The lobby and hallway were filled with artists and art lovers/lookers on Sept. 26 when the Lone Tree Arts Commission hosted a reception/awards announcement for its 17th Annual Art Expo, featuring 61 works of art, selected by juror Doug Kacena from a total of 217 entries in a variety of mediums.
The exhibit runs through Nov. 26. Art exhibit lighting at Lone Tree Arts Center has improved greatly in the main lobby, compared to the earliest days of the show, though the long hallway still does not present pieces of art in the best light and/or space as it goes on and on …
Sculptures, few in number, are exhibited at the far end of the lobby, and not well-lighted. Perhaps a few well-designed pedestals or cases that might stand near the paintings would enhance all concerned. I realize that traffic issues may drive the current placement.
A string quartet from the Lone Tree Symphony provided soft, elegant background music as people looked, nibbled and awaited a talk by the juror.
Kacena, a local abstract artist, gallery owner and teacher, is recognized for offering special support to disabled artists. He said he was honored to be invited to serve as juror and puzzled about how the small images he saw while jurying would each look on the wall at full size.
“You have created a range of artwork,” he said and his printed statement said: “The works that resonated with me began with unique subject matter and were well finished and skillfully executed. I believe the viewers will get a glimpse of my unique aesthetic as they approach the work.”
Located at the juncture of lobby and hallway is the striking Best of Show: “Gucci Boston # 1” by hyper-realist painter Rob Gratiot, whose command of his medium is really astonishing. He is known for his renditions of architectural images, with shining, transparent glass, and polished brass, with intricate layers of interior and exterior images — and this painting illustrates his skill: elegant, mysterious, so very engaging … with a story of yesterday and today reflected. “Gucci, Boston #1” depicts the glitz of today's high-fashion business and a reflection of the historic Boston architecture across the street-stylish in its time. Fine storytelling!
Viewers just stood there—staring.
We found an Art Gym interview that quoted the artist recalling a childhood with a father, uncle and grandfather who were painters. They taught him and looked through art books with him … “I see the world on several levels,” he said. “So much of my art is solving problems — I enjoy the tough crosswords and sudokus and I like having tough problems to solve in canvases.” He published a recent book about his work: “11 Reflections: the Art of Robert Gratiot,” in April 2018.
Each award winner is invited to exhibit five examples of their work in an exhibit to follow this one — watch for an announcement.
Other awards selected by Kacena include: Drawing: first — “Quiet River” by Marcie Cohen; second — “Lily” by Barbara Veatch. Mixed Media: first — “Never Known,” a cooperative abstract work by Matt Hedrick and Craig Marshall Smith; second — “Winter Road” by Dawna Quillin. Painting: first — “Alone Together” by Elizabeth Rowland; second — “Eloise” by Raven Rohrig. Sculpture: first — “Turn Your Back to the World,” a small bronze piece by Rik Sargent; 2nd-“Ising Illusion or My Grandfather's Head” by Bennett Onsager. Watercolor: first — “The Quilter,” a beautifully executed bit of nostalgia by Craig Davis; second — “Onamia” by Cindy Welch, which tells a family story, she said, focused on the old weathered mailbox.
Honorable mentions in painting were awarded to Rachel Saunder's “Blue Palomino” and to Ralph Nagel for “Les Baux VI.”
The catalogue printed by the commissioners divides the 217 submitted works: Sculptures — 27 submitted, eight invited. Paintings — 117 submitted, 33 invited. Mixed media — 41 submitted, 13 invited. Drawing — 17 submitted, four invited. Watercolor — 15 submitted, three invited. A total of 61 pieces by 48 artists were invited to be exhibited in the 17th Annual Lone Tree 2018 Art Expo.
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