by Paula Fowler, Gallery Co-Director
The WAS-H May show, with the theme of Portraits and the Human Figure, showcases 57 paintings that once again display the immense skill and creativity of our members. There are lovingly sensitive portraits, narrative images that make you yearn for the whole story, and mysterious abstracts…evidence of how our creative minds can take one subject in so many different directions. As I viewed the images when they were coming in, I was reminded of how happy I am to be part of this exceptionally talented WAS-H community. It made me want to rush to my studio and try out new ideas. The work of a few energizes and inspires the whole. I hope you think of the contribution you make to the whole when you enter our shows! Thank you May participants!
See the winners and all the participating paintings here.
We were so very pleased to welcome Bradley Kerl as judge of the May show. Bradley comes to us via the MFAH Glassell School of art where he teaches life-drawing and watercolor. How perfect is it that he was able to judge this show with the theme of Portraits and the Human Body! He was born in Beaumont, TX and is a painter as well as an instructor. He holds a BFA in Drawing and Painting from the University of North Texas and an MFA from the University of Houston. His work has been exhibited widely in the US, including solo exhibitions at Gold Diggers, Los Angeles, CA, Jonathan Hopson Gallery, Galveston Arts Center and Art Palace Gallery and in numerous group-shows internationally. He has also been featured in the publications: New American Paintings No. 138, Friend of The Artist: Volume 7 and Texas Monthly.
Bradley shared that it was difficult to narrow his choice down to just six. I’ll let him tell you in his words what ultimately influenced him.
WAS-H SHOW AWARDS
First Place: Larry Spitzberg – Daddy Holds Me Tight
“At first glance, I was struck by the very ruddy palette and the tones in this painting by Larry Spitzberg. Upon subsequent looks, a story began to emerge: the boy and his father caught in the act of some everyday activity with indications of something more. In the end, it was the tinge of mystery and the nondescript background full of beautiful, loose watercolor mark-making and techniques that sent this particular painting over the edge for me. I appreciate a painting that leaves a bit of room for the viewer to fill in the gaps themselves, and this painting provides ample opportunity to create your own story.”
Second Place: Cheryl Evans - Mama’s Chicks
"Mama's Chicks" is another painting that tells a story. This seemingly everyday event is tinted and enhanced by the exaggerated color in the underpainting and washes and in the use of some splashy watercolor technique in the blooms in the foreground. I enjoy the timelessness of the image -- it's hard to place the time period, although I suspect it's in the past -- and the fact that it's not overly fussy in the rendering of the figure and objects.”
Third Place: Alli Chaitanya - Deep Thought
“What a striking image! Beyond the obvious remarkable technical proficiency of Alli Chaitanya, this painting allows the viewer plenty of room to read into and/or to ask questions: Who is this man? Where does he come from? What is he thinking? What has he seen? I am compelled to ask these questions (and more) and yearn a bit to find him so that I can. The composition itself lends a cinematic feel, which I think is a big part of the feeling that this is but one snapshot in a bigger saga.”
Honorable Mention: Kristel Peale - Homage to Bob
“Who is Bob and why is he receiving this homage? Like all of my other picks, this image seems to suggest a larger narrative. I was immediately struck by the very specific, soft light in this painting. I love the dappled light of the trees in the background and all of the cool tones. Again, like most of my other picks, "Homage to Bob" combines strategic rendering where appropriate with looser, less fussy moments of watercolor painting in seamless fashion.”
Honorable Mention: Pat Waughtal - Making Music
“Who doesn't love a tuba? For me, there's a decent amount of humor in this painting by Pat Waughtal, along with technical skill with the paint, good drawing, good color and strong composition. It also has a TUBA! I was really impressed with the technical flourishes in the reflection on the mirrored brass surface and in the detailed regalia.”
Honorable Mention: Annika Farmer - Boris in Paradise
“Boris and his Pomeranian stole my heart! The title of this painting seems to suggest more than a bit of joy, which is always welcome. Along with the implied story, I found the balance of figure/ground and detail/looseness very compelling in this particular piece. There's just as much landscape to get lost in as there is figurative detail to admire.”
Thank you, Gallery Team: This show would never have happened without the energy and time of our online show team: Karen Stopnicki, Sally Hoyt, Cissy Geigerman, Nancy McMillian and Beth Graham.
Looking ahead: Watch for the prospectuses of our up-coming shows that are posted on our webpage about 2 months ahead of the show! We have some interesting themes and amazing judges. The theme for the June show is Abstract. We’re also planning to return to the in-gallery shows in September! We’re working this transition, so stay tuned for details. I can’t wait to see each of you and your work in person. Remember, your participation supports WAS-H and keeps our wonderful organization prospering.