Portfolio 2022: the Best of 2021 is the current FRCQ annual online juried members’ exhibit.
The juror for Portfolio 2022 was Karen Schulz.
As a viewer of art, I want to be, first and foremost, visually engaged. The image before me must command my attention. I want to be, long to be, surprised. I want to see something in the work that is unexpected. And lastly, I want to feel something, emotionally.
All three award winners hit those three marks successfully. But before I speak to these specific pieces, I want to address one aspect of artwork that has particular relevance in the digital age. As I was jurying for the FRC Best of 2021 Virtual Exhibition I was reminded yet again of how physical dimensions of any given work play out in the digital field. I was surprised to see just how small was so much of the work in these entries. I think the smallest was 7 x 9 inches.
I do not consider myself to be easily seduced by size. And in fact, first and second place awards went to pieces 12 x 12 and 11 x 14 inches respectively. I fervently believe small intimate pieces can carry just as much weight as larger works. Based on experience I can tell you it is sometimes difficult to judge work that varies greatly in actual size but always will appear equal size (the size of the requested image) when viewing digital images only. I strive to consider actual size consciously and actively in the jurying process.
Onto the prizes. I decided to award an honorable mention as I felt compelled to include Dance or Go Crazy in my top three picks. The artist, who works in the style of Picasso, uses Picasso’s devices to great effect. I just fell in love with this character. The expressive line drawing of her face and hair captivated me. I chuckled at her outsized outstretched hands and large feet. I wanted to dance.
Second place went to I Believe You Can Fly for so elegantly capturing a familiar moment. The airborne figure is perfectly placed in a scene that is both simply executed and perfectly evocative. The artist’s use of her medium speaks more clearly than if she had printed her photo onto fabric. And, I believe, the use of mat board and frame provide a suitable presence for this image.
I had no difficulty choosing Staunton SP2Love as the first-place winner. From the first glance I was all in. Perhaps my preference for abstraction came to the fore in this instance. Clearly there is a reference to landscape, but it is an oblique one. I love how the artist has used such a variety of materials in this piece, from cardboard innards to cheesecloth. Upon close inspection one finds text and musical score. Water? Snow? Trees? Grass? Old buildings? Curtains? A dock? Dots and stripes. One can get lost in imagining what all is going on here. It is true that all of the precious detail in this work is immediately available to the viewer in probably almost the same scale one would actually view it at, standing about 1 ½ feet away. Sometimes art mimics life in it’s layered complexity and therein lies it’s beauty.
Thank you all for sharing your work with me.
Enjoy our newest annual, online, juried members’ exhibition!
Portfolio 2022: the Best of 2021
(Click on any image to scroll through and see the overall images)
Portfolios from previous years can also be viewed:
Portfolio 2021: the Best of 2020
Portfolio 2020: the Best of 2019
Portfolio 2019: the Best of 2018
Portfolio 2018: the Best of 2017
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