Friday, April 15, 2011

The Art Exhibit

Craig and I went to the opening reception and judge's critique last night at the art center. It was a great community event, and brought out quite a few folks to see the local artwork.

Needless to say, I didn't win this year. But, it's okay. (I knew the Peggy guy needed more work....) I made a vow in 2009 that I would keep entering until someday I won the exhibit. If it takes the next 40 years of my life, then that's what it will take. Interestingly enough - as long as I enter every time, there will always be an Akhal Teke piece in the exhibit. In 2009 I entered an impressionistic painting of Altyn 8 the Akhalt Service stallion in Russia. I'll always keep trying.....

There were 132 entries this year, and some very stiff competition. Whenever there is money on the line - it brings out the best pieces of work from everyone from just about everywhere. The judge had a really hard time deciding which pieces to give ribbons to. There were different categories that recieved award ribbons - for professionals, amateurs, teens, and people's choice voting.

I'll admit that my own personal choices of the artwork didn't recieve any awards. I'm kind-of a fan of the realistic types of works, rather than abstracts and other styles. But, I can very much appreciate a good abstract that draws me in, and there were a couple in the exhibit that were really exceptionally good. Craig and I waited in line outside for the doors to open to the exhibit.

There he is. The golden winged flying shenanigan in all his glory. He had kind-of a "greekish" vibe sitting next to the abstract stuff. He was the only realistic style of animal sculpture on display. In 2009 when I entered, there was a fish bronze that someone entered that placed very well. But this year most of the sculptures that were entered were abstract in nature.

In the opening speech, Roberta (the center co-ordinator that taught the Nag book class), introduced the judge and also gave the art entrants a good pep-talk. She said that she really appreciated the local artists coming out and showing their works to the rest of the community. It takes a lot of guts to put your stuff out on display. Most often times pieces of art are a deeply personal form of expression from people. It takes a courageous person to offer their stuff up for public viewing. Roberta exclaimed that just because something didn't have ribbon on it, didn't mean that it wasn't a good piece. There just weren't enough ribbons to go around for everyone.....

And speaking of ribbons.... I'll get into that more below. All I can say is "Wow"!!!

Roberta introduced the local judge Professor Charles Ballard who teaches art classes over in Walla, Walla, WA. at the college. His main focus was landscape works. (This explained why the 3-D pieces were off in left field.) The paintings that he placed were all a myriad of landscape types of works. There were one or two that I liked that he placed, but some I didn't fully understand. All artwork comes down to a matter of personal taste, and some of them I just didn't get. (It's not to say that they weren't good - I just didn't understand them.)

We have a nice little gallery and art center in town. I'm so grateful that it's there. It's great for the community, and something to be very proud of. The art center/gallery used to be the old public library building. The tall cathedral ceilings used to house hundreds of books and those funky old ladders to reach them with. Now it houses paintings on a monthly basis by local artists. Here are the ribbons. I was so impressed! These awards were made by inmates at EOCI here in Pendleton. We have a large correctional facility on the west part of town, and the inmates work at various activities to keep themselves busy and productive. There is a clothing line called "Prison Blues", and if you've ever seen a coat or a pair of overalls it in a department store with that label on it - it was made by inmates. It's a very good line of denim clothes. There's even an outlet store downtown that carries a full line of their clothing. I've found that the stitching and heavy denim material is very tough and hardy, and holds up well for outdoor farm and chore work.

I personally like a lot of the productive types of things that come out of the prison. I've seen a couple of paintings that inmates have done that would blow the doors off of anything in a gallery. Museum quality pieces. They have the time to spend on attention to tiny details. There's also a pet program that adopts out unwanted animals that the inmates have worked with from local shelters on obedience training. They make very good pets. Very well house trained.

The awards ribbons for the show were fabulous! All time-consuming hand stitching and design. Some of the ribbons even had intricate inlaid carved wood on the rosette parts.

Some of the ribbons had a personal touch by the individual inmate who made them. I thought this one was a bit interesting and sad. It had a little guy behind bars. I thought he was kind-of saying "Don't forget we're here..... we love art too."
One of the abstract landscapes that won a ribbon. It was a bit gloomy in nature, but I have to admit that I liked it.
A copy of a Picasso on the right.
I really liked this abstract, but it didn't win a ribbon. The red, white, and blue thickly swirled colors were gorgeous. I did a painting when I was in college that had different colors, but was very similar in style. It's probably why I liked this one so much......
Some of the realistic pieces above. The lower right side piece that had yellow in it won best of show by the judge. It was another abstract type of landscape piece with what appeared to be some sort of smoke whisping up out of it. I thought it was nice, but didn't fully comprehend the subject mater in it.
Best teen award. I used to clean the house for the family of the young girl that won this award. Her Koi painting is great! Wonderfully talented for a 13 year old girl.
Okay, I LOVED these!!!!! I was totally enamoured by these paintings. They were canvases that had a raised ripple effect and then painted on top of that. I thought they were fabulous! There were three of them in the gallery, and I seriously wished that they would've won something. I have no idea how the artists raised the canvas itself to create the ripple effect, but it was totally AWESOME!!!! They all got my vote for sure!
Another ripple painting above. Uber cool!!!!!

Another realistic piece that was very lovely. I wished that she would've won something. The shadow work was amazing in it.
I liked this Geisha painting as well. It's a very big piece, and I had to back up next to the far wall to try and get a picture of it. I've always liked the idea of a framed subject within a framed subject. It had great oriental style. Loved it!

There were beadwork, quilt pieces, stained glass, and oragamie pieces in the exhibit as well. I'm not sure how a judge would place craft types of pieces against traditional fine art pieces like paintings and sculptures. I've been too afraid to enter a leather carved piece in this exhibit, because I don't know if the judge would accept it as "art" or not. I'm not sure where the line is drawn at on that. The little wheel shaped framed piece above was beaded, and was very well done.
A vase sculpture.

Overall, the center has a great regional exhibit. If you're passing through Pendleton anytime soon, be sure and stop by and visit the gallery. It's open to everyone and free to the public. I'm already looking forward to things to come in 2013.


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