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All-Media - January 2015

January 2015 All-Media Exhibit
Exhibit dates: January 7–February 2
Opening Reception: Thursday, January 8, 6:30–8:00 pm

A juried exhibit of artwork in all media by Art League members.

Exhibit Links: View the exhibit program | View the works on Flickr


Juried by Paul Reuther
Juror’s Dialogue with George Miller

As an artist, art teacher, curator, and former gallery director, Paul Reuther has experience looking at artwork and forming rapid judgments — an unfortunate, but necessary skill for jurying an exhibit with hundreds of submissions in only a few hours.

Reuther has curated exhibits at Washington Drawing Center, which he founded; ran a gallery in Philadelphia for 10 years, and evaluates a great deal of student work while teaching drawing and painting. His jurying process starts with an instinctual response to work based on its simplicity and clarity of form, color, and design — and usually not its subject matter.

On a second look, he evaluates skill and craftsmanship. These qualities can compete: an image can have strong formal elements and yet be technically weak in other ways. Reuther said he saw many strong (technically and formally) photographs, paintings, prints, and drawings.

Because this is an un-themed exhibit, it was built progressively as Reuther made his decisions — yes, no, maybe — not predicated on a single idea. As a curator, Reuther’s exhibits are monographic, exploring a single artist or theme; as a juror in a group exhibition, he has less control over the themes that emerge.

Presentation, as always, was important to a piece’s success and could hurt a submission’s chances if framing was poor or inappropriate. Reuther said his preference is for simplicity. “A simple, neutral frame means a clearer image, avoiding potential for incongruity and distraction.”

Reuther said many submitted pieces explored tried and true subjects — like flowers and scenic landscapes — that present a challenge for the artist. Unless an artist brings a great deal of skill or a unique interpretation to create visual interest, some familiar ideas represent an artistic dead end. Another way of putting it, and one that is more than a little paradoxical, may be that the most obvious beauty can present the greatest aesthetic challenge: overcoming cliché, habit, and even at times comfort with the subject.


On the other end of the spectrum, Reuther awarded three pieces (left to right, above) that he felt rewarded a longer engagement by the viewer. Ghetto in Paradise, an oil painting by Michele Reday Cook, won the Gallery Director’s Award. Reuther said the painting was evocative of poetry, and he appreciated the artist’s sincere attempt to engage the subject without overthinking it.

Jim, a portrait in oil by George Carr, won the Second Place Award, with the juror calling it a well-developed portrait painted carefully and with fine judgment from direct observation. And Katherine Rand’s gelatin monoprint, Danger Lurks, won the Third Place Award.

“I’m not exactly sure what’s going on in this print. There’s something comical and dark about it at the same time,” Reuther said, adding that he liked the open and seemingly spontaneous design and composition.

Paul Reuther lives and works in Washington, DC. He studied painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and art history at The University of Pennsylvania. In recent years he has completed landscape paintings during residencies in Canada, Sweden, Finland, New Zealand, and most recently in Italy.

Reuther teaches drawing and painting in the Washington area at Montgomery College in Rockville, MD and at George Washington University in Washington, DC. He is the founder and president of The Washington Drawing Center.




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