CSM Student Juried Art Show Reveals Varied Talents


Hungerford Gallery Brims with Color, Texture, Humor, History—and Ribbons

Paintings in broad brush strokes, photos in captivating focus and sculptures molded with playfulness were among the winners in the College of Southern Maryland 2009 Annual Student Juried Art Show presented in the Tony Hungerford Memorial Art Gallery at CSM’s La Plata Campus and on display to the public through May 3.

“Thanks and appreciation go out to faculty in helping you budding artists along,” CSM Interim Chair of Fine Arts and Humanities Ron Brown said to art students gathered for the announcement of the top winners April 14. “I am amazed at the excellence of works in this room,” Brown said.

“What we have here is the best of the best,” said Barbara Stephanic, CSM’s curator for the past 12 years and a professor of art history. “It was a difficult decision, but we have three prize winners and three honorable mentions,” she added.

First place went to Charley Hobbs, 24, for his piece “Origins,” created through a process of exposing photo negatives on white pieces of tile. Four tiles make up a collage of photos chosen from a box in his grandmother’s attic. Hobbs’ grandmother, Jane Chapman of La Plata, is a lifelong resident of Southern Maryland; her photos give a glimpse of her world in the 1940s and 50s.

Hobbs completed his associate’s criteria in 2008. He returned to take an independent study class in photography and works as a student assistant to George Bedell. Of his work with photographs, Hobbs said, “I love to build something out of nothing.”  

The second-place winner was Barbara Stepura of White Plains whose plein air painting “Soybean Field” was created in two hours. “You have just a few hours when painting plein air before everything changes,” Stepura said of the out-of-doors race to capture the colors, textures, shades and shadows in a scene before the “moment in time” is changed by the movement of the sun. Encouraged by art professor Larry Chappelear, Stepura, former vice president of patient care at St. Mary’s Hospital, has created 29 plein air pieces in the 2008 fall semester. Many of these are on display in the Walter Grove II Memorial Gallery which is located in CSM’s La Plata Fine Arts building.

“I drew as a child,” Stepura said, “and I took a course in drawing at CSM in 1980.” Then following a nearly 20-year break from art while working and later helping to care for her elderly father, Stepura returned to CSM to take a color theory class and several drawing and painting classes. The experience gave her the confidence to sign up for workshops and enter competitions at Alexandria, Va.’s prestigious Torpedo Factory Art League Gallery, where she has won juried competitions to hang her work in the Art League Bin Gallery.

Stepura is currently enrolled in an independent study class. “There is so much talent here,” she said of CSM instructors, “I’m coming back to CSM.”

The third-place winner was Bob Vacin, 65, of La Plata, and his “Georges W” sculpture of an impish clown giving two thumbs up. A retired Washington, D.C. policeman, Vacin said he became fascinated with clowns while doing research on the Internet.

“Being a clown is all a masquerade,” Vacin said. “Deep underneath, is a very fragile human life—that’s what I try to have come through in my work,” he added.

Vacin took a career assessment at CSM to help him identify areas of interest that he might pursue after police work. Fine arts, was identified as a good fit.

“I had no art in my background,” said Vacin, “but I figured I would give it a try.” After taking classes in basic design and drawing, Vacin took a ceramics class with Susan Chappelear. “This was a whole new experience—this has opened new vistas for me,” Vacin said.

The judges chose three recipients for honorable mentions, Shaun Kistler for his untitled still life in oil, Pat Tompkins for her untitled mixed media collage and Andrew Pashkevich for his “Grope My Innards?” watercolored throw and joined ceramic piece.

The 2009 Annual Student Juried Show runs through May 3 at the Tony Hungerford Memorial Gallery, Fine Arts Center, La Plata Campus. For information on the gallery and on the Walter B. Grove II art scholarship visit www.csmd.edu/FineArts/galleries.