Frederick Gallery: November 2018

Texture and Surface

Juror: Chris Gregson || Catalog || Flier


  • 1st Place – “Art Gallery” acrylic painting by Mark Prieto of Woodford, VA
  • 2nd Place –“Alexandria Skyline” paper pulp/recycled fiber by Jennifer Galvin of Stafford, VA
  • 3rd Place – “Take Me to Your Leader” encaustic by Michael Dean, of Fredericksburg, VA

Honorable Mention:

  • “Fredericksburg Icons, Railroad Bridge” mixed media by Cathy Herndon of Fredericksburg, VA
  • “Locked and Tagged” photograph by Lee Cochrane of King George, VA
  • “Calm” digital print by Minta Smith of Ruther Glen, VA
  • “Inside Out #2” dyed & quilted silk by Christine Long of Fredericksburg, VA

Juror's statement: I selected work that had expressive textures or surfaces as I started the process of elimination.  I naively thought photography would not have much of a chance in this show because of the absence of dimensionality. But encountering a twist to the theme where the photographic subject was about texture and surface as well as other images that featured interesting manipulation of the photographic process pleasantly surprised me.  The second round of choosing was based on skill, subject matter and the creativity of the artist. I eliminated pieces that incorporated commercial techniques, which did not transcend that discipline.   During this phase, I looked at the level of excellence, choosing the most skillful.   The third phase of selection was to bring together a series of works I felt looked cohesive.  I intentionally selected only one work by most artists.  I chose the   strongest piece submitted that had visual elements or subjects that related to the other works. Texture and surface have been a concern of artists for as long as there has been art. Artists as diverse as Johannes Vermeer and Jackson Pollock all relied on textures and surfaces as a main element of expressiveness.  The artists in this exhibition have found their voices through their techniques and ideas. I applaud all the artists for their efforts and thank them for the opportunity to experience their visions.

Juror's Talk: In selecting work for Textures and Surfaces exhibit, I viewed a variety of expressive works. There were water and oil based paints, graphite, inks, encaustic mediums, paper collages, found materials, paper pulp, dyed fibers, threads, photographs and digital processes. Textures and surfaces were the primary part of my evaluation but I also weighed a number of other factors including subject, technique, and skill. The highest awards went to works that were innovative, unique and demonstrated a mastery and confident use of materials.

I selected four honorable mentions. Calm by Minta Smith, captured my attention because it incorporates a variety of shades, shadows and textures through the use of digital graphic processes. The careful use of outlines to define the figure   gives the subject its emotional impact. The contrasting floral-patterned blouse design adds   dimension to the piece.  Fredericksburg Icons: Railroad Bridge by Cathy Herndon masterfully makes use of collage to depict one of the most recognizable landmarks in Fredericksburg. The subtle thoughtfully understated use of crinkled paper gives dimension to the bridge and water and draws the viewer in not only to examine the subject but the materials used to construct the painting.  Inside Outside #2 by Christine Long, employs quilting and stitching to capture attention. There are swirling and diagonal stitches used to build a pattern of dyed fabrics of a limited palette of yellow, black and gray. The subject is mysterious with the suggestion of a horizon line suggesting many interpretations.  Locked and Tagged by Lee Cochrane speaks in a direct way to the theme of the show.  It is a record of a variety of surfaces found in an everyday scene, which is manipulated and framed in a tight composition of wood, chains, graffiti and peeling paint carefully colorized to produce a powerful image.

In third place, I chose Take Me to Your Leader by Michael Dean. This painting has a raucous quality. Its scale is big. While the title leads you in one direction, the image is not that illuminating. It is an engagingly clumsy painting with thick gushy encaustic paint applied in a variety of marks including drips, dabs and scraps for visual effect. The figures are reduced to squiggles and the alien triangular shapes against the landscape are all the detail provided. In second place, is Alexandria Skyline by Jennifer Galvin. In contrast to the piece just mentioned, this pulp paper image relies on economy and arrangement of simple forms to denote a skyline. The reductive seductiveness is atmospheric and moody. The image is framed to reveal the irregular edge of the handmade object-like quality of the paper. First place goes to Art Gallery by Mark Prieto. This piece spoke to all the qualities that make an outstanding work of art. There is a naive quality to this work with its lack of perspective but its one-of-a-kind style makes for a singular encounter. As a commentary on the art gallery experience there is little to connect to reality. This is a surrealistic image revealed through the application of paint in flat forms, thick lines and dots. The torso of a melting figure, the watermelon head of the figure in the foreground and the female figure with the triangular head walking the pup are the characters that fill the scene. The watermelon form is carried a step further acting as a landscape elements in some of the paintings hanging on the gallery walls.  The success of this piece is its ability to draw the viewer into the painting. First examine the painted scene, but then examine the paintings on the gallery walls for a deeper meaning. It is a painting about painting.

All the artists in the show provide a depth of experience if the viewer is willing to stop and absorb. Look at the images and see. Each artist is drawn to their subject to record an experience and to share with the viewer through the filters of art making and imagination. Moments revealed in these artworks are   memories or visions that can only be experienced thru the magic of art. Slow down and absorb. Collectively, this show is a cornucopia of luscious imaginary for you to consume.   Enjoy!