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Best in show, other awards in Salisbury Sculpture Show

Staff report

SALISBURY — Mint Hill sculptor Charles Pilkey won the Best in Show award in the 2017 Salisbury Sculpture Show, “Discover What’s Outside.”

Judge Harriet Hoover provided the following recap of the three winning entries:

“Charles Pilkey’s striking steel sculpture, “ARK,” is a thought-provoking and dynamic work that is deserving of close examination and contemplation.

“Pilkey’s work uses the iconic biblical ark as a visual framework to contemplate the complex issues of our times — from the effects of climate change to animal extinction. His work encourages us to come to terms with the fragility of our planet and consider the technologies, ancient or contemporary, that will assist our survival. The overall sculpture’s reference to a sundial points to the urgency of the planet’s situation.

“Formally, Pilkey’s work is beautifully constructed and rewards the viewer from multiple perspectives. From the carefully crafted animals to the spinning propeller, Pilkey’s wonderful use of detail brings the viewer in and keeps him there long enough to consider the weight of the world.”

Second place went to Cathy Perry’s “Oasis II.” Hoover said: “The delicate steel limbs of this sculpture seem to sway effortlessly — cattails and colorful dragonflies dance and soar above the viewer and call up a tranquil natural space. Perry’s deft use of balance, variety and implied movement make this sculpture a joy to take in. Furthermore, as viewers take a closer look, they are rewarded with beautifully painted elements at the base of the sculpture that integrate the surrounding environment with Perry’s lovely meditation of a wetland breeze.”

“This sculpture … provides a surprising visual respite as a pedestrian moves through the alleyways of Salisbury.”

Jim Gallucci’s interactive sculpture rounds out the top three winners. Hoover said: “Its buoyant yellow hue and circular shape invites a passer-by to become a participant — to sit and share a secret or daily news. Gallucci also uses a variety of textures and references to the surrounding landscape to create a uniquely private encounter in a very public space.

“Silhouettes of oak leaves dance above the viewer, referencing the grand trees of the plaza and providing intimacy and shade. “Oak Leaf Shade Bench” has a graphic sensibility that references methods of communication, text and sound frequencies and gives us the opportunity to experience communication, in real space and time.”

Steven Hayes’ piece, “Speaking Without,” was awarded an honorable mention. Although the judge was not able to view Hayes’ work in person, she “was moved by its concept and focus on inclusivity. It provided viewers with an opportunity to learn and focus on our sensory awareness.”

The piece was created with wood, hydrostone and metal. According to the artist, “each sign language alphabet/number hand and Braille alphabet/number dot allow people to learn ways to communication without talking.”

This was the ninth year the Salisbury Public Art Committee has hosted the nine-month sculpture show, with 18 pieces downtown and on three college campuses. The show was recently honored with two awards — the Centralina Council of Governments 2016 Improving Quality of Life Award and the U.S. Council of Mayors 2016 City Livability Award.

Hoover, a 2016-17 N.C. Arts Fellowship recipient, has had her work featured in “Art on Paper” at the Weatherspoon Art Museum, “People’s Biennial II” at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, and LIGHT Art + Design in Chapel Hill.

Hoover has a bachelor’s degree in textile technology and art/design from N.C State University and a master’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She coordinates studio, teen and college programming at the N.C. Museum of Art.

The show will remain in place until January. Brochures are available at the visitors center, City Hall, Rowan Public Library, and many downtown restaurants and art galleries.

The 2018 show is scheduled for installation in late March.

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