Judge’s Bio – “Figuratively Speaking”

Exhibition judge Jason John – www.jasonjohnart.com

Figures with inscrutable expressions balance precarious cardboard headpieces and hold awkward poses as fruit, flowers, and abstract objects swirl around them. The paintings reveal Jason John’s masterful realist technique broken by abstract fissures of dripping paint.  The situations are illogical. But don’t look for meaning or stories behind them. “As an artist, it took me a long time to realize that it’s OK to be a realist painter that doesn’t tell a story,” John told MOCA Jacksonville.

John, an assistant professor of painting at the University of North Florida, describes his work as portraits of people in transition, with no relationship to allegory or narrative. Where his subjects have been or where they are going, he doesn’t know.

When discussing his work, John often focuses on three central themes-identity, space and composition. All three are wrapped into the helmets his subjects wear, which he calls veils. Inspired by his passion for history, the headpieces are fashioned after Viking or Roman helmets. In his research, he learned that Vikings would appropriate visual elements from the villages they conquered into their armor, essentially destroying one thing to create another. He constructs them from cardboard and packaging, which often contain telltale symbols of their origins from Amazon or other shippers, adding an element of found art. These veils obscure the original identity of his models, allowing them to take on new roles.

Objects that could be real or projections of the subjects’ thoughts drift through the paintings, hinting at the figures’ identities and creating depictions of space. The fleshy exploding fruit could be mirrors of their bodies.

Born in 1980 in Detroit, Michigan, John grew up in Northeastern Pennsylvania. He received a BFA in painting from Kutztown University and an MFA in painting and drawing from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He also studied at The Waichulis Studio (now called Ani Art Academies) in Nanticoke, Pennsylvania.

John’s work has appeared around the country including solo exhibitions at Manifest Gallery in Cincinnati, Ohio; Texas Tech University in Lubbock; and the Sylvia White Gallery in Ventura, California. In 2012, John was inducted into the Museum of Realist Art in Boston, Massachusetts. His work has been on the covers of Bluecanvas, Art Calendar, Poets and Artists, and Visual Overture Magazine. His work has also been featured in American Arts Quarterly, American Art Collector, Manifest Gallery’s International Painting Annual, Studio Visit, Creative Quarterly, and Aesthetica.

 

Awards and Judge’s Comments – “Figuratively Speaking”

ART LEAGUE OF DAYTONA BEACH  - “Figuratively Speaking 2019”

Exhibition Judge – Jason John

BEST IN SHOW  #102 Katty Smith   “The Pioneer Spirit”                                                  The judge stated that one’s appreciation of sculpture is activated by time it takes to walk around and explore it, and that this piece engages the viewer from all angles.  The text elements add to the piece and leave room for interpretation, almost like journal entries.  The judge remarked that the work is an excellent combination of concept and craftsmanship, and that its presence in the exhibit draws the viewer to it immediately, making it worthy of the Best in Show award. 

FIRST PLACE  #72 Betty Morris Parker    “Goodbye”                                                           The judge noted the artist’s sensitivity in both the subject matter and the handling of the materials, with a contrast between soft and distressed areas.  The treatment of the surface, especially in the hair, holds the viewer’s interest.  The fact that the figure is facing away from us adds mystery to the piece.  The judge remarked that he would have liked to talk with the artist regarding the concept and the process. 

SECOND PLACE    #46 Marianna H. Ross    “Icarus”                                                              The judge stated that this piece initially appears to be nonobjective, but then starts to reveal the various body parts, showing the artist’s skill at controlling what the viewer sees.  The judge also appreciated the artist’s effective use of the intense, iridescent colors, and the progression from cool to warm, with the warm colors providing visual weight at the lower right corner. 

THIRD PLACE    #86  George M. Stuart    “After the Bath”                                                           The judge appreciated that the artist presented the figure in a brave and bold manner.  The stark black background provides an effective background, resulting in sharp value contrast.  The judge felt that the piece evokes a feeling of Northern Renaissance art, in the manner of Albrecht Durer.  The work continues to call the viewer back for another look.

DISTINCTION   #43  P.Z. Thompson    “Secrets Unfolding”  The judge described this piece as a fine example contemporary work.  The figure emerges from the mass of color, enhanced by sensitive line work.  The presentation of the work adds to its presence. 

DISTINCTION   #17  Fay Samimi   “Goddess of the Sea, Stained”                            The judge said that he found this piece to be somewhat primitive, with a beautiful presence.  The piece is enhanced by the size, and the artist has used color, details, and surface quality effectively.  

DISTINCTION   #92  Gwen Hughes    “Varansi Bather”                                                The judge appreciated the artist’ skill in orchestrating what might appear, on first glance, to be street photography into a fully realized composition.  The judge noted that the figure and architectural elements add a neoclassical feeling to the piece. 

DISTINCTION   #23  Bonnie Shapiro    “Meadowlands”                                               The judge noted the painterly quality of this piece, and that the softness and pastel colors contrast effectively with the charcoal.  The artist has thoughtfully selected a surface that adds to the effects of the materials and creates a sense of mystery. 

ACHIEVEMENT    #21 Christopher Casler   “Afternoon” 

ACHIEVEMENT   #10  Robert Shirk    “Palm Beach Flower” 

ACHIEVEMENT    #77  Clare Radigan   “Diseverything” 

ACHIEVEMENT    #100  Jack Hill   “The Unmasking” 

RECOGNITION     #9  Carolyn Land   “Nana” 

RECOGNITION    #63  Babz Lupoli    “Moulin Rouge” 

RECOGNITION    #12  Nancy Newlove McElroy  “Things We Carry”  

RECOGNITION    #57  Kay Botet   “Carving Gansha”

MERIT   #94  Marilyn Leverton    “Despair”

 MERIT   #36  Barbara Perkins   “Ha Na (Beautiful Calm)”

MERIT    #52  Catherine Ward   “Michelle”

MERIT    #27  Barbara Perrotti    “Marvin Blues and Gray” 

HONORABLE MENTION   #67  Craig Monroe   “Katie”

 HONORABLE MENTION  #61  Marsha Tidy   “Pension 1 – Pensioen 4”

 HONORABLE MENTION  #59  Pam Coffman   “Klimt Hot and Cold”

 HONORABLE MENTION   #8 Jaye Escudero   “Through the Woods”

HONORABLE MENTION  #103  Weldon Ryan   “Bells and Whistle” 

JUDGE’S CHOICE  #2  Carson Kapp   “Rihannon”

JUDGE’S CHOICE  #106  Rafael Torres    “Dreams of Flight”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Florida Sculptors Guild – Awards and Comments

Awards and Comments:

First Place – Cheryl Bogdanowitsch, “Bird Watching” 

            Cheryl’s wood sculpture immediately engages the viewer; who is watching who, and what is their relationship?  Has the bird just arrived, or is it about to be set free?  We would love to be privy to the conversation. 

            The work shows Cheryl’s skill in working with natural materials, and she enhances them in a way that propels them forward into an artistic creation, yet still respects their natural characteristics.   We know that it is wood, but we are willing to suspend reality and believe that the figure and the bird are actual denizens of the forest.

            Cheryl has thoughtfully selected wood that forms a lithe and graceful elongated tree figure, balanced by the spreading of the branches from the base.  The carving on the face of the figure, and the little bird, make them both appealing and relatable.  The treatment of the hands of the tree figure is especially sensitive. 

            Cheryl has demonstrated confidence in her skills in creating a work that draws us in and invites us to consider the fragility of this thing called “Nature”, thus combining the best of technique and concept in a work deserving of the top award. 

Second Place – Jack Hill, “A Lucky Shot” 

            On viewing Jack’s bronze sculpture, the viewer immediately wonders who the target of the lucky shot might be, and why.  Is there a reference to the David and Goliath?  Perhaps, but that remains a question.  The symbolism of the wishbone is significant, because how will the shooter feel if he doesn’t get his wish? 

            Jack is clearly working with bronze at an advanced level; the figure shows an attention to detail, and the viewer can feel the tension in the musculature of the shooter’s arms and legs.  Although they are metal, the wishbone reads as “bone” and the straps read as “leather”.  The composition is strengthened by the triangles created by the wishbone and the straps, and there are interesting negative shapes throughout.  The subtle variations of color are also noteworthy. 

            The work combines knowledge of the human form,  impeccable technique, and a visual treat for the viewer, and is worthy of recognition. 

Third Place – Maria Santana, “Glyptria” 

            We want to know right away what the figure in Maria’s clay piece is making.  Is she adding to her headdress,  or pulling pieces from it?  Her laser-like focus on her hands is something we can appreciate, because haven’t we all been in that “zone” when creating our art? 

            The figure itself is subtly toned and features sensitive markings, which contrast nicely with the variety of color, surface treatment  and pattern in the headdress.  We also see a nice variety of size in the components that make up the headdress.  The hands are beautifully formed and show a respect for anatomy. 

            The fact that the hands are separated from the main figure is especially significant; similar to a “lost edge” in painting, the disconnect invites the viewer to become engaged and fill in the blank space.  Additionally, the separate pieces create a triangle that keeps the eye moving. 

            Maria combines her knowledge of technique and materials with color and pattern and has created an intriguing piece that merits recognition. 

Fourth Place – Art League Award – Suzanne Oberholtzer, “Seaglass Waves” 

            We were happy to be able to add and sponsor an “Art League Award” to the list, as we felt that this piece also deserved recognition. 

            Suzanne’s piece, in contrast to the other selections, is not so much a narrative as a fascinating mystery, almost like a zen koan.  The question raised is, how did she come to make the connection between waves and paper forms? 

            Anyone who lives near the beach in Florida, or has painted waves, knows the structure and anatomy of breaking and rolling waves, and these paper forms capture that movement perfectly.  Although a static sculpture, the piece implies movement, and fascinates the eye from every angle. 

            The coloration of the papers reference the way that waves change as they pass through the light at various stages.  As with the wood in Cheryl’s piece, we know that it is paper, but we are perfectly willing to accept the shapes as water. 

            Suzanne demonstrates a truly creative approach to using paper as a material for sculpture, and the piece merits affirmation. 

Judged by Robin Moore and Connie Krzyzowski