McKee 2017 Gallery
Art, in every form, enriches our lives. Stockton’s artistic heritage is evidenced in the McKee student show which started 86 years ago, in 1931, the opening year of The Haggin Museum. It is a great honor to be asked to judge this exhibition, selecting from hundreds of beautiful works that speak to my soul. Art is a subjective field based on individual perceptions and preferences. To display art in The Haggin Museum is a privilege whether or not you receive an award. The true joy of being an artist is having opportunities to share your work with the public. Some are called to be artists – the need to create art and share it matters more than any recognition; they are all steps on the journey.
Everyone has the capacity for self-expression. Whether a person decides to nurture this desire makes them an artist in whatever medium they choose. Throughout my life I have studied a wide variety of art mediums learning to appreciate the time and care it takes to create pieces by hand. I also have a great appreciation for folk art from different cultures.
My first major purchase, using money I saved from a high school job, was a painting displayed at the neighborhood library. Almost forty years later this painting has become the centerpiece of my home giving me comfort every time I view it and starting me on a lifetime of art collecting.
What do I look for in a piece of art? a mixture of technique, creativity, and most importantly something that evokes emotion. Art is a way to communicate. The best pieces make us linger because they have something to say. They stand out. Some can be simple, some complex. All hold our gaze and keep us interested.
My life is all about art – appreciating it, studying it, making it, sharing it, promoting it and preserving it. My goal, as an artist, is to help people look at the world in new ways encouraging everyone to experience the beauty that exists all around us. I hope that all the students in the McKee show will discover why art matters and what you want to say. If you love art let no one dissuade you from pursuing it.
-Joy Dibble Neas, McKee Student Art Exhibition Judge 2017