by Paula Fowler, Gallery Co-Director
We at WAS-H are welcoming 2021 with renewed hope and optimism that we will in a very short time be able to enjoy our wonderful building for classes and shows in the gallery. In the meantime, our virtual shows have been our lifeline, keeping us connected and providing a platform to share our work. Fifty-four painting were entered into our January 2021 online show, and we were once again amazed at how hugely talented our membership is.
The difficult task of choosing the winners was accepted by Houston artist and HBU professor, Michael Roque Collins. Michael received a BFA at University of Houston and an MFA at Southern Methodist University and for many years, in addition to being a producing artist, he served as artist, educator and advisor at various Texas institutions, guiding university graduate and undergraduate art programs. He is currently the Senior Director of the Visual Arts Department at Houston Baptist University, where he is also Artist-in-Residence in Painting and Professor of Art focused on teaching in the MFA program. Michael is also a prolific artist and is recognized for his figurative Post Symbolist painting. He has had numerous exhibitions at nationally and internationally recognized galleries and museum venues and may be seen in 13 museums in the U.S. as well numerous corporate collections.
Michael did a wonderful job and I’m so pleased to be able to share with you Michael’s own words about the show:
“As I studied each work enlarged on my computer screen the fluidity and love of this most amazing painting tradition was very evident in all of the works submitted. I must suggest that selecting only six awards was difficult as so many of the works submitted called to me. Generally, I am attracted to art which possesses both content and process and that reveals its energy through means that does not allow its theory to outstrip performance. Each of your fine works attracted my eye in different ways and each have value not just to the artist, though moreover to all others who are fortunate to explore the outstanding variety of their expression. Modalities of still life, figurative, landscape, abstraction and art which balances both figuration and abstraction are present in this fine grouping. Thematic content, energy of mark and gesture, fluidity, control of light and progressions of hues are always in my mind when selecting my own work for exhibition and as I continued to study each entry certain works began to recall my attention. After a great period of reflection my award selections seem to balance both traditions of abstraction and figuration and capture the fluid tradition of water media.
I wish to thank all at the Watercolor Art Society of Houston for their invitation to jury this fine January membership exhibition. Congratulations to all of the artists for your fine works and for contribution to the progression of the great tradition of watercolor.
First Place, Moto Yasue, Soon Enough Dawn, combines the fine traditions of watercolor through the expression of multiple worlds. The spiritual through the juxtaposition of representational and abstract states is exquisite and this work reveals a superb use of both wet and dry processes that are masterfully handled. The energies in this work are poetic and take my eye to other worlds.
Second Place, Adriane Edmundson, Olive Trees, possess a thoughtful progression of hues while possessing a variation of line and movement. Its brushwork is powerful and the ethereal energy transports me to a place that I could imagine Cezanne exploring with his watercolors in another place and time. The transitions between light and shade possess the evidence of hand and all the emotional energy that this association reveals is memorable.
Third Place, Larry Spitzberg, A Big Welcome, possesses an illuminate energy and immediacy with excellent control of transparent watercolor processes. This work transmits a sense of joy both with content and process.
Honorable Mention, Cheryl Evans, Wade Into the New Year - Open Up the Book Of Morning, excellently represents the currents of representational art with romantic underpinnings where light bathes a distant sea vista heightened by the colorful handling of a rising sun. It recalls the delicate handlings of Tuner and the early German romantic landscapes of Casper David Fredrick where light is indeed a metaphor for the spiritual in the human condition.
Honorable Mention, Fontaine Jacobs, Kitchen Clean Up, has excellent fluidity and an intelligent use of limited hues mindful of the works of Alberto Giacometti. This painting also expresses it themes through the its excellent handling of light and is connected to aspects of reality that Richard Deibenkorn explored decades ago before his Ocean Park Series. While playful this watercolor asserts its power though its fluid bold expression.
Honorable Mention, Sharyn Richey, El Centro, utilizes gesture and fluidity of brush mark to transport us to a place where the landscape is barely held recognizable and its colorful hues reminds one of Sargent where less may at times be more. The rich hues and varied linear elements also provide an illuminate energy that is memorable.”
Our most sincere thanks go to Michael for his thoughtful and educational observations.
I also want to once again thank our online show team that spend many hours preparing the show: Karen Stopnicki, Sally Hoyt, Cissy Geigerman, Martin Butler, Nancy McMillian and Kathleen Church.