Bedtime Stories – Storytelling Through Art
May 2 – May 28, 2012
"Beloved: The Young Babar" by Lisa Neher
For a complete listing of artists in this exhibit click here.
View this exhibit on Flickr here.
Juried by Judy A. Greenberg
Juror’s dialogue with George Miller
May’s exhibit, “Bedtime Stories” — part of The Art League’s programming for Minds Wide Open: Virginia Celebrates Children and the Arts — invited artists to submit works of art with a narrative quality. Artists created abstract and representational artwork in all media, relating to the theme of storytelling by myriad paths and bringing emotion to bear in their chosen medium, said Judy Greenberg, who had the job of jurying the exhibit.
Greenberg, who is director of the Kreeger Museum in Northwest DC, said it was interesting to see the variety of ways artists interpreted the theme of narrative art. Everybody can relate to the theme, she said. Artists could take it in many directions, including humorous, thoughtful, nostalgic, etc.
In successful works, “I look for composition and technique,” Greenberg said. Subject matter was also a factor, but not always. The most important consideration was for a piece to be well done and show a level of skill with the medium: for example, how the paint was applied to create depth, a flat surface, tension, etc., consciousness of form and space, and balance within the composition. She also considered what the artist was saying in relation to the theme: was it a unique statement, did it capture the viewer, was it emotional, personal, haunting? Was the artwork commendably executed?
In contrast, works weren’t selected if they didn’t display the same level of competency — for example, if figures were poorly drawn, whether realistic or abstract, if non-objective canvases lacked a sense of coherence and technique, Greenberg said. There is much that goes into a successful work of art, including emotion and a sense of inner self.
Greenberg had more specific advice for artists regarding presentation of their 2-D work: Frames and mats need to be simple and not detract from the piece. “When you’re framing a work, you should be conscious of the mat you’re choosing — white or off-white in most cases,” she said. “The frame can actually ruin a work; it should complement the artwork, not compete.”
Greenberg juried in a cross-section of media, including photography, drawings, sculpture, paintings, and others, and photography probably had the strongest showing, she said. She also selected the award winners, with first prize going to a photographic collage.
That piece, the winner of the Amelia T. Clemente Family Award, was New York Minute by Frances Borchardt, a collage of photographs arranged in a printer’s type case. The piece won best in show for its compelling composition and thematic elements, Greenberg said. It was also well thought-out in terms of how the photographs were arranged in the case. “It was probably the most unique piece in the show — and well-executed,” she said.
The second place award went to the painting Beloved: The Young Babar by Lisa Neher. Greenberg said the artist’s handling of the paint, using vibrant brush strokes in a strong composition, contributed to making it an excellent work of art. The elephants in the painting were well drawn in terms of their anatomy, but also had “a sense of soul” that engaged the viewer, she said: “They talked to me; they had a human sensibility.”
Egg Man, a sculpture by Josh Band, won third place. Greenberg praised the sculpture’s execution and originality. She said it has “an interesting and well-executed form” that works from all viewing angles as a sculpture. Egg Man is a “strong piece” with a “surrealistic quality,” she said.
Greenberg began as founding director of the Kreeger Museum in 1994. Under her direction she transformed the private residence of Carmen and David Lloyd Kreeger into one of the most cherished gems in the District of Columbia. She graduated from New York University with a degree in Fine Art and Education.