Every year, artists and patrons alike anticipate the Black and White Show at Grayson College. This year’s XVIII Black, White and Variants of Gray did not disappoint. On Nov. 30, the Visual Art Department held an artist reception for the popular show, which featured 81 pieces of art from 34 different artists.

“Despite the limitations, area artists were quite prolific,” Grayson College Professor of Art Kristin Vilbig Erickson said of the popularity of the show. “From detailed representational pieces like Jimmy Cantrell’s Two Windows, to non-representational works like Arlene Cason’s Tsunami, the lack of color certainly did not cause a lack of creative inspiration or variety.”

Artist Arlene Cason, who participates in the Black & White Show every year, said she enjoys minimalism.

“Working in black and white allows me to play with form, materials and textures,” Cason said. “My two pieces in the show are having fun with puddles of paint and scraping paint.”

One very intriguing piece in the show was a collaborative artwork by instructor Jess Reinhart’s Drawing 1 Class called simply, “Exquisite Corpse.” With each artist being responsible for a signed part of the drawing, it invites the viewer to speculate on the conversation that accompanied the execution of the piece.

Instructors often teach drawing and design in black and white to emphasize the strength of lines, forms, dimensions, perspective and composition. Besides the fact that serious subject matter is often more dramatic when presented in black and white, some artists enjoy exploring in diverse media, even gun-powder. The unpredictability is intriguing to some artists. In the case of “Days Done” by Kailyn Vaughn and “The Apostles” by Stephanie Canaday, it is very difficult to be certain what the media might be.

The prospectus for the show describes the challenges, “as color is off the palette, artists are forced to rely on other visual elements and design principles to create innovative, interesting and appealing works. From line, shape, mass, light, texture and space and rhythm, color won’t be missed!”

Another well accepted thought is that drawing is a very personal connection between brain and hand allowing the artist to express directly in the form of sketches. Many artists keep sketchbooks where they store ideas for the future and might never be viewed by the public.

“Working in black and white allows me to capture details and manipulate the nuances of light and shadow,” Jeanne Sturdevant, a regular participant and an art instructor from Greenville, said about the show. “I also work in color, but I come back to black and white.”

This year Sturdevant offered two pieces, “Aqueous” and “Swirling Emotions.”

Each semester, Grayson College Art Appreciation students are required to visit a gallery or a museum in order to experience art first hand. This is a first time experience for many.

The XVIII Black, White and Variants of Gray exhibit is over for this year, but some of the artists are already planning what they will enter in next year’s show. Meanwhile, preparations are being made for the next exhibit, Outta Context, which will run from Jan. 28 to March 8. The artist reception for that is scheduled for Feb. 8, from 5:30-7 p.m. Delivery of art will be Jan. 21, from 3-5 p.m.

For additional information, contact the GC Visual Arts Department at 903-463-8662 or message it on its Facebook page, Grayson College Visual Arts Department.