June 27, 2015
Old Fourth Ward Arts Festival
It was a great honor to review, critique and rate the talented artist participants at the 2015 Old Fourth Ward Arts Festival. As the Executive Director of AFFPS, it was unusual to have this opportunity to act as awards judge. So many unusual artisans, talented experienced and new artists created a very enjoyable event. My admiration to all for your professionalism dealing with weather issues, too!
Overall, a youthful, surprising collection of art and craft ideally suited to the area demographics. Some top tier talent and some very inexperienced participants lent an atmosphere of optimism and exuberance to this art show.
Top Award Winner selections:
Best of Show, Fine Art: Dove McKenzie, Painting (booth 48)
1st Place Overall: Paul Freundt, Metal (booth 64)
2nd Place Overall: Obayana Ajanku, Jewelry (booth 8)
3rd Place Overall: Russell Colegrove, Photography (booth 58)
Best of Show, Craft: Steven Meadows, Sculpture (booth 11)
Honorable Mention: Avril Gordon, Jewelry (booth 19)
Honorable Mention: Alan Tuttle, Painting (booth 39)
Honorable Mention: Coren Casey, Fiber (booth 80)
Directors Choice: Janine Monroe, Painting (booth 83)
About the winners:
Alan Tuttle: These are large scale paintings done with acrylic paint on canvas or board. The most successful series is air-directed, creating vibrant, etherial abstracts with a fluid effect. Well presented; simple, clear approach.
Avril Gordon: This jeweler utilizes an extremely modern approach to design using mixed metals. It’s all about the composition and construction. Wearable art with an edge.
Coren Casey: This was a difficult choice. Coren uses her very raw and individual style to create leather wearables, bags and accessories, but the addition of embellishment by burning designs into the larger pieces is quite artful and a great compliment to the product design. While technically a collaboration, the line is cohesive and imaginative.
Dove McKenzie: The palette knife work is so delicate, it appears to be multiple layers, but it is not. Ms. McKenzie is a skilled technician with a highly refined sense of color, balance and design. Her body of work is cohesive and well presented with a range of floral, abstract and landscape themes. There is a subtle nod to the classic style of VanGogh. This work appears as a fully realized gallery of high value and would be an asset to a forward thinking conservative fine art institution.
Obayana Ajanaku: A master of design and construction, Obayana translates complex tribal and symbol designs into fine metals and stones. The finishes are perfect and designs classic. This complex work sets the standard for other jewelers to achieve the simplicity and elegant overall work.
Paul Freundt: This metal work transcends functional construction. Whether an architectural metal bench or chair, table with wood surface, these sculptural pieces show the mark of genius reminiscent of Frank Gehry and Frank Lloyd Wright. Excellent balance complimented with surprising surface and comfort. This is investment art.
Russell Colegrove: This accomplished photographer sets a high standard for his depiction of landmarks and landscapes, however an innovative new series of circular compositions is extraordinary. These are geographically related composite images that are intriguing in many ways and may take the viewer and enjoyably long time to absorb.
Steven Meadows: Repurposed found objects can be tricky business, but these sculptures vary from the whimsical to the weighty with surprising themes and materials. Truly the mind of a great artist combined with the skills of a sculptor.
- Lisa Alize, Metal: these cutaway designs are headed to commercial success. Great stand alone construction.
- Robin Canady, Jeweler: simple, perfect silver wire compositions. Excellent articulation.
- Robert Jones, Photography: high praise for this well displayed collection of atmospheric photos in large scale. Beautifully filmed, perfectly displayed.
- Spoon, Painting: These deceptively simple paintings effectively maintain the threshold of minimalism.
- Janet McGregor Dunn, Ceramics: the slab work compositions are imaginative and unique. Some are functional but many are to be appreciated simply as artistic accessories. The glazes have an organic appearance that are earthy and subtle.
- Steve Boykin, Painting: these figurative works are highly skilled and well executed, but the subjects may be overly familiar.
- Chris Mason, 2D Mixed Media: this is an artist in transition whose imaginative constructs utilizing thematic photography with found objects is evolving into a powerful assemblage.
- Marc Villanueva, 2D Mixed Media: the new round shapes are begging for installation. The vibrant color, use of minerals and shapes form an intriguing collection.
- Mike Denier, Painting: while the camouflage animals in these works are eye catching, the backgrounds done in monochromatic watercolor are perfectly executed and not to be overlooked.
- Tom Chambers, 3D Mixed Media: this is the artist chosen for the event billboard for a reason. His assembled color blocked works with branches is identifiable, clean and modern.
- Julia Benson Slaughter, Jewelry: the glass beads are made by the artist, as are the chain maile bracelets, pendants and more. A gifted, multi-talented artisan.
- Jerome Vason, Painting: the June Bugs have color, shape and appeal.
- Masayuki Sasaki, Ceramics: these small works are subtle yet simply lovely with pastel glazes and designs.
- Britt McDermott, Painting: the theme of a trout ‘eating’ little houses begs an explanation. Transitional skills to watch.
- Lisa Gastineau, Jewelry: this artist’s engaging personality shines as brightly as her beadwork, but the bezels and metal work need polishing.
- Ethan Lillimoe, Ceramics: the open weave designs this artist is known for continue to delight. His new firing technique is something to watch evolve.
- Laura Wellem, 2D Mixed Media: simple, decorative compositions of color and material in good taste.
- Kevin Harrington, Wood: Not to be missed artistic wood boxes and wall compositions. Great attention to artistic detail.
- Paul Fontana, Painting: encaustic works evolving into identifiable style by the artist who recently transitioned from painting to wax. One piece in particular shows great control and design as landscape.
- Tonya Crowe, Jewelry: simple wire wrapping becomes instantly wearable artful jewelry in the best presented booth at the show.
- Luis Martinez, Painting: these watered acrylic paintings are notable abstracts.
- Timothy Weber, Ceramics: the primitive raku and carving are exemplary art pieces.
- Jeff Laibson, Painting: musically influence abstracts in brilliant cacaphonic color.
- Chris Strawbridge, Painting: excellent mark making over simple color washes on canvas make this a painter to watch.
- Jeffrey Kennedy, 3D Mixed Media: the interactivity is irresistible and clever animal themes are imaginatively constructed.
- Willie Schofield, 2D Mixed Media: the new works incorporating music themes, and materials are worth watching. The ‘strings’ are subtle.
- Michael Banks, Painting: this artist is in transition in a sculptural direction. The new works are unfinished but will be a powerful, well constructed new collection.
- Fred Wise, Painting: these small watercolors have an ingredient of unfinished magic, begging to be enlarged so the viewer can step in.
- RL Brethauer, 3D Mixed Media: driftwood with metal sail boats are understated, polished and organic. Well constructed, beautifully presented.
- Barry Summers, Jewelry: dichroic glass with excellent original design.
- Janine Monroe, Painting: sawdust is used to buildup the surface of these figurative works. Drawing skills are excellent. This artist is worth watching as she evolves and becomes identifiable.
- Todd Hanes, Photography: new, larger works set the photographic standard. He is officially a top tier artist.
- Sandra Hall Brown, Painting: a folk artist whose best work shown was done on a spoon, hopefully to stir the magic.
- Tonya Wynn Locklear, Fiber: well designed and constructed leather bags that have a personal yet professional appeal.
- Mark Caldwell, Metal: deceptively simple, these small, well painted ‘yard art’ sculpts are begging to become kinetic.
- Thomas Swofford, 2D Mixed Media (Emerging Artist): impressive drawing skills.
- Suan Poindexter, Photography (Emerging Artist): photo transfers on fabric are intriguing.
- Tim Kuhlman, Wood: the perfect, natural wood bench in every way.
- Jamie Smith, Jewelry: simple copper leaves and shells are well used; the plated message on the back of the pendants is charming.
- Melanie Palmrose, Handcraft: these fiber ‘cement’ containers with embellishment are imaginative and innovative.
About the Judge:
Patrick Dennis is the Executive Director of the Atlanta Foundation for Public Spaces, and a painter. Click here for his online bio at www.patrickgallery.com.