Now in its 24th year, SPECTRUM celebrates the creative work of area artists by promoting original, contemporary visual art in a wide array of media. A total of 129 artists from Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts submitted close to 400 images online and by CD. Of these, this year’s juror, Dr. Jill Deupi, Founding Director and Chief Curator of the Bellarmine Museum of Art, Fairfield University, selected 80 paintings, sculptures, works on paper and mixed media works. Lydia Viscardi, Gallery Director and Curator said, “The Carriage Barn was very fortunate to have Dr. Jill Deupi as the juror for the show this year. Her insight and careful selection process pared down the plethora of images submitted to an intriguing collection of contemporary and traditional work in all media that is a feast for the eyes and mind. On behalf of the Carriage Barn, I thank all of the artists who submitted work as their interest in exhibiting at the Betty Barker Gallery supports this magnificent gallery space and its mission to encourage creativity and offer quality exhibitions to the community.”
In her general comments about the show, Dr. Deupi stated, “I was delighted to have been invited by Lydia Viscardi, Director of the Carriage Barn Arts Center, to judge Spectrum 2013. It was an enjoyable experience and a truly memorable introduction to the CBAC. I extend my heartfelt thanks not only to Lydia but also to the Center’s Board for their clear belief in the power and importance of art – your enlightened support enriches our communities and enhances humanity for the greater good of us all.
Spectrum 2013 received a remarkable range of submissions. From encaustic to scratchboard, from steel to hemp, the breadth of media was quite astounding. The quality of submissions, too, showcased tremendous technical skill as well as a critical infusion of both intellect and emotion. It was rewarding and exciting to be able to spend long stretches of time in the company of so many powerful works of art.”
Dr. Deupi selected thirteen awards, many with cash prizes donated from local businesses including New Canaan’ Handwright Gallery and Framing, LLC who sponsored the Betty Barker Best in Show Award. In addition to sponsorship of the awards provided by Karl Chevrolet and the Bank of New Canaan, the New Canaan Society for the Arts Board of Trustees also sponsored cash prizes. In regard to the prize winners, Dr. Deupi stated, “Naturally, winnowing down the list of submissions was a challenge. It was that much more arduous to select the prize-winners, for all of the works in the show are deserving in their own measure. I congratulate each and every exhibitor, and indeed those who submitted but were not selected this year, for a job extremely well done. I also, of course, extend my sincere congratulations to the prize-winners: Your commitment to your art shines through.”
Best in Show
Dr. Deupi provided comments on each of the prizewinners beginning with The Betty Barker Best in Show award winning steel sculpture, Second Chance, by Marcia Spivak. “Spivak’s work has the cadence of a galloping horse racing the wind. We feel the power and kinetic authority of this magisterial creature as it pauses to gracefully lift its foreleg before disappearing over the horizon. In this, the artist has created magic – hitting the creative “sweet spot” that seamlessly melds tremendous technical skill with intelligence and sensitivity. Brava!” said Dr. Deupi.
First Prize Painting
First Prize in Painting was awarded to Souby Boski for Storm Dunes. Dr. Deupi stated, “JMW Turner’s great Snow Storm: Hannibal and His Army Crossing the Alps of 1812 immediately springs to mind when looking at this work. Like the 19th-century English master, Boski immerses us in a truly sublime scene: her vigorous impasto thrums on the canvas, like the forces of nature unleashed. We are left feeling small and vulnerable, but for the brilliant dashes of yellow that break through the picture plane, consoling us and giving us hope.”
Second Prize Painting
Dr. Deupi awarded the Second Prize in Painting to Susan Leggitt for Primordial. She commented, “The mark of a strong painting is the presentation of multiple interpretative layers and divergent emotional points of access, all contained within the skin of a well-executed work. Leggitt hits these marks with her Primordial, which speaks to us on an essential, instinctual level without ever giving us concrete answers. We are left to commune with the piece on our own, relying on our instincts and experiences to decide what this well-executed painting might mean and where it might lead us.”
Honorable Mention in Painting
Honorable Mention in Painting went to Pam Ackley for Mercury. The juror said, “A symphony in white and silver, Pam Ackley’s Mercury embodies a monumentality that is quite unexpected in so humble a subject. A lone silvered “Mercury” glass jar dominates the picture field, as reflected light (which streams in through the window just visible on its shoulder) resonates through the canvas. It is restrained and elegant yet still visceral in effect.”
First Prize Sculpture
Dr. Deupi awarded the First Prize for Sculpture to Lubomir Tomaszewski for Flight. “She dances. She leaps. She is frozen in time. Lubomir Tomaszewski’s Flight perfectly captures for us movement and grace through artfully suspended animation. Carefully balanced arcs lend this work a formal elegance that is rivaled only by the beauty of the emotions that they arouse in the viewer,” stated the juror.
Second Prize Sculpture
B.A. D’Alessandro’s Compo I was awarded the Second Prize for Sculpture. Dr. Deupi commented, “Compo I showcases a reductive “simplicity” that only a truly accomplished artist can wield successfully. Perfectly balanced and artfully constructed, this sophisticated work walks a wonderful line between abstraction and anthropomorphism.”
Honorable Mention Sculpture
In regard to the Honorable Mention awarded to Christina Klumb’s Fragile Entity, the juror said, “A single breath might cause Fragile Entity to crumble into sand-fine dust; or at least that is the sense that we have when gazing upon this lovely object, which seems to tremble ever so slightly before our very eyes. It is formally beautiful and painfully emotive all at the same time.”
First Prize Works on Paper
In the Works on Paper category, Dr. Deupi awarded Cynthia MacCollum’s Ying and Yang First Prize. “Ying and Yang are earthy and organic, taking us back to our roots. Yet there is also something ethereal about these works, which transport us to another, less corporeal realm. Seemingly effortless in execution, these collograph monoprints straddle realms and embrace the elements with a quiet nobility and supreme elegance” commented the juror.
Second Prize Works on Paper
Andrew Mullen’s The Nest, Bridgeport, CT, won Second Prize for Works on Paper. Dr. Deupi stated, “This image speaks to the enduring legacy of G.B. Piranesi, an 18th century Italian master engraver remembered for his views of Rome and, more saliently, vertiginous scenes of imaginary prisons. Like Piranesi’s Carceri (Prisons), Mullen’s Nest is both claustrophobic and sublime. Rippling buildings and melting towers, however, ensure that this masterfully executed piece never crosses the line between the cathartic and the truly disturbing.”
Works on Paper Honorable Mention
Ruth Kalla Ungerer was awarded a Works on Paper Honorable Mention for Trio, and Dr. Deupi said, “The figures coalesce and dissolve right before our eyes. Are they liquid? Are they solid? Are they human? The interpretative interstice is, where the beauty of this engaging tonal etching lies.”
Mixed Media First Prize
In the Mixed Media category, in regard to Teodora Guererra’s Between Blue and Green, the juror stated, “The depth pulls us in and dares us to look deeper. It is chasm and midnight sky, it is poplars reflected on a moonlit lake, it is rain running down a window pane as dusk declares itself to be night. It is all of these things, and it is none of these things. Therein lies the beauty of this chromatically intense and artfully executed work.”
Mixed Media Second Prize
About Sinking Feeling by Mitchell Visoky, awarded Second Prize for Mixed Media, Dr. Deupi commented, “Perfectly balanced in its composition and its palette, Sinking Feeling displays great sensitivity as well as clear technical skill. Our eye is irresistibly drawn in into the center of the piece, only to be gently spiraled (should we drift left) or rigidly marched (should we go right) back to the starting point. Like human existence itself, the protean path seems endless but is in fact fleeting.”
Mixed Media Honorable Mention
Honorable Mention in the Mixed Media category went to Amy Schott’s Happy Hour. Dr. Deupi said, “showcases tremendous compositional balance and internal harmony. The artist’s use of prosaic items to signify the 5 pm bridge between work and home (“Happy Hour”) engages us with a wit that is complemented by a clear aesthetic sensibility and compositional elegance.”
About Our Juror
Dr. Jill Deupi is the Founding Director and Chief Curator of the Bellarmine Museum of Art at Fairfield University, where she is also an Assistant Professor of Art History. She received her B.A. from Mount Holyoke College and her J.D. from American University’s Washington College of Law, graduating summa cum laude. Dr. Deupi holds both an M.A. and a Ph.D. in art history from the University of London’s Birkbeck College and the University of Virginia, respectively. A fellow of the American Academy in Rome (2004), Dr. Deupi wrote her doctoral dissertation on art and cultural politics in 18th-century Naples. Her prior museum experience includes work at the Royal Academy of Arts, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Snite Museum of Art, the National Gallery (Washington, D.C.) and the Wallace Collection.