Fall Expo 2011
This year's Fall Expo showcases 32 finalists and award winning artists from around the world.
~Juror - M.M. Dupay
Autumn Wheat Harvest: This is a very upbeat painting full of bright colors, that imparts a happy nostalgia to the viewer. The nostalgia is not accidental; Mr. Curlee seems to be skillfully channeling the late Thomas Hart Benton, a Depression-era painter. If you're not familiar with Benton's work, I would strongly recommend a quick trip to Google. Benton's landscapes are instantly recognizable, and this painting could easily have been done by Benton himself.
Curlee uses many of the same signature elements; the shapes of the trees, the shredded clouds, the mounded hills. the same rich palette common in Benton's landscapes, and even the peeling bark on the tree. What's missing is the darker mood of some of Benton's work, full of knife-wielding hillbillies and hard, overworked men; Curlee's landscape is positive without being saccharine. It's a painting I'd love to have hanging on my wall.
More interesting even than the obvious homage to Benton's work is the very sophisticated composition of the painting. There are a lot of ways to compose a painting but Curlee chooses one of the hardest; this painting is a spiral. I've seen spiral compositions attempted before, but I've never seen one done better.
The eye is first pulled to the brightest spot on the canvass; the sky. The shredded clouds push your eye toward the tree on the left, your eye follows down the tree, and the strong diagonals in the lower left push your eye across the bottom. The sapling near the right corner directs your eye up toward the gold and green trees at the edge of the field, which sends you to the farm, then to the left down the road to river, which pulls you down to those bushes, and then to the cows in the middle. Let your eyes wander anywhere else, and the painting is full of lines and pointers to slide you right back into the spiral.
I've probably looked at this 30 times, and each time I'm delighted with how wonderfully well it's composed. An excellent work from a painter who is in full command of the finer points of his art. ~ Juror - Bill Harrison
1st Place - Antonio Bassi
Normally, I resist the idea of including both photography and paintings, drawings, etc. in the same art competition. After all, it's much easier to make a nice-looking photograph than it is to make a nice-looking work of art. A photographer and an artist both have to make judgments concerning content, composition, light, mood, and all the other elements inherent in visual arts. However, an artist has to learn to control the process of making marks on paper/canvass, etc, which can take years of practice just to be competent, while the work of creating the actual image is done by the camera, not by the photographer.
Before all the photographers reading this grab their torches and pitchforks, notice in the previous paragraph I said a "nice-looking" photograph. Photography becomes art when it moves beyond a merely attractive image and into a realm where real creativity and real artistic inspiration are required.
Antonio Bassi does this with "Improvisation #1." To create this piece, Bassi apparently positioned himself somewhere above a pedestrian walkway, probably in an atrium since you can see the reflection of lights on the floor. In each panel, a few people appear, most walking rapidly in one direction or another, but now frozen in small clusters. The overall effect looks like musical notes on a scale, something Bassi acknowledges in his title. We associate improvisation with, especially jazz, and there's something very jazzy about this whole piece.
The positioning of the figures is random in each panel, yet as a group they feel like they have some meaning. I even asked my wife, who's a musician, if she could decode the figures as musical notes and whether they actually played anything. (They don't, but you could have fooled me.)
The background color, which is created by the floor, is slightly different in each panel; not enough to be distracting, but enough to be interesting. On close inspection, most of the figures are dressed in dark clothing, but there's a sprinkling of color throughout.
There's certainly quite a bit of thought in the creation of this piece... one can imagine Bassi going through the hundreds of photos he probably took, eliminating many of them for a variety of reasons, selecting certain ones, arranging and re-arranging them until he was completely satisfied with the result.
And the result is, in fact, very satisfying, and really a work of art. Taken as a whole, this piece is repetitive but with subtle variations, nicely nuanced inside a unifying structure. It's a complicated jazzy piece, which takes a familiar sight and does something very unfamiliar with it. There's a real richness to it, and real creativity. Very nicely done. ~Juror - Bill Harrison
Chuck Sharbaugh’s Across America is a visually compelling and complex piece, carefully crafted to actively encourage us to look more closely at our constructed landscape. While the cabinet’s exterior reminds me of a scaffold bridge not unlike an almost art deco version of the covered bridges near my rural childhood home, the intimate details revealed within ask us to consider the idea of bridged connections more fully. Here, we are pulled into seeing overpasses and networks of cloverleaf intersections from the beneath and high above. We are either dwarfed by their soaring curves above us or intrigued by the net they form in the distance below. Either way, the straightforward crossing journey of the exterior bridge form is made much more complex. Evoking the function of cabinets of curiosities, this bridge cabinet also contains relics of the landscape we’ve destroyed in creating these concrete overpass connections. By using many pieces of wood veneer fused into twenty-four single miniature architectural landscapes, Sharbaugh has created a memorial to the trees that had once been there. ~Juror - M.M. Dupay
3rd Place - Robert Dobbs
The way artist Robert Dobbs integrates the metal elements in naturally shaped stone is very creative and dynamic at the same time. He successfully transforms the static-nature of stone in to the "living creature". The organic feel of Leviathan Remains stands out as a dominant element that uses it's own kinetic strength to prove the superiority of life over death. ~Juror - Igor Kraguljac
Golden Glow - Through harmony of color and form, balance and rhythm, Ling Ling Cheng has created a powerful painting representing the mystical essence of life. Like a Chinese Gongshi (Scholar's Rock) "Golden Glow" seems to depict grand nature such as a mountain scene that may be inhabited by mythical creatures. And like a scholar's rock this scene evokes a desire from the viewer for meditation and contemplation, or perhaps "Golden Glow" is the result of the contemplation of gongshi that now brings the viewer of this painting into the circular process of becoming the contemplator of the contemplated. ~Charly Swing
When we say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, we must be speaking of the eye of Daniel Victor and his camera. In Light Leaf, he expertly captures a stunning moment, one that will be gone in seconds, and one that only nature can provide. Simply beautiful.