Work by established graphic artists and new and emerging talent go on display at four Peoria galleries March 6 as part of the 32nd Bradley International Print and Drawing Exhibition.

Work by established graphic artists and new and emerging talent go on display at four Peoria galleries March 6 as part of the 32nd Bradley International Print and Drawing Exhibition.


The show — which takes place every other year — is the second-longest-running juried print and drawing competition in the country (the oldest is held by the Society of American Graphic Artists in New York).


This year’s event features 126 pieces by 120 artists chosen from work by almost 600 artists who entered. They will be on display at Heuser Art Center and Hartmann Center, both at Bradley University; the Peoria Art Guild; and the Contemporary Art Center of Peoria.


And the show’s juror, Lynwood Kreneck, praises it for being an “open competition.”


“A competitive show is as American as apple pie,” Kreneck said during a preview of the show earlier this month at Heuser Art Center. Kreneck is founder and director of the national print exhibition Colorprint USA.


"It’s an exceptionally nice way to do shows,” he said. “It invites people to send in their best shot.”


Kreneck earned his own undergraduate degree at the University of Texas, then, after a period in advertising, earned a master of fine arts degree there before going to teach at Texas Tech. He has been a visiting artist at more than 80 colleges and universities and in 2006 received the Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Teaching Printmaking at the Southern Graphics Conference in Madison, Wis.


Kreneck said he viewed some 700 pieces online before coming to Peoria in person for the final judging, adding that every piece chosen for the show “is interesting.”


A drawing by Yu Ji of Long Beach, Calif., titled “Under the L.A. Bridge” took best of show.


Kreneck singled out Yu Ji’s large, wall-size charcoal on paper as “a gorgeous, sure-handed drawing of life beneath the bridge, a transient execution of a certain lifestyle.”


Among the honorable mentions he handed out were two for lithograph prints by Michael Barnes of DeKalb, “A Race to the End” and “Preparing for the Worst.”


Barnes was resident artist at Bradley University’s Cradle Oak Press in November 2004. His “A Race to the End” depicts a man holding a steering wheel while seated in an upholstered armchair, with an old gas pump behind him and a sky filled with wind towers above. “Preparing for the Worst” pictures an armless, legless man leaning forward to use his head to push a charger to blow himself up.


“While both have to do with social and political commentary, they also show a human determination. You feel the guy in that armchair will somehow make it,” Kreneck said.


Two equally colorful foretastes of doom by Endi Poskovic of Ann Arbor, Mich., also won Kreneck’s praise for their technique — a five-block, 12-color woodcut — as well as their subjects. In “Che Bella Vista Panoramica” (A Sunny Day Over the Bay), a rocket nose cone is heading for the waves below. In the second piece, what appears to be a UFO or alien craft is slowly sinking into crayon-colored waters.


He also picked for honorable mention three handsome bird pieces done in permacolor, graphite and alkyd by Carrie Anne Parker of Alma, Mich.


Kreneck said he doesn’t see any major trends in themes for prints —“perhaps a little in skulls and underground” — adding that mostly the field “is open to all.” He said the Bradley show has “very good examples of lithograph and etching.”


Kreneck’s family also is involved in artistic pursuits. His wife of 50 years, Eleanor, is a quilter, and his son, Kevin, is a syndicated political cartoonist. He has a granddaughter at the School of Visual Arts in New York City.


Theo Jean Kenyon can be reached at (309) 686-3190 or tkenyon@pjstar.com.