KINGSTON, R.I. — As an artist who specializes only in drawing, Mi Ok Song has often found herself competing against a slew of artists – photographers, pottery-makers, and more – for a shot at her work being chosen for an exhibit.
So, she was excited to learn that the South County Art Association’s current exhibition is focused entirely on two-dimensional media.
“I really liked the idea of the show itself, because it was ‘paint, print, and draw,’ and it was specifically for people who paint, print and draw,” Song said. “And not photographers, because they have their own show.”
Not only did Song’s artwork place in SCAA’s “Open Juried Paint, Print and Drawing Annual Exhibition,” but she even earned an award: Her triptych — three separate drawings arranged as a single piece of art — won second place in the exhibition.
The triptych was among 59 pieces chosen for the show out of 142 entries by juror Lilla Samson, a recently-retired member of the University of Rhode Island’s Art and Art History Department.
There was no theme for the exhibition beyond simply “2D media,” Jason Fong, SCAA’s director of exhibitions, said. The annual exhibit began six or seven years ago, he said, after SCAA realized that it was lacking a show focusing specifically on 2D artists.
“The only opportunity that these artists had before was our two all-media shows, which were also juried shows, and in those cases, their work would be placed against sculpture, pottery, photography – pretty much anything and everything,” Fong said. “So we started this show basically just to put the focus on two-dimensional work – specifically painting, print-making and drawing.”
SCAA members and non-members alike were eligible to submit their artwork for a small fee. The works chosen include both abstract work and representational work, such as landscapes and still lifes, Fong said.
“The juror picked a nice variety of work. If there’s anything that unifies it, it’s probably maybe an emphasis on color,” Fong said. “It’s a very colorful show, I would say.”
Fong called Samson “a perfect choice for this exhibit,” and Samson said in her juror’s statement that jurying the show was “an exciting, yet challenging process.”
“As this is an exhibition celebrating all three of my loves – printmaking, painting, and drawing – it was also my aim to find a balance, as much as possible, in the representation of all those media, as well as a balance of abstract and representational work,” Samson said.
In addition to choosing the pieces that would make up the exhibition, Samson also picked the show’s first, second and third place winners, and its honorable mentions.
While awarding her the second place prize, Samson called Song’s triptych of drawings “wonderfully obsessive in mark and patterning, as well as whimsically playful in subject” in her statement.
One honorable mention went to Diane Brown, a longtime SCAA member who teaches at the association, for her oil and cold wax piece titled “New Beginnings.”
“‘New Beginnings’ resonated with me in terms of textured surface and color,” Samson said in her statement.
Brown said she was “extremely grateful” that her work was chosen for the show, and she called SCAA “extremely well-run, well-organized and very popular.”
“The staff is always pleasant and always willing to be of assistance when you walk through the door,” Brown said. “The shows are always juried by the best people possible.”
Song agreed, and said she plans to continue submitting her artwork to SCAA exhibitions in the future.
“It gives purpose to a lot of people who are struggling during the pandemic, and I truly believe that art brings people together,” Song said. “So I encourage everyone to go to the show.”
The SCAA’s Open Juried Paint, Print and Drawing Annual Exhibition runs from now until Oct. 16. The gallery is open Wednesday-Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m., and Fong said many of the pieces featured are up for sale at prices chosen by artists.