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Drawing on the times: ‘FL3TCH3R Exhibit’ entries bring headlines to life

Contributed • Oct 12, 2018 at 6:21 PM

“Basically, if news headlines were above the fold in the past year, there is a chance (of) an artist- submitted work for the ‘FL3TCH3R Exhibit’ referencing those events,” says Randy Sanders, director of the Reece Museum at East Tennessee State University.

The sixth annual “FL3TCH3R Exhibit: Social & Politically Engaged Art,” now open at the Reece Museum, features works in varied media that “explore current trends” and may “serve as an avenue or agent for societal transformation and exposure of social and political points of view,” the exhibit website says.

The “FL3TCH3R Exhibit: Socially and Politically Engaged Art” was established in 2013 by ETSU art professor Wayne Dyer and attorney Barbara Dyer in memory of their son and by graphic designer Carrie Dyer in memory of her brother.

Fletcher Dyer, an ETSU bachelor of fine arts senior in graphic design who died in a motorcycle accident in 2009 at age 22, “liked to make people think by pushing their buttons,” and much of his work was focused on issues that concerned him, Wayne Dyer says.

As a result, the “FL3TCH3R” international juried exhibit focuses on art that illustrates social and political topics, and helps fund the annual Fletcher H. Dyer Memorial Scholarship for an ETSU Art and Design student.

The 2018 exhibit will be on display at the Reece Museum through Friday, Dec. 14. One of the highlights of the fall exhibition is the evening of Thursday, Nov. 1, starting with a 5 p.m. jurors’ talk at Reece Museum, to be followed by the 2018 awards ceremony and reception at 6 p.m. Additional opportunities for conversation through discussions and other activities will be posted at www.etsu.edu/reece under Exhibitions as they develop.

“The new work entered is tremendously exciting, representing many different styles and numerous modes of expression,” co-director Wayne Dyer says. “We enjoy the mix and combination that this team of jurors has incorporated into their selection for the 2018 exhibit.”

“This year's entries have been phenomenal and inspirational, dealing with many of the current concerns that all of us have expressed socially and politically,” says Barbara Dyer, co-director of the exhibit. “In many ways, I see the ‘FL3TCH3R Exhibit’ as a historical documentary regarding artists' concerns in this day and time worldwide.”

The exhibit keeps growing and now encompasses two galleries, and the number of 3D and 2D works increased this year. In addition, the awards continue to expand; a new award in memory of former Art and Design faculty member and chair Jack Schrader was added this year. “FL3TCH3R Exhibit” awards now total nearly $1,000.

This year’s jurors – artists and educators Larry Millard and Cheryl Goldsleger – selected exhibit pieces from 376 artworks by 140 artists in such media as fiber, jewelry/metals, painting, photography, digital, sculpture, printmaking, video, graphic design, ceramics and 2D and 3D mixed media.

Goldsleger exhibits in the U.S. and internationally and has had her work included in exhibitions at the American Academy in New York, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the Virginia Museum, the Tel Aviv Museum in Israel and the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C. Her drawings and paintings are in the collections of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, the Brooklyn Museum, The Fogg Museum, the High Museum, the Israel Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the New Orleans Museum and the North Carolina Museum of Art, among others.

Millard, who received his B.F.A. in sculpture from ETSU and M.F.A. from Washington University, has shown nationally and internationally throughout his career. He is a professor emeritus at the University of Georgia, having taught sculpture and design for nearly 40 years. Millard has had 22 solo exhibitions and his work has been included in more than 190 group exhibitions and numerous public art venues, including a piece in Johnson City’s Founders Park.

Goldsleger and Millard “embody the hybrid areas of art and science,” Carrie Dyer says. “They see fine art as a vehicle that can carry, promote and reinforce change. We are honored to have them with us this year as our jurors.”

“One of the things that sets ‘FL3TCH3R’ apart is that while the main focus is social and politically engaged art, it is very general and open to so many possible artistic avenues,” says Spenser Brenner, exhibition coordinator at the Reece Museum. “We never know what we’re going to get. Even if we know the juror, sometimes the jurors will surprise us.

“Whatever the selections, though, we know that ‘FL3TCH3R’ gives you the zeitgeist of what artists are thinking about politically and socially at the time and it’s always relevant.”

“‘FL3TCH3R’ is generating quite a bit of interest these days with visual artists,” says art professor Anita DeAngelis, who directs the Mary B. Martin School of the Arts at ETSU, a co-sponsor of the exhibit. “Entries come in from literally all over the world at this point. We’re so fortunate that Barb and Wayne and their daughter, Carrie, have put so much effort into this unique exhibition opportunity for artists who want to speak to contemporary issues.”

For more information about Fletcher Dyer, visit http://fletcherdyer.com/about.html. For more information about the exhibit, visit http://www.FL3TCH3Rexhibit.com and for Reece Museum, visit www.etsu.edu/reece or call 423-439-4392.

For more information on Mary B. Martin School of the Arts, visit www.etsu.edu/martin.

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