Juror Courtney A. McNeil
If the number and quality of entries submitted for Explore This! 11 are any indication, the Colored Pencil Society of America must surely be a robust and thriving organization. I was struck by the innovative and varied ways in which the submitting artists utilized their chosen medium, and it was truly a pleasure reviewing these works in order to select the pieces to be included in the show.
In a medium as exacting as colored pencil, the fundamental skills of draughtsmanship and composition have an opportunity to truly shine through. Many of the accepted works excelled in these areas, demonstrating a mastery of light and shadow, perspective, landscape, or the human form. The exhibition is also populated by works possessing effective use of composition, whether harmonious and fluid, dynamic and powerful, or tightly-controlled.
A number of the pieces selected for the exhibition are also noteworthy for their ability to tap into a range of human emotion. Some evoke loneliness or longing, while others radiate vitality and warmth, creating a feeling of kinship with the viewer. Still others contain an element of wry humor that is a welcome change of pace in the art world of today, which is often far too solemn and serious.
Although the works in the show are unified by their use of colored pencil, they vary tremendously in style, technique, and subject matter. It is my hope that viewers of the exhibition will come away with a renewed appreciation for the creative limits to which this medium can be pushed. I can confidently say that my own appreciation for the medium has been greatly enhanced by my exposure to the varied and innovative drawings submitted to this exhibition.