Juror Statements

Statewide Annual Exhibition UT '20
Painting & Sculpture 

Juror headshot

Edra Soto, 2020 Statewide Annual Exhibition Juror

Edra Soto | It is my distinct honor to serve as a juror with esteemed colleague, artist Pooja Pittie, for the Painting & Sculpture Statewide Annual for the Utah Division of Arts & Museums. My most sincere thanks to Visual Arts Program Manager, Nancy Rivera, for the kind invitation. Congratulations on doing such magnificent work for this organization.

With great enthusiasm, I extend my congratulations to all of the participating artists. Your work was inspiring and indicative of the rich cultural activity in the state of Utah. It was delightful to navigate the diversity of mediums and stylistic approaches as much as the conceptual and activist-minded approaches in tandem with our current environment. It is now more than ever that we need to celebrate the adventurous voices of artists that resist conforming to conventional and academic approaches, instead advocating for social and racial justice, mental health, and environmental concerns.

In the case of the selected Best of Show artist Andrew Alba, titled Worked, his approach to sculptural and painting material used to create a representation of essential workers in the age of Covid-19 lingers in our minds as we drift through the various sites he explores that inform his narrative. The urban setting serves as the backdrop for Alba’s hand-crafted characters, resulting in an enigmatic and moving portrait.

Equally moving are the works of Juror’s Award recipients Carlos Matamoros, Claire Taylor, Lis Pardoe, Annette Summers, Jason Lanegan, and Annie Wing. Beautifully crafted, the paintings of Carlos Matamoros expresses his narrative through a portrait of a man reading, accompanied by a very simple but powerful statement “It is never too late to learn how to read.” Claire Taylor’s landscape setting, generously engages in personal details, capturing past and recent memories. From divergent perspectives, the works of Lis Pardoe and Annette Summers call out for vulnerability at its core. The sculptural approaches of Jason Lanegan and Annie Wing find inspiration in the natural environment, architectural elements, and spatial relationships.

The Honorary Mention, awarded to collaborative artists Colour Maisch and Gary Vlasic examines discarded material value while artist Suzanne Bybee’s expressive mixed media work evokes the urban environment.

As a professional artist, it is always conflicting to be in the position of judging and inevitably rejecting other artists’ works. Let it be known that this task is never an easy one. The only thing that qualifies my role is the years of training and experience looking, analyzing, and being immersed in the art world. I’m no stranger to rejection. I attribute a lot of the success I have experienced to the many rejections that have led me to reflect on my practice and forms of communicating through my visual work. To this point, I would like to add that it is important not to let the moments of rejection dissuade you from your artistic goals. Continue to dedicate yourself to your practice, studying and cultivating your curiosity.

Recognizing artistic practices allows us to validate independent voices that influence our concept of value, culture, and humanity. Be a proponent of a world enriched by art and culture.

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Pooja Pittie, 2020 Statewide Annual Exhibition Juror

Pooja Pittie | It is an honor to serve as one of the jurors for the Statewide Annual Exhibition UT ‘20: Painting and Sculpture organized by the Utah Division of Arts & Museums. It was a pleasure working alongside my co-juror, Edra Soto, to select work from the entries submitted by almost 300 artists!

I want to extend my sincere congratulations to all the artists who put their work forward for consideration. The diversity of work and strength of skills were impressive. I really wanted to learn more about each artist and dig deeper into their process. Going through the broad range of submissions was a visual and emotional treat. Andrew Alba’s Worked and Lis Pardoe’s The Space Between gave me an insight into their minds as they tackled themes related to the global pandemic through different media. I was moved by the tenderness of Carlos Matamoros’s El Lector (The Reader) and the resilience of time in Claire Taylor’s Remote Return.

I am thankful to Nancy Rivera and Tory Guilfoyle for their organizational skills and for making the selection process as easy as possible, especially since we had to meet virtually. It was a humbling opportunity to jury an exhibition that has been in existence since 1899 and brings together the voices of artists across the state of Utah.

Juror Statements