This is the first annual, juried exhibition of members’ art of the Art2life Academy. Our juror, Donna Seager, selected 63 artists out of nearly to 290 entries for this exhibition. Donna also selected the first, second, third and honorable mention award winners. In addition Nicholas Wilton, artist and founder of Art2life, selected the three “Nick Picks” award winners.
The Art2life Academy was created in 2016 in response to the growing needs of the global art community. The Academy and its members support one another in learning the vital information needed in order to thrive as artists. Through community art critiques, the sharing of information regarding materials, business and creating a sustainable art practice, members are able to achieve accelerated growth in their art. This first annual exhibition celebrates the extraordinary diversity and achievement of these artists.
Seager Gray Gallery, Mill Valley, California
In my role as a gallery owner and curator, I am called upon to jury exhibitions often and it is something I enjoy, both because it puts me in front of such a wide array of artists’ work and because the exercise of looking never ceases to refine the sensibilities. When Nick Wilton asked me to jury this exhibition, I was excited because the submissions draw from a virtual community of artists worldwide with works from all over the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia and more. What I found is that good painting is good painting, whatever the outside influences and it was gratifying to see the consistency in quality and depth in the submissions.
It was necessary to pare the selection of nearly 290 works down to our final grouping of 63 paintings. Nearly all of the selections, even those with pictorial elements are at least partly abstract, so I look to the principals of art – balance, proportion, emphasis, variety, movement, rhythm and balance to guide me, if not consciously, at least unconsciously. I think here I would also add subtlety, what I believe Nick would call “quiet conversations” mixed in with the stronger elements. I think that when all these principals are working together, there is a “rightness” to the work and for me there is a little fist in my gut that tightens, a satisfying feeling that I have relied upon throughout my 40 years in the art business. I know that something is working in the painting, that it has engaged me in some way.
Looking over the final exhibition, I find that nearly all of the paintings have a wonderful sense of pattern and space. I do not know the specifics of the training received, but it seems to me that the paintings are consistently open – that the elements of the work, whether they are shapes or pictorial elements are given breathing room. I am so impressed with all of the abstract works I have selected. My first place selection, Mary-Lou Boulanger’s “’Freer Freedom,” engaged me at first because of its unusual palette of purple, turquoise and ochre, but there is also the rhythmic shape of the tiles contrasted with the more organic composition of the flowers themselves. My second place choice, “Suzy, I Climbed This Ladder The Least You Could Do Is Smile,” by Chad Little is inspired by a photograph of his sisters taken by his father from a ladder. He could have chosen to make the painting strictly pictorial, but his choices, with the pleasantly contrasting rose and black swimsuits and the subtle background of land and water, add to the enjoyment of the scene.
In my third place selection, Mary Parkman’s, “Bouquet with Jasmine,” I was fascinated with what she was able to accomplish with such a minimal number of large brushstrokes. The scale of the painting (48 x 48 inches) and the light cream background with its occasional strokes of color from the bouquet were perfectly done and with just the right amount of restraint.
JUROR DONNA SEAGER AWARDS
1st Place – Mary-Lou Boulanger
$1,000 | “Your Art Story” a 2-5 minute promotional video about your art | Facebook Campaign created and implemented by A2L and social media expert Rachel Miller, Founder/Organic Traffic Strategist at Moolah Marketing
2nd Place – Chad Little
$750 | Facebook Ad Mini Campaign created and implemented by A2L and social media expert Rachel Miller, Founder/Organic Traffic Strategist at Moolah Marketing
3rd Place – Mary Parkman
$500 | A2L Studio Art Kit
Honorable Mention – Sarah Ko
$250 | A2L Trowel
NICK’S PICKS AWARDS
Most Notable Loud Conversation – Janet Smedley
$250 Gift Certificate to the A2L store
Most Notable Quiet Conversation – Mary GrandPre
$250 Gift Certificate to the A2L store
Most Notable Color – Donna Weathers
$250 Gift Certificate to the A2L store
1st Place Winner
36" x 48" - Mixed Media
Experimenting with a variety of techniques gives me the freedom to incorporate all of the processes I love into one finished piece. This process is both interesting and challenging. With every finished piece I challenge myself to include as many differences as possible.
My techniques include painting, drawing, print making and collage from hand painted papers. All the techniques I love to do! The colors, textures and patterns I see when traveling are a constant inspiration to me and influence many of my paintings. In my current work I use the beauty found in floral arrangements and reinterpret them in a way that emphasizes texture, line and form in unexpected ways.
2nd Place Winner
36" x 48" - Oil, Mixed Media
I like to refer to my work as “art with a purpose”. My wife and I started a foundation, skinnypigs.org to support organizations we believe in where the leaders are still in the trenches getting the job done. 100% of the proceeds from my artwork (minus rep fees and gallery expenses) goes to our foundation and the causes we support.
3rd Place Winner
48" x 48" - Painting
For years, I had a gnawing desire to understand abstract work. I would look at a deKooning, for instance, and think, “I don’t get it.” Then, I started to focus on the paint—at what you can achieve just with the paint—and everything changed. Having the guts to try that myself is where I was hesitant. Once I did try, I found I was still afraid but simultaneously obsessed. When I am away from the studio, going through my day, I am always thinking about the painting I am working on, which waits for me back in my studio. I can’t let go of the struggle to solve the problems being posed on the canvas; I can’t let go of thinking about how I will move it forward.
I find it fascinating that struggling with an abstract work can parallel struggles I have in my life, both past and present. I have learned in my life if I let go a little and let nature take its course, things have a way of working out, often in a way that was better than I could have ever planned. So too with my art, allowing beautiful things to happen with the paint can turn the artwork into something far more interesting and with unexpected surprises.
12" x 12" - Mixed Media
My work bridges child and adult, archaic and modern in both material and content. Crayon scribbles are juxtaposed against sleek graphic transfers, fragile graphite lines over hefty wood panels. My work is a literal sojourn through time as I sand and scrape to reveal older layers, and a figurative one as I allude to games, childhood, and memories through primitive drawings and simple block letters. Obscured maps suggest a way forward.
My paintings are about paying attention. Looking again with wayfinder’s eyes I trace paths through new waters yet find them familiar. As G.K. Chesterton said, “Most probably we are in Eden still. It is only our eyes that have changed.”
48" x 48" - Acrylic, Spray Paint, Collage, Corrugate
48" x 36" - Mixed Media
16" x 16" - Mixed Media on Panel
The 2018 Art2Life Academy Exhibition
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