Wednesday, May 06, 2009

17th Annual CPSA International Exhibition 2009 - successful entries

Becca by Nicole Caulfield
coloured pencil
copyright Nicole Caulfield / used with permission of the artist

Artists and Artwork Selected for the 17th Annual CPSA International Exhibition - 2009 have been announced by the Colored Pencil Society of America (CPSA).

I'm extremely pleased to be able to report that my friend Nicole Caulfield has had her entry Becca accepted this year. You can read a bit more about this and see it in her studio in this post on her blog Nicole Caulfield Art Journal.

You can also see how it progressed during an Open Studios weekend no less(!!!) - in
You can see more of Nicole's amazing portraits on her website.

The list of accepted entries is very long so here's just a sample of some of the entries where the work can already be seen on the Internet. Honesty is good for the soul and I have to confess that I have Nicole to thank for all the hard work of tracking down the entries!
Boy on a Swing - by Julie Douglas
coloured pencil
copyright Julie Douglas / used with permission of the artist

The juror who selected the entries was Graham C. Boettcher who is the Wm Cary Hulsey Curator of American Art at the Birmingham Museum of Art in Alabama.

I don't know whether it's the entries or the juror but from the sample of what I've seen so far, (which is a lot more than the links highlighted above) this year's exhibition looks as if it could be a show with an awful lot of realism - much more so than last year for example. Some of the hyperrealistic work is also, in my opinion, a tad overhyped .

Speaking personally, it would be really great to see coloured pencil artists really exploring the true range and scope of coloured pencils for work beyond trad. realism - as for example pastel artists do - and it would be really marvellous if we could see more examples of such work in the CPSA Annual Exhibition.

The exhibition is being held in Atlanta Georgia between July 9 - August 29, 2009 at the Jacqueline C. Hudgens Center for the Arts.

Note: This post has been amended to reflect better what I was trying to say!


Jan Pope said...

Thanks for chasing down these links. I was nearly sure that my piece would be accepted this year, but now that I see those that have been, I guess I'll just have to work a bit harder.

Ann said...

I agree, Katherine. From the majority of the examples you linked to it's not just that there seems to be an emphasis on realism, but on photo-realism. Although I do greatly admire the skill required to achieve this level of drawing, for me aesthetically, I would get the same visual experience from viewing a photograph. I am looking forward to seeing the rest of the accepted entries and hoping there is a little more variety after all.

Making A Mark said...

Sorry Ann - that's not what I meant.

CP generaly seems to be locked into photorealism which I think is a pity. That said, there are then some people who can find ways of creating an interesting picture which makes you want to look at it. I've included here some of the better and/or more interesting ones and/or ones which were representative of different groups of people of the ones I looked at.

I did in fact look at quite a few of the other entries (you can find them if you google names and titles). Put simply, I've known better years........

julie douglas said...

Hi Katherine
regarding Anns comments, I'd like to remind everyone that most of the images you see have been drawn much larger, and AREN'T like a photo when you see them for real. I personally hate my own work when its reduced as it looks much 'harder' than the original. I recommend a look at Cecile Baird's website - her artwork is really beautiful, you just want to eat it. I swear, you'd NEVER get the same visual experience from a photo My own students are well trained to avoid such throw-away, hurtful comments, by the way - artists STRIVE, for personal satisfaction, and its scary to put oneself 'out there', and the LAST thing they need is to be critcised. We're all trying our best, and we, as artists, rarely get to choose what's selected for exhibition!

Making A Mark said...

Julie - as we all know, the problem with communicating on the internet is that communication can sometimes work less well than intended.

For that reason, and speaking personally, I don't comment on this blog on individual pieces that I don't like (I think I've only ever done that once on this blog) and my general approach is to avoid reporting at all on exhibitions which I don't rate. What I try to do instead is highlight work I like a lot.

That said, when anybody puts their work on show (on the internet or in an exhibition), it's probably time to get to grips with the notion that people will review it, will comment on it - as presented - and that not everybody will like everything they see. Mostly you never know what people think, however sometimes people do write those comments down.

Let me try again. I know I personally don't like shows where most or all of the work tends towards realism. However I do very much like figurative art. In that sense I agree with Ann - I'd really like to see more variety in style in terms of what I've seen so far. Therein may lie the problem - what I've seen so far - who knows?

I'd also very much agree with you that photography very often doesn't do justice to an image and it's often not fair to judge a piece based on a photograph alone. Although to be honest, having spent some years looking at images both online and in various exhibitions, I do know it can also work the other way round too.

I do so agree that there are artists who can make artwork which employs realism so much better than a photo could ever be. I truly admire the artists who are able to do that (and for example spent last week eulogising about a lot of the work in the SBA exhibition for just that reason). Art which makes you see something fresh and as if for the first time is to be highly valued in my view. For me that's often where the concept and/or the design of a piece come to the fore rather than just the expertise associated with the technique.

The thing with any annual exhibition by any art society is that you can have years when you like the work chosen a lot - and years when you are much less enthusiastic.

I definitely haven't seen all the work this year and have only seen a proportion of what's online. However having viewed a fair bit (which is a lot more than the links in the post) my conclusion, at this stage, is that I've liked what I've seen more in other years. That's probably much more of a comment on the juror's choice this year and about balance within the exhibition and not about the work of individuals per se. It's about the general nature (and quantity) of the subject matter and the concepts behind and the thought that has gone into the design of a piece - as well as whether or not people have chosen to employ realism as a style.

I guess my comments are also very much influenced by the sort of art I'm used to seeing in art society annual exhibitions in London - where I invariably see a lot more diversity in style and very rarely see quite so much realism.

Making A Mark said...

I woke up this morning and realised that I could provide a very cogent example of what I mean about "beyond trad. realism".

I absolutely adore the nature and the quality of the work of Constance Speth who abstracts the colour and quality of interior light . This is the way the gallery of her local CPSA branch describes her work

"Constance Speth dissolves her subject in light or merges it with shadows to emphasize unity of foreground and background. She employs layers of colored pencil applied in a unique scribbled line of many hues. The network of lines forms transparent clouds and dense mats of rich and glowing color."It's an excellent example of a work which simply cannot be appreciated at all on the Internet due to the size at which work is shown.

When I visited the CPSA exhibition in Albuquerque in 2006, I stoood in front of her work in the gallery in Albuquerque for far longer than any other piece. I would have been absolutely delighted to been able to see Transient Light the piece she did for last year's exhibition in person. She won the £1,000 Prismacolor Award for Exceptional Merit for this work and I cheered when I heard!

In addressing the colour of light in a way which goes way beyond photorealistic portrayal she's following in the path of some very illustrious artists who've been concerned with the colour of light but worked in oils and watercolours.

Her work also very much reminds me of the work in egg tempera which won the Threadneedle Prize - the largest art prize in the UK - in 2008, which was voted for by the public. See Nina Murdoch wins the Threadneedle Figurative Prize 2008. Her work was described as transforming the mundane into the sublime.

Bottom line, I guess what I'm always looking for - in any exhibition - is more work which transforms the mundane into the sublime.

julie douglas said...

Hi Katherine
I agree with everything you've said, in BOTH your replies to my comments, including the fact that once an artwork is in the public domain, its up for criticism. I think, on a personal level, I just get so tired of my work being 'written off' without much thought as its 'realism'. Thank you for putting your thoughts so beautifully. I agree completely about the quality of LIGHT - for me , light is EVERYTHING, and (another favourite catch-phrase I quote to students) THE CAMERA LIES (as any of us who hate having our photos know), or at least, doesn't make the same decisions that we the artists might.
If I could have all my subjects (in particular, the LIGHT) stay still for the weeks it takes me to do my work, I'd not use photographs at all, and I don't if I can find another way.
There are a couple of interesting-sounding workshops in the CPSA convention this year which may encourage artists to PLAY a bit more and experiment with the medium. Maybe that'll help broaden the way Colour Pencil is used. Lets hope so!

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