Judge's Comments

Judge’s Comments-Mary McCoy
First Annual Open Juried Fine Art Show
Chestertown RiverArts
September 15, 2013


Best in show

Karen Klinedinst

#120  Rising Tide, Swamp Blind

This is a fascinating work due not only to the innovative process by which it was made, but also because of its close affinity with 19th century Romantic landscape painting. Although it’s a digital image, its handling is truly painterly. Klinedinst has used her iPhone and associated apps to create an exquisite quality of light, depth and richness. Luminous and delicately detailed, it speaks of the vulnerability of the natural world in this era of climate change.

Juror’s choice

Rob Glebe

#131  Reflections

The triptych has a wonderful sense of rhythm and flow. Its abstract, scattered forms suggest autumn leaves, perhaps floating on water. There’s an interesting tension between the flatness of the metal plates and the depth suggested by the fluctuations in the fields of color. Muted but rich, Glebe’s blue-grays, golden yellow and sepia lend an aura of passing time that mingles poignantly with the joyful dance of the leaf forms.

Best Representation of the Eastern ShorePatricia Herlihy

#73  Workboat

This small painting eloquently captures an icon of Eastern Shore life. The details of its architecture, crab pots and equipment are deftly sketched, free of stiffness, and Herlihy expertly conveys the actions of the watermen as they work. Perhaps the most compelling aspect is the way she has captured the long, low sweep of the workboat’s hull so colorfully. It retains the familiar gleam of white we so often see out on the water, but it’s also a near rainbow from the orange-brown staining amidships to the many-shaded blue reflections on its bow.

First – Watermedia

Cheryl Schlenker

#47  The Longest Night

There’s a wonderful sense of activity and depth in this painting. The enigmatic dance between contrasting hues is accentuated by the tensions between colors that are very close in value. Its brushwork and linear elements are fresh and energetic, as the foreground and background weave in and out with strong darks and lights, creating a mysterious sense of shadow and illumination.

First – Painting on Canvas or Board

Roberta Seger

#87  Skies and Marshes

This painting captures the breadth and spaciousness of an Eastern Shore summer’s day. The colors are fresh and uncomplicated, as is the brushwork, creating a feeling of ease and effortlessness. The emphasis on the horizontal quality of the landscape, neatly accentuated by the swath of bright green, allows the delicate pastels of the clouds to soar freely above.

First – Pastel

Deborah Maklowski

#45  Sunlit Path

This drawing combines skillful observation with luscious color combinations. With a solid sense of form and simplified shapes drawn in bold strokes and vibrant color overlays, Maklowski has created a play of light and shadow in which the cool of shade and the warmth of the sun is instantly felt. The curving path is a classic device for inviting the eye into a work of art, and in this drawing it comes with a series of zesty surprises as purple shadows spread across the pink path and bright red pops out from under green leaves.

First – Photography

Cindy Brittain

#115  The Bridal Trousseau

The off-center composition of this photograph is unusual and compelling. The eye leaps immediately to the seamstress’s head, backlit by the window on the far wall, only to be drawn clockwise in a loose circle by the various white objects and windows around the room. This movement initiates an examination of the fascinating array of tools and materials stowed throughout the space. A sense of intimacy and quiet, industrious activity suffuse the image, but there is also an enticing sense of story. The dressmaker’s dummy, draped in white as a stand-in for the bride, faces the blue-clad seamstress. Who is this woman who works so diligently? And who is the absent bride?

First – Mixed mediums or graphics

Cheryl Schlenker

#48  Pitcher Window

Schlenker’s draftsmanship is skillful and wonderfully casual. Building on that solid foundation, her exuberant colors and animated brushstrokes and line work make this an exceptionally lively still life. The play between solid form and ghostly underpainting creates a sense of light dancing over and through the objects and of energy suffusing the scene. The inference is of a homey space warmed by comfort, friendliness and beauty.

Award of excellence

Lois Kuck award

Aina Nergaard-Nammack

#35   #1397 Jules Massenet, from Meditation from Thais

The fearlessness of this painting is invigorating. In keeping with the energy and adventurous spirit of Lois Kuck’s work, it seemed the obvious choice for this award. Its bold colors and energetic brushstrokes recall the late paintings of deKooning and like deKooning’s, have an uninhibited vigor. It is easy to imagine Nergaard-Nammack, lost in the soaring melody of Massenet’s “Meditation,” sweeping shades of purple over orange and veiling scarlet with white.

Award of excellence

Carol Ashton-Hergenhan

#27  Tupelo Leaves-Nyssa Sylvatica

This work is a small gem combining the precision of botanical painting with an exploration of forms in space. Simultaneously highly realistic and abstract, these tupelo leaves are caught in a moment of decay. Their animated shapes reach out into the space around them and their rich colors hint at the vibrant life ebbing from them. Cycles of growth come to mind creating a strong invitation to meditate on time and memory.

Award of excellence

Dennis Young

#96  Scott Street Sunday

This skillfully rendered scene is animated by light and dappled shade. Its buildings and sidewalks and streets project a quality of solidity and reliability, while layers of color over color add richness and underscore the liveliness of the scene. Pleasantly cluttered with signs, cars and power poles, it’s not a beautiful place, but it is pretty, safe and comfortable, brimming with an inviting feeling of friendly, everyday life.

Award of excellence

Dennis Young

#97  Radiant

There’s a lovely glow about this portrait. The nuanced gleam of the girl’s hair and the freshness in the bloom of her skin are handled with inspired simplicity. With her downward gaze and open lips, she is caught in the moment just shy of discovery. It’s both an instant in real time and a glimpse of a young woman on the threshold of her life. 

Honorable Mention

Signe Hanson

#77  Almost Twins

These two ceramic vessels create a gentle meditation on oneness and difference. Richly glazed in seemingly infinite gradations and textures of soft blue, their simple forms are nearly identical. It is the slight variations in their curves and angles that individualize them and invite close and careful examination.

Honorable Mention

Sharon Hardin

#150  Fracture II

The drama of this painting is immediate. Its brilliant reds leap out from the shadowy hues around them. Layers of color and ragged textures lend a primordial quality that is underscored by the seismic split rending the red form into unequal halves. The implication is of huge scale, perhaps a volcanic mountain or a hell realm.

Honorable Mention

Kim Henkel

#63  Phoebe

There is a strong sense of pathos in this tiny sculpture. The weight of the tiny body is palpable. Henkel  has modeled its form skillfully using heavy texturing to detail its physical features and suggest the violence of its demise. The warmth of the golden-toned bronze against the cold white of the marble lends even more poignancy. It speaks of the bird’s life force and infers the promise of the free flight of its soul.

Honorable Mention

Isabel Pizzolato

#15   Heavy Lifting

This watercolor is an engaging study in theme and variation. The many shapes and sizes of its wooden pulleys set up a lively rhythm across the paper, and there’s an aura of bygone days without sentimentality. Pizzolato has created a satisfying sense of solid form, but she also has a lot of fun playing with their shadows and the textures of the background. The open-ended suggestion of mildew or decaying paint adds depth and possibilities to the image.