|"Yvonne" by Sandra Kuck|
Best of Show (with a check for $2000) went to "Yvonne" by Sandra Kuck of Boca Raton. I've been involved with four national shows, and this is the first time I've agreed with the judge. In fact, I picked "Yvonne" as the award winner the second I saw it online.
But while "Yvonne" is stunning--Steven called the work a tour de force--it's not my favorite in the show. In fact, par for the course, the works that speak loudest to me didn't win awards. But that doesn't mean I can't share them here.
"Who's Next (#whosnext)"
by Dan Simoneau
Simoneau lives near Chicago and frequently uses African-American youth from the city as his models. The painting shows Prince, one of his favorites. Prince came into the studio and, as he's wont to do, put on some music. On this occasion, it was heartbreaking blues. Simoneau's mind was immediately drawn to the high rate of shootings, arrests, stops and interrogations of African-American men. The striped shirt reminded him of prison bars. The position of his hands on his head evoked both the fetal position and the universal sign for "I don't have a gun." The vein pulsing in Prince's forehead indicates stress. It's a remarkable commentary on our times as well as an amazing work of art.
|"Exodus 2:22" by Shirley Fachilla|
Then there's "Exodus 2:22" by Shirley Fachilla. I was drawn immediately to the gorgeous colors of this painting. Perhaps I also sensed that the artist took the photograph used as her reference point in New York's Central Park. Again, the intention behind the painting gives it more meaning.
Fachilla says the painting is about how it feels to be alone in a new country. Her inspiration statement goes on to say, "In Exodus 2:22, Moses gave expression to every immigrant's feeling whether an immigrant now or in the second millennium B.C. 'For I am a stranger in a strange land,' said Moses."
"Happy Drinking Bird" by Kyle Surges
|"The Reading Chair" by Ginny Lasco|
|"Bleat" by Stephen Bufter|
I'll leave you with a painting that makes me laugh every time I see it -- "Bleat" by Stephen Bufter. The story behind this painting was a bit of a surprise. Bufter got the idea for this work after helping birth lambs at a 15th century working farm B&B outside of Manchester, England. What really makes this painting for me is the fact the sheep is sticking out its tongue at the viewer. It makes me wonder if Bufter was taunted by his charges for taking a "City Slickers"-like vacation. What I can say with certainty is that it's the way I feel about anyone who misses the opportunity to see this fabulous show.
The 11th Biennial National Art Exhibition runs through March 20 at the Visual Arts Center in Punta Gorda, FL.