“Forward 2012” juried art show at Charles Allis
When you open a survey of art via a juried competition for artists in all visual (fixed) art mediums, you open yourself up to a wealth of possibilities. A single juror, in this case Racine Art Museum curator Lena Vigna, must sift through 250 .jpegs representing paintings, paper art, photographs, sculptures, and other media to decide who should be represented. In the end, it’s a mixed bag of well-known (Amy Misurelli Sorenson and Katie Musolff) and lesser-known Wisconsin artists.
Many of the selections in this biennial edition are what you might expect as a reflection of Wisconsin. In the main hall where maximum-sized (up to 48″x48″) works hang, there are cows, in a work called Incline by Craig Blietz, and there are minimalist watercolor landscapes such as Verge by Harry Wirth.
Up on the second floor’s tight but winding two rooms used specifically for this event, there are more surprising 3-D works, such as the keys-as-brass knuckles piece called Lady-Like Defense by Lizzie O’Driscoll and colorful paper mask called Babooma by Michael Velliquette. There are also a few works I have seen other places, as well as a few that blend into the wall paint.
There is a strong run of whimsy and evocation of classic forms in this batch of artworks, with few chances for outrage or discovery. Perhaps it is the limitation of the art submissions — all the pieces must be ready to hang, kept under glass frames if delicate, framed with few exceptions, and there is no functional art, video, film, or installation allowed. On top of that, the Charles Allis has only a limited amount of space and lighting for a full-range survey in a mansion otherwise filled with antiques and 19th century furniture. It is a show that you would rather see in a wider space such as INOVA or even the MAM.
During the opening night reception on Friday, March 2, there were some prizes awarded:
$1000 Friends of Charles Allis Grand Prize
Michael Velliquette – Babooma
$600 Award of Excellence
Sarah Stonefoot – Ladies in Red (1800 Ladybugs)
Sandra Murzyn – Bon Bons, Rehearsal Group #3
$400 Margaret Rahill Memorial Award
Yevgeniya Kaganovich – Double Mouth Pieces 22/23/24
$200 Honorable Mention Award
Stephanie Copoulos-Selle – Small Books of Pets and Small Books of Pests
$100 Director’s Choice Award
Edmund Mathews – The Gathering
$100 Viewer’s Choice Award
Jacqueline Trotter – A Selection from Pugs in Cognito
For hours including a second reception during April Gallery Night, visit the Charles Allis Art Museum website at charlesallis.org.