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All-Media - March 2015

All-Media Exhibit
March 4-April 6
, 2015

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


Juror: Liza Key Strelka, Manager of Exhibitions at the Phillips Collection

Opening reception: Thursday, March 12, 6:30–8:30



Juror’s dialogue with George Miller

Picture this: You walk into a room full of art, but it’s not on the walls. There isn’t space for it all. Everything is in neat rows on the carpet, with volunteers bringing pieces one or two at a time for your decision: “yes,” “no,” or “maybe.”

“You don’t know what the exhibit will look like,” said Liza Key Strelka, the juror for the March All-Media Exhibit. With over 400 pieces submitted in every medium and style under the sun, the process of creating an exhibit, especially an unthemed exhibit like this one, is a challenge. So, Strelka said, “I let the artwork guide me.”

How do you do that? Sometimes, the choice is between two works by the same artist, which makes comparison a little bit easier. You look for better color, composition, and something that makes it stand out, Strelka said.

But comparing art by different artists working in completely different ways, you need to judge each work on its own merits, she said. You come at it with your own experiences — in this juror’s case, a background in modern American and European art. And you try to acknowledge the variety of styles and experiences in front of you as you build an exhibit, piece by piece.

It’s a multi-step process, Strelka said. She looked at the medium and how well the artist had mastered it. Also important: originality, achieving something the juror hadn’t seen before and that let the artist’s voice come through. As the process went on, certain pieces began to speak in relation to others and an exhibit started to take shape.

The color photography was very strong, Strelka said, and it was refreshing to see photos without unnecessary alterations and added filters in Photoshop. Figurative sculpture was another strong group among the submissions.

One of those figurative sculptures won the Marker Award for Realism: Gabriela by Barrie Ripin. Strelka said that she saw the influence of Alberto Giacometti in the sculpture, which has a beautiful, elongated form. “I don’t see a lot of terra cotta,” she said, and here the traditional medium was updated with modern sensibility and compelling texture.

The Evelyn Turner Award for Abstraction went to Paradox by Abol Bahadori, a large-scale abstract painting dominated by a horizontal composition and the color pink. Since she’s normally “not a big fan” of that color, Strelka said she knew it was a winner when she kept coming back to it regardless. “It’s very musical and contemporary,” Strelka said of the painting, and with the energy on the canvas it looks back at Abstract Expressionism, Willem de Kooning, and even Wassily Kandinsky.

About the juror: Liza Key Strelka is Manager of Exhibitions at The Phillips Collection in Washington, DC. Since joining the Phillips in 2011, she has overseen the installation of exhibitions such as Neo-Impressionism and the Dream of Realities, Made in the USA: American Masterworks from The Phillips Collection, Van Gogh Repetitions, and Snapshot: Painters and Photography, Bonnard to Vuillard. She also manages curatorial publications and permanent collection installations. Liza received her bachelor’s in Art History from George Washington University and a master’s degree in Art History from American University.



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