Marsha Staiger, Graft Revisited, Morning. Winner of the Chameli & Amiya Bose Memorial Award.
Our landscape has been visually rendered since the beginning of time and remains one of the most beloved subjects in art. For ’Scapes, the annual August landscape exhibit at The Art League Gallery, artists were invited to submit works illustrating all elements of our external world.
Landscape art portrays the world around us. However, a landscape artist is not a camera that records whatever happens to be in front of the lens. He or she is not required to paint exactly what he sees.
Opening Reception: Thursday, August 9, 6:30–8:00 pm
Juried by Jonathan Linton
Juror’s dialogue with George Miller
For August’s annual landscape exhibit, ’Scapes, artists moved beyond the traditional limits of the genre to visually interpret all sorts of environments, representationally or abstractly, in any medium.Juror Jonathan Linton said that sense of scene was the critical element in deciding whether a piece fit the theme — successful ’Scapes were able to convey the emotion of a scene whether or not they literally depicted a landscape.
Linton said that “the skill of the artists was at a high level in all of the media,” adding that most of the submitted pieces could have been in the show, but competition was tight. This was his first time jurying for The Art League and he said he had high expectations based on the caliber of art in the area.
“Applied technique was at a high level, but what impressed me most about the accepted works was the general strength of design,” he said. Of 565 pieces entered, 143 were juried into the show.
In general, Linton said, he judged works based on what direction it seemed like the artist wanted to go in, and how well they accomplished that goal. Artwork “has to sit in its skin well,” he said. “After that, I look at the work with regards to technical prowess, compositional strength, emotional projection, and subject matter.”
Linton advised artists to pay attention to the compositional elements in their work. “Be very aware of compositional softness,” he said — avoiding “mushy” compositions — “and keep the shapes interesting.” Artists should also address edge quality, making sure that they consider the type of edges that they leave on the shapes in their work — sometimes a hard edge should be made softer or vice versa.
In terms of presentation, most pieces were acceptably framed, he said. However, some works on paper were warped or curled in the frame.
Linton selected 12 honorable mentions and two top award winners. He selected Graft Revisited, Morning by Marsha Staiger for the Chameli & Amiya Bose Memorial Award and November Morning by Web Bryant for the Potomac Valley Watercolorists’ Award.
Graft Revisited, Morning is a large-format abstract painting oriented vertically and dominated by horizontal lines. Linton said, “It’s really hard to do good abstract work.” The lines are clean, but not industrial. While definitely not organic, they do evoke a human touch, he said. Linton said the color tonalities work well, which is what we notice in landscapes: the piece evokes “the same thrill that I feel when I see a gorgeous landscape from my car window,” he said. And while the painting is flat, it evokes the feeling of depth.
Linton also praised the use of value textures in the painting. “The textural patterns look effortless and as if they belong exactly where she put them,” he said, and the textures, colors, and unique shape work together as a whole rather than appearing contrived.
Of Bryant’s watercolor, Linton said the artist “shows a mastery of his medium.” The painting depicts a sand dune with beach grass, a dying fire pit, and a tent, along with a figure. The painting exhibits a strong graphic quality reminiscent of an illustration, and while it may be an illustration for a specific story, we can still relate to it in a general sense as a scene, he said. The different elements work together to create a compelling piece, incorporating a person and a structure within nature.
Regarding the show as a whole, Linton said that those who visit the gallery will hopefully be able to travel around the world just by taking a few steps. “I want them to remember past events, dream of faraway places, and consider their current setting,” he said.
Linton has won numerous awards and his work hangs in national and international collections. His work has been featured in various magazines, including International Artist, Family Circle, The Artist's Magazine, New York Magazine, Business Week, and American Art Collector, and others. He has illustrated three children’s books, two of which were national bestsellers, The Spyglass and The Dance. Linton received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Brigham Young University and continued his studies in New York City and Florence, Italy. He is a signature member of the National Watercolor Society. You can see his work by visiting www.jonathanlinton.com.
Potomac Valley Watercolorists’ Founders Award, $250. Donated by the Potomac Valley Watercolorists (PVW), this award was established to honor the founders of PVW and recognize the artist whose watercolor is selected as best watercolor painting by the juror in the 'Scapes exhibit. The Art League and PVW share much history together, with many members and instructors of The Art League overlapping with PVW’s membership.
The Chameli and Amiya Bose Memorial Award, $150. This award was established in 2010 by Art League member Raka Bose Saha to honor her parents, Chameli and Amiya Bose. Raka wanted to honor her parents for the support that they gave to her, both in the visual arts and science. It is to be awarded by the juror to the best acrylic or oil painting on stretched canvas.