November 2016 Judge: Pat Benincasa
Read more about professional artist and art educator, Pat Benincasa
BEST IN SHOW, above: Sudan - Facing Extinction by Michelle McCune, DVM. Judge's comment: The imagery is poignantly direct and in its simplicity, very powerful. The subtle modulation of color only adds to the drama of the subject matter. The colors used in the background hover in proximity to the animal and create a retinal duet.
The Walk Home by Tiffani Love. Judge's comment: Dynamic greens, bold shapes and a nuanced pinkish path create an otherworldly invitation for the viewer to walk beneath the arc of trees. Blue sky brush marks seem to float in front of the trees making the space delightfully ambiguous.
Self by Sam Wilson. Judge's comment: Intensity is the key descriptor of this painting. The position of the figure placed tightly up against the picture plane staring directly at the viewer shrinks the space between viewer and painting! The slight distortions like the elongation of face and sloping shoulders are dramatized by the dark head of hair and beard. The palette of subtle, greenish grey tones in the background makes the reddish purples in the flesh tone really pop.
Geography of a Life by Christie Neale. Judge's comment: The physicality of this painting really comes through. It has a temporal quality with an emphasis on process. By "process," I mean that the viewer isn't simply looking at the painting, the viewer is making the painting from the marks, strokes, swirls of colors. There is a Rothko-esque quality to the horizontal bands of color that feel primal.
Soaring by Karen Landrigan. Judge's comment: Passion for swimming + exuberant colors + playful shapes and lines combine to visually choreograph a stop- motion glance for the viewer to take in. The manipulation of teals, greenish blues and aquas are punctuated by a well placed splash of complimentary color provided by the red cap. The painting is not sentimental in its unabashed delight in the subject. It is lean and to the point.
Stepping Out For Hot Chocolate by Victoria General. Judge's comment: This painting captures that peculiar stillness and magic of an evening snowfall. The use of high contrast, inky blacks to tease the moody use of greys, blueish whites to hover next to the yellow greys make for a compelling atmospheric experience.
Looking Through a Haze of Memories by Bonnie Shapiro. Judge's comment: The carnival color palette immediately sets a mood of hazy recall in the mind's eye. The viewer is lodged, right there, visually reminiscing and psychologically climbing in to the the red-yellow spinning car that rests on the front of the picture plane. The way it is painted creates a subtle tension that fluctuates between haunting and inviting.
Before There Was Color by Deena Goldstein. Judge's comment: Looking at this painting is like listening to tonal chord shifts in a piece of music that transports the listener to another place. The flow of diagonal clouds skitter above the three darkly outlined trees to create motion in a still scene. The trees arc toward each other in visual dialogue that becomes a frame of reference for viewing the painting.
Grandpa by Lon Brauer. Judge's comment: This painting is a fluid debate between foreground, middle ground and background with paint strokes and drips floating in front of the Chevy truck. The slight tilt of the truck choreographs a rich, painterly process where no one area is too defined. The physical application of marks, strokes, drips, scrapes conspire to create something recalled. The yellow ochre strokes at the front of the picture plane create a barrier that keeps the truck in the distance but not quite out of the mind's eye.
Symphonic by Michael Fabrizio. Judge's comment: This painting of colorful, quasi-organic overlays in frenzied relationship to each other draws the viewer to visually probe the bright vertical bands to see the undercurrent of darker colors. The blackish edges peeking through on parts of the painting hint at a mysterious substrata just out of the viewer's reach.
Moths in the Light by Ralph White. Judge's comment: The diagonal composition creates a delicate balance between the fluid application of paint and the mysterious bursts of yellow oranges with flickers of reds. The dense layering of process, paint, and movement feels like sinewy lace and allows the viewer to effortlessly glide in and out of the painting experience.
Paralex8 by Robert Nickologianis. Judge's comment: Viewing this painting is like diving in to a whirlpool of shapes and colors as it moves between foreground, middle ground and background. The bold red-orange diagonals hold steady as organic forms generate nuanced color streaks of movement in the vibrant aqua blues.