August 6–September 8, 2014
Champagne Autumn by Leigh Culver, winner of the Shayna Heisman Simkin Award for Best in Show
Juror: Olivia Kohler-Maga
Receiving: Monday, August 4, 6:30-8:30 pm & Tuesday, August 5, 10:00 am-12:00 noon
Opening Reception: Thursday, August 14, 6:30-8:00 pm
Juror's Dialogue with George Miller
For Olivia Kohler-Maga, “’Scapes” is about showing the diverse ways that artists, and viewers, can interpret the genre of landscape.
“A landscape isn’t always trees and a stream,” she said after jurying the exhibit. Artists submitted urban subjects and close-up compositions in addition to more traditional landscapes. Very few pieces didn’t fit the theme in some way, Kohler-Maga said. Artists took the idea of ’scapes and ran with it.
And that paid off. “I find creativity and risk-taking will overcome a lot” in terms of technical skill or execution, Kohler-Maga said. She said she loves seeing artists try something new with the medium or composition, for example. Some pieces started in an exciting direction but still didn’t have the finish to receive a “yes,” and for those, she said she wished she could attach a sticker saying, “Keep going with this.”
Kohler-Maga has curated numerous exhibits and juried others, but found this jurying process was harder than expected, because she never knew what was going to come next. She said she would have enjoyed seeing more submissions in collage, printmaking, and fiber.
Three paintings were selected for awards. The Shayna Heisman Simkin Award for best in show went to Champagne Autumn, a watercolor by Leigh Culver. Kohler-Maga said it stood out because it was attention grabbing: the image stuck with her throughout the jurying process.
Albuquerque Night by Carolyn Gawarecki was awarded Potomac Valley Watercolorists' Founders Award. Like Champagne Autumn, the painting demonstrates a mastery of the medium — this one by combining the broad, expressive strokes of the sky with the detailed painting of the city lights. Gawarecki also added an element of abstraction to the landscape.
Peggy Weed’s Old House, an oil painting, won The Chameli and Amiya Bose Memorial Award. Kohler-Maga said she was drawn to the painting by the interesting composition and impressive technique.
Olivia Kohler-Maga is the Assistant Director of the Luther W. Brady Art Gallery at George Washington University, Washington, DC. Her recently curated exhibitions include What Not to Wear: Women Sculptors; After Melville and Whitman: Contemporary Responses to the Civil War; Seen in Foggy Bottom: Selections from the GW Permanent Collection and Alumni Works of Art; and Let’s Eat: Works from the GW Permanent Collection produced in conjunction with First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Museums & Gardens campaign and GWU’s Urban Food Task Force. She received her B.A. in Art History from the University of Richmond, Richmond, VA and her M.A. in American Art History from the American University, Washington, DC.