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Students win at D2 customer appreciation dinner, art show


BLACKSBURG, Va., May 5, 2005 – Seven students won awards in various categories for their art at the Customer Appreciation Dinner and Art Show on Thursday, April 21, in the D2 dining center on Virginia Tech’s campus.

The Customer Appreciation Dinner and Art Show was held in celebration of D2’s first year of business and in honor of the customers who made it successful.

D2 is an all-you-care-to-eat international marketplace with eight shops: Salsas, with Mexican fare; Pan Asia, with wok-prepared Asian selections; Gauchos, featuring skewered meats and other Brazilian items; Mangia, with Italian pastas and more; Eden’s, with fresh vegetables and salads; East Side Deli, with made-to-order sandwiches; Olives, featuring Mediterranean vegan selections; and La Patisserie, with pastries and desserts.

Of the 48 student works submitted, professional artist jurors Dean Carter, professor emeritus of the department of art, and Jane Vance Siegle, a local painter, chose a best in show and one best painting, best drawing, best mixed media, best photography, and best sculpture. Students who attended the dinner and art show also had the opportunity to vote for a students’ choice best in show.

The juror-selected best-in-show winner was Eva Thornton, a fourth-year graphic design/studio art student from Blacksburg, for her painting of a table setting with cherries entitled, “Predator.”

Siegle said: “Complexity can be a mess, but not when the perseverance that achieves it is careful, steady, and involved. Even though this painter's subject is a studio set-up, just still-life objects crisscrossing, this composition does manage some surprising twists. And there is a wonderful elegance when a painter takes a limited palette — in this case, mostly three colors; maybe alizarin crimson, blue, and white — and squeezes out every imaginable note those colors can sing together. Finally, in this country, where red, white, and blue is coded FLAG, OUR FLAG, this variant tri-color painting suggests some evolution from the old standard fare…”

Best painting winner, Lacey Brown, a fifth-year double major student in studio art and psychology from Blacksburg, won for her oil on canvas entitled, “River Bed.” Of this work, Siegle said: “This small piece competed with some studio works which had freer, more spontaneous brushstrokes, but it wins for its unpretentious, idiosyncratic subject: a small, privately cherished place. The ageratum and wisteria colors of the stones help evoke the tumbling-down nature of the spot. The myriad of foliage shapes rhyme with the tumbling and stacking rocks.”

Christian Heeres, a second-year mining and minerals engineering major from Ellicott City, Md., won best drawing for a portrait entitled, “I Thought You Knew.” “Problem: how do you place a portrait within a certain cultural time? How do you convey, with a few marks, a pair of wing-tipped shoes, a concern with business, the very male world reported and pre-digested in very serious daily print? Letting the newsprint background of this drawing stand in for this paper-reading man was an elegant solution,” Siegle said.

First-year graphic design and communications double-major Laura Goodman, from Richmond, Va., won the best mixed-media category for her work entitled, “Self-portrait.” Siegle said: “This piece was my other choice for best in show. Its free-tumbling jumble of collage bits is comforting fun, like a tablespoonful of alphabet soup. Its central jack has a nice, three-dimensional surprise, but I’m left wanting more psychological content about this character who has chosen to appear on the scene so unannounced and alone. After all, we do have a portrait here, and a jack-in-the-box hints at a reason to use its costume, or a little more narrative in your expression or context. You can’t crash a party, not even during Mardi Gras, without something to say once you’ve arrived.”

Jennifer Moll, a third-year geophysics major from Williamsburg, Va., won the best photography category for “Southern Bells.” “This photographer loves primary and organic shapes, especially circles and spirals, as well as contrast between grainy, textured surfaces, such as grass, and the hard, synthetic curves of metallic musical instruments. And although other photographs in the show exhibit technical excellence, this photographer saw an idea: a series of dark holes, in the horns, cascading like giant, simplified musical notes,” Siegle said.

Best sculpture winner Jeffrey Ryan, a third-year architecture major from Dale City, Va., won for “Spine,” which is crafted from white pine. “This little wooden nematode was built to squirm,” Siegle said, “It moves, like a segmented animal, and its carpenter had an eye for pretty grain patterns. This interactive sculpture is as simple and successful as an exclamation point flexing her knees.”

The Students’ Choice award went to Sarah Koss, a studio art, biology, and psychology major from Roanoke, for her watercolor and pen and ink creation, “Psychonaut Meets the Juggernaut.”

All winners received gift certificates to Mish Mish and certificates of recognition.

While students and guests surveyed the art show, they enjoyed live harp music; posed for free, instant photographs with a live performance of Edvard Munch’s famous painting The Scream; and dined on special menu items, including crudités, seafood gumbo, sushi rolls, shrimp with lobster sauce, Chinese pork ribs, roast prime rib, chicken Oscar, oven-roasted red bliss potatoes, green beans almondine, carne asada, shrimp fajitas, Swiss steak seitan (a vegan dish), tortellini bolognese, bouillabaisse Alfredo with penne pasta, banana split trifle, crème brulee, and chocolate raspberry schnitten.

“Because food preparation is an art form in itself, we felt it was only fitting to celebrate many expressions of art and host a serious art show in which the entire student body could participate. We were delighted that our student art submissions came from all corners of campus — from engineering to communication to the art department,” said Rick Johnson, director of Housing and Dining Services. “We had many requests from our more than 1,600 guests tonight to make this an annual event.”