Esther Randall, the juror for this year’s upcoming juried show at the Anderson Arts Center, has a connection to the area. She grew up in Aiken, S.C., and taught art at Westside High School in Anderson from 1973 to 1976 and from 1978 to 1979. Currently, she is a professor and the gallery director in the Department of Art and Design at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond. She has an MFA in sculpture from Indiana University and teaches figure drawing.
She works in a variety of media, including sculpture and drawing. Her current work includes the use of Prismacolor pencils and markers to capture the central Kentucky landscape. “In South Carolina, the trees are so tall,” she said. “In Kentucky, they’re not quite as tall. But the sky is bigger. On the road between where I live and where I teach, I can see the weather change. The light is different. It’s a different experience.” The creative result is eerie drawings of clouds in a night sky that she calls “Central Kentucky Gothic.”
Managing a gallery and serving as a juror for area shows has helped her to articulate what goes into choosing work for a juried show. “I look for artistic excellence,” she said. “I look for original vision—not what we’ve seen before but a personal vision. I look at how people handle the medium—not only that the work shows skills but also an affinity for the material and an understanding of what the material can do. And I look at composition—how the elements are arranged within the work of art.”
She also recognizes the frustrations that artists can feel in the jury process, for she’s felt the same way. “I’ve entered pieces that were not accepted at one show and received an award at another show,” she said. “So you have to develop a thick skin and maybe realize that this wasn’t the juror for you.”
More information about Esther Randall can found at http://estherrandall.wixsite.com/oddwomanartist.