Thursday, December 20, 2007

Annual exhibition of the Miniature Painters, Sculptors & Gravers Society in Washington, DC

Calm by Rebecca Latham
winner of the Manny Sullivan Memorial Award for Excellence and Second in Show
at the annual exhibition of the
Miniature Painters, Sculptors & Gravers Society (MPSGS) of Washington, DC

copyright Rebecca Latham

The annual exhibition of the Miniature Painters, Sculptors & Gravers Society (MPSGS) of Washington, DC. opened in mid November and continues until Saturday Dec. 29 at the Strathmore Mansion 10701 Rockville Pike, North Bethesda, MD 20852.

The MPSGS is the oldest miniature art society in the USA. I understand that this year's exhibition contains 699 works by artists in 38 US states and 12 other countries.

There are two good websites for being able to see something of the work in the exhibition
  • the MPSGS website has an exhibitions page on which you can see, if you scroll down a bit, some of the images in the exhibition - including all the prizewinners.
  • Rebecca Latham won second prize with 'Calm' - her painting of an egret - and has posted a slideshow of some of the photos she took inside the exhibition on her blog.
Note: For those people trying to open the links on the MPSGS exhibition page, please note that underlining is just that - underlining and not hyperlinks. Also the images do not enlarge.

Rebecca enters work for a number of exhibitions of miniature art and tells me that prospectuses all vary to some degree. This presumably isn't a problem for people who are accustomed to paying attention to the detail!

I was interested in differences and the first thing that struck me was that the Washington exhibition makes greater use of display cabinets on walls whereas in London a lot of the work is in display cabinets on the floor where the work is displayed on a tilt and then viewed from above.

What I also noticed about the art being displayed on the MPSGS exhibition website is that it seemed to me to be considerably more varied than the work I saw exhibited in London - where portraits of people, animals and nature were very popular subjects.

Judging by the works awarded prizes and honourable mentions on the exhibition website, it seemed to me that the breadth of prizes awarded by MPSGS produces a very wide range of responses. Prizes are awarded for:
  • use of different media and approaches (watermedia, oils and acrylics, pastel, sculpture, drawing, on ivory/ivorine, collage/mixed media);
  • different categories of subject (still life, portraiture, graphic art, landscape and birds and animals)
  • plus a special award for international artists.
The Edith Trifiletti Memorial Award Judge's Choice and Best in Show was awarded to Edmund Whitaker for Circassian Gathering.

Others winning first prizes in the different categories were Sue Wall (oils and acrylics); Gail MacArgel (ivory/ivorine); Ann M Ruppert (Sculpture); Alfred Laoang (Drawing); H Francis Sellers (Still Life); Dean Mitchell (Portraiture); Mimi Hegler (Graphic Art); Merrill Hamilton (Landscape); Douglas M Roy (collage/mixed media); Violet Temple (International)

Rebecca's watercolors "Polar Ambiance" and "Timberwolf" were also chosen for first place in ‘Watermedia’ and first place in ‘Birds and Animals’ respectively - which you can see on the MPSGS website. Earlier in the year she also won a top honour at the 33rd Annual Miniature Art Society of Florida exhibition.

I understand from Rebecca that the show has had a lot of visitors due to good coverage in the Washington papers and that sales have been brisk from the opening - as they were at the annual exhibition of The Royal Society of Miniature Painters, Sculptors & Gravers. in London. Obviously, as an area of art where you always tend to get a lot of collectors, this is one bit of the art market which continues to do well. However I note that both this society and the Royal Society have society members demonstrating their art throughout the the course of the exhibition. I'm personally sure that this must also make a significant contribution to the number of visitors they get and the level of sales.

Demonstrations are certainly a practice which a number of other societies may want to think about introducing or extending if they want to encourage promotion of their area of interest or sales of the work produced. I noticed in London that artists demonstrating were there all day and not just for an hour. This practice seems to provide both aspiring artists and collectors with a wider window of opportunity to ask any questions.

Rebecca has also written a very interesting article about miniature painting, which is on her website.

I'd like to thank Rebecca for providing me with information about the show which I am sure will interest readers of this blog who are interested in miniature art and/or nature and wildlife art. For those visiting for the first time you may also be interested in reading my previous post about this autumn's annual exhibition by the Royal Society (see link below) and taking a look at my squidoo lens Miniature Art - Resources for Artists.
REMINDER: Nominations for The Making A Mark Awards (MAMA!):

See Monday's post The value of giving awards and testimonials - and a prize! for details.

Please nominate what you think is the best drawing or painting you've seen this year on an art or illustrated blog which was produced in 2007 by an artist or illustrator who blogs (that probably means somebody like you!).

The deadline for nominations is midnight (GMT) Friday. Take a look at the nominations received to date - they're most interesting. To clarify - you may also nominate the same artist and a different image if you wish.

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