Now in its 23rd year, SPECTRUM 2012 celebrates the creative work of area artists by promoting original, contemporary visual art in a wide array of media. A total of 137 artists from Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey submitted 423 works. Of these, this year’s juror Christopher White selected 102 paintings, sculpture, graphics and mixed media works. In his general comments on the exhibition, Mr. White said, “Due to the overall excellence of the works submitted it was exceedingly difficult to pare the works down to the requisite number of objects. I want each artist who submitted work, even those eventually eliminated from the exhibition, to know that another Juror (or myself at a different moment) would likely have made very different choices. I say this to recognize and honor all the artists whose works were considered.
Our Lydia Viscardi said, “The Carriage Barn was very fortunate to have Christopher W. White, with his well trained eye and diverse experience, as the juror for the show this year. He was focused and caring as he thoughtfully pared down the copious entries to the just over 100 selected works. The result is a rich 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.”
Mr. White commented, “The key attributes I was seeking when determining prizes were technical facility, distinctiveness, and an indefinable aesthetic resonance. He selected twelve winners in four categories for awards with cash prizes donated by local businesses including Karl Chevrolet, Bank of New Canaan and Members of the New Canaan Society for the Arts Board of Trustees.
The following are the prizewinners and Mr. White’s comments on each:
Heidi Lewis-Coleman, The Relic Square, cut birch plywood on birch panel
The Relic Square appeared entirely consistent with the artist’s other submissions, yet was also quite different in nearly every way. In choosing it as “Best in Show” my intent was to recognize an artist pushing her boundaries, utilizing diverse means and materials, and still retaining a clear artistic “voice.”
Pam Ackley, Tea Pots, oil
Flawless technique, timeless imagery that somehow manages to generate a completely contemporary aura, and a sense that Pam Ackley set herself a particular set of challenges (which were ably met.)
Raud Johnson, Girl With the Pearl Earring, oil
Combining prodigious painting skills with wit while ambitiously inviting comparison to Vermeer (as well as to Hollywood’s recent depiction of the artist) makes Raud Johnson’s take on Girl With the Pearl Earring a standout painting.
Kiyoshi Otsuka, Sweetheart, acrylic on canvas
Sweetheart simultaneously evokes Sumi ink traditions and Modernist abstraction; the painting utilizes no color yet manages to be compelling and nuanced, all in all well worthy of special mention.
Cecily Garver, Unnested Bowls, Triptych, clay on panel
With her triptych, Cecily Garver inspires viewers to think in new ways about the perpetually blurry border between “craft” and “art” while offering a distinct and completely satisfying aesthetic experience.
Judith Rowley, Restless Winds, mixed media, Hurricane Katrina salvage
Judith Rowley imbues Restless Winds with a quiet grandeur belying its modest scale and the mundane items used to create it, thus creating a satisfying resonance with our knowledge of the source materials salvaged from Hurricane Katrina.
Lucienne Buckner, Tete a Tete, bronze
With her wonderfully patinaed bronze work, Tete a Tete, Lucienne Buckner blends witty imagery with an attention to detail and well met technical challenges to create this engaging piece.
Deborah Weiss, Still Water, relief print unique (woodcut carborundum)
Mysterious, highly abstract, yet totally recognizable, this luminous piece offers a visual experience equivalent to contemplating the print’s titular subject, Still Water.
Joan Bepler, Bird House, collage
Joan Bepler’s Bird House is graphically compelling and packed with imagery, sending the viewer down many different pathways of thought and association.
Lubomir Tomaszewski, It’s Passing, smoke on paper
Utilizing a medium … smoke … we think of as pale and insubstantial Lubomir Tomaszewski generates a bold and mysterious imagery demonstrating his highly developed personal approach to creating art.
Kelly Eberly, Barletta, mixed media
Transforming maps and similar informational paper items into circles, which are in turn used to create texture and an enigmatic content in this bold, yet somehow delicate, “pattern painting” makes Kelly Eberly’s Barletta well worth of mention.
Felix Felo Lugo, No Guts No Glory, mixed media
Distinctive, with a graphic clarity, a subtle and slightly skewed coloration, and an enigmatic narrative Felix Lugo’s No Guts No Glory is a treat for the eye.
Christopher White began his lifelong involvement with contemporary art and artists at the Aldrich Museum of Art in the early Seventies when he was hired as a part time Gallery Assistant. This position proved to be a richly rewarding apprenticeship in contemporary art and museum practices under Carlus Dyer, then Director at the Aldrich. The focus of the museum at the time was on “emerging talent” so White regularly viewed the work of new and unknown artists. He left the Aldrich a few years later to manage the Carlson Gallery for the University of Bridgeport’s Art Department. White was called back to Aldrich and spent another tenure there, this time as Assistant (and on occasion Acting) Director. In the late Eighties White left the museum and began offering his services privately under the name Arts Resource Services. Among his first clients was the painter Kenneth Noland for whom he served as office and studio assistant. After moving to Maine to be closer to family he continued his ARS activities working with artist clients such as Neil Welliver along with private collectors and galleries. In 2001 he opened the C.W. White Gallery in Portland, Maine, which he ran for three years. Today ARS remains active with clients such as Maine Art Leasing and the respected abstract painter Roy Lerner.