It's so important to thank the volunteers that work to make the Beaumont Art League function. Mary Ellen
vonNetzer has done an amazing job as Board President. I konw that the board members give so much of their time, even to do mundane things like mopping the floor, that somtimes we members forget how much it does take to make the BAL function. A very special thanks to Sam Daleo for the hours and hours he spends in hanging the show and setting the lighting. He worked several long days to achieve the beautiful show we are seeing tonight. And of course, thakn you to all the artists for entering. I find that entering these shows can push us to continue to grow and develop. Sharing our art with others should always be a goal.
Judging the artistic merits of any piece is difficult. I tried to approach each work with a list of criteria to help me narrow down the choices. With this list i could achieve a level of clarity for decision process. SInce my choices were paintings, i wll discuss my criteria from that viewpoint. My first viewing was approximately 1.5 - 2 hours. I took notes and photos and began circling those that stood out. At home I proceeded to go through my list of criteria for each piece, from which i did my first ranking. I returned to the Art League for a second viewing, once again going through all the pieces to make sure i hadn't neglected anything, adjusting my list and taking detailed photos of the top 10. After that i spent several hours finalizing my list and making notes of the top 6.
First off, interpretation of the theme is important. "Shades of Red" was a rather loose theme so there was more flexiblity with this show than with others in the past. How the artists interpreted the theme was important and a large part of my criteria.
Technique is something that i look for in everything i do. This includes how well the artist used their medium, their knowledge of what the medium could do, and whether they pushed it to anything unique. Were teh brush strokes strong, decisive and show the artist's strengths? Composition, concept, perspective all came into play here. What qualities of each piece stood out, drew teh viewer in, or did they seem off in some way? Use of light is next. Was it successful? Here is where i believe the level of expertise the artist has really shows up.
Is ther a uniqueness and originality that can be pointed out to warrant an award? Presentation is important. Matting and framing should enhance a peice of art, not draw attention from it. Overall, does the peice stand out, does it speak to me, or have me think - that is important in all works of art.
I tried to spend a lot of time looking at each aspect of eac hpiece...and then my own personal experiences obviously come into play. But I really feel like I managed to keep any biases i have with different mediums out of the judging. I just hope that you can understand my viewpoint. Thank you for the opportunity to judge. This is a wonderful group of artists and I look forward to seeing you all grow and show new works in the future.
This small work is a nod to the Realism and Naturalism movements of the French styels in the mid to late 1800's. Artists hoped their works would achieve a transparency ( of realism) while they painted what previously would have been considered the dull and mundane. By depciting subjects accurately and maintaining light and color details an illusionistic realism emerges - and Ellen has perfectly achieved this.
The realistic simplicity of these three red apples elegantly portrays Ellen's technique with pastels. She doesn't try to idealize her subject, but merely present it as an everyday, unembellished depiction of nature. Her use of multiple layers allows the intricate and exceptional details to emerge with varying tonal values of red. The cooler analogous blue shades of red for the background let the warmth of the apples shine. The contrast pops of green around the cores accurately create a likeness that any true realist would be proud of. I really enjoy her meticulous attention to her light source, keeping it strong throughout. Capturing the variations in light and dark giver her work a vibrancy reminiscent of Caravaggio's "Still Life with a Basket of Fruit." Ellen's command of this medium is brilliant as it continued to excite me with all the hints of contrast and striations in the peels. I also noticed her stroke work was impeccable, leaving me so impressed with her skill level. I will be very excited to see more of her works in the future.
I found that the expressive use of color presented an interesting lyricism in this small work. The unusual use of automotive paint allowed the artist to achieve a magical (or maybe maniacal?) madness in his strokes across the canvas. There is an unconventional spirit emerging from the depths of the cool blue background. The complex layering of shapes and forms create a vibrant dynamic and complex composition which raises quite a lot of questions. The viewer needs to look through these layers to arrive at an answer…or are there just more questions… is there a figure holding out a heart for all to see, or is it a demon or an animal trying to take control, or a combination? This elasticity of modern and contemporary art (which is certainly represented here) accommodates this variety of meanings and interpretations. I choose to believe that the position of the small heart is yearning for growth and escaping from the restraints of form. The graphic quality of the shapes and structures and the use of the bright yellows carry on the feeling of depth. Colors merge in a diffuse lyricism, giving the paintings a feeling of vibration. Mary has liberated reality to display his own world as so many contemporary artists do. I feel a connection to Willem de Kooning’s works and even a hint of Miro’s. Primarily there is a “Chagall-esque” quality in his style, especially with his graphite works (“The Soul of the City”, “The Horse Who Wanted Revenge”, “Many Layers”) that I enjoy. It will be interesting to see where he goes from here.
Mike has a strong impressionistic quality to his works, even a “Baroque-Impressionism” as Mr. Art Nations terms it. As a watercolorist myself, his unusual and radical approach to painting with watercolors creates an opaqueness level that one generally sees with gouache or oil pastels. Yet somehow, he manages to maintain the purity of the pigments and even keep a hint to the transparent nature of the medium while taking it in a unique direction. Even with the somewhat heaviness created by the many glazes, his pigments stay put and don’t succumb to the dreaded muddiness that all watercolorists attempt to avoid. The painting stays fresh by having hints of light pop up on small parts of the flowers and grasses.
The composition grabs you immediately as the flowers are bursting forth from the weight of the reeds, grasses, and leaves to reach for the light and display their colorful beauty. Such an original approach to this medium with the short, quick strokes that reveal the details and the larger broader strokes of wet-on-wet pigments blending to create the beautiful background. Spontaneity is evident not only in his strokes but also in his use of color. I’m reminded of Seurat and his extension from Impressionism to Pointillism in Mikes’ use of brushwork. I really enjoy the use of corresponding colors with the cool greens serving as a frame for the bright warm bursts of purples, reds, oranges, and yellows. The use of analogous red pigments manages to honor the show title while not overwhelming the painting The unrestrained liveliness and freshness of viewpoint in this painting creates feeling of motion as the florals are flowing in the wind. I enjoyed the closer, personal aspect of this composition. This dramatic style appeals to one’s emotions with an exuberance and unrestrained liveliness o colors always evident in Mike’s pieces.
“Red Door in Bruges,” oils, Wanda Caro
The bright red door of this wonderful architectural study beckons the viewer to enter an earlier time when Baroque artists such as Johannes Vermeer were alive and specializing in domestic scenes and snippets of real life. The use of bright red stands in direct contradiction to the muted tones of the rest of the painting. I love how the open door draws you in to a room in shadow but still manages to show you that another doorway awaits. Wanda’s use of light is just perfect, further exposing her skill level. There is a respect for the structural materials used in the construction of this little scene somewhere on a brick road in Bruges. Just as Richard Combes is an urban realist in his approach, Wanda views her subject close, giving us a microcosm of a little bit of history in this age-old structure. She achieves almost a hypnotic effect of this moment in time with her detail work, from the individual bricks on the street, the sidewalk, up the walls and even deep through the doorway and out to another wall. The unevenness in colors in each brick create the beauty in all the architectural detail that I’m in awe of. Her small strokes maintain a beautiful level of realism which is always a joy to see.
“Summer,” watercolor, Joyce Philen
The baroque grandeur of this haunting woman (or marble figurine?) creates a strikingly realistic portrait with an ethereal surrealism that is beautiful. Graceful folds of fabric, wisps of windswept hair, the curvilinear form have hints of Catherine Hennessey (a watercolorist who does beautiful portraits). The use of wet on wet creates an almost eerie mood that has the viewer wondering what has happened in her life. Keeping analogous pigments throughout the entire painting in emphasizes the warmth that emanates from a figure deep in thought. It is obvious that Joyce has a command of the human form and a good eye for composition. Keeping the tonal blues close and using blues for her shadows show a good knowledge of the medium. Her title is exhibitive of her connection to the theme – the warmth of summer, the warmth of her colors.
“Sketchbook,” oils, Thomas Veillon
This contemporary work exhibits a “graffiti and collage-esqueness” that it is quite interesting. Your eye wanders if this is Spray can Art or true collage. On approach, it is readily understood that this is a true painting, and you eye has answered the question. The graphic nature of integrating what appears to be torn pieces from the artist’s sketchbook to create a stunning piece. Thomas successfully communicates his wish to share his sketches with the viewer. A nod to Cornbread McCray and Kurt Schwitter as well as Braque shows the depth of his desire to spark almost a countercultural feeling. Our eyes might have been tricked on first view, but by contrasting various red tones with the harsh outlines of black and white with the spray gun effects Thomas has achieved an unusual piece of work.