At last Saturday’s Juried Exhibition and Sale reception, awards were given out to 13 artists, among them nine Honourable Mentions (see the KSOA site for these).
First prize went to Paula Whyle for her acrylic painting entitled Clara. One of the judges commented: “This painting moves beyond simple representation … it demands an interpretation and therefore engages the observer. The result is pure enjoyment.” The First Prize was presented by Mike Scrannage who, along with his wife Karen Charlton, has been a long-time supporter of the KSOA.
I asked Paula (pictured left, along with event organizer Margaret Brackley) who inspired her painting. “Well,” she answered, “many of my friends’ mothers are now in their 90s. I wanted to do a series of portraits that highlighted real character traits—anger, gruffness, happiness. Clara is my mother.” And what traits does she express, I wanted to know. “Sadness,” came the unexpected reply. “And anxiety. But she hides it well.” Indeed. Her tuft of textured white hair flying off the canvas suggests dynamism, while her serene face expresses a kind of knowingness. Black contour lines arc and join in the body, and across the face they meander suggesting wrinkles, but ultimately the figure appears ageless.
Linda Coulter was awarded Second Prize for her hand-stitched textile landscape. From one of the judges: “I can feel the gentle breeze on my arms and smell the delicious rain that must have recently fallen on this wild piece of land. Spring Evening is a textured landscape I would want to spend some time in.”
Third prize was awarded to Carolyn Huff-Winters for King of the Mountain, a large charcoal and acrylic piece. One of the judges wrote: “A dramatic work both in size and in subject matter … a nice balance between subject and reflection (or roots) … drawn and painted in a very free, yet controlled, style.”
Leo Jonker won Special Mention for his portrait of Polar Man, a Kingston fixture and “a dedicated super hero. The shift from a white and black ‘costume’ to blue is intriguing … this colour reflects his gleaming and mischievous cobalt eyes. The intense gaze and the half-smile give us a glimpse into the subject … he knows who he is!”
And the winners are … Well, no, I can’t reveal the outcome of Monday afternoon’s judging before the WAG holds this year’s juried exhibition reception on July 6. I can, however, reveal that our three judges—Shannon Brown, Ron Pickering and Raymond Vos—deliberated for three hours to choose 65 artworks from 152 submissions by 73 artists. The submitted works, in all sizes, included paintings, monoprints, pastels, fibre art and mixed media.
See below for some sneak peaks of the works in the show!
Shannon Brown, Program Coordinator at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, has 20 years of experience as an arts educator. As an internationally exhibited artist she is currently working on a series called Portals—visionary art that she describes as modern surrealism. She is also a producer of documentary films that have been broadcast internationally. Intuition played a large role in Shannon’s first picks at the beginning of the afternoon when the submitted pieces were positioned in the back room of the KSOA and around the gallery.
Raymond Vos, the owner and curator of Gallery Raymond, which represents about 20 artists, agreed that he placed his first dots on pieces that jumped out at him. Raymond, a photographer who has been a judge in a number of competitions, concentrates on shooting in Kenya, where he has started a charity. As a judge he considers each artwork on its own merits. He called the process of judging “engaging”, and Round Two, when pieces with one or two or no dots were presented individually to the trio of judges, he categorized as “a warm-up”. Indeed, judges were beginning to solidify their earlier first choices, sometimes changing their minds.
Ron Pickering took into account size and technique as he made his picks. A watercolour artist, he taught at the KSOA for 10 years during the school’s early days. Today he teaches at Loyalist and practises his art almost every day. He admitted that his representational approach to painting affects the way he sees art. In addition, bringing some of the artworks into the well-lit gallery in Round Two, he maintained, led him to revise his opinions.
Shannon also commented that different lighting and seeing works at different levels (on the floor vs. held at eye level) influenced her decisions. Raymond concurred. All three judges agreed that hearing one another’s comments made them think hard about their choices.
Round Three involved using stars to triage the three-dot pieces in order to determine the winners. This was when the friendly tussle started. It went something like this: persuasion, deliberation, analysis, negotiation, winnowing, dissension, deadlock. Six pieces needed to become four. Out came paper and pencil to allow each judge to note his or her rankings. Finally, compromise and agreement.
Round Four, by comparison, was easy. All three-star picks became Honourable Mentions. Ron Pickering summed up the entire show when he told me, “The quality of the work is really good!”
The KSOA Annual Juried Exhibition and Sale runs from July 2-28 with a reception and awards presentation on July 6 from 2-5 p.m. Awards will be presented at 3 p.m.