I’m so glad I hauled myself up to Novato for the opening reception of the 2103 Summer National Juried Exhibition at the Marin Museum of Contemporary Art where my painting Blue Corset is on exhibit for the next 6 weeks! The drive itself was much better than I’d expected – I loved crossing the Richmond – San Rafael Bridge which lies low and intimate over the broad expanse of the sparkling San Francisco Bay and shoots you out into Marin’s rolling farmland of the Lucas Valley. Not far off the highway is Hamilton Field, formerly known as the “Hollywood of Air Force Bases”. It now houses the museum in the Novato Arts Center in a 1932 Spanish Colonial stunner surrounded by magestic palms, tended gardens and other period buildings, one used as a bistro, another as a theater.
I love the Spanish Colonial Porticos that flank the main entrance with all the lovely period details!
This is the gorgeous foyer of what used to be the headquarters for the Hamilton Air Force Base. I wish I got a better shot of the painting of an arial view of the base that you can just about make out above the door. I must have been distracted by the strawberries and brownies! OK, here’s a photo I cleaned up a bit, still blurry but charming none the less.
This show was juried by George Rivera, a pillar in the arts community in the Bay Area. He just recently announced that he’ll be stepping down from his position as Executive Director and Senior Curator of the Triton Museum of Art where he’s been working for the last 28 years and focus on his own painting and plans to continue to teach. He’s taught and mentored so many artists in our community!
I had resigned myself to the fact that juror’s don’t show up to these receptions of exhibitions they judge, after all, it is an immense amount of work to go through all the submissions and carefully judge each piece on its own merits. I’d probably be good and tired of looking at anything by the end of the process. Imagine how delighted I was when I discovered that George Rivera had come to deliver an inspiring address about his experience of jurying in general and of this show in particular! He spoke how each piece is assigned a number, (5s 4s and 3s) based on proficiency, aspects like technique, composition, freshness, consistency. The 5s had all of this in addition to something more that moved him, a point of view, much like great literature, a voice in which everything seamlessly supports what the artist was trying to convey. He said that having a lot of time to jury the work enabled him to enter each piece individually and learn its foreign language, like an opera in which he didn’t need to know each word to be moved to tears. How beautiful is that?! He said juried shows typically have a combination of 5s and 4s selected but in this national show there was so much quality work that they were all 5s and that all the artists had solo show experience and multiple awards or would in their future. He also encouraged artists whose work was not selected to email him for a personal critique -always the generous mentor!
I was honored to have George Rivera speak with me personally about my painting. In fact, I was so excited, let’s see if I can even remember what he said!
He spoke of how sometimes the background of a portrait fails to hold up its end of the painting, maybe it’s treated in a different hand, or distracts your attention or fails to contribute to the portrait in any meaningful way. He felt that in this case there was a nice interaction with the portrait, lending layers of context without competing for attention. He talked too of the intriguing contrast of the bold tattoo and the softly demure dress and pin, this combined with her challenging gaze and strength of character made for a dramatic work.
My friend Mei-Ying Dell’Aquila was awarded an honorable mention for her oil painting Knowledge from History. Can you pick out all the historical figures on her chessboard? Way to go Mei-Ying!
Here she is with husband photographer Ron Dell’Aquila and artist Kristen Lindseth-Rivera.
Lynette Cook explaining her precise painting techniques in her work, Connecting The Dots In My Life.
In this middle room you can see Sondra Schwetman’s sculpture Pain Train reigning over the floor and catch a glimpse of first place winner Glenn Carter’s Transparence on the back wall and Tom Gehrig’s Reconnoitering Site #1 to the right which was awarded second place.
Artist Kate Marsh with her friends in front of her oil painting Berryessa, CA #1.
George Rivera talking with Kate Marsh about her oil painting Berryessa, CA #1.
I wanted to include some of the fantastic work from the exhibition that I was quite taken with, click on the image for links to the artist’s work:
Thanks to Mei-Ying and Ron Dell’Aquila for sharing in the transport of the works and for the great photos (and company) What would the arts be without a community?!