The Georgia National Fair celebrates the state’s heritage, people and agriculture each fall. This year, the 11-day event featured the work of Brenau’s own Claudia Wilburn.
Wilburn, who is the studio art program director and associate professor of art and design, won best in show and first place in the mixed media category at the fair’s 28th annual juried exhibition of fine arts. The event is held annually in Perry, Georgia, and was this year themed “Family Traditions & Memories.”
Wilburn’s winning piece, titled “Potts: A Life of Stories,” is a 36-by-48-inch mixed-media piece made from paint, fabric, wood and digital prints. It is one of three pieces in the body of work she titled “Navigate by Reckoning.” The three pieces, two of which were entered into the competition, relate the history of her paternal grandfather, Claude R. “Potts” Wilburn, for whom both Claudia and her father are named.
“Potts: A Life of Stories” depicts a series of scenes from her grandfather’s life, including a vignette of a circus tent and truck – in the 1930s, Potts literally ran away with the circus, driving trucks and setting up tents – and digital photographs of him as a young man in uniform from when he joined the Army and later the Navy. It was during that period that he met Wilburn’s grandmother, Evelynn C. Smith, when World War II commenced.
“I knew my grandparents personally, but over the years since their passing, their history has become an oral one, one which my family tells at gatherings,” said Wilburn. “These pieces serve as a material translation of these histories, and I use ephemeral source material to bring the transitory biography passed back and forth between family members into a fixed pictorial realm.”
While she has entered her artwork into numerous shows and exhibitions in the past, this is the first year Wilburn entered the Georgia National Fair. Congratulations, Claudia!