by Paula Fowler, Gallery Co-Director
When you view the 58 entries in our June Show with the theme of Abstract, be prepared for a treat. Cross that threshold with an open and inquiring mind; enter the paintings and see where they take you. It’s an intensely personal process and it enriches your thoughts as you assign your own meanings to the pieces. I think you’ll be drawn back to the images over and over again.
Our judge this month, Dana Frankfort, shared her thoughts about the winners during our Zoom Announcement of Awards. Seeing the paintings through her eyes was both enlightening and entertaining. Dana is a native Houstonian, and after spending time on the East Coast, returned to Houston to take a position as professor of painting at University of Houston. She earned a BA from Brandeis University and her MFA from Yale School of Art. She also attended Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine. Dana was a Core Fellow at the Glassell School of Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2006. Her work often engages with the history of abstract art and features bright colors, gestural brushwork, and text. She has won numerous awards and exhibited extensively, domestically and internationally. Her curriculum vitae is testament to her talent and energy. She currently has 2 paintings hanging at the Inman Gallery on Main Street, where we can also look forward to seeing a solo exhibit of her work in March of 2022.
Below, I have included her words about each of the winners.
See the winners and all the participating paintings here.
WAS-H JUNE 2021 SHOW AWARDS
First Place: Donna Rybiski - Life’s a Balance
“The small scale and humble palette of this painting belie the monumentality of the content. The imagery is on one hand very minimal — a handmade cup balancing on a stand — while still very rich in terms of reference and metaphor — life itself feels in the balance! The cast light and shadows create a mood of high drama and remind me a bit of Giorgio de Chirico. Overall, I love this piece for the abstract imagery and ideas brought to mind by such humble compositional elements.”
Second Place: Sharyn Richey - Desert Blooms
“The inventive range of marks, colors and textures combine in this painting to create a unique yet convincing composition. The saturated palette communicates the bright unfiltered sun, and the energy of the brush marks feel as alive as desert flora. Just like the fertile blooms of the actual desert landscape, this painting itself is a bursting fertile ground of inventiveness. “
Third Place: Nan Wright - Wild Ride
“As a viewer I am instantly swept up into the intense motion and energy of this painting. I love being pulled into the action, and the composition practically pushes off the picture plane into my space! Everything is painted with total conviction, including the palette, which convincingly suggests the back lit warmth of the late afternoon sun. It’s interesting to me that the motion is so fast that almost everything is blurred, and yet I still know exactly what Wild Ride is being referenced!”
Honorable Mention: Larry Spitzberg – HARVEY
“In this version of HARVEY, water is highly controlled to exploit the capabilities of paint — it pools, it drips, it sprays. The vertical forms in the foreground look like trees in a storm, or figures fleeing a flood. The specificity of the warm, golden light combines with bleeds of color to create a highly convincing, emotionally charged landscape.”
Honorable Mention: Reva Power – Complicated
“I love the energy and palimpsest of pattern, color and light and how it all combines in this painting to create interesting positive and negative spaces that flip back and forth with each other, creating a dynamic and ‘complicated' psychological portrait. As I move right across the composition the figure turns into the green landscape, suggesting not just a specific person but a specific place.”
Honorable Mention: Maria Rodriguez-Alejo - Win(e) Me Over
“Wine glasses might be the starting point for this painting, but this final image suggests a convincing composition of interlocking positive and negative shapes bathing in a warm golden light, resulting in an organic landscape reminiscent of Arthur Dove. “
Honorable Mention: Andie Helen - 4th of July Meadow
“This painting uses the language of the landscape to create glyph-like marks that function almost like vocabulary words: ocean waves, horizon lines and the summer sun. The repetition, while stopping short of a pattern, combines into a fresh approach to representing the landscape. “
Honorable Mention: Helen Stanley - Dream a Little Dream of Me
“This highly ambitious painting successfully combines multiple disparate objects into a single narrative, not an easy feat! I love getting lost in the many layers contained within this picture.”
Honorable Mention: Annika Farmer - Summer Storm
“Like shattered glass, this painting explodes into a rainbow prism of pure color, with paint overlapping at fracture point and bleeding into beautiful blues, purple and browns. “
The July virtual show is the Student Show. If your have paintings that you did in a class or got input from an instructor, you may enter them in this show. We look forward to seeing what you have learned. You may enter your images starting on July 3.