Over 360 entrees from 132 artists were submitted for the South Dakota Governor's seventh biennial Art Exhibition, and it's taken over a year for the judges and curators to pick the right work.
"It's hard to hit all of the bases," said Denise Du Broy, curator of the Dahl Arts Center and one of the judges. "But we've got four jurors from different parts of the state, and it's hard to get more democratic than that. We all know what artwork is like in South Dakota."
The exhibition will debut at the Dahl on Friday and will remain until Dec. 10. It is the premier showcase for the most gifted contemporary artists living and working in South Dakota.
Over the course of 2017, the exhibit will make its way to the South Dakota Art Museum on the South Dakota State University campus in Brookings, the John A. Day Gallery on the University of South Dakota campus in Vermillion, and the Washington Pavilion of Arts and Science in Sioux Falls.
Curators and directors of each of the four participating galleries took part in the selection process, inviting nine artists to participate and then holding an open call for other participants, eventually accepting 49 of the 132 artists who submitted entrees.
"There are artists on the eastern side of the state that I don't know as well, artists on the western side that others don't know," Du Broy said. "So we had to match up our knowledge, and through that we found the artists we were in agreement on."
The nine featured artists include Dale Lamphere, artist laureate of the state of South Dakota; Dwayne Wilcox, whose "Cut & Paste" exhibit is currently at the Dahl; Paul Peterson, an artist active in the Biennial since its inception in 2003; Roger Broer of Hill City; Keith Brave Heart of Rosebud; Diana Behl of Brookings; and Carl Grupp, Ceca Cooper and Anna Youngers of Sioux Falls.
This is the first year the Dahl has served as the premier location of the exhibit since 2012, the year of the fifth biennial.
"It's exciting, because we do all of the intake," Du Broy said. "We're unpacking and seeing the work for the first time. There's always a difference between the digital images we juried and the piece in real life, so we're always eager to find what the works actually look like."
Gov. Dennis Daugaard attended the show's tour when it appeared at the Dahl in 2015 and spoke for a few minutes. Daugaard has a previous commitment this year, but the governor is always invited to write a statement and open letter for the catalog, look at all of the images and endorse the show.
South Dakota Arts Council Director Patrick Baker has written a statement for the catalog and will appear at the reception, where hundreds of Black Hills residents and visitors will get a chance to view 60 pieces of art in what Du Broy called the largest volume of work in the Biennial exhibition's history.
"We've included a number of very large paintings," Du Broy said. "There are nine fairly large two-dimensional pieces this year, and they've very impressive."
Du Broy said that the exhibition is one of the most diverse they've had, ranging from classical figurative work to abstract contemporary work "and points where they meet in between."
"There's always a danger of jurors going in one direction over if they can't see past their own personal interests," Du Broy said. "This show doesn't do that. We chose to steer clear of only accepting commercial work because we wanted it to be about the aesthetic quality of the work, not just how easy it is to sell it.
"The show really has the ability to show and define what's going on, artwise, in the state of South Dakota. It's going to be a very strong show."
Contact Max B. O'Connell at 394-8427 or email@example.com