Parkersburg Art Center exhibit showcases talent from across West Virginia

Photo by Brett Dunlap Artist Debbie Kalt Sisson, of Ripley, is shown with her painting “Looking Up at MU” at the opening of the 71st Allied Artists of West Virginia Juried Exhibition on Sunday at the Parkersburg Art Center.

PARKERSBURG — The state of West Virginia has many talented artists as seen through a exhibit on display at the Parkersburg Art Center.

The 71st Allied Artists of West Virginia Juried Exhibition, featuring 79 pieces from artists around the state, is on display at the art center on Eighth and Market streets through Nov. 10.

A reception was held Sunday for the opening of the show as people got to look at the various works and talk with many of the artists. This is Allied Artists of West Virginia’s (AAWV) 71st juried exhibit since it started in 1934 and its 10th show at the Parkersburg Art Center.

Chris Krupinski, the juror who chose all of the works for the exhibition, said she tried to find a variety of pieces.

“Whenever I jury a show I look for a good cross-section of pieces,” she said. “I try to give views a little bit of everything.”

Photo by Brett Dunlap Dominique Williams, of Spencer, won Best In Show with her painting, “Premature Expectations of Crepe Myrtle, ” during the 71st Allied Artists of West Virginia Juried Exhibition on display at the Parkersburg Art Center.

The Allied Artists have a lot of people who paint works across a lot of different mediums, including acrylics, water color, oil and more as well as photography and pottery.

“Every media is reflected here,” Krupinski said. “I think this show reflects that very well.”

Some of the artists featured in the show have had multiple showings while others have not shown as much.

Abby Hayhurst, Art Director for the Parkersburg Art Center, said the show’s strength is in its variety. It is one of the longest running exhibits in the state. The challenge is being able to hang everything in the gallery so it complements everything else, she said.

“It is hard to hang it as a lot of these paintings don’t like each other and don’t want to stand next to each other,” Hayhurst said with a laugh. “We literally try everything with everything else.”

Photo by Brett Dunlap Christine Rhodes, of Parkersburg, won First Place for her painting “Cairn XI-A Little Off Kilter” in the 71st Allied Artists of West Virginia Juried Exhibition on display at the Parkersburg Art Center.

AAWV President Sandra King commended the hanging of the show.

“It always coordinates and goes together,” King said of the wide variety of works they had.

The AAWV has over 200 members statewide.

There were 110 works submitted to the show with 80 chosen. One painting could not be included as it was recently sold at a gallery.

King said they like showing at the Parkersburg Art Center as it is one of the largest galleries in the state and has the ability to show works that a knowledgeable critic considers to be good art worthy of hanging in a gallery.

“We wanted a good representation from every style submitted,” she said. “One of our main objectives is to educate the public.

“I think people being able to come to a large gallery and see a large variety of art being produced by West Virginia artists is, in itself, an education.”

Debbie Kalt Sisson, of Ripley, has two paintings in the exhibit, “Looking Up at MU” (acrylic) and “Streets of Charleston, S.C.” (acrylic).

“These are my newest pieces,” Sisson said of her choice to enter them in the exhibit.

While a student at Marshall University, she did a lot of architectural pieces.

“I had broken away from it and I am now getting back into it,” she said.

A retired art teacher who taught at Ripley High School for 35 years, Sisson said that experience pushed her to get into juried shows through a number of organizations.

“I was pushing my students to get involved and do more shows and competitions,” she said. “How can I do that, if I wasn’t doing it too.

“I started pushing myself.”

Dominique Williams, of Spencer, won Best In Show with her painting, “Premature Expectations of Crepe Myrtle.”

The painting represents a hill in Spencer, but not all of the houses featured are there. She moved some of them around and added one from another part of town.

“I have painted that hill many times since I have been in town (for over three years),” she said. “I painted them (the houses) as they would be today.”

She had previously lived and worked in Florida and moved to West Virginia a few years ago to be closer to her son.

The painting features the houses very close to each other.

“I like buildings and to move them around and stacked up,” Williams said. “I just love the way it moves.

“I like pieces that are really busy.”

The First Place Award went to Christine Rhodes, of Parkersburg, for her painting “Cairn XI-A Little Off Kilter” (acrylic).

The painting features rocks stacked on top of each other.

“The rocks are something that is really meaningful to me,” Rhodes said. “They represent power and strength and timelessness.

“I think rocks are beautiful.”

The rocks do not represent any actual formation, but came from her imagination.

“I start painting and rocks come,” she said.

This painting was specifically done to enter in this show.

“I started drawing and that is what came,” Rhodes said.

Krupinski hopes people who come to the show gets a better appreciation of art with the number of pieces available in this show and the variety of subjects and media used.

“I hope it also makes them pull out their wallet and buy them,” she said with a laugh.