Abraham exhibit features variety of works from national talent

The Abraham Art Gallery at Wayland Baptist University will feature an exhibit of artwork varied in themes and media as it hosts the "New American Talent 16" show through Nov. 15.

The exhibit is a collection of works by artists submitted for the national juried show. With 900 original entries, the task set before juror Anne Umland - associate curator from the Museum of Modern Art in New York - was challenging to say the least. Candace Keller, curator of the Abraham Gallery and associate professor of art at Wayland, describes the process.

"Take an associate curator and assign her the task of jurying an exhibition. Seat her comfortably in a darkened room, with slide projectors, note-taking materials and an assistant to run the machines and make coffee. lots of coffee," she said. "Ask her to review the slides submitted by 900 artists from across the fruited plain and select from this vast number of entries a group of works which not only make a good first impression, but demand and reward sustained looking again and again and again."

The challenge is clear, especially when coupled with the fact that the works flashing into the dark room have no labels or explanations, no tactile access or indication of relative size. Yet somehow, Umland was able to whittle down the massive pile of entries in to a show that runs the gamut of media and theme presentation.

Umland describes her selections as "as series of distinctive instances of artistic expression in the making, as represented by 32 different artists working in the United States Today." Umland said she made a conscious effort to "preserve a sense of many voices" and said the exhibit's works "veer between figuration and abstraction, readymades and handmades, monumentality and miniaturization, between photography, painting, sculpture, collage, embroidery and various hybrids in between."

Keller said audiences who enjoy the challenges of interpretation presented by contemporary art will find the New American Talent 16 show rewarding. The exhibit is free and open to the public during regular gallery hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.