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flora & fauna - april 2013

Flora & Fauna
April 3 - May 6, 2013

Opening Reception: Thursday, April 11, 6:30 - 8:00 pm

Click here to download the exhibit program.

Click here to view images from this exhibit.

Suzanne Vigil - Home Grown
Home Grown, colored pencil by Suzanne Vigil. Winner of the Marshall Award for Best in Show.

Artists have turned to the natural world for inspiration since prehistoric times, drawing artistic motivation from the plants and animals populating their surroundings. Interactions, and their subsequent outcomes, between plants, animals, and humans allow us to evaluate our role in the environment.

Imagery of plants and animals provide excellent avenues to explore color, pattern, and texture in your work. Flora and fauna from the land, sea, and sky are all acceptable subjects or inspiration. Found plant or animal materials are acceptable for use in either process or finished work; however, no living thing can be harmed in the creation of artwork.

Juried by Yuriko Yamaguchi
Juror’s dialogue with George Miller

“Entering juried shows changed my life,” said Yuriko Yamaguchi after jurying “Flora & Fauna” and as the exhibit started going up on The Art League’s walls. She said entering juried group shows brought opportunities that made her the artist she is today, and that entering one inspired her mother to rejuvenate her art education late in life. The mix of ages and backgrounds, from hobbyists to experienced artists, was invigorating to see as a juror, she said.

Along with Yamaguchi’s gut reaction to a piece, she said these inspired, novel approaches made for the most successful works in the show: “the bottom line” was whether the artist dealt with his or her subject matter in an interesting, unpredictable way. Being creative in this way served as a “springboard for success,” along with technical skill and a striking composition.

Yamaguchi cited two of the award winners as examples of strong concepts that went beyond the obvious and had something to say about the subject matter. Home Grown, a colored pencil portrait by Suzanne Vigil, won the Marshall Award for best in show not just for the striking image against a plain background and because it was “technically superb,” but because of the interesting masculine-feminine friction between the subject and his rose tattoo. Second place winner R is for Rose, an oil painting on panel by Dennis Crayon, used trompe l’oeil technique to draw the viewer into the illusion, drawing attention to the ideas of life, image, and reality. Other works selected for honorable mention conveyed strong impressions of the strength, fragility, and drama of life. Bombay Hook NWR Autumn – 5 by Barbara Steinacker won the Carol Bruce Pastel Award for its superb color and mark-making.

Yamaguchi said the theme, plant and animal life, was perfect for spring, giving artists the opportunity to reflect on life in different ways. Unsuccessful works lacked this strong concept and addressed only the surface of the subject in predictable ways. “If it’s just a pretty flower, we can see it in a garden,” she said.

The most important thing for artists, she said, was to find an area to deal with and something specific to express, and not worry about creating art for specific shows. Even if a particular work has imperfect technique, a strong artistic intuition can propel it to success. As a teacher, Yamaguchi said, discovering these kinds of new ideas from students and professionals makes for good creative nourishment and keeps her teaching.

Yuriko Yamaguchi is an award-winning sculptor and installation artist. Yamaguchi depicts the natural world in her sculptures, two-dimensional works, and installation pieces. In her drawings and prints, she continues to explore the interrelatedness and dependence that has bound humans to animals and to the earth. She often uses resin chips, beads and obsolete computer components in her sculptures that mimic natural forms. Her work can be seen at yurikoyamaguchiart.com.



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