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Open Exhibit - June 2016

Isil Ozisik, Fisherman's Pier, watercolor. Winner of Linda B. Hafer Best in Show Award.

 

Open Exhibit
Juror: Jeff Huntington

Exhibit dates: Tuesday, June 7–Sunday, July 3
Opening Reception: Thursday, June 9, 6:30–8:00 pm

View the exhibit program | View the exhibit images on Flickr

 

Fierce Sonia, To and Fro, mixed media collage. Winner of Ann Banks Collage Award.

 

Juror’s Dialogue with Whitney Staiger & Erica Fortwengler

“Before expression, there is nothing but a vague fever, and only the work itself, completed and understood, will prove that there was something rather than nothing to be found there.” -- Maurice Merleau-Ponty

 

Jeff Huntington kept the above quote in mind while jurying The Art League’s “June Open Exhibit.” “The responsibility of a juror is not to be taken lightly. It is an honor and a privilege. For me, it is a complex and exhaustive editing process – one that involves scrupulous contemplation, visualization, and calculation. My goal in selecting work is to assemble a cohesive, thought-provoking body of work demonstrating a broad range of mediums, approaches, and conceptual ideas.”

 

The efficiency of the jurying process was appreciated by Huntington and noted to be necessary with 410 pieces of art submitted. While going through the submissions, he began choosing pieces that evoked an immediate physical feeling. From that point, he analyzed the materials, scale, content, and title of the works. Huntington faced challenges throughout in regards to, “trusting digital reproductions, space limitations, and inevitably having to omit numerous accomplished, high-caliber works of art to fit within the confines of the gallery’s floor plan.” The fact that everything was new to him, and that he did not recognize any of the work, was exciting.

 

With his work, Huntington gravitates towards unfamiliar mediums that challenge him and make the creative process exciting and humbling. As the juror, Huntington wanted to see a similar approach from the artists who submitted. He looked for a common thread to emerge through the varied mediums and interpretations, and settled on works that he considered to be “successful interpretations of the theme and body of work that collectively invites curiosity.”

 

For “Best in Show,” Huntington selected Fisherman’s Pier, a watercolor by Isil Ozisik. He was drawn to the wonderful atmosphere the artist created by using rich yet sensitive color. Fierce Sonia’s To and Fro received the Anne Banks Best in Show for Collage. The transformative quality of the painterly layers makes the piece read differently from various distances, causing the viewer to move back and forth. The layering reminded Huntington of how the old masters would layer transparent colors and glazes to produce shadows.

 

Huntington was intrigued by Ducklings on a Journey by Trupti Vakjaria and was drawn to the artist’s use of such a basic material (paper) to construct a complex piece. The line work in Minion by Guy Jones was created by a type of muscle memory that only “an artist who has found their own mark” could make.

 

As with his own work, Huntington was drawn to pieces in which the artist used their materials in a transformative manner. “Celebrate by Ann Ruppert has this sense of release from this beautiful, simple tree crotch, a natural material being transformed into the human spirit.” The hyperrealism in Nancy Lasater’s September Light made Huntington question, “is this a photograph?”

 

Huntington notes that the pieces he selected encourage the viewer to come back and take a second look. “Each time you should see something different. By having people stop and look, the artwork is engaging the viewer.”

 

Jeff Huntington received an MFA in 1997 from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a BFA in 1995 from the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, DC. His work has been included in more than eighty exhibitions nationally and internationally. His paintings are in private and public collections throughout the world, including The Rockford Art Museum in Rockford, IL and U.S. embassies in the Philippines and Panama. Reviews of his work have been featured in The Washington Post, The Washington Times, The New York Times, Juxtapoz, New Art Examiner, as well as on CNBC and NPR. Awards include The Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Fellowship (Canada), The Jacob Kainen Award for Excellence in Figurative Painting, a Maryland State Arts Council grant, and The Ethel Lorraine Bernstein Memorial Award for Excellence in Painting. Huntington is currently an adjunct faculty member at the Corcoran School of Art & Design at George Washington University in Washington, DC. His work is represented by Porter Contemporary in New York City, Reyes+Davis in Washington, DC, and the Annapolis Collection Gallery in Annapolis, MD.

 

 

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