Sunday, May 12, 2013
North Augusta High School art teacher Ryan Rood describes Matthew Berry as a cross between Bob Ross and Alex Grey.
The high praise doesn’t go unwarranted either, as Berry took home the Best of Show award for his "Creek in Forest" piece at the North Augusta Cultural Arts Council Student Art Show.
Berry, a senior at North Augusta High School, is the son of Liz and Doug Berry of North Augusta. Last year, he won first place in the high school level, as well as an honorable mention.
"I’m into landscapes, and I’ve been doing a lot of painting this year," Berry said. "At the beginning of the year, I decided to do some charcoal pieces, and I started half the picture off a picture in some textbook. About halfway through I improvised, and everything I do I just try to learn more and practice. I’m not going for any masterpieces, it’s just about new ways to do things and new skills."
The attention to detail is one of the many traits that Rood points out as a strength of Berry’s.
"His work is fantastic," Rood said. "It has great depth to it and great detailing that you see in every one of his pieces. When he focuses on something it comes out marvelous, and it’s great."
His mother also spent most of the night glowing with pride.
"When I first saw that he won, I just wanted to cry," she said. "I was stunned and thrilled and proud as anything. I have always had a large closet filled with quality art supplies that he is welcome to go in and use at any time. We started this when he was very young, so any time he wants to get canvas, good paints, good brushes or anything he wants, I have a virtual store in a closet that he can help himself with. That’s all I did, really, the rest was up to him."
The first-place winners included Hannah Lamb, a second-grader at Belvedere Elementary, Morgan Renew, an eighth-grader at Paul Knox Middle and Shelby Kenrick, a senior at North Augusta High. Kenrick, who also won the Miss NASH pageant in March, painted a 9/11 inspired piece called "Aftermath." She also had an honorable mention winning piece called the "Tree of Life."
"The 9/11 piece was originally supposed to be for a slide show at the school," she said. "Unfortunately, we ran out of time to do the presentation, but I still finished my piece. I think my motivation behind it, though I was little when it happened, was watching the documentaries that came on. One of the biggest things for me was that it was so sad to see the world broken, and I wanted to convey that."
Lauren Virgo, the Arts & Heritage Center’s executive director, felt that the show brings a lot to the gallery.
"Each year this is one of our best shows, both in submissions and in attendance," she said. "We ask the teachers to send in 50 to 70 submissions, and they bring them here. We just cover the wall surfaces with these vibrant, neon colors and very creative experimental pieces. The teachers are also bringing in different techniques and styles, and the students really brighten up the gallery and make it gorgeous."
The artwork will be on display at the center through May 17. It is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Admission to see the display afterward is $5 for adults, $3 for students and free to those who are 5 years old or younger. For more information, call the Arts & Heritage Center at 803-441-4380.
Scott Rodgers is a reporter at the North Augusta Star and has been with the paper since January 2013 after previously working at the Aiken Standard. He is a graduate of Alvernia University and currently attends Drexel University.
List of winners
Best of Show
Matthew Berry (North Augusta High 12th grade) for "Creek in Forest"
First Place Shelby Kenrick (NAHS 12th grade) for "Aftermath"
Second Place Kara Mitton (NAHS 11th grade) for "Blue Morrissey"
Third Place Kara Mitton (NAHS 11th grade) for "Extension"
Honorable Mention Shelby Kenrick (NAHS 12th grade) for "Tree of Life"
Honorable Mention Brittany Burgess (NAHS 12th grade) for "Tribal Can Be Classy"
Honorable Mention Erin Spivey (NAHS 11th grade) for "Metamorphosis"
Honorable Mention Sarah Nicholson (NAHS 10th grade) for "Link"
First Place Morgan Renew (Paul Knox Middle eighth grade) for "Hands"
Second Place Jacob Stawney (North Augusta Middle seventh grade) for "Self-portrait"
Third Place Nathaniel Miller (NAMS eighth grade) for "Buildings Pencil Sketch"
Honorable Mention Tori Rhyno (NAMS eighth grade) for "Giraffe"
Honorable Mention Cooper Crews (PKMS seventh grade) for "Blue Circle Abstract"
Honorable Mention Kayla Sanders (PKMS eighth grade) for "Lino Cut Flowers"
Honorable Mention Veronica Brooks (NAMS eighth grade) for "Blue Marlin"
Honorable Mention Ashlynn Sweat (NAMS sixth grade) for "Guitars and Boot"
Honorable Mention Haven Beddingfield (PKMS sixth grade) for "Symmetry"
First Place Hannah Lamb (Belvedere second grade) for "Flowers in Vase"
Second Place Alondria Bailey (North Augusta Elementary fifth grade) for "Copper Relief Bird"
Third Place Michelle Furmage (NAE fourth grade) for "Hedgehog"
Honorable Mention Myles Cooper (Belvedere fifth grade) for "Monkey Clay Vessel"
Honorable Mention Isabelle Jones (NAE third grade) for "Metal Pin"
Honorable Mention Genesis Johnson (NAE fifth grade) for "Solar System"
Honorable Mention Alonzo James (Mossy Creek fourth grade) for "Mountains and Sky in chalk"
Honorable Mention Ann Elise Baxley (NAE third grade) for "Pastel Abstract"
Honorable Mention Alayna Bailey (NAE third grade) for "Cheerleader"
Honorable Mention Markel Martin (NAE fifth grade) for "Deer Stocking Sculpture"
Honorable Mention Jairo Lopez (Mossy Creek K grade) for "Cherry Blossom"
Honorable Mention Myrna Lewis (Belvedere fourth grade) for "Believe Poster"
Honorable Mention Eva Guerrero (Hammond Hill fifth grade) for "Portrait of a Girl"
Honorable Mention Darius Johnson (Hammond Hill fifth grade) for "Fish"