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'Scapes – August 2015


  • Exhibit dates: August 5–September 7, 2015
  • Juror: Elizabeth Peak, printmaker and mixed media artist
  • Opening Reception: Thursday, August 13, 6:30-8:00 pm


View exhibit program | View exhibit on Flickr



Juror's Dialogue with George Miller


What makes a ’scape? As the name of the exhibit implies, the definition of a landscape has expanded since the days of Thomas Cole and J.M.W. Turner.
But there are still some minimum requirements, said juror Elizabeth Peak, whether the subject is a landscape, cityscape, seascape, or even an imaginary or abstract ’scape. The artist needs to capture a sense of place. That means situating the viewer with a physical relationship to the image, for example through time of day, a horizon line, or a vantage point. The viewer needs to be placed somewhere within in order to connect with the landscape.
For an artwork to be successful in this exhibit, the artist needed to use the bare elements of landscape in a creative way. “Being too literal is a weakness,” Peak said. “The point is to be visual, not literal.” For example, artists should avoid painting all grass the same green, regardless of whether it is far or near, simply because your mind is telling you “grass is green.”
Interpretation is where the story is, Peak explained. Successful works had an observational or atmospheric element, finding something unique within the landscape to focus on. That’s how artists can truly capture a place instead of just reproducing it, Peak said. The best way for artists to learn is to look at other artist’s work, model compositions after them, and see how it feels to make the same choices they did, until they find their own personal language and area of interest, she said.
“Making art is about choices, and in landscape every different situation may suggest a different heirarchy of choices to support an idea,” Peak said.
Three artworks stood out for special recognition by the juror. For the Potomac Valley Watercolorists’ Award, Peak selected The Long Wave Home by Maria Valle-Riestra, noting the artists’ combination of control and discovery with the medium — something that watercolor requires. In addition to this technical prowess, the piece’s vertical composition, unusual for the subject matter of waves, created a unique perspective.
Pathway to Heiau, an acrylic painting by Karen Kozojet Ching, won the Chameli & Amiya Bose Award. Peak said it was a good example of the concept of “materials integrity” taught in art school, where the brushwork, composition, and style all work in concert with the subject matter: in this case, the grand expanse of “Big Sky Country.”
The Art League Best in Show Award went to Michele Rea for her painting Windows, a cityscape. The artist’s use of muted repetitive shapes, broken by areas of color, creates not only a pleasing sense of pattern and structure, but also an idea of hopefulness, Peak said. The point of view, looking out and down on the buildings, gives a sense of the essence of experiencing a city.


About the juror: Elizabeth Peak is a printmaker, painter and mixed media artist.



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