NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

March 6, 2014

Best of the best, youth edition

Pentucket senior wins top prize in NAA exhibit

A local student can thank “Fate” for his Best of Show win in the Newburyport Art Association Young & Budding Artists Show.

“Fate” is the name of the sculpture crafted by Pentucket Regional High School senior Matthew Thompson. The winged serpentine woman is a character he had created a few years ago and decided to explore further in his character sculpture class.

“I was just fooling around a bit on my computer and came up with the design, and I really liked it,” Thompson said. “I got the character the way she is now, and I enjoy her design and wanted to explore it in a 3-D medium.”

Teacher Sean Bixby encouraged Thompson to enter the piece, which is wax-based clay over a wire frame, in the art show.

“I’m not usually one to win things,” said Thompson, who is 18 and lives in Groveland. “This is a huge surprise. I was shocked, really.

“I’m really grateful, too, because I spent a lot of work on that,” he said. “I’m just glad people enjoy it.”

Thompson recently got accepted into Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, where he hopes to study illustration but is keeping his options open.

“I’m super-excited about that,” he said. “I can’t wait to go.”

Juror AJ Smith, a Newburyport illustrator and children’s book author, said he was drawn to Thompson’s sculpture as soon as he saw it.

“It was probably the one that I gravitated toward first, but in the back of my head, I had reservations about (whether it should) be traditional media,” Smith said. “At the end, I just went with my gut and what I felt was the strongest piece.”

In his juror’s comments, Smith wrote that the sculpture combines “an unnerving balance of beauty with a fantastical, almost grotesque anatomy.”

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