Art2Life is proud to present our third International Juried Exhibition. Our juror, Juan Kelly, selected 50 pieces of art out of nearly 4,500 pieces entered. He also selected the first, second, third place winners and three honorable mention award winners. We hope you will take the time to read Juan’s Juror Statement about the work he selected and why he chose specific pieces for the awards. All work with a price listed is for sale directly from the artist and the artist retains 100% of the sale proceeds. If you see a piece you are interested in, please click on the image and you will find the artist’s contact information, price of the piece, and their website or social media account(s). Last year at least seven pieces of art were sold through our exhibition. We thank you for visiting our exhibition! Enjoy!
A few months ago, I was asked by Nicholas Wilton to jury this exhibition. First, it caught me by surprise and after learning more, I could not believe the amazing work and service to the arts he and his team have done. I normally try to keep a low profile, but I could not say no to such a truly beneficial and needed project. As a professional artist for over forty years and gallerist for twenty, I believe that I have a perspective that may be able to contribute, so I was very happy and honored to be the Juror.
Of course, being a Juror means that only a few people are going to be very happy with me and a lot more will not. While it is great to win competitions, for an artist who is determined, there is also a lot of power in losing. You get to work harder to make it impossible for anyone (including the myopic jurors) to not see what is real art.
Here are some of my biases and personal points of view that could have affected whether I chose your work this time or not:
2. For me art is not about the artists, it’s about the artwork.
3. Art should be aesthetically enjoyable and/or provocative and meaningful, regardless of the theme.
4. Artists should seek to go beyond their human limitations.
WHAT I WAS LOOKING FOR
One of the most important aspects that I would have had on top of the list is the degree of originality and uniqueness of the artwork, unfortunately, that is too difficult to assess in a medium time range.
- Consistency in your artistic proposition: Is what you’re trying to say clear? If not why? Is there a clear feeling? Is there a relationship between the different elements in the painting? Etc.
- Consistency in the direction of the artwork you presented: Are all three works speaking the same language, or have any type of discernible relationship?
- The quality and treatment of color, layers, and any other applications.
- Quality and treatment of overall composition of the work.
- Strength and uniqueness of the work in comparison to all the work submitted to the contest.
I took the responsibility of jurying this contest very seriously, and I went through all 4,500 works many times. I was pleasantly surprised by the overall high quality of the work submitted and particularly impressed by the strong sense of purpose and dedication. What was even more encouraging was the high sense of design with a mixture of intuitive and informed decisions.
I found it unique and distinct among all of the works submitted, with the strongest and best-resolved composition. It was chosen for the following reasons: creating clarity in its complexity, creating reinforcement and support for all the different elements or objects in the painting with their different colors, shapes, sizes, resolving their individual composition and rhythm, and for the brilliant utilization of special directions. All of the action takes place in a dimensionally well-balanced space while moving from left to right suggesting what will come next hiding behind the borders of the painting.
This artwork was chosen because of the exquisite and masterful treatment of textures, layers, colors, and masses, including the beautiful and delicate variations in the repetitions of shapes with juxtapositions of smooth soft, and breathable textures next to busy and louder textures. There was a very deep and settled mood with clear roads for the eyes to travel, rest, and then continue through the strata of repetitive horizontal shapes treated with delicacy in different nuances of colors. I found it delightful, restful, and mysterious.
This artwork was chosen because of the absolute clarity of the world it depicts, clarity of its direction, consistency in its patterns, and background that seems to share the same DNA. By the juxtaposition of different gradations of colored shapes, this artist's work can express any mood, emotion, or feeling. It is a surprisingly versatile, graphical world that circumvents traditional compositional solutions. For example, if you want to create something with strength and passion, you need to find opposites (Light - Dark, etc.). Usually, it is incredibly difficult to enhance the strength and enjoy the curviness of an object in a composition where there is nothing else but curved lines. But in this painting, the curved shapes feel very good and are very strong without any visible straight lines. It gets around this by creating a series of imaginary straight lines between objects of the same color that pull your eyes in straight lines across the surface of the work. The same indirect approach can be said about the sense of depth, maintaining a calm feeling in a very busy world, etc.
Honorable Mention 1:
Selected for its rhythmic and atmospheric composition with the clearly established mood in a specific place full of wonders and magic.
Honorable Mention 2:
Selected for the quality of the painting, its beautiful composition, and the transformative effect of telling a story, with a sense of time and with beautiful rich translucent and porous colors.
Honorable Mention 3:
Selected for its boldness and raw linear strength using very few elements, a thick dark blue line, a light blue line, a bunch of small thin lines, and some scribbles, all on a background, creating a passionate existential witness to our presence.
A FEW SUGGESTIONS
1. Everyone can work even harder to differentiate their work from other artists, and in so doing, increase the uniqueness of their own visual language.
2. Don’t forget the power and dimension that color has to offer. In too many cases, I found a lack of interest or attention to the nuances of well-applied colors. I found a tendency to randomly apply colors without any discernment, usually directly from the tube, and mixing it directly on the canvas which in many cases creates a dirty effect. A little more understanding of color will go a long way.
3. Finally, I would like to share a thought: I believe that intuition in art is nothing more than our subconscious mind creating associations between our work and our experience derived from nature. There is a graphic language that we all speak and learn from living in this world under its laws of physics, and its interrelation of our human body with its physiology, feelings, emotions.
The more we tune into these associations, the more informed our intuition becomes. At its highest level, that is what composition is all about - understanding the undercurrents of visual communications and the feelings and emotions bottled up in simple forms. We interpret the forms of shapes, their positions, size, interrelation, etc. with the same handbook given to us by birth.
JUROR JUAN KELLY AWARDS
1st Place – Judy Woods
2nd Place – Braldt Bralds
3rd Place – Beverly Kedzior
Honorable Mention 1 – Don Rogers
Honorable Mention 2 – Mandy Hurwitz
Honorable Mention 3 – Sheryl Siddiqui
1st Place Winner
45" x 45" - Mixed Media, Acrylic, Collage
My painting practice involves combining loosely applied paint alongside controlled intricate pattern or linear formations, saturated and muted colour combinations, thin glazes with thick clotted cream like brushstrokes, drawing with pencils, pastels and oil sticks. I will rotate the painting as I work on it and repeat the process until the surface becomes textured and gorgeous.
While I build the layers I add collage, often using fabric from second-hand clothes and paper detritus. Finally, I edit to create a balance between shapes and elements within the work. I want to create a surface that is full of interest and surprise and is completed with the viewer’s interpretation. My interest is purely the adventure the process takes me on and my own curiosity as to the outcome of each individual piece. Each series of paintings informs the next and I follow excitedly anticipating the next development in this mysterious journey.
Hydrangeas are one of my favourite flowers. Their large generous blooms speak to me of summer, shade and relaxation. I love to bring them inside in vases. I painted ‘Hydrangea Heaven’ last summer – the colour in the painting is reminiscent of a shrub in our garden.
2nd Place Winner
42" x 42" - Oil on panel
After an absence of 5 years, I returned to my easel, inspired to try fresh approaches. “Eventide” became my second painting to take on after that hiatus. Instead of drawing out my composition beforehand I decided to “freewheel” and only draw a horizon pencil line dividing the painting into sky and land. From there I made things up as I went along. The first day, I built a moody sky. The next day, I roughly blocked in landscape with dark greens, to see where it would take me. I added a snaking river that widened as it reached towards the painting’s bottom, reflecting the late sunlight as it moved along. Never before have I approached a painting with such faith in myself.
Painting has become more meditative for me. I’ve loosened my hold on the reins, allowing the process to lead the way. In my still life work I attempt to witness and portray the quiet, hidden elegance found in ordinary objects—an ancient stone, a solitary artichoke. I admire work in other painting styles, yet Realism is what stirs my soul and keeps me in a state of wonder.
3rd Place Winner
40" x 30" - Acrylic, book covers, fabric, wood veneers on canvas
Several years ago, I discovered that a genetic disorder, named Fragile X, lurked deep in my family history. In search of explanations, I was consumed with delving into medical books. The images I found there both fascinated and repelled me. At the same time, I saw a correlation to the organic and cartoony images that had become a part of my paintings. So I consciously made the medical illustrations a part of the images that I use to construct drawings that ultimately become paintings.
Although my paintings are developed with formal structure in mind and an emphasis on material and process, much of the imagery is gleaned from animated film and medical textbooks. So, as a critic once wrote, it is not an accident that some of my paintings resemble vivid, spongy and psychedelic landscapes that a space-age cartoon family might zoom through; or that others suggest Wassily Kandinsky meeting the Lava Lamp while watching a 1960’s educational film introducing youngsters to the wonders of the digestive system.
The finished paintings stress color, texture and space through the use of traditional and non-traditional tools and printing techniques that include stencils, brushes, rollers, scrapers, masking and resist products.
I have been influenced by Arshile Gorky, Dr. Seuss, Wassily Kandinsky, Peter Saul, Joan Miro, Walt Disney and The Jetsons.
Honorable Mention 1
11" x 8" - Mixed media with acrylics on board
Honorable Mention 2
12" x 12" - Acrylic on wood panel
Art making keeps me centered, open-hearted, and connected to the world around me. While painting, I journey into my heart space. I feel a deep soul connection there and it becomes easy to explore, play, and be bold.
I work in acrylic and mixed media, on wood panels or canvas. Layering, glazing, drawing, scraping - whatever brings the surface to life. I alternate working quickly and spontaneously, then zooming in with more precise subtle marks, scrapes, and lines. This process makes me giddy with joy and open to surprises.
There is an alchemy in making art. The raw materials plus you, however you show up in that moment to create something. The practice for me is to stay as open as I can to the possibilities.
I’m inspired by nature and the world around me. The color and light, the shadows and surfaces, they all reveal their story through chips and cracks. Half glimpsed stories I do my best to tell. I am drawn to the shadowy parts that make up my internal landscape. They reveal to me the many roles I have played and the masks I wear, the daily battle to show up as authentically as I can.
The most important thing for me, in the end, is that my work feels like it has lived through something. It has taken on its own shadows, joys, and complexities. It holds the memory of time spent adding, subtracting, and transforming. Even if just for a moment, I want me and the viewer to journey inward together.
Honorable Mention 3
30" x 15" (Diptych) - Acrylic paint and mixed media on gallery depth stretched canvas