The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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April 18, 2013

Judging inaugural Carnegie juried exhibit an unenviable task

MANKATO — I don’t envy Richard Barlow’s job.

As the juror for the Carnegie Art Center’s inaugural juried art show, Barlow was charged with culling a field of 209 submissions down to the final 100 that will appear in the exhibit that opens Thursday.

“It’s tough because obviously you’re making judgments about what stays and what goes,” said Barlow, himself an artist as well as art instructor at Gustavus Adolphus College and the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. “But I didn’t see any pieces without value. That made the judging very difficult.”

Barlow said he approached his jurying responsibilities cerebrally, balancing the technique and execution of each piece against more intangible values, such as ambition, innovation and fidelity to the artist’s vision.

He said he also tried to_maintain a broader perspective of the exhibition, choosing pieces that integrated themselves into a “dialogue” with other selected works.

“I hope individual works are elevated by the context,” Barlow said. “I hope the show itself is, on some level, greater than the sum of its parts.”

The result of Barlow’s efforts is a diverse exhibit that includes a wide variety of techniques and styles.

In photography, visitors will find Jill McKeown’s “What Was Left,” in which a concentrated beam of sunlight forms an arresting contrast with the soiled couch and shredded floorboards it illuminates, as well as Charles Eggert’s barefoot boy surmounting an uncertain corridor with a full arsenal of toy weapons.

In painting, there’s Essie Mostaghimi’s politically and socially motivated commentaries dressed in the high-gloss finish that typifies his style, and there’s Craig Groe’s abstract melanges of line, form and color that in “Yellow Marque” lend a sense of voyeurism and evasiveness. 

In sculpture, there’s David Hyduke’s twisting, pulsing, undulating steel sculpture “Emergence” as well as Dennis Mellner’s exquisitely detailed wood carving of Santa Claus.

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