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Juror Discusses Selection Process

Nathan Cox, the juror for the 2019 Anderson Artists Guild Juried Show, shared thoughts about his selection process at the AAG meeting on Sept. 9.

His process, he said, is to walk through the gallery multiple times. “It’s the pieces that pull me back that get in the show or win awards,” he said. He tries to choose an array of work that is representative of the submissions in terms of style and materials. He looks to be surprised and intrigued.

Here are his reflections on individual award winners:

$100 Merit Awards

JoAnne Anderson’s Maybe Yes Maybe No? (graphite): “This is an intimate, carefully done study, sincerely and carefully drawn,” Cox said. “It drew me in. I enjoyed the way the hand of the artist is present. Its quiet manner is appropriate to the subject matter.”

Jane List’s Azalea Spring (watercolor): “There was a joke in graduate school that if you make art, make it huge or at least make it bright red,” he said. “This painting has vibrant color. But it’s not the fact of the beautiful flowers that drew me. It’s the contrasting color of the subtle background. The texture there feels like little galaxies. This is not a huge piece. A piece doesn’t have to be huge to be compelling.”

Barbara Yon’s Refuge (acrylic): “There’s no recognizable subject matter,” he said. “The subject is the form: color, texture, value, composition, along with the materials. This is a compelling compositional study. It helps you see what the materials can do.”

Matthew Brophy’s Kaleidoscopic Eye (ceramic): “I was drawn to the brilliant color and texture,” he said. “In grad school in ceramics, we called blue ‘cash flow blue.’ It’s going to sell. People love blue. Here, I enjoyed the complex geometry and patterns. It’s satisfying, iridescent, beautiful. In ceramics, you can directly manipulate the piece, but then there’s a stage where you can’t touch it. There’s a saying that opening a kiln is like Christmas morning.”

Carolyn Gibson’s Double Dare (photography): “I had a love/hate relationship with this piece,” he said. “I was really interested for lots of reasons, but then I saw the cat. It’s a fantastic composition: the wall, the walkway, the railing, the awning falling down. There’s movement and repetition of angles. It’s a great shot. And the character of the cat actually added to the piece, its attitude. Photography is about being in the right place at the right time and seeing things that others don’t see.”

Evelyn Beck’s Petting Zoo (fiber): “The vibrant use of color caught my eye,” he said. “I liked the monochromatic, analogous color schemes, the way form is broken down, the way light and shadow and three-dimensional space are created with flat material. The figures are unique because of their posture, clothing, and colors, but they are also anonymous. They could be any kids.”

Hamed Mahmoodi’s Perseverance (acrylic): “This is a great example of the nonobjective end of the spectrum,” he said. “I’m trying to make sense of what I’m looking at. There’s a complex network that’s constructed or deconstructed—I can’t tell. The colors, angles, and lines feel harsh. It’s not beautiful or safe. That intrigued me. I felt like I wanted to know more.”

Stan O’Bannon’s Still Standing (watercolor): “This is not just a recording but an interpretation,” he said. “The color and the value are toned down. The mood is the result of those decisions. The building is probably not really leaning. That tilt lends itself to things being forgotten or remembered. It feels like a moment in space. It made me respond. Does anyone live there? Do they live there alone? It poked at my imagination.”

$125 Merit Award

Debbie Bzdyl’s Beautiful Chaos (acrylic): “This is vibrant and colorful, full of movement and energy,” he said. “There’s a desire when I see something I can’t recognize to try to make sense of it. This made me think of bubbles in the surf or scales on a reptile. There’s a reference to something tangible. It’s fun to look at.”

$150 Merit Award

Lori Solymosi’s Boardwalks Broads (mixed media): “I love these ladies,” he said. “There’s color and texture, even in the passages in the background. These characters, posing, leaning against the rail, have this attitude. I have a sense that I know who they are. They’re strong individuals. The sincerity in their pose and presence matches the sincerity of the way the piece was made.”

$300 Third Place Award

Gloria Root's La Plaza (photography): “This photo made me want to know more,” he said. “It looks like cut paper or dyed lace placemats. Are they wet and drying? Is it laundry? Were they made just now? Is this an entryway? A festival? What country is this? The repeating rectangular rhythm piqued my curiosity. It made me think of stained glass.”

$500 Second Place Award

Kathy Moore’s I Will Protect You! (wire, found objects): “This compelling piece spoke to my heart in a way no others did,” he said. “This is a piece about what’s not there. There’s a reference to the human body, of a dress being worn. There’s an interesting sculptural use of space, and a contrast between the hard wire and the feminine sundress. The basket is a protected space with empty shoes painted gold, suggesting an innocent child. I had a whirlwind of thoughts. The dress feels cagelike. I had different associations. I didn’t feel like this person was okay. It’s captivating in the use of materials and light and shadows.”

$750 First Place Award

Michelle Winnie's Orchid (acrylic): “The really good pieces I look away from, like the dessert case at Sullivan’s,” he said. “I save them for last. I had a sense immediately that maybe this one was first place. I enjoyed seeing the hand of the artist, the brush strokes. It captures a poignant moment. Why is she leaning over? Is she sitting or crouching? I really wanted to see her face. There are small passages of color and texture, a use of materials for what only those materials can do.”

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