Sunday, August 06, 2006

CPSA entries to the 2006 annual exhibition

When I attended the Annual Convention of the Coloured Pencil Society of America (CPSA) in Albuquerque last month, I was able to see the slideshow on the Thursday night. Although the exhibition only had some 100+ entries, all 781 entries to the annual exhibition were displayed (in 10 slide carousels - it was very long evening!).

There's no analysis by CPSA of the entries beyond how many fall into which category of art (architecture, abstract, landscape etc) and how many of those are then successful at getting into the exhibition. This information is made available to members.

It is possible to draw conclusions from the slide exhibition. However, it needs to be remembered that:
  • initial entry is done on the basis of slides only (ie how it looks on the slide is what matters for selection purposes)
  • CPSA has no connection with the analysis which follows.
Pieces that had most impact typically appeared to have one or more of the following:
  • a strong value pattern
  • dramatic lighting
  • very simple subjects
  • very simple colour schemes (based on a limited range of colours)
  • or a monochromatic emphasis (eg emphasis on one main colour or mono with one colour)
  • very strong saturated colours
  • a sense of humour
  • demonstrated original concepts
  • had an unusual titles which made you think
Pieces that did not appear to "succeed" in terms of the impact made during the slideshow typically came across as:
  • 'too perfect' i.e. too much technique and too little concept (ie why would you want to look at it?)
  • had poor composition and/or lacked a clear focal point
  • appeared confused as an image on a slide - with too many items competing for attention
  • lacked a good range of values
  • lacked a good crop of the image
  • were vignettes only
  • an emphasis on monochromatic - but lacked a good range of values
  • florals - which were not 'showstoppers'
  • poor presentation in the slide medium (eg image far too dark)
Neither the slideshow nor the exhibition appear demonstrated a lot of:
  • open optical mixing
  • landscapes
It goes without saying that not all the pieces I liked were in the annual exhibition and I was somewhat puzzled by some of the omissions. However, it's always salutary to remind ourselves that it's very often the case (for some at least) that there sometimes appears to be no accounting for the choices and decisions which a judge or juror makes! Those of us comparing notes afterwards at least managed to agree that we wouldn't have picked the same pieces as winners!

Links: CPSA 14th international Exhibition 2006 - prize winners

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