Sarah McKellar shows off her piece “Fire and Ice,” which won best of show in the 3-D category at the College of the Mainland Art Gallery Student Show.COM student Sophie Gonsoulin, right, receives the best in show award in the 2-D category at the COM Art Gallery Student Show from professor Sparky Koerner.Juror Ann Wood, left, and professor Sparky Koerner, center, present Samantha Burdick with the best in show award for photography.

Three students channeled opposing forces in their art and photography and won best in show at College of the Mainland’s annual student exhibit.
Sarah McKellar’s ceramic piece “Fire and Ice,” Samantha Burdick’s black-and-white photograph of patients in Shriners Hospital for Children and Sophie Gonsoulin’s portrait sketch blending smooth erasures and sharp lines won top honors in the exhibit.
Galveston artist and sculptor Ann Wood judged the contest and selected the pieces for the artistry and emotion they conveyed.
“Sophie Gonsoulin’s 2-D piece I really liked because of the energy. I kept coming back to it,” explained Wood. “I really like the funkiness of the winning 3-D piece, ‘Fire and Ice,’ and the winning photograph felt real to me, not staged.”
Burdick, of Texas City, chose her photography location remembering a high school friend whose burns were treated at Shriners Hospitals for Children. In her candid shot, children who suffered serious injuries play and smile, oblivious to the camera.
“Everything was caught in the moment,” she said. “I think black-and-white coloring added to it and gave it more emotion. When you look at the picture, the burns aren’t the first thing you see; it’s the people.”
McKellar, a pre-nursing student from League City, took George Bowe’s ceramics class this semester and crafted the flame-colored “Fire and Ice,” after her boyfriend’s suggestion.
“This was my first ceramics class ever and I really wanted to learn everything I could. When it came out of the kiln, I was so happy with my piece,” McKellar said.
Gonsoulin, a senior at COM Collegiate High School from Seabrook, quickly crafted her sketch during one of COM professor Mark Greenwalt’s drawing classes based on an advertisement she saw.
“If you look at it, you can see a lot of erase marks. That’s a technique that was a result of his class,” she said.
The best in show works and other pieces included in the juried exhibition are on display through Dec. 6. For more information, visit or call 409-933-8354.