The DCCA and Masters of the Visual Universe made headlines yesterday in The News Journal. Here’s a little excerpt. You can read the full article on Delaware Online.

It’s tempting to say that an artist who would attempt to count 16,000 acorns and study their pattern of distribution is kinda nuts.

But that misses the conceptual elegance of Guy Loraine’s “Fuller and Grand,” pieces that illustrate the beauty, science and obsessions that come with studying a tree for months on an midwest street corner (Fuller and Grand).

“Over the course of 2 1/2 years, Loraine numbered, photographed, mapped and recorded where and how each one of the tree’s acorns fell,” writes Maiza Hixson, the Gretchen Hupfel curator of contemporary art at the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts.

You catch sight of “Fuller and Grand” as soon as you enter the DuPont Galleries of the DCCA. And you would be excused for thinking curators have left up a table, with an open ledger and a ball of twine.

Actually, that’s Guy Loraine’s hand-crafted white oak table, used to show his efforts to study acorns. It’s an installation of craftsmanship and subtle wit that appeals to Hixson, who’s put together a collection of young artists who show promise across a range of aesthetics.

“Fuller and Grand” has been given a special award in the “MFA Biennial: Masters of the Visual Universe,” which ends Feb. 5. The award, from an anonymous donor, is being given for the first time to an outstanding artist in the name of Gretchen Hupfel, a conceptual artist who died in 2002 at age 39.

“Any one of these artists can go on to have an amazing career,” Hixson says.

You still have time to catch the exhibit and, if you check out the works online by Tuesday (or drop by the galleries), you can vote for the People’s Choice Award (

Hixson has scoured the region from Baltimore to Philadelphia for exceptional talent and found young art stars in masters’ programs — hence the playful title of “masters of the visual universe.”

One of the things that the DCCA can do is give them exposure and early recognition, says Hixson, who likes being an advocate for students launching their careers.

All are working regionally and starting to show skill in a medium, whether it’s with silk, film, dayglow paint, bubble wrap, photography or in working with the plaster mold of a 1991 Oldsmobile.

The car, created by Elizabeth Hamilton, of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, has a larger-than-life mixture of humor and sadness. Flowers inside the bones of the vehicle are a tribute to the artist’s grandparents, who gave her the Oldsmobile after they were too ill to drive.

A sign — “Everything Must Go” — suggests a used car showroom as well as the fact that one day everything alive must die, including the artist’s relatives.

“I also like the ambition of placing a car in a gallery,” says Hixson who adds that the artist may be touching on how art is a commodity that’s bought and sold.

Jill Fannon, of Baltimore, who is an assistant to filmmaker John Waters and a fine art photographer, has a knack for evoking humor by placing women in domestic settings where they really blend in.

The result is parodies of domestic slaves, with Fannon satirizing how the material world stands in the way of freedom, Hixson says.

In one photo a woman in a shopping cart is hidden by big red spools of fabric. In another a woman’s individuality is so obscured by bubble wrap that she looks like an abominable snow girl. It’s an image that makes Hixson and other gallery visitors smile.

Emily Erb’s “Guernica Revisited” is also emotional but it’s because the artist, a student at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, is reimagining the iconic 1937 Picasso painting .

Erb’s work is a modern protest against war that uses images from contemporary culture within the original Picasso design. She starts with clippings from newspapers and magazines, images she traces on a silk background.

She then carefully paints the images to elegant effect. In fact, her work is leading in votes for the People’s Choice Award. Winner of the final tally will be announced on the February Art Loop.