Biennial juried exhibit showcases local artists


The Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum is currently showing the Regional Biennial Juried Sculpture Exhibition, which runs through Saturday, Sept. 22.

The biennial exhibition was established in 2008 to support working artists. To qualify for the exhibit, sculptures must have been created within the last five years and be completely original. The exhibit is open to all artists who are working in sculpture, have completed training or formal studies and live within 200 miles of SVSU.

Andrea Ondish, the curator of education, is responsible for compiling a list of qualifying sculptures for the juror to review. Upon review, the juror selects the winners whose art will be showcased in the exhibit.

This year, the first-place merit award went to Mark Beltchenko’s “The S. Series.” Virginia Torrence’s “Untitled” received the second-place merit award. Third went to Robert Bielat’s “Daedalus’ Wing,” and honorable mention went to William Allen’s “Swamp Slider.”

Ondish’s favorite part of working on the exhibit was getting to know the artists.

“I get to meet the artists, listen to them and talk to them and sometimes network and learn about their works,” Ondish said. “I know how much fun it is to get into an exhibition and how interested they are in trying to do that.”

Ondish also enjoys helping the artists.

“I feel like I can help them to show their work and do all the business things,” Ondish said. “If they get a publication in the newspaper, I send it to them for their resumes. I feel like I am being a part of helping them and facilitating that.”

MFSM Director Marilyn Wheaton chose the juror for this year’s exhibit. Jurors are chosen based on the work they have done in the art world and the prominence of their standing in the art community.

The juror this year is Michelle Perron, who runs the Office of Exhibitions and Public Programs at the College of Creative Studies in Detroit.

“Jurying exhibitions can be hard because there’s usually a great diversity of work and one is usually reviewing the works by slide, which means you’re jurying work based on a photograph, not the actual work,” Perron said. “So there can be some surprises, especially subtle things like surfaces of works, the textual nature of things and the spatial aspects of work. Size can be deceiving in images. In the case of the Regional Biennial, I was pleasantly surprised by the scale and quality of many of the works because the images just didn’t convey those things properly.”

Through her experience, Perron offered advice to aspiring artists.

“Have your work professionally photographed with a device other than a phone,” Perron said. “It may cost you money, but in the long run, it will pay for itself. A good photograph is more likely to receive positive responses from juried exhibitions, artist residencies, fellowship applications and college or grad school applications. You’ll also need excellent images for your website, which is a necessity for artists in this digital age.”