Tuesday, August 18, 2009

CPSA - 17th Annual CPSA International Exhibition - 2009

The CIPPY Award and CPSA Best in Show Award ($2,500)
Life and Death
8.5" x 32", coloured pencils
copyright Jeff George / image used by kind permission of the artist

At the end of July, while I was on my break, the Colored Pencil Society of America (CPSA) announced which artwork had won awards in its 17th International Annual Exhibition. This post highlights the award winners and also comments on artwork which wins awards.

It's not often that people manage to win Best in Show twice never mind two years running and yet that's what Jeff George did this year with Life and Death following his win last year with Empty Nest. This is what I had to say about this piece earlier this year.
(former winner) Jeff George CPSA - Life and Death - this is the painting I was absolutely convinced was a dead cert to get in last year. Instead of which his other piece "Empty Nest" got in - and then won the major prize! Note the size of this piece - 8" x 32"! I think this is called 'rethinking the box' as well as 'thinking outside the box'. How long did it take you to understand the reason for the title? To my way of thinking Jeff has always been on another plane when it comes to rendering detail - you can see examples of what I mean on his website
Size of work: It's worth reiterating the point about size. So often the pieces I see winning prizes in exhibitions by various art societies are not insigificant in terms of size - they're usually large (but are sometimes very small). Interestingly although I know CPSA has a size limitation for FRAMED work to be submitted to its international exhibition, I can't find any reference to this in its FAQs about exhibitions. (For the record, my files suggest this is a framed size of 32" x 40"). I wonder whether this might be better expressed as total square inches?

Size obviously obviously has much more impact when a piece is being reviewed in real life, rather than as a digital file. One can only hope that jurors can make the mental adjustment for digital dimensions.

I often think digital files should be submitted as a predetermined and defined ratio of their real size - then we'd actually be able to see how they vary. Otherwise, like images of paintings in books, they can give a very false sense of the size of an individual piece.

Format of work: This work uses an unusual panoramic format ( 8.5” x 32”). It makes you look twice - and more carefully at the piece. Creating work about a particular concept or subject can also often work better in a format which is not conventional. It reframes how you see the focal point and how the eye moves into, around and out of the picture plane. Limiting yourself to conventional formats may be limiting the scope of your expression. It's worth thinking about (speaks the woman who is really enjoying her new panoramic sketchbook!)

Concept for work: Pieces which make you think rather than being, for example, just careful renderings of subject matter are much more likely to appeal to the brain as well as the visual eye of the juror. This is where titles can play a very significant and important role in the story of the work. The answer to why this work is called Life and Death is not immediately obvious - but the title makes you look for the reason why. I'll just suggest you look very carefully as it's very difficult to see in the size posted on the exhibition gallery site. You can get a better view of it on Jeff's website.

I'd love to know from people who saw this piece in person whether the 'clue' is more or less obvious.

Frankly I find concept to be the most difficult part of artwork and I'm not huge fan of artwork which is all concept and very little about the technical skill in terms of execution of the artwork. However I do agree that being very good at creating layers using different coloured pencil should not be the pinnacle of artistic achievement in the coloured pencil art world!

Other awards

Fellow UKCPS Member Julie Douglas whose excellent portrait of Boy on a Swing won $1,000 and one of the top awards - the Staedtler Award for Exceptional Merit.

Other work which won awards and which I liked includes:
  • Sharon Tietjen Memorial Award for exceptional Achievement ($1200)- Sheila Theodoratos's Self - in Progress (18.75" x 20.25"). Sheila has a history of provising unusual insights into herself and her work see her 2001 award for The Critic.
  • Both Cecile Baird and Linda Lucas Hardy excel at creating coloured light and high contrast in their still life studies - and won, respectively, the Prismacolour Award for Excptional Meirt (£1,000) for Orange Delight (8.5 x 24") and the Award for Outstanding Achievement ($850) for Dawn's Early Light (11" x 21"). Note the sizes and the format!
  • Chrissy #2 (34 weeks) (36" x 28") by John Smolko is another example in John's very unusual but very effective scribble style.
The complete list of awards and the artwork and artists who won them is below. I've also included links to their websites, where available, or other sites displaying more of their work.
  • CIPPY Award and CPSA Best of Show ($2500) - Life and Death by Jeff George CPSA (CA)
  • Robert Guthrie Memorial Awardfor Exceptional Achievement ($1200) - Sunset at Sweetzer, 11 pm by Elizabeth Patterson CPSA (CA)
  • Sharon Tietjen Memorial Awardfor Exceptional Achievement ($1200) - Self: In Progress by Sheila Theodoratos CPSA (WA)
  • Prismacolor Award for Exceptional Merit ($1000) - Orange Delight by Cecile Baird CPSA (OH)
  • Staedtler Award for Exceptional Merit ($1000) - Boy on a Swing by Julie Douglas (Ireland)
  • Dixon Ticonderoga Award for Exceptional Merit ($1000) - Dawn’s Early Light by Tommy Hunt (GA)
  • Award for Outstanding Achievement ($850) - Self Portrait with Tea by Holly Bedrosian (MA)
  • Award for Outstanding Achievement ($850) - Dawn’s Early Light by Linda Lucas Hardy CPSA (TX)
  • Award for Outstanding Recognition ($600) - Tulip Time by Deane Ackerman CPSA (SC)
  • Award for Outstanding Recognition ($600) - Maria by Elisabeth Ehmann (NY)
  • Award for Outstanding Recognition ($600) - Self Portrait by James Linkous (TN)
  • Award for Outstanding Recognition ($600) - Chrissy #2 (34 Weeks) by John Smolko CPSA (OH)
  • Award for Outstanding Recognition ($600) - Morning Winter Sky by Kare Williams (AZ)
  • Award for Excellence ($400) - Sweet Temptations by Bonnie Auten CPSA (MI)
  • Award for Excellence ($400) - Surf Suds by Pat Averill CPSA (OR)
  • Award for Excellence ($400) - Art in America by Philip Carpenter (GA)
  • Award for Excellence ($400) - American Goldfinch on Nodding Thistle by Karen Coleman (VA)
  • Award for Excellence ($400) - Georgia Peach by Joan Gelblat CPSA (GA)
  • Award for Excellence ($400) - Quilt with Peaches by Shinji Harada (Japan)
  • Award for Excellence ($400) - Five Pals by Mary Hobbs CPSA (OH)
  • Award for Excellence ($400) - Badger the Witness by Paul Van Heest CPSA (MI)
  • Award for Excellence ($400) - Memories of Dad’s Yard by Debra Yaun CPSA (GA)
You can also see images of the award winners here.

I'd also like to note how well CPSA does each year at attracting sponsors and partners for its annual exhibition and coinvention. The list at the bottom of the awards is very, very impressive indeed!

It's also particularly nice to see that the family and friends of two well known and well respected coloured pencil artists who died recently - Sharon Tietjen and Robert Guthrie have got together to create awards in their memory.

CPSA 17th Annual International Exhibition in Atlanta, Georgia

I featured the names and artwork selected for the 17th Annual CPSA International Exhibition 2009 - successful entries in this blog post in May. It also highlights the work of some of the artists who have not won awards. 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.

You have until 29th August to see the exhibition seen at the Jacqueline C. Hudgens Center for the Arts, 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway, Bldg. 300, Duluth, Georgia 30097.

Making a Mark reviews......


Mo said...

Your site is very interesting. I will be a regular visitor.

Sarah said...

woah! It took me a few moments of wondering and looking to try and work out why it was "life and death" and then I got there! I wonder if it is easier in real life...or more difficult!

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