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Q&A with Award Winner Sheila DeLaquil

"Under the Microscope" by Sheila Delaquil.
“Under the Microscope” by Sheila Delaquil.

One of the award-winners in this month’s all-media exhibit will be familiar to recent visitors of The Art League Gallery: Sheila DeLaquil also won an award in July’s group exhibit. This time around, her painting Under the Microscope was awarded the Evelyn Turner Award for abstraction. The juror, Stefanie Fedor, said she was drawn to the palette and strong mark-making.

Last time around, Sheila told us about her creative process and working with a subdued color scheme — that interview is here. This time, we asked her more about the choices that go into each painting. Read our Q&A, below, and come see the show through April 1!

What informs the decisions you make about things like palette, materials, size, and so forth when you start a new painting, or how do these things emerge?
Sheila: I was working to constrain the use of color, as in Just Waiting [July’s award-winner, pictured below]. So the neutral greys dominated. Materials were acrylics and format was square, which is what I have chosen to use for the past few years. Don’t know exactly why, though. I guess that I was attracted to the square format because it seemed challenging to me and because it is less commonly used.

Did you have any goals for things you wanted to accomplish with Under the Microscope?
I wanted to create an uncomfortable composition, using large shapes and line to pull it all together.

Why did you want to create an uncomfortable composition?
Well, you know that some compositions are often used, such as the cruciform. An off-balance composition is seen less often, probably because it does make you feel a little uncomfortable.

Just Waiting - Sheila Delaquil
July 2012 winner of the Larry Kirstein Prize, “Just Waiting” by Sheila Delaquil.

Where did the title come from?
I have a biology degree, and have a lot of experience using microscopes. This painting reminded me of a microscopic view of something.

What materials did you use?
Acrylics on paper, scrapers, brushes.

Interviews with past award-winners can be found here.

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For this installment of “Art Bites,” we look into the diptych of America Remembers/The Lives by Hernán Murno in the July open exhibit. Murno’s strong, graphic lines are reminiscent of early American Abstraction art of the 1940s. American Abstractionist work rose from a time of political unrest in response to WWII, and looking at Murno’s piece, you have the feeling that the aesthetic choice was not only inspired by the abstract movement but also reflective of today’s unique political tensions.

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