The ‘Red’ Exhibit

Watercolor artist Dennis wins
‘Red’ art show award

Her painting titled ‘Daylily in Red’
earns her top place

LA GRANGE, Ky. (March 2014) – Vicki Byrum Dennis began painting 10 years ago while working as a writer and public relations consultant. Upon retiring in 2008, she has pursued her talent seriously and recently won Best of Show at Gallery 104’s latest exhibit, the “Red” show.


Photo provided

Jim Cheski presents the first
place award to Vicki Byrum Dennis.

Dennis’ watercolor painting, “Daylily in Red,” captured the Best of Show award. “I was so surprised to have won,” she said. When all of the other awards were given out, she gave up on the idea of winning. “But there was one piece the judge kept coming back to, and that was mine.”
Dennis began her painting career as a straight-forward watercolorist. But “Daylily in Red” is “almost completely mixed media,” she said. She started the piece with an under-painting, added blocks of color and design, then painted the daylily, and finished it with a collage of rice paper and other papers.
With Valentine’s Day occurring in February as well as a national emphasis on heart awareness month, the color red was the perfect topic for the art show, which opened Feb. 4. The exhibit, sponsored by the Arts Association of Oldham County, will run through March 15 at Gallery 104 in downtown La Grange. It is located at 104 E. Main St.
“As a juried artist in Gallery 104, I’ve been actively involved with the Arts Association of Oldham County since it’s beginning,” said Dennis. “I try to enter their shows if I have something worthy to enter.”
This show challenged artists to interpret the word, color or meaning of “Red.” This is only the second year for the show, which featured 60 works by 27 artists last year. Last year’s top award went to photographer Joe Mays for his winning photo titled, “Embers.”
Represented were “really fantastic works with multiple disciplines,” said Mary Kinney, Show Chairperson. “It was very successful in drawing artists to participate.”
Kinney is again chairing the Red Show, in which there are a repeat 27 artists. Their 41 pieces of artwork were divided into three groups: 2D, 3D and Photography.
Artwork in all three categories was judged on appeal to the viewer, technical ability of the artist, creativity, portrayal of the theme and execution and knowledge of the chosen media, said Kinney. A first place ribbon and prize, and Honorable Mention ribbons were awarded.
“Our highest award and prize for Best of Show was awarded to the judge’s overall winner,” Kinney said. The Red Show was judged by sculptor and fine arts instructor Jim Cheski.
In a press release he described Dennis’ work as “a very bright, nicely painted watercolor featuring a delicate, muted red daylily with overlapping washes of color that remained intense and clean. Artistic interpretation and technical execution are excellent.”
Dennis said the theme of the show, the color Red, left it so open to interpretation, with many artists using a variety of topics pertaining to “Red.” The theme is an “unusual and unique approach to February.”
She said she loved the piece she entered, which was actually painted a year ago. When she appeared at Gallery 104 in October 2013 as Artist of the Month, “Daylily in Red” was included in her exhibit.
In addition to local entrants, Kinney said the Red Show features artists from Indiana, Lexington, Ky., Louisville, Ky., and nearby Henry and Trimble counties. The show even had an 11-year-old competitor, she said.
Other winning artists include: First Place (2D category), “Pomegranate” oil painting by Amy Welborn of Crestwood, Ky.; First Place (photography category), “Apple” by Keri Sparks of La Grange; and First Place (mixed media), “Somersault” by Robbie Mueller of La Grange. Honorable Mentions were awarded to Pam Ludke, Gweneth Dunleavy, Ann Klem, Elizabeth Kirkwood and Sparks.
“Gallery 104 is receiving many compliments on the Red Show,” said Kinney. “I think the viewers enjoy the diversity of the artists’ works and the bright, showy, fun displays.”
“The photography is excellent and captivating, including studio portraits, landscapes, sports, cars and still life.” The 3D artwork ranges from mixed media figural, glass, found objects, basket, book and mixed media on foam core.
Kinney said she enjoys chairing the show because “of the enthusiasm of the artists. I think because “Red” is such a broad area with so many directions you can go with it, it brings out some of the best and most creative impulses in an artist.”
She challenges the artists “to create art for the show that tells a story of what red means to them and they consistently surprise me and the viewers.” Her goal is to allow “the artists to be seen and appreciated for their amazing creations and by being seen, encourage more people to love, need and purchase their works.”
The Arts Association of Oldham County’s shows are open to any artist willing to jury in. Upcoming shows include “Animal Attraction” and “Found Art.”

• For more information, contact Kathy Dowling, executive director of Gallery 104 and the Arts Association of Oldham County, at (502) 222-3822 or email: execdir@aaooc.org.

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