Philadelphia Pastel Society 1st Annual Juried Members Exhibition
Award winners with Juror’s comments
PPS Award of Excellence:
This painting exhibits many of the qualities I look for in awarding a high score, or that just in fact, excites or intrigues me. The painting is a large work and the artist has handled that scale well. Just enough drawing visible to see the process, and a masterful, yet simple way of portraying sunlight pouring through a window on a resting figure. The artist is comfortable with the figure and her command of anatomy and weight is evident. One wonders whether the man is preparing for a run, or is contemplating his life’s run, and his gaze off view, powerfully adds to the moment. I also feel the colors in the shadows, that are so often overlooked, are deftly handled here, and there is unity with the whole palette, and further how they perfectly set off the warmth of the skin tones. Well done.
2nd Place Award:
This painting is powerful. It gives reverence to the power of the light and how light reacts with all things that it strikes. The richness of the evening sky, the movement of the air, the float and turbulence the clouds are cast in, all share and carry that feeling. When an artist works quickly, or the work carries an expediency in its look, it is important that nothing is overworked. Here the artist has chosen to simplify the boats and the buildings to just shadow and light, reflections hinted at just enough to let the viewer feel the surface of the water. It seems this work was accomplished on a gessoed surface in a reddish undertone. Both of those choices present challenges, but when handled the way this artist chose and showed her ability, it is unmistakably a success. Such a rich, exciting feeling and treat for the eyes.
3rd Place Award:
A very unusual subject, and a very risky palette to carry off so much subtle information. Taking in the variety of surfaces portrayed, the artist has clearly investigated the subject and has reverently noted and achieved the ways each surface reacts to light. Holding it, reflecting it, scattering it or changing it into shadow. I am immediately taken back decades when I view this work and think of all the simpler times when color wasn’t something for the masses. It was expensive and needed far more care than a bleaching or whitewashing. I am particularly fond of the way the pile of linen leans, but stays….neat.
Great FrameUp Award:
Odilon Redon must move over. A new artist and subject has taken his mantle and brought it to a new level. Shimmering light falling deeply through an aquatic wonder captivates the viewer, but because the artist is truthful and original in her vantage point, a new appreciation for the underside of these great creatures emerges. One is swimming with them, feeling the push and pull of the deep water weights. What are they swimming to, do they know I am here, am I one with them? Originality is so important in our work and I have seen enough aerial views of fish to know that this view is long overdue. Congratulations for the power in this work.
Merion Art & Repro Award:
And then there is color. And calligraphy. And light. And mood and……this work is so very exciting to look at. It is nowhere. At the same time it is everywhere. We have all seen the dance of light through a group of trees, but I am not sure I ever wanted to dance with the trees as much as I want to dance with these! Spare but careful strokes, variation in the size of the marks and masses, and a color equation that takes a subject through the eyes and soul of this practitioner…makes it Art. Such a decadently delicious work.
Dakota Art Supply Award:
It is difficult enough to have to portray an animal. How much more exacting is it to portray that animal up close, and still succeed. This artist has, and done so without the reliance on fuzzy paper and smudges. There is direct painting here, drawing, observed features well distinguished, and at the end, the viewer is absorbed into the mind and affection of this subject cat, without even thinking about cute, cuddly or soft. The reaction for me is to think about how much is going on in those eyes, and how we can communicate through them with our fellow creatures. Fabulous rendering of this feline.