ABOUT THIS EXHIBITION
ArtsWorcester main galleries
May 4 through July 9, 2023
The year 2023 marks the twentieth ArtsWorcester Biennial, an exhibition that has included the region's best visual art since 1985. This year's Biennial is juried by Conor Moynihan, Assistant Curator, Prints, Drawings, and Photographs at the RISD Museum.
Friday, May 12, 6:00-9:00 PM
Public reception (Free! Learn more)
Members and Supporters' Preview begins at 5:00 PM
Thursday, May 25, 5:30-8:30 PM
Pop-Up Beer Tasting with Redemption Rock in the galleries (Free admission! Learn more)
This exhibition is produced in partnership with:
Support comes from:
Additional support for the ArtsWorcester Biennial comes from Marlene and David Persky and the George F. and Sybil H. Fuller Foundation.
What is the ArtsWorcester Biennial?
When the organization now known as ArtsWorcester was founded, a top priority was to establish a juried exhibition of visual art, intended to showcase the highest quality and newest practices in the region. An artist and educator named Sally Bishop drove an all-volunteer committee to create a prestigious opportunity for artists. The first Biennial, fulfilling that intention, took place in 1985 at the Worcester County Horticultural Society at 30 Elm Street (now the Worcester Historical Museum). Nearly four decades later, it now takes place in our permanent home, but there the differences end.
The Biennial is the most competitive of ArtsWorcester’s offerings. An external juror—usually a curator at a regional museum, and different for every Biennial—is invited to select exhibited artwork and award prizes. The jurors look at a growing number of artists submitting work and a steady increase in the quality of that work, bringing to their selection process their own opinions and preferences. As one artist put it, the Biennial is a rite of passage, but not one guaranteed from one exhibition to the next.
Selectivity inevitably leads to controversy, and the Biennial has always been ArtsWorcester’s most controversial exhibition. Art critic Leon Nigrosh described red paint being thrown over the entrance of Horticultural Hall at the very first Biennial, protesting the juror’s choices. It is a tradition to celebrate the Biennial, and to criticize it.
The Biennial partnership with the Worcester Art Museum to exhibit the Sally Bishop Prize winner began in 2017. To date, James Dye, Susan Swinand, and Kat O’Connor have been featured. WAM, however, has been part of the Biennial almost from the beginning, sponsoring prizes through its Hoche-Scofield Prize and Scholarship Fund and, in very early years, hosting the exhibition in the Higgins Educational Wing. Additional major prizes include the Evelyn Claywell Absher Award for Abstract Art, and, for the first time, the Ruth Susan Westheimer Prize for Fine Craft.
This particular Biennial is the most competitive yet. Out of a record-breaking 530 submissions, this Biennial’s juror, Conor Moynihan of the RISD Museum, selected only 57. His statement helps explain the artistic, aesthetic, and thematic reasons behind his choices, for the works included and for those given prizes.
Conor Moynihan is the Assistant Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs at the RISD Museum. He is interested in performativity and identity-based issues, especially related to sexuality, gender, and disability. His exhibitions include Drama Queer: Seducing Social Change in 2016 (Vancouver, BC), Ill at Ease: Dis-ease in Art in 2017 (Buffalo, NY), Three Acts, Three Scenes: My Care, Your Care, Careful Care in 2018 (Brooklyn, NY), and Variance: Making, Unmaking, and Remaking Disability (Providence, RI). His forthcoming exhibition, The Performative Self-Portrait, at the RISD Museum in spring 2023 looks at photographers who turn the lens back on themselves, whether to enact an alternative identity or to engage with history or something else.
"In making selections for the 20th ArtWorcester Biennial, I wanted to let the submissions guide me in finding a theme through which to select works. I was struck by the number of works that suggested states of flux, transformation, and transmutation, be it through material experimentation and abstraction to figuration and narrative. This became my prior criteria used to evaluate the works, though I wanted to keep that frame as wide open as possible to allow as many forms of flux, transformation, and transmutation to emerge, whether it appeared that way at first or not. From engagements in the natural world to responding to lived experiences of difference, I tried to bring together works that were exemplars of their mediums but also suggested change and different ways of seeing."
Sarah Alexander – Taylor Apostol – Doug Ashby – Brooke Bailey – Emma Ballachino – ST Barry – Lisa Barthelson – Eugenie Lewalski Berg – Ray Bernoff – Jenna Billian – Michael Bourque – Chelsea Bradway – Blake Brasher – Heather Cassano – Carrie Crane – Joanne Evans – Jakob Fioole – Casey Fisher – Colleen Fitzgerald – Tatiana Flis – Linda Ford – Alana Garrigues – Annaleah Gregoire – Timothy Johnson – Mica Knapp – Michele LeMaitre – Jennifer Levatino – Alyssa Lewanowicz – Edward Lilley – Madeleine Lord – Timothy McDonald – Gretchen Neff Lambert – Christopher Nicholson – Carrie Nixon – Karen Nunley – Kat O’Connor – Emmanuel Opoku – Victor Pacheco – Sophie Pearson – Jill Pottle – Danielle Ray – Pamela Redick – Joan Ryan – Pamella Saffer – Brittany Severance – Suzanne Stumpf – Pamela Tarbell – Derrick Te Paske – Bekka Teerlink – Rebecca McGee Tuck – Jillian Vaccaro – Sylvia Vander Sluis – Steve Wage – Mary Pat Wager – Mark Zieff
Sarah Alexander, Late to the Party
watercolor and pen and ink, 27" x 34.5" x 1.5", 2021, $3,124
Using botanical images as symbols for people and emotions helps me to process what I'm trying to say when there are no words to say it. In this piece, I was overwhelmed with missing my family during the pandemic. I used blueberries to represent my daughter, and spiky seedpods to symbolize feeling stuck. Using a wonky neoclassical design that morphs and explodes like a fountain, I symbolized the love, grief, and longing I was experiencing. The asters were also in abundance in my garden at the time. As my world felt smaller, my garden was my salvation.
Taylor Apostol, House Clothes
hand built terra cotta, acrylic paint, flock, 6" x 18" x 14", 2020, $6,000
House Clothes is part of a recent series focusing on familiar household items such as waste bins, grocery lists, CVS coupons, piles of clothing, dishes, and hair scrunchies. Removed from their usual place on the floor, a shelf or forgotten under a dresser, I give them a life of their own. Additionally, by reframing these industrially fabricated, functional items as handmade objects in terra cotta, I ask the viewer to reconsider them for their sculptural, aesthetic and narrative capabilities.
Doug Ashby, Untitled (Waiting For Temperance)
pen and ink, 8" x 7", 2023, $850
I believe my main purpose as an artist is to challenge viewers’ beliefs about humanity's place in the universe. By consciously looking to abstract nature, my intention is to represent the reality that life is much more complex than the simple reductionist theories that have dominated for so long. I want to offer the individual experiencing my work consideration that not all we see and perceive is exactly as it appears on the surface and that becoming more aware of existence reveals deeper and more meaningful patterns.
Brooke Bailey, Pretty Obstructed
acrylic paint on matte and clear Dura-Lar film, 24" x 27", 2022, $350
Through mixed media painting, I explore the idea of abstraction through the lens of color and form. Finding surfaces that retain variety in mark-making helps me to collaborate with the material by introducing the spontaneity and creativity from myself in conversation with the innate qualities of the medium. I investigate how utilizing the materiality of the work as a dominant factor in the composition can further my interest in developing a cohesive relationship between pigments and shapes.
Emma Ballachino, Compartment (4)
stoneware fired in cone 10 reduction, 10" x 6" x 7", 2022, $575
Each of my ceramic sculptures are created entirely by pinching from a single lump of clay. By simply compressing clay between my fingers, the resulting forms are organic and undulating constructs of pockets, holes, valleys, and canals. The formation of each compartment is completely dependent on the support of those surrounding it. Relating to the intersectionality within our lives, many small parts are linked, simultaneously independent and inextricably bonded.
ST Barry, How to Build a Throne
oil on canvas, 48" x 48", 2020, $2,961
My work attempts to explore the relationship between my naïve childhood fantasies with the bleakness of late capitalism. I try to explore my relationship to a decaying world, that I wish to both fix and escape, through surreal, idealistic, and dystopian imagery informed by the history of portraiture, still-life, landscape, and abstraction.
- Evelyn Claywell Absher Award for Abstract Art -
Lisa Barthelson, aii form 3, art in isolation, family debris
family debris monoprints as sculpture: Rives BFK paper, printed collage and thread, 28" x 28" x 24”, 2022, $900
During the Covid 19 'stay at home' order, I worked small, using material that I had on hand, including family debris monoprints, created by layering inked plates with mundane family cast offs. The intimate scale offered meditative comfort in the making. After completing a series of ‘art in isolation’ mixed media prints, I moved on to larger quilt-like work created by piecing together monoprints and incorporating collage and stitching. And then 3D, using double sided prints for components, I built forms: folded paper vessels stitched together to create sculptures that continue to push the limits of paper, ink and thread.
Juror's statement: "In the selected, there were themes of transformation that were material and also based off lived experience. I was inspired by the way this work knitted both together, transforming the often two-dimensionality of printmaking into sculpture and using found material and the experience of the pandemic as a starting point."
Eugenie Lewalski Berg, Open Cubehead
concrete, woodblock prints (mokuhanga), graphite, 11" x 5" x 4”, 2022, $1,440
I am process and material driven. I like getting my hands dirty, whether it be mixing concrete or carving woodblocks. This series satisfies that desire, and also combines my 2D and 3D work. I tell stories, but I also leave room for the materials to speak.
Eugenie Lewalski Berg, Pointy Head
concrete, woodblock print (mokuhanga), graphite, 13" x 4" x 5”, 2022, $1,440
I am process and material driven. I like getting my hands dirty, whether it be mixing concrete or carving woodblocks. This series satisfies that desire, and also combines my 2D and 3D work. I tell stories, but I also leave room for the materials to speak.
- Youth Committee Honorable Mention -
Ray Bernoff, The Wound Will Not Heal
paper clay, spackle, acrylic paint, PVA glue, varnish, expired medication, and unicorn milk pearlescent topcoat on canvas, 10" x 10" x 3", 2022, Not For Sale
I'm sick and disabled. Every day, I take pills. At my worst, I was throwing back fifteen a day. I get so fed up I could scream. I am filled to bursting with anti-inflammatories and beta blockers and pain meds and antidepressants and vitamins, filled until I could tear open. This relief sculpture did not bring me ease, but did let me reveal for a moment what I normally hold back.
The Youth Prize Committee, a small group of Worcester Public high school students from across the district, came to the galleries and stepped into the shoes of a juror. Considering artistic execution, impact, and innovation, they awarded am Honorable Mention to this piece by Ray Bernoff.
Jenna Billian, All Bagged Up
foam, plastic bags, candy, paint chips, fake eyeballs, cocktail straws, gum, ribbon, glitter, tinsel, 16" x 6" x 45", 2021 , $750
After getting sober, I transferred my addiction to sugar and collecting the items displayed in this sculpture. All pinned to a Pepto-Bismol pink blob of foam, this sculpture creates a bright yet grotesque image of child-like innocence colliding with adult reality.
Michael Bourque, Red Stripe on Left
acrylic on canvas, 30" x 30", 2022, $1,800
My paintings emanate from the intersection of art and design. Each painting involves a thought-provoking mixture of abstraction, repetition, and improvisation. Lines adhere to the rules of geometry: mathematically sensible angles, and shapes that work together perfectly.
My use of color is layered and flashes of color are allowed to peek through the pattern to add the visual interest. Colors are made brighter by juxtaposition to unexpected colors and strong shapes are made stronger with the heavy application of paint. The effect is to invigorate the entire work, and to create rich surface textures.
Chelsea Bradway, A Woman's Work- 3
black and white photo on fine art paper, 24" x 30", 2020, $570
As a child in the 70s, I had terrible haircuts from the Dorothy Hamill to Sun-In disasters and a whole decade of Madonna hairstyles. I never knew or understood the work that went into taking care of hair. When I began my Women's Empowerment shoot, a friend wanted to show me how empowering it was to do both of her daughter's hair. I observed the intensity, skill, and patience that went into styling her daughter's hair. The rhythm and cadence were much like an unspoken dance between mother and daughter.
Blake Brasher, Across A Hundred Thousand Miles
pencil, ink, masking tape, collage, and acrylic on textured polypropylene, 14" x 11", 2023, $407
My work is about challenging perspective and juxtaposing systems that may seem antagonistic to each other—e.g. straight grids and fluid pours—in ways that allow them to not just co-exist but also highlight their defining characteristics in a sort of fluid harmony. In this series, I've been incorporating collaged elements; old business cards, ephemera from work, masking tape from the production of other pieces, etc.
Heather Cassano, MADNESS
multi-channel video, with sound, 2022, Not For Sale
MADNESS is a three-channel video installation featuring archival video, moving imagery from mental institution cemeteries, and text-on-screen detailing the number of graves present at each gravesite. The archival video is taken from a series of films produced in 1951 and 1952 featuring Dr. Heinz Lehmann describing eight forms of “mental symptoms” as they appear in the mentally ill. The cemeteries featured in MADNESS> include gravesites in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and New York. Mental institution and state school cemeteries exist in every state in the contiguous United States.
Carrie Crane, Platonic Solids Deconstructed: Tetrahedron IV
acrylic and graphite on paper mounted on panel, 5" x 9", 2022, $350 (sold)
This is one of a series of paintings exploring the deformation of the exacting geometry of the 5 polygons known as the platonic solids.
Joanne Evans, 60th Self-Portrait
watercolor on Arches paper, 22" x 30", 2021, $3,000
This self-portrait represents my connection to the seashore and the realization of my dreams.
- Sally Bishop Biennial Prize -
Jakob Fioole, Amerika
oil paint on linen, 43" x 63", 2020, $4,200
Everyone’s a stranger here.
In this place I’ve never been before but it feels so familiar.
We have come from different locations to meet here briefly and continue onto diverse and unique destinations.
Tomorrow there will be other travelers.
It’s not only the people that come together, day in day out. My fascinations with the U.S. have gathered in this place as well.
A country that is not anyone’s but has always felt familiar to so many.
It's fascinating, if you care to see it.
I just like to be here, and watch.
As part of this prize, Jakob Fioole will have a solo exhibition at the Worcester Art Museum in 2024.
Juror's statement: "Jakob Fioole’s painting Amerika highlighted all the themes I was drawn to in the selected works. There is a sense of narrative, however ambiguous, combined with subtle and evocative mark-making that compels one to want to keep looking."
Casey Fisher, The World We Overlook
multi-plate etching, 9" x 12" unframed, 16" x 20" framed, 2022, $250
This work demonstrates the nuanced afterlife of the world around us after industrial influence. An area once rich with life, stripped down for our own use, and then forgotten about. Highlighted colors of green and blue shine the light on the natural world fighting back and demonstrates the resilience and power of the land that we so quickly strip of beauty. A sense of hope and life brought back into each print by artist hand mends our relationship with the natural world and gives space of nature to breath.
Colleen Fitzgerald, Land & Sea XVI (B)
pigment print, 11" x 14", 2020, print only: $600
Land & Sea XVI (B) uses experimental photography to reimagine cliché fall foliage landscapes. The work uses a unique physical process, including an in-camera technique of the artist’s creation. Unexposed sheets of film are cut and folded into 3D shapes before being exposed. The film is developed and then re-photographed on a lightbox.
This piece exists in a series that showcases these same two pieces of film from other perspectives, providing multiple perspectives from single exposures. This process reconstructs reality and the material that records reality; it is not a direct representation of the world, but a negotiation of vision.
Tatiana Flis, A Satellite’s View
acrylic monoprints on panel, 48" x 36", 2021, $4,825
The work focuses on dissecting moments in which hold value and yet pass without a second glance or abandon. As we stare out of our windows, what are we trying to reach for, and, or discover? It lingers on the tips of our fingers: that moment, object, or feeling that we can’t quite seem to grasp. Windows have become portals into uncertainty and uncharted territory. Our views are abstracted by the curtains, revealing shadows in constant flux. We wait. The world has become abstracted, yet recognizable. Time has continued while we’ve been wondering, and longing, in isolation.
Linda Ford, Self-Discipline #23
charcoal on onion skin paper, 27" x 28.5" x 1", 2018, $2,600
Visiting the Worcester State Hospital (where my father worked during my childhood), as well as my family history of mental illness, have had lasting effects on my preoccupation with bodies that transgress. While working as a video editor for a gay BDSM website, I connected the practice of bondage with "swaddling”, both of which can be used to calm and ease anxiety. The Self-Discipline self-portraits reconfigure the unified portrait to investigate the fragmented nature of identity and self-knowledge. The title and pun refer simultaneously to the act of punishing oneself and the concentration required to make drawings. In this work, the visual markers of bondage reference the body's internalization of trauma, while at the same time, functioning as a therapeutic modality. I am interested in the ways in which somatic accumulation and intergenerational trauma create cycles of disease, emotionally and physically.
- Fourth Prize -
Alana Garrigues, Precedented II
mixed media: acrylic ink, ink, chalk pastel on reclaimed plywood, 23.25" x 24", Nov. 2021 - Jan. 2022, $3,800
Precedented II is a tongue-in-cheek title and piece, inspired by a small work of art I created in 2020, the year of ‘unprecedented.’ In both, I was reflecting on the cyclical nature of history, and all of the pandemics, political unrest, civil rights movements and more that the trees have witnessed, and that we humans are prone to forget. Each ring of a tree reflects a year of life, and in that ring entire histories of air quality, water, soil, heat, and more are written. What else do the trees remember as precedented that we treat as brand new?
Juror's statement: "Alana Garrigues’s Precedented II was a work that kept soliciting my attention. The way that Garrigues marked and worked with reclaimed wood suggested themes of nature and temporality, which are always in states of change, but also became a portal that proposed seeing something extraordinary in the ordinary."
Annaleah Gregoire, Lock Down
oil painting on canvas, 12" x 12", 2023, $548
This piece depicts a memory of my experience in the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. I was living in downtown Oakland, California at the time that the shelter-in-place and essential business mandates went into place. The street that my partner and I were riding our bikes down was entirely empty with the exception of ourselves and a trepidatious deer that had wandered in from the forest. Throughout all of the chaos of the pandemic, nature was given the chance to heal.
Timothy Johnson, Rest
photograph (archival inkjet print), 14 x 14 unframed, 20 1/4 x 20 1/4 framed, 2019, $450 (sold)
Mica Knapp, Black and Green
slate, mixed media, 9" x 12", 2022, $250
The initial impulse for Black and Green came from a desire to somehow put together old roofing slates and wool fiber that I'd spun. How would these two unlike media talk to one another? I was amazed to find what a wonderful surface slate was to work on. As I learned of its possibilities I was reminded of an artist friend who, when we were discussing how we chose media, said that he favored media that had to give back to the artist. For me, slate keeps giving and giving.
Gretchen Neff Lambert, A Group of People Partially Out of Frame
acrylic painting on canvas, 36" x 24", 2023, $3,000
My work explores sentience, identity, gender performance, physical discomfort, and the complex but potentially fruitful relationship between human creativity and artificial intelligence.
My process begins with a digital collage, combining imagery generated through artificial intelligence tools (DALL-E mini, AI text generators, etc.) and found imagery (movie and TV stills). I collect and curate this imagery as a way to examine a feeling or idea about the human experience, then use that result as a starting place for painting. From there I allow the physical qualities of the paint itself and my experience applying it to dictate the end result.
Michele LeMaitre, Resilience
original 2D interactive sculptural mixed media on premier gallery profile cradled wood panel, 36" x 36" x 1.5", 2021, Not For Sale
Water is seemingly scooped out of the ocean and splashed onto the walls in a controlled but fluid form. Representing the surface of bodies of water, the bold colors change with the movement of the viewer's body, inviting the viewer to “swim” around the works, as if being immersed in water and to be more consciously aware how one's body interacts with and feels, on a cellular level, when being in any form of water and by the artwork itself.
Jennifer Levatino, Hirsute Queen Flaxen
synthetic hair, swaledale sheep horn, cement plinth, 34” x 6” x 6”, 2022, $4,000
Through the Keratin Series, I am creating my own species, one that has evolved by paring down visual information to get to essential visual and symbolic connections between animal and human forms. My sculptures spawn from various influences, including the theories and discovery associated with Symbiogenesis, the hairstyles donned by women represented through Roman portrait sculpture and the animal remains I have collected over a lifetime on various excursions through the Yorkshire Moors and across the bogs of Connemara. These surrealistic configurations elevate the common elements that bind us and the fact that we are all made of the same gore.
Alyssa Lewanowicz, Hidden
plaster, molding paste, mylar, resin and gloss gel, 10" x 8" x 1/2", 2022, $350
My piece Hidden was created to explore the relationship between both light and dark, how different materials can be perceived under different circumstances and how that changes them. Under overhead lighting the mylar material seems to glow a yellow green hue, but when you hold up a direct light source like a phone flashlight, you are able to see the deep colors hidden beneath. Inside lies more of a pink/purple/blue undertone waiting to be found. Hidden in the monotonous white, textured landscape hidden gems lie waiting to be found. It just takes a certain light for the right colors to shine.
- Honorable Mention -
Edward Lilley, Colorama
deformed paper, angled spray paint, 18" x 24", 2022, $1,000
I have been making deep textured, three-dimensional paintings—my own innovation—that appear almost elemental in form. This is accomplished by a mix of painting and the deformation of the paper. Typically, the painted paper will finish up one inch deep. The colors vary with the viewing angle.
Madeleine Lord, Exile II
welded found steel, 42" x 21" x 27", 2022, $2,200
I created a series of figures in exile, in which all they own is memories.
Timothy McDonald, mend 1/who has seen the wind?
acrylic on panel, 14" x 11", 2022, $1,000
Rebecca McGee Tuck, Ode to Joy
reused canvas, single use plastic, recycled textiles, wool and other bits of material, 30" x 28" x 1", 2022, $1,500
Found objects, debris, trash, discarded materials: it doesn’t matter what you call it because ultimately it becomes landfill or it is lost at sea. For the past five years, I have made it my mission primarily to use these types of materials as the medium for my work. Ode to Joy is created with single use plastic food packaging, reused clothing, textiles and fibers. This collage is made up of the very materials that have haunted and inspired me. With this piece I have created a self-portrait that holds me accountable for what I use in this throwaway society.
Christopher Nicholson, Head No. 6
acrylic on fiberglass, 11" x 8" x 6", 2022, $1,500
This is one of a series of pieces memorializing friends who died during the AIDS epidemic of the 1980's in Provincetown.
Carrie Nixon, Uncertain Future
from life; oil on mylar + decorative papers (and grommets for hanging)., 24” x 24”, 2023, $500
This young man is a bright and successful local college student who faces the typical challenges of a soon-to-be-graduate. In addition, his future will involve navigating and harmonizing both his South Asian and his American identities. I took advantage of the translucency of the mylar to insert angled sheets of colored paper hinting at possible future collisions.
Karen Nunley, In Bethlehem
mixed media, 12" x 12", 2022, $325
In Bethlehem is a mixed media piece that pays homage to the Palestinian city surrounded by the country of Israel. To enter the city, coming from Jerusalem, one must present papers and pass through checkpoints with armed guards. The celebrated site of Jesus’ birth is in a grotto under the Church of the Nativity. I expected the scene to be serene, but it bustled with tourists and shops. My choice of clashing colors and confusion around an image of Madonna and child are meant to show the city within a hostile land, as well as activity around the holy site.
Kat O'Connor, All A Life
watercolor, 22" x 22", 2023, $2,900
In the organization of day-to-day life, things alter, slip, and change. The medium of watercolor is much the same. I set up a grid for structure, then aim to make circular forms with no drawn guides. I choose pigments that separate naturally and mix them with other pigments that do the same. Occasionally, my hand slips and one color bleeds into another. The pattern of that bleed changes based on the amount of pigment vs. water. The pattern of the overall image changes with the accumulation of those alterations.
Emmanuel Opoku, Portrait With Yaw Owusu
oil painting on canvas, 52" x 38", 2022, Not For Sale
This work explores my friendship and the study of Yaw Owusu, a New York based contemporary artist who makes coin art. The bow tie suggests Yaw’s diligence and careful treatment of the coins he uses for his art. Yaw's friendliness is expressed in his smiling teeth, a creative manipulation of coins ambitiously producing splendid artwork. In the painting, I stand next to Yaw with a leaf blower juxtaposed with a broccoli to implicate my status as an artist that takes smaller ideas and blows them into critical forms of art, and have consistency in creativity as Yaw Owusu.
Victor Pacheco, Invertebrate #551
bronze, 8” x 4” x 3”, 2022, Not For Sale
I observe, reflect, and evolve. My current work explores the ubiquity of plastic and current environmental concerns. In developing a studio practice that minimizes my plastic footprint, I am utilizing the remaining plastic materials in my practice to explore the interaction between nature and plastic. (Reflect) Live plants coated in plastic show rapid decay, the plastic suffocates the organic matter and replaces life with aesthetic value. (Evolve) Change of practice, bronze and aluminum prove to be a more efficient way to create work. Pieces are stable and my artist footprint in less toxic to our environment.
- Youth Committee Prize -
Sophie Pearson, Cinched
oil on linen, 30" x 40", 2022, $3,500
The Youth Prize Committee, a small group of Worcester Public high school students from across the district, came to the galleries and stepped into the shoes of a juror. Considering artistic execution, impact, and innovation, they chose to give their award--and a cash prize--to this piece by Sophie Pearson.
Jill Pottle, Four or more of ME
oil painting on canvas, 22" x 28", 2022, $2,000
I explore the humor, emotion, and relationships (emulating humans), between still-life objects. “Surprise and revelation” are what Martin Dohrn's “My Garden of A Thousand Bees” is all about. It is about looking in your own space, finding beauty and complexities. You don’t have to travel to find inspiration. Through the years I have searched for meaning in my art and have come up with concepts, that, at times, were contrived. Through direct observation of my immediate world, I find more meaning than I could invent. Just in the ordinary, by observing it, I find stories, emotion and life force itself.
Danielle Ray, Attics of our Lives
found metal, wood, wallpaper, tomatillo husks, Queen’s Anne’s lace, iron oxide, wood ash, spray paint, 38" x 14 ½" x 5", 2022, $1,500
Attics of Our Lives is a flux between the past and present and our human grappling with loss and hope for the future.
Pamela Redick, At Peace
acrylic, 30" x 24", 2022, $2,800
Joan Ryan, Chicken Little, The Sky Is Falling
oil, 45" x 42", 2022, $2,998
As a visual artist, I use painting and drawing as a critical language to explore contemporary society, politics and concepts of identity in our modern world. In my most recent works, I incorporate a wide variety of images into active layers of color, intensity, and value. These visual elements are combined with historical imagery, cartoons, childhood fairy tales and political iconography. Using visual iconography along with images of everyday life confronts the viewer at an intersection with a broad range of cultural moments.
Pamella Saffer, Harriet Tubman— Ashanti Warrior
raffia, corn husks, ecdysis (naturally shed snake skin), plant materials, 14" x 12" x 22", 2023, Not For Sale
Fearless, humble, physically powerful, Harriet Tubman possessed extraordinary clarity, an iron will and unshakable faith. Every aspect of her life exemplified the attributes of her ancestors. She possessed a profound spiritual connection with nature. She used plants for food and medicine. Her family was paramount, and extended beyond her biological relatives to all enslaved. She established lifelong relationships with all who opposed slavery, from generals to white abolitionists. Her entire life, she worked for freedom and equality for all people, including women's right to vote.
- Honorable Mention -
Brittany Severance, Puzzle Piece
archival inkjet print, 16" x 21.5", 2019, $500
As someone who is legally blind, it has been challenging to work around my visual impairment in the traditional world of photography and video. My camera allows me to communicate as a fully sighted individual and erase boundaries created by my limited vision. Its flexibility as an adjustable focusing mechanism can also allow me to simulate my low vision. My hypersensitivity to the visual elements of contrast and color counter the lack of clarity from my limited depth perception; this is reflected in my work and demonstrates how my impairment has played a critical role in my creative process.
- Ruth Susan Westheimer Prize for Fine Craft -
Suzanne Stumpf, Rock My Galaxy
sculpture (porcelain), 18" x 4.5" x 14", 2022, sold
Rock My Galaxy is a multi-component sculpture that was inspired by constellations in the Milky Way. The components can be rearranged to create many "constellations" found in our galaxy, but also to evoke new ones.
Juror's statement: "In Suzanne Stumpf’s Rock My Galaxy, the ceramic cubes literally allow one to reconfigure and rearrange real and imagined constellations however one might desire. I was struck with how these allow for continual states of transformation."
Suzanne Stumpf, Vessel (untitled)
porcelain , 4.25" x 6.5" x 5.5", 2022, $400 (sold)
Pamela Tarbell, Re-Routed #2
Facebook: PR Tarbell Fine Art, @pamelatarbell
oil on canvas, 30" x 40" x 1.5", 2022, $2,900
Exploring layers in a nonobjective design, creating alternative spaces, and visual depth.
Derrick Te Paske, Deep Blue: Star Field
lathe-turned elm, 2544 brass escutcheon pins, 19" x 12" x 12", 2018, $3,494
This piece is consistent with my long-standing interest in crafting classical forms, but with various surface treatments (pins, wood burning, modeling paste, etc.).
The title refers to the famous IBM computer and "starfield" images of the Hubble telescope. It invokes the presumed precision of the computer but spoofs this obsessively ordered display as compared with the transcendent irregularity of the night sky.
- Third Prize -
Jillian Vaccaro, Forget Me Not
handmade paper, dried flowers, acrylic, monotypes, graphite, pastel on canvas, 30" x 58", 2023, Not For Sale
My art explores my long-term memory with a focus on familial relationships. Each work functions as an emotional response to my past, and depicts the fragility and loss that permeates the act of recollecting. Before I begin a new work, I situate my mind in a previous time. I bring myself to this place through writing, reminiscing with loved ones, navigating through souvenirs and familial archives, and revisiting significant environments from childhood and my adult life. When I arrive in the past mentally, I respond with my materials and personal souvenirs intuitively.
Juror's statement: "Jillian Vaccaro’s Forget Me Not was a visually stunning example of transformation, both materially and optically. Between the ways that different materials were woven into the work and how it trailed downward, it is a work that makes you want to keep looking."
- Second Prize -
Sylvia Vander Sluis, Resting Head
red rosin paper, acrylic, 16" x 26" x 20", 2020, $850
Resting Head is a raw, emotional construction that emerged during the pandemic. A metaphor for the dualities of life, the dynamic folds of rosin paper are contrasted with the weariness reflected in the eyes and the reclining position of the head.
Juror's statement: "Sylvia Vander Sluis’ Resting Head was one of the works that surprised me most from seeing it first as a thumbnail to seeing it in person. Depending on the vantage through which one first sees this sculpture, it could appear to be a random crumbling of material or head. I was inspired how folds and creases were transformed into figurative form, while also compelling me to keep moving around the sculpture."
Steve Wage, RV Series: RV 999
acrylic and interference media on canvas, 24” x 36” , 2018, $2,400
Last piece in the RV Series timeline.
(RV= "Remote Viewing" - designation describing the cognitive process source of the content).
Mary Pat Wager, Cascade
deconstructed tank, cast stainless steel, farm implement, steel, 22 1/4" x 14" x 8", 2021, $2,400
Constantly changing technology has made most traditional farm implements obsolete. These continuous changes have greatly influenced agrarian life. The sculpture, Cascade, exhibits that ever-changing cycle of movement and change.
Bekka Teerlink, Day for Night
acrylic on canvas, 18" x 24" x 1.5", 2022, $1,100
Day for Night is about holding onto that hope that flowers will bloom again. The title was inspired by a filmmaking technique where scenes would be shot during the day and manipulated to appear dark as if was night time. In the winter, I find I have to think about plants and my garden in warmer seasons to get through the cold times.
Mark Zieff, Washed Out, Washed Up
colored pencil on Canson papaer, 24" x 18", 2022, $2,100
Washed Out, Washed Up is part of a series of drawings that explores the lasting social and environmental impact of fast fashion clothing. Though low cost, these garments come with a very heavy price tag. Fashion clothing accounts for 10% of all greenhouse gases. It also consumes one tenth of all the water used to run and clean factories - it takes 1,800 gallons of water to make one pair of jeans. Many of the chemicals used to make these garments cannot be treated and are left to accumulate in open pools in countries without strict environmental regulations.