Small & Large Works - Nov. 2013
Small Works & Large Works
November 6 - December 2
Juried by Gretchen Schermerhorn
Opening Reception: November 14, 6:30–8:00 pm
Large Works: exhibit program | images on Flickr
Small Works: exhibit program | images on Flickr
H.K. Anne, Wetlands, Silver Lake, Haymarket, VA. Winner of the Cora Rupp Award for best in show in the Large Works exhibit.
The Small and Large Works Exhibits pack a lot of talent into one gallery while drawing attention to the importance of scale. Works are restricted in size but not in subject matter, skill, or wow factor. The Small Works exhibit is especially popular with holiday gift-givers and arts appreciators who know that the best gifts come in tiny packages.
Juror's Dialogue with Erica Fortwengler
Juror Gretchen Schermerhorn had the task of jurying both the Large Works and Small Works exhibits for The Art League this month. She noted that it was both a welcome challenge and a pleasure, and the pool of pieces to select from was quite strong, especially for the Small Works exhibit.
Schermerhorn was looking for superb, strong technique, but something more than proficiency was needed to move a piece into the “in” pile. “I love a sense of mystery, or the feeling that there’s some story behind a piece. I want to wonder, what was the artist thinking or feeling when they were creating that piece? There needs to be emotion, an evocative feeling. Something that sets the piece apart from the next.” Schermerhorn stressed that it’s important for an artist to develop his or her own vision and voice. Artists should ask themselves, “What am I trying to communicate?” “What makes my work different?”
“One of the challenges with working small is that the impact has to be just as strong as in a larger piece. Large works tend to be looser, and more lyrical. Small works tend to be more precise, and traditional and photorealistic in subject matter. It’s far less forgiving to work small – if the artist makes a mistake, they can’t redirect the viewer to another part of the composition to try and camouflage their error. It’s a brave endeavor to work small.”
Schermerhorn appreciated the simplicity of the framing in the majority of the works. She noted that some pieces were ornately framed, and that choice of presentation upstaged the artwork. “You don’t want your piece competing against your presentation choice.”
Some pieces were not selected due to inexperienced craftsmanship. If a work was presented in a beat up frame, or a collage had pieces starting to peel off of the surface, it was not selected. “It is important to take care in creating and presenting your work.” Some pieces were eliminated due to technical issues, such as challenges handling color temperature and hue or compositional difficulties.
The Eleanor Boudreau Jordan Award for Best in Show was presented to Wijati Soemantoro for “Abstraction of Woman’s Gesture.” As a printmaker herself, Schermerhorn was impressed with how the artist worked subtractively, and how the artist achieved a nice range of values, which she noted is hard to do in a lithograph. Schermerhorn found this piece to be quite compelling and really appreciated the simplicity and the nice visual texture in the piece.
“Poise” by Maria Valle Riestra captured second place. Schermerhorn was drawn to the minimalism and simplicity, and how the artist was able to imply so much with just a few brush strokes. “The artist uses both the positive and negative space well. There’s a nice combination of loose and tight marks and a sophisticated color palette”
M. Alexander Gray’s “Inn at James City” won third place. “This is a charming etching full of exquisite mark making.” Schermerhorn noted that this piece is another example of an artist working subtractively, which requires complex thinking to achieve such a range of darks and lights.
Two works were awarded honorable mentions. Deborah Taylor’s “Green Cones” was recognized for the painterly quality, layering of color, and great use of paint. Stephanie Lane’s “Freedom” caught Schermerhorn’s eye with its great composition, sense of mystery, interesting visual texture, and muted color palette.
About the juror: Gretchen Schermerhorn is a printmaker and hand papermaker, and her work often combines the two media. She is currently the Artistic Director at Pyramid Atlantic Art Center in Silver Spring, MD. She received her MFA in Printmaking from Arizona State University in 2004. She has completed artist residencies at Women's Studio Workshop in New York, Columbia College Center for Book and Paper in Chicago, Seacourt Print Workshop in Northern Ireland, and California State University. Her prints, installations and works on paper works have been exhibited in New York, Boston and Washington DC, and her work is in national and international collections. She currently teaches in the printmaking department at the Corcoran College of Art + Design.
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