National Art Encounter 2010

September 11, – October 30, 2010

Von Liebig Art Center

"Inheritance" Kevin Grass

National Art Encounter 2010, a highly competitive Juried awards exhibition, opened at the Von Liebig Art Center in Naples, Florida on September 10, and will run through October 30, 2010

Denise Gerson,  Associate Director of the Lowe Art Museum at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, had the difficult task of reviewing over 700 submissions coming from 50 states.  She chose 77 works of art by 70 artists.

Ms Gerson’s selection represents the high quality of craftsmanship and originality in art being produced in this country.  Demonstrating the vast array of materials used by artists today, this show has no biases stylistically. Both representational, and abstract works are included as well as conceptual pieces that challenge one to rethink and expand their own perceptions of what constitutes art.

The use of non traditional materials and the re-contextualizing of everyday items, is deftly demonstrated by California artist Emily Dvorin’s intricately woven “News Nest”  made from colored plastic newspaper bags and security ties.

"News nest" Emily Dvorin

Washington DC Artist Ceci Cole McInturff’s “What are you searching for little girl” is an intimate display of dismantled blackberry devices inset with black and white photographic images that are encased between roughly hewn glass panels.  The juxtaposition of the high tech devices turned inside out, black and white photography and raw glass invokes anxious memories of past and present

New concepts in digital photography are also well represented not only by exploring new techniques and materials with which to affix the printed image, but also by using the printed image as art making material.  In “Survivor”, New Jersey artist Daryl Lancaster prints her image onto treated silk habotai and then cuts it into strips, only to be rewoven in an inlay technique, giving us a sensually, haunting image of a breast cancer survivor whose body has been torn apart and then sewn back together again.

The landscape and environment is the subject of many of the works in this show. In “First Day of Duck Hunting” Fort Myers artist Andy Browne takes us into the marsh with lushly loaded paint strokes creating calm patterns rendered in shades of green and ochre. This serene scene is interrupted with strong black and grey strokes representing the frightful confusion of birds fleeing the hunters gun. Minute touches of red paint serve to remind us of the purpose of this interruption.

Realism is also well represented in this show as illustrated by Tarpon Springs Fl. artist Kevin Grass in his award winning work “Inheritance”. In this large scale mixed media black and white drawing, Grass addresses issues of family and alcoholism.  He explores the history of four generations of alcoholic abuse by layering family members one on top of the other as if, coffin upon coffin.  Each generation passing on the bottle, until the new generation raises his hand to stop the abuse.

The best thing about a juried show is that it tends to attract art closer to the ground, less concerned with the art world market and often instilled with more personal preoccupations. This show reveals a full range of art being produced at the regional levels, reflecting the  unexpected, humorous, shocking, awe inspiring, and as always, provoking conversation.

Jami Nix Rahn 2010