Winners named for TRAC competition

Article Published: Nov. 5, 2009 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011
Winners named for TRAC competition

Astral Boogie by Jim Meyers

Painter Jim Meyers of Spruce Pine won the best of show award in this year's Fall Celebration of the Arts, an annual art exhibition and competition sponsored by the Toe River Arts Council and held annually since 1991.

Meyers' dazzling and meticulously detailed abstract painting, Astral Boogie, was described by competition judge Robert Dunning as "an amazing painting" whose "sheer scale and patterning and layering of color" made the work stand out from all the others.

The exhibition awards were announced at a reception held at the TRAC Center Gallery in Spruce Pine on Saturday, Oct. 10. The show will remain open to the public through Saturday, Nov. 7, at the TRAC gallery, located at 269 Oak St. in downtown Spruce Pine.

Dunning, chairman of the Art Department of the University of North Carolina at Asheville, singled out six other artists for awards in both two and three dimensional media.

Of Mary Ruth Webb's ceramic sculpture of a female nude with a surrealistic window opening into her chest cavity (Journey), Dunning remarked that he discovered here a "personal, sensitive, thoughtful, and humorous touch."

Maggie Jones' swirling, spiral-shaped ceramic vase entitled Twisted Gourd struck the judge with its "confident, exuberant exploration of organic forms,"- indeed, the piece seems alive with its bold clay sinews.

TRAC artist Rolf Holmquist, known locally both for his sensitive draftsmanship and for woodworks, such as his bird-houses, took an award for his pencil rendition of a local ceramicist-A Young Becky Grey. Dunning cites the piece's "lasting relevance" and its "sensitive execution."

Susan Garrique's oil painting of a brown cow (Early Morning), executed in mellow earth-tones of yellow and brown, impressed Dunning with its "unified and meaningful mood."

Arthur Thomas's Last of the Famous International Playboys, a collage incorporating painting, drawing and photography, moved Dunning to praise its technical verve even as it also impressed him with its confidence and "edgy content." And Linda MacMichael's quilt, Appalachian Starscape in Fall, won Dunning's praise for its "simple, childlike joy in its use of color and stitching."

Summing up his experience as this year's judge of the Fall Celebration of the Arts, Robert Dunning pointed out how encouraged he was by "the diversity of art media represented and well as the creative spirit within the community. TRAC's gallery size and prominence impressed him, as well as its potential to draw more and more artists in the region into a cultural matrix. He also felt that many more pieces on exhibition deserved recognition and regretted having to single out only Saturday's seven winners.

The Fall Celebration of Arts is sponsored by the Toe River Arts Council with support from a Grassroots Arts Grant through the North Carolina Arts Council, a state agency.

The TRAC Center Gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information on the 2009 Fall Celebration of the Arts exhibition, call the TRAC Center Gallery at (828) 765-0520 or visit TRAC online at

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