PHILADELPHIA WATER COLOR SOCIETY
Let it Snow by Carol Kardon
Erica by Teresa DeSeeve
Two Reefs in the Main by Joe Milligan
Kailey by Olga Nielson
Verde by Michael Adams
Sisters on the Red Sofa by Cheryl Elmo
Daddytime by Sherry Ward
Meadow Overlook by Mick McAndrews
Juror's Statement: Ellen Nelson
Each time I am involved in a jurying process, I am intrigued by the numerous aspects of art that somehow coalesce in my head. This time, I was reminded of a quote by Picasso: "Art is a lie that tells the truth." When looking at a painting of a still life containing two apples and a pear, we realize that it is not actually two apples and a pear. It is the illusion or appearance of such. When I approach a work of art, I ask myself, "Does this work tell a truth?" My first impression of a work of art seeks to answer that question. Secondly, I begin to analyze what it is about the work that speaks the truth. More times than not, it is not a specific thing but a series of relationships lined up on various spectrums.
The parameters I use are craftsmanship, composition, creativity and the gestalt. It is hard for me to move to the other parameters if a certain level of craftsmanship is not met.
Craftsmanship comes after years and years of practice. It is a tricky parameter, because it is the one that seduces with a pitfall: if you practice every day the same way for consistency sake, you compromise spontaneity and freedom that can be so appealing. My advice in this regard is to practice, practice, practice but also be open new ideas and techniques. Not all of your work will be or should be show quality. If you are consistently producing the same kind of art, force yourself out of your comfort zone.
The second parameter is composition. I have always been fascinated and curious about composition as it uses the elements and principles of design in such elegant ways. I am drawn to compositions that challenge the idea of what constitutes a solid composition. "Two Reefs in the Main" by Joe Milligan took some risks in terms of composition, but the teetering of the balance is so key to understanding both the subject matter and content of this piece.
And where would we be if we were not exploring creativity? It is our job as artists to see common, ordinary things and reframe them within different contexts. "Sisters on the Red Sofa" by Cheryl Elmo shows us a new and fresh way of looking at a double portrait. The creative grid-like pattern in the background helps to push the figures toward us, creating an almost mystic halo around the center of interest.
The fourth and final parameter I used in jurying this show is the gestalt. In the 1920s, this was a term coined by the Germans (they are so good with words) to describe the phenomenon of how an organized whole can be perceived as more than the sum of its parts. It refers to the "wholeness" of a work of art. When I look at "Erica" by Teresa DeSeve, I am impressed by the integrity of all the multiple parts to create not just a comprehensive whole but a real sense of presence and assertion.
Each one of these entries deserved a prize. I was impressed by the scale of scope of this group- each piece resonating with a distinct and creative voice. Congratulations to all the artists in this exhibition.