The 43rd Annual Laurel Art Guild (LAG) Open Juried Exhibition drew 250 artists from all over Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. Just 58 of them, including three Gaithersburg-area artists, were juried into the annual exhibit held at Montpelier Arts Center in Laurel, Maryland from now until April 1.
is participating with a self portrait painted en plein air. Jackson is a member of the Gaithersburg Fine Arts Association (GFAA) and paints landscapes in Kentlands and the surrounding area.
is showing "The Tree of Life," . Parris is also a GFAA member and teaches children's art classes, including "Inspired by the Masters" and "Russian Folk Art" at the Arts Barn in Gaithersburg.
Martin Slater of Montgomery Village has a drawing, "Marjan 5," in the show. Rendered exclusively in charcoal or chalk, his work focuses on the human figure. Slater picked up drawing a decade ago after retiring from a career in microbiology at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda.
David Allen Harris, who had his first juried solo show at Kentlands Mansion in Gaithersburg is a Washington, D.C. photographer who captures the seasons with his camera. Originally from Berkley, California, he did not experience multiple seasons until he moved to D.C., he said. He is participating in the LAG exhibit with a digital photograph, "I Thought They Did Not Do Fall."
The exhibit was open to anyone from two states and Washington, D.C., with two original two-dimensional entries permitted for each applicant. The work had to be recent - from the last three years - and not previously exhibited at Montpelier. The exhibit features a wide range of media including: painting, photography, drawing, textiles, printmaking and mixed media.
An opening reception was held Sunday, March 4 to honor the award winners: Karen Peacock (1st Place); Eric Westbrook (2nd Place); Stephanie Hopkins (3rd Place); Sam Dixon (Honorable Mention); Sherill Anne Gross (Honorable Mention); Diane Shipley (Honorable Mention).
Exhibition judge and Georgetown gallery owner Norman Parish presented the winners with their awards.
He distinguished between storytelling and artmaking, emphasizing the equal importance of materials and process in a successful piece of art during his statement.
"A lot of people have stories about their art, but that's not the art. The story comes with it."
He offered a close formal critique of Parris's work, praising its design and composition and the layered craftsmanship of the tiny colorful dots that make up her imagery. As a judge, he mentioned how challenging it can be to judge the craft of an artist through a digital submission only because it is often impossible to detect texture.
He juried many of the submitted pieces into the show because of their attention to technique and creativity in reinterpreting the basic elements of visual expression like perspective and linework, he said.
Eric Westbrook (2nd Place Winner), a Washington, D.C.-based painter and illustrator who participated in the show with "Spring Reflection" strives to fit the mood and pose of a figure into an imagined landscape.
"It's less literal. It's a sort of magical realism," said Westbrook who has been working on a series.
Westbrook works as a professional artist and teaches at the Art Club of the Inter-American Development Bank and the Living Social Space in Washington, D.C. He has also taught at the Yellow Barn Studio and Gallery in Glen Echo, Maryland in the past.
Baltimore-based Stephanie Hopkins (Third Place Winner) documents mission trips around the world. She photographed "To Market," depicting young boys getting on a cart ready to go to the market in Kouluk, Senegal.
She emphasized the importance of immersing oneself into a new culture.
"Interacting with other cultures gives me a greater appreciation of everybody," she said.
Beside fine art and documentary photography, Hopkins also does wedding and event photography and portraits.
Dwight Tyler's "Blue Glance" features a close-up view of a woman looking into the distance. The Laurel-based photographer digitized a negative to render a blue hue on a longing face.
Lynn Sylvester combines Japanese shibori - a versatile ancient Japanese tye-dye method on silk - with indiginous symbology from Ghana. She will be exhibiting at Montpelier again this upcoming October in a collaborative installation of kites with Montpelier resident artist Alonso Davis. Davis will build the frames out of bamboo, and Sylvester will contribute dyed fabrics for the kites.
LAG Vice-President Diane Shipley (Honorable Mention) was responsible for coordinating the show. She also participated with "Above the Crowd," a watercolor of an architectural detail of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
According to Shipley, the LAG has around 50 members, has meetings at Montpelier once a month and offers workshops and monthly critiques to its members. The group was founded in 1967 and offers exhibition opportunities, educational programs and online gallery display options.
Gallery hours at the Montpelier Arts Center are Monday - Sunday, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
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