schedule for over 20 years. Every year, a juror with many years of curating expertise, a discerning eye, and knowledge of our mountain community is selected to express his or her unique perspective. The exhibit is open to amateur and professional artists in every media from North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia, and South Carolina.

This year’s juror, Mary Anne Redding, is the Curator and Artistic Director of the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts in Boone, North Carolina. Mary Anne has more than twenty-five years’ experience as a curator, archivist, librarian, educator, and arts administrator. Prior to joining the Turchin Center, she was the curator of the Marion Center for Photographic Arts and chair of the photography department at Santa Fe University of Art & Design. Previously, she was the curator of photography for the Palace of the Governors/New Mexico History Museum. She holds a B.A. in English literature from Ohio University, an M.A. in arts administration from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, an M.L.S. from the University of Illinois, Champaign/Urbana, as well as an advanced certificate in museum studies from Arizona State University. She has written and published numerous essays on photography and contemporary art and also actively guest curates exhibitions at museums around the country. 

Mary Anne says, “In selecting work for the Toe River Arts 2019 Juried Exhibition I was conscious of putting together as cohesive an exhibit as possible as well as evaluating individual artworks. Even with a juried exhibit, as well as those more formally curated, it’s important that the narrative created by the installation is reinforced by individual works – can they stand on their own as well as contribute to an interesting exhibition? I look for creativity and originality as well as a dedication to fine craft — an artist’s capacity to manipulate their chosen materials with deliberate skill and finesse – without an understanding of the medium, the message is lost, so I look for technical competence and explore the emotional and visceral impact of the artwork as a whole. Is the idea compelling and is it carried through in a strong composition? What are the formal considerations the artist is trying to communicate? What is the social significance of this particular work of art? Is the message currently compelling – does it demand attention? Does the artwork force me to look at the world in a different way whether I agree or disagree with the artist? I don’t so much care that the viewer might “like” the work as much as I care if it makes the audience think even though that thought process might be unsettling – it’s an uncharted reaction that strong art should aspire to.”