It has been incredibly challenging to select the winners of this amazing show inspired by so many great artists. Each of the selections I have made are based upon the artist’s engagement with contemporary or art historical sources in a particularly intriguing way. For me, these works both call to mind the great works of the past and proclaim the innovative creativity of the artists of Southeast Texas. – Stephanie Chadwick
1st Place - Annie Orchard – “She’s Come Unglued” – Torn Paper
Annie Orchard’s collage “She’s Come Unglued,” is particularly and explicitly eye catching. It’s overt references to Surrealist visuality and fascination with looking, with the eye as an evocative symbol, and with the comingling of art and visual culture in newspapers and magazines are direct. Yet, the inclusion of vivid colors and a contemporary design aesthetic (reminiscent of the 1960s and the 1990s and at the same time vibrantly interconnected with current artistic explorations) creates a refreshing take on this medium of expression.
2nd Place - Amy Faggard – “Maxfield Inspired” (Inspired by Maxfield Parrish) – Oil
Amy Faggard’s “Maxfield Inspired” (Inspired by Maxfield Parrish) is titled as a direct homage to the American painter and illustrator who became famous in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries for his romantic landscapes, vivid colors, and often idealized neoclassical style. Amy’s painting caught my eye and captured my attention also for its suggestion of the Romantic and Realist painters of nineteenth- and twentieth-century Europe and the United States that inspired so many artists, particularly the Barbizon school of landscape painters in France.
3rd Place - Ellen McIntosh – “All Is Well” – Soft Pastels
Ellen McIntosh’s “All Is Well” clearly shows its inspiration in the Impressionist works of artists such as Mary Cassatt and Edgar Degas. In fact, it is precisely McIntosh’s combination of everyday subject matter, a vibrant Impressionist palette, and the intimately detailed realism of Degas that makes her colorful pastel drawing of a mother and child so engaging.
H.M. - Sam Daleo, Jr. – “Homage To Inness” – Pastel
Sam Daleo, Jr.’s “Homage To Inness” also makes a direct art historical reference. Both his title and style call to mind George Inness, Thomas Cole, and the great nineteenth-century American Romantic Landscape painters of the Hudson River School. The rich coloration in Daleo’s drawing stimulates the eye while the dynamism of his rendering of grass lands leads the eye into an intimate pictorial encounter.
H.M. - Betty A. Iles – “Storm, Homage to W. Homer” – Watercolor
Betty A. Iles’s watercolor makes a clear, yet lively reference to the sea paintings of American Winslow Homer and to the many Realist and Romantic Painters who explore the human fascination with nature and nautical life.
H.M. - Lief Anson Wallace – “Warhol 21st Century – Photography
Lief Anson Wallace’s photograph of a green tomato soup can is an eye-catching and energetic play on Andy Warhol’s famous soup can series, updated to reflect twenty-first century interest in the green movement and, perhaps, its commodification.
Stephanie Chadwick is an associate professor of modern and contemporary art history and the interim chair of the Department of Art & Design at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas. She earned her Ph.D. from Rice University in Houston, where she focused on twentieth-century art and visual culture, previously earning an M.A. with an emphasis on nineteenth-century art at Florida State University. Her research interests include modern art with an emphasis on French painting and art in local and global contexts. She has written articles and a book on postwar French artist Jean Dubuffet.