Monmouth College students who have pieces featured in the Juried Student Art Exhibition are joined by juror April Jackson of Galesburg, Illinois, left. The exhibit is open through December 6 in the College's Len G Everett Gallery, which is on the second floor of Hewes Library

MONMOUTH, ILLINOIS (November 21, 2023) — Monmouth College student Joshua Hinkle hopes his award-winning artwork will not only inspire those who view it but lead them to support change.

Hinkle's mixed-media piece, America's Veteran, received two honors in the College's annual Juried Student Art Exhibition. It was named "Best in Mixed Media" as well as "Best of Show," the top honor.

A total of 36 Monmouth students submitted a combined 76 pieces that were considered by the show's juror, artist April Jackson of Galesburg, Illinois. Jackson selected 34 pieces from twenty artists to be exhibited, and all but one of the top honors were named on Friday, November 17, at a reception held in the Len G Everett Gallery in the College's Hewes Library. The Buchanan Center for the Arts' People's Choice award will be named when the exhibit closes on December 6.

The powerful piece by Hinkle, who is an art and philosophy senior from Alexis, Illinois, features a sculpture of what appears to be an emaciated soldier or veteran, sitting slumped over on the ground while holding an opened ammunition box that is stuffed with pills, a medicine bottle and a single ammunition cartridge.

The work is accompanied by original text by Hinkle, displayed on a nearby wall. The text decries how military veterans have been treated, lamenting "society's indifference, a cruel charade," adding that "so much pain unseen, we battle such demons, both real and obscene."

"I served in the military for 13 years, and I have personally lost 16 of my brothers and sisters to suicide," said Hinkle, who is an Army veteran. "The boots that are in that sculpture actually worn by my brother when he committed suicide. So, I took them and encapsulated them forever so that we can remember him."

The exhibit's other awards were:

* Ceramics (Unequivocally Exposed): Logan Mazzocco ('24) of Aledo Illinois;

* Design (Musicality): Madison Heiser ('26) of Pekin, Illinois;

* Drawing (Home): Andrea Castaneda ('26) of Blue Island, Illinois;

* Painting (For I Am Nothing More): Alivia Palicki ('24) of Fulton, Illinois;

* Photography (The American Dream): Charlie Conkle ('24) of Morton Grove, Illinois

* Sculpture (Plague): Palicki.

Two years in the making

Hinkle said he started work on his award-winning piece when he was a student at Carl Sandburg College.

"I let it deteriorate for a year-and-a-half, but I kind of had an idea about how I wanted to present it," he said.

Monmouth College student Joshua Hinkle ('24) of Alexis, Illinois, and juror April Jackson of Galesburg, Illinois, flank Hinkle's American Veteran, which took top honors in the College's annual Juried Student Art Exhibition. The exhibit is open through December 6 in the College's Len G Everett Gallery, which is on the second floor of Hewes Library

After Monmouth, Hinkle plans to pursue a doctorate in philosophy, then he hopes to "try to find a way to come at the [veteran] suicide problem from a philosophical way."

"Some wounds science can't heal. You can't heal the soul with science," he said.

Jackson, the juror, said she was impressed with the show's "wide variety of work."

"I was very excited to see work that I know will be progressed upon in the future," said Jackson. "I see a lot of skills in this show that are going to get better and better and better, and that is a very exciting thing."

Jackson especially praised students' creations that addressed darker topics.

"For me, a lot of this show is about choosing the darker art," she said. "It is somewhat unpopular but happy is easy. I really like it when people choose to tackle difficult subjects, difficult emotions, and difficult concepts in their artwork. I think it needs to be recognized, and we need to have a lot more uncomfortable conversations in art. So, I was very excited to see a lot of the work that was submitted because I do really feel like it reflects the time that we're living in, and that's the essence of contemporary art."

Monmouth art professor Stacy Lotz said that one of the show's strengths over the more than three decades it has been held is that it is open to all Monmouth students.

"I think the fun thing about this show every year is that it's not just our art majors that get into this show," said Lotz. "This year, we have a piece by a computer-science major, we've got pieces by physical-education majors, we've got teacher-education folks in this exhibition. It's really all over the place, and that's what's exciting is that even though it's a juried show it's still inclusive."

The Monmouth College "Annual Juried Student Art Exhibition" is on display through December 6 in the College's Len G Everett Gallery in Hewes Library. Gallery hours are 1-9PM Sunday, 7:30AM-10PM Tuesday-Thursday, and 7:30AM-4:30PM Friday; closed Saturday. The library and gallery are closed November 22-26 for Thanksgiving break.

Founded in 1853 and affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA), Monmouth College provides a transformative educational experience within a caring community of learners. A residential liberal-arts college that is the birthplace of the women's-fraternity movement, Monmouth College empowers students to realize their full potential, live meaningful lives, pursue successful careers, and shape their communities and the world through service and leadership.

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