There's a great art happening going on in Grand Rapids, Michigan these days. The public is voting. The jurors are voting--for the best of 1536 entries in an art competition that will rival Florida's Basel. The two cash prizes to be awarded October 12th are over a quarter of a million dollars each. I've been following the festivities carefully online via the ArtPrize app and have chosen my favorites in the Two Dimensional (2D) group. The winner will be revealed in the next few days.
Soldier by Susan Opton, a portrait, on an oversized canvas, in oil.
Autumn's Passage, by Fritz Hoendervanger, on an oversized canvas, on oils.
Perspective, by Mark Middleton on an oversized canvas in acrylic.
Gabriella, by Armin Mersmann, on an oversized canvas, in graphite.
Outcry, by Gretchyn Lauer. On an oversized canvas, in oil.
I can't decide which one of these fine artists should win the prize for two dimensional work. Todd is rooting for his mentor, Mersmann's Gabriella. I'm in awe of them all. After nearly a year of studying Alla Prima, wet into wet spontaneity, note that none of these paintings I, and the voting public and art jurors, selected are done in the gestural style. Even though you and I know one has to be able to do this to do the other well, It seems that both laymen and professionals marvel ultra-realism. If pushed to choose, I would choose Soldier. It's poignant to life today. My second choice is Perspective. It's a great play of oversized and miniature--and that's a great idea.
There's another 2D piece that the crowds and jurors favor as a top contender for the prize in this catagory. I disagree. I don't think it belongs; it's made out of glass mosaics on five panels. It was not done with a brush. It's a construction, not a painting, even though the ultimate effect is that of a painting and the woman's glass tile selection and cutting skills is obvious. I am hoping this entry that is so pastoral, it's kitch, is eliminated. It's by Sandra Bryant. Sorry Sandra deer romping through the woods is so sweet, it makes me gag. This is a mural for a hotel.
About Grand Rapids, Michigan, the town, the art competition:
Grand Rapid's ArtPrize is a competition that is in it's sixth year. Artists from all over the world are invited to participate and do. Grand Rapids, Michigan is a charming town two hours from my home. It is Gerald Ford's home town. It is the home of Amway and its founders, the DeVos brothers and Meijer's, the giant, one stop, 'thrifty acres' stores. The Meijer Sculpture Gardens is lovely and impressive, so I hear; I've yet to get there. Ellis and I go occasionally for the art when there is an exhibit of interest in the Grand Rapid's Museum, or I feel like a ride on the carousel in The People's Museum. Grand Rapids is an art town with charming Victorian architecture and trendy bistros. It's a charming get away close to home. The Meijer family and the DeVos family are putting it on the world art map and the world is paying attention.