Hope: 11th Annual International Juried Exhibition

On View: February 11-March 18, 2021

Featuring work by:

Julie Cavaz, Raluca Iancu, Julie Ann Nagle, Kate Hooray Osmond, Yvonne Petkus, Virginia Shepley, and Janelle Washington


The UNCP Art Department Gallery is proud to present "Hope," our 11th annual international juried competition.  Last year was a particularly challenging year.  However, artists persist in trying times and continue to make work and we believe that the making of art is a fundamentally hopeful act.  We welcomed artists from across the globe to offer their interpretations of the theme, “Hope”  in a variety of media, subjects, and approaches.  This year's juror, Hilary Irons, selected work from 106 artworks submitted.

Bee Balm and Pink Amethyst
Hilary Irons
"Bee Balm and Pink Amethyst"
oil, acrylic, and marble dust on panel
14 x 11 inches

Juror:  Hilary Irons

Hilary Irons is a curator and painter living and working in Portland, Maine. She studied painting at Parsons School of Design (BFA 2002) and the Yale School of Art (MFA 2008), and has attended residencies at the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, the American Academy in Rome, MacDowell, the Stephen Pace House, and Hewnoaks. She is the recipient of a Leon Levy Grant and an Al Held Prize. Hilary is Gallery and Exhibitions Director at the University of New England. She is also a co-founder of Able Baker Contemporary, an artist-run gallery, in Portland's Arts District.

Artist Statements:


Julie Carcione Cavaz

My Lace Painting series weaves iconography and symbolism into intricate lace patterns. For the past few years, I have been using sacred hearts, skulls, and animal imagery in my still life paintings to symbolize the fragility and frivolity of life, like the Dutch masters vanitas paintings. My interest is in representing the fleeting nature of life with symbolic objects of the inevitability of death.

My lace paintings are intrinsically female, the satisfaction that comes along with making meaningful work with one’s hands, is akin to making lace or crocheting. The lace look to the paintings is related to my natural style of drawing and doodling, allowing me to work quickly and effortlessly, reflecting on my feminine nature. 


Raluca Iancu

My work explores disaster, memory and vulnerability through different mediums, ranging from printmaking to performance, to edible art and printed objects. I question the way we look at tragedy as well as the way we deal with its aftermath. We depend on our technology (planes, trains, automobiles) and easily forget that it is just as fallible as our bodies. At the end of the day, all physical contact is a collision with permanent repercussions, whether visible or not. Most interactions we have with other people are just like these collisions: we are selfishly oblivious to our impact on others.


Kate Hooray Osmond

The SPECTRA series operates as a visual meditation. The human body and psyche is influenced, controlled, and enhanced by chemicals. Our bodies generate hormones that signify happiness, pride, fear; the entire breadth of human emotion. Modern science, in its ceasless endeavor to boost the quality of life of the individual, seeks to develop substances that alieviate pain and boost performance. However, the human condition is tricky. Our complex search for peace has generated conditions that are quite the opposite: substance addiction and community collapse. When viewed as a singular molecule, controversial substances like fentanyl appear quietly beautiful. As the simple structure exists on its own, it has no political agenda, no history of anguish and turmoil. Much like the human spirit, the life of a molecule and its true nature exists when it becomes connected.


Julie Ann Nagle

Regarding her artwork, Snow Mountain, CO

While visiting Snow Mountain in Colorado, I learned that there is an abundance of naturally occurring radon seeping out of the ground. The saturated colors in this painting and the phosphorescent image which appears in the dark and under blacklight refer to the duality of the beauty and danger of this landscape. I began this painting by collecting plant samples from SnowMountain. I pressed them, then used them as stencils between successive layers of airbrushed paint. The results are accurate depictions of plant forms in saturated fantastical compositions. 


Yvonne Petkus

A process-driven artist, I am invested in painting as a physical act of thinking and in mark-making as a living action. I explore ideas of struggle and the residues of trauma and persistence, as a way to address the larger meanings that emerge while providing space for contemplation and understanding.


Virginia Shepley

I create art to describe experiences for which there are no words. My aim is to document the often fleeting feeling of connection with all that is. For me, it is a convergence of flesh and the sublime that becomes a physical and visual experience. I do not claim to experience this on demand or even very often, but the feeling of being connected happens every once in a while, and it is a magical and humbling thing worth remembering.

I am interested in the visual exploration of the “thin” place or Axis Mundi where Heaven and Earth, God and Man, and inner and outer worlds meet. The relationship between two or more forms is a common theme – the energy between them and the longing that keeps them striving to come closer. The erotic quality of the shapes and the colors of flesh reflect the vulnerability and embodiment of the experience. My hope is that the viewer will recognize something of their own experience of connectedness or the search for it when looking at my work.


Janelle Washington

Through the simplicity of paper, Janelle creates images that showcase African American's courage, achievements, and grace in difficult situations. Paper reminds her of her ancestors, how through unpretentious beginnings a transformation can take place creating something extremely extraordinary. Through the use of positive and negative spaces, she creates patterns, symbols, and silhouettes that work simultaneously to construct a multifaceted design.