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  • By Carol Taylor-Kearney

Summer: A Time to Meet New Artists!

Part 2: Cerulean Arts 7th Annual Juried Exhibition

As galleries enter the summer months of June and July, many group exhibitions appear on their schedules. Some are “themed”, some are based on a renowned artist or critic choosing the works to be presented, some do both. This is a perfect condition as newly minted “students” and emerging artists have received their bona fides and are beginning to network and build their professional resume while mid-career and even established artists are looking to make new connections. In both cases, for artists, seeing artwork outside the studio and amongst other artworks can create new associations, new imaginative possibilities. So, I was very excited when I received the invite to attend the opening for Cerulean Arts Gallery’s 7th Annual Juried Exhibition.

Announcement for Cerulean Arts' 7th Annual Juried Exhibition

Jane Irish was the juror for the 7th Annual Juries Exhibition. The artists in this exhibition are Kate Brockman, Bill Brookover, Paul Campbell, Shannon DeAngelis, Brian Dennis, Corinne Dieterle, Steve Donegan, Charles Emlen, Mindy Flexer, Daina Higgins, Betty Kim, Susan Leshnoff, Janice Merendino, Ilene Rubin, Sudyut Sinha, Edward Snyder, Karen Steen, Karen Toff, Elie Porter Trubert, Hong-Bich Vernon, Louise Vinueza, Keith Vogrin, and Robert Zurer.

As with most juried exhibitions, I expect to see artwork that fits within the purview of the juror. Jane Irish is a skilled painter and ceramicist known for her objects as well as installations most focusing on sociological and political issues— especially the Vietnam War. Twenty-seven pieces out of over 400 were chosen and they include drawings, paintings, sculpture, photography, print, mixed media, and even found object.

Left-side wall 7th Annual Juried Exhibition from the entry

Side wall of Cerulean Arts' 7th Annual Juried Exhibition

Standouts in drawings include Layered Triangles #12, ink on paper by Bill Brookover.and Janice Merendino’s mixed media Grandmom’s Orchid. Representational paintings consist of Corinne Dieterle’s quaint Geraniums and Spider in His Peaceable Kingdom, Daina Higgins’s regionalist Auto Maxx Motors, Ridge Avenue, and the strange and moody Approaching Storm by Keith Vogrin. Abstraction and near abstract paintings by Robert Zurer in Animal Biologist and Mindy Flexer’s Tumbling move the eye around—even out of—the picture plane. Brushwork that develops to a complicated scene appears in Ilene Rubin’s blue monochrome, Moonlight Sonata (which reminds me of the room paintings Irish installed at Lemon Hill) and the simpler and colorful Nursery Cup by Louise Vinueza. Prints range from Hong-Bich Vernon’s emotive, black-and-white lithograph called Exodus to Steve Donegan’s intricate and delicate Three Hands printed on cotton thread to Brian Dennis’s Vanish(ing) S #3, a digital print made up of various parts, mostly blue with a sliver of orange. . Photography has both black-and-white examples with quiet messages, even haunting metaphysics such as Edward Snyder’s

Right-side wall from back  of Cerulean Arts' 7th Annual Juried Exhibition

Abandoned Angel and Under the Betsey Ross Bridge along with Girls at the Lakeside by Sudyut Sinha which is painted in Gauguin-like colors. Sculpture, too, had a great deal of range in this show. Kate Brockman presents a bronze female figure carefully balanced and pivoting on a bar; Special Method by Charles Emlen is funky— part lamp-shape, it also resembles either a lab contraption or, perhaps, a percussion piece. (I do want to tap the side panels!) Parts to a Whole by Karen Steen layers stained paper, cardboard, and plexi-glass into

Right-side wall from front of Cerulean Arts' 7th Annual Juried Exhibition

3-dimensions reminiscent of Frank Stella’s relief paintings. An assemblage by Betty Kim called Father is both a conceptualization and a abstract depiction of a portrait. A steel circle like a Happy Face has layers of pieces of clothing tied by gold thread or wire inside the top of the ring. Sections of woven cloth from shirts and sweaters, trousers and jackets including leather and glass buttons recall the day to day of life. Two unusual entries flanked the two ends of the right-hand wall of the gallery. In the front, near the windows is Karen Toff’s Claud Monet Philadelphia Museum of Art, an obvious tribute-piece with the clean color, short brushstrokes of one of Monet’s landscapes and the words printed across the top half of the work. Near the counter, I am guessing for safe-keeping, is Elie Porter Trubert’s Fuck 1. Comprised of a turkey tail mushroom and a twig with the word “fuck” spelled out in miniature. My feeling is that it expresses the feeling of someone who might be using turkey tail mushrooms (they are thought to assist in fighting cancer) or a token saved as a talisman.

Dickens by Paul Campbell

Three artworks were singled out for prizes. Third Place was Dickens, a silver gelatin photograph by Paul Campbell. Silver gelatin photographs are a very careful and technical process that lead to an image with the varied grays and contrasts as seen here, and therefore, lovely light. Compositionally, this

piece is very sophisticated. The hand and the top od the book lift forward, off the picture plane into the viewer's space. The relatively clear leg and knee not only act as a curve that supports the hard edges of the book but also slides us in a diagonal into and just under the book. Fuzzied, and consequentially pushed into the background is the rest of the female figure, a torso enclosed in a shirt. The shirt is a tailored, mensware-type; the body exposed shows the breast of a woman. There is a story inside that shirt just as there is a story inside that book-cover.

Drawing No. 12 by DeAngelis

Shannon DeAngelis was awarded 2nd prize for her work Drawing No. 12. Fashioned of graphite and ink on paper, sections of lighter under-drawing and darker over-drawing combine to make the scene of a slightly disheveled bed with a flowery coverlet. Not only is this a drawing of many patterns in mark-making and

decorative charm but in DeAngelis’s method exhibits the thinking process of the artist. Close up I see graphite lines and squiggles over which the heavier ink is applied. The ink does not necessarily follow the graphite marks. This, and the lumpiness of the coverlet and pillow, lead to a sense, once again, that there is more to this story, that there may be a hidden message in this very ordinary scene.

Sudyut Sinha with his First-Prize winning artwork New Orleans

First prize belongs to Sudyut Sinha, for one of two of his entries selected for exhibition. In this artwork, New Orleans, Sinha has created a representational scene of a modular-constructed diner or house flanked with palm trees in back and a landscape in the front. The building is in black and white, the windows dark. This leads to a sense of mystery, even abandon. There are many unusual touches to this work. Pieces of shell enhance the trunks to the palm trees and the panels on the structure. Painted tiles not only form a wall pushing the viewer back from the interior building but also bring to mind the levees and dams that have flooded.

The exhibition is, unfortunately, only until July 27th. But the artwork can be viewed and purchases from

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