2016 NorthStar National Watermedia Juried Exhibition


NorthStar’s 2nd Annual National Exhibition opened with a reception at Lakeville Area Art Center on October 9, 2016. Chairperson Janice Anderson began her comments with a big “thank you” to the committee members who took on commitment and risk in undertaking the enormous task involved in planning a national exhibition. Janice then introduced Juror Kerry Morgan, arts advocate and Director of Gallery and Exhibition Programs at the Minnesota College of Art and Design. Kerry Morgan noted that it was a great honor to be invited to jury the exhibition. She commended the organizers for doing an outstanding job and thanked Jill Jacobson and Susan Voigt for facilitating the process. Morgan commented on the excellent diversity of work submitted—over 260 entries. She sought to select work representing different media, subject matter, and technique and from the total submissions chose 65 pieces, all of high quality. She found the next step in identifying award winners to be a very difficult process. In deciding the award winners her overriding interest was looking for something that stood out. There was much high quality work, but something additionally compelling had to make her look at or think about it again. It might be the composition, the technique, or in some cases, both. Her comments follow (Click on the image for larger view):

diederichCheap Joe’s Award (photo right)
Ellen Diederich, “Rides By the Ocean,” watercolor
I was very attracted to this genre painting, with its de-centered composition, great attention to the form of horses, and the layering of color exquisitely done.

sweeney Wet Paint Award (photo left)
Tara Sweeney, “She Can Fly,” watercolor
This piece stood out due to large swaths of color used in the background as compared to the slight highlights of color that create excellent detail in the young girl’s hair and hands. I was attracted to the choice of composition and in particular to the white of the paper that serves as the bright light of the sun dappling the girl’s dress.


Dillman’s Creative Art Workshops Award (photo right)
Nancy Amerson, “Writing Memories,” watercolor
This composition was extremely attractive to me, especially the notable use of white space that sets off the older gentleman sitting on a park bench, with the abstracted golden yellow background. It highlights the contemplative nature of the scene.



panlener Judith Benham Art Award (photo left)
Marie Panlener, “Sails,” watercolor
I really loved the elegant geometrics of this piece, with its sea-inspired colors, and use of white to give a sense of form of both boats and waves.


jefferyHolbein Award (photo right)
Robert Jeffrey, “Bridge of Sighs,” watercolor
This Venetian scene captures a sense of the fleeting moment, with light hitting only some of the buildings in the distance. It also features an excellent depiction of water and architectural details.

lokSchmincke Award (photo left)
Kerk Hwang Lok, “Closed no. 32,” watercolor
This piece stood out due to its subject matter and technique. It is a close up of something commonly overlooked—a rusty lock and chain. In its ordinariness it is extraordinary. I say that because of the manner of painting, with the intense shadows the objects make against the wall. There is also a beautiful rendering of purple-red shadows, with the rust depicted with small touches of blue and orange.


hutchinsonArtist’s Choice Award II (photo right)
Sonja Hutchinson, “Tipping Point,” watercolor I was very attracted to the color palette of blues and oranges in the work. I liked the turbulence of the scene and the use of abstraction to convey psychological depth. I also like the sensitivity to white space that is activated.


siselAritst’s Choice Award I (photo left)
Wayne Sisel, “A Slice of Cruise Life,” watercolor and gouache
This vertical composition works so well with the content. I am really drawn to the details of people and objects that counteract the geometrics of the cruise boat’s structure.



dodgeWinsor & Newton Award (photo right)
Daisy Dodge, “Lucky Chucks,” acrylic
The unusual surface quality of this piece really stands out. The heavy textures add an interesting dimension to the subject matter, those worn Converse tennis shoes cropped in such an informal manner.  


trepanierJack Richeson Award (photo left)
Claudia Trepanier, “Radiant Skirt,” watercolor
The composition of this work really stood out, with the intense cropping used to highlight a woman’s skirt and just the toe of one shoe. I really like the sense of movement, luscious colors, and the rendering of detail by the absence of color—it is the white of the paper that makes the design.  


17450 Crippen 17448 Ducks UnlimitedArtworks Art & Frame Award (photo right)
Ken Crippen, “Old Buddies,” watercolor
I really loved this sun-drenched setting, two men on a bench outside a church, with an excellent depiction of textures, walls, doors, men. The work is technically astute. You get a sense of the everyday. The banality of subject matter is given visual grace.  


sunHolbein Award (photo left)
Dashuai Sun, “Immigrants United,” watercolor
I was captivated by the detail that serves as a counterpoint to the abstraction of the piece. I see bits and pieces of an American flag, rope, letters, numbers that seem to point to multitudes of individuals from all over the world who have made up our country. It is also slightly disturbing with the scrambled emblems of American nationalism in the foreground that occlude the darker, smaller elements in the background.

Breaking Trail (7.25 x 10)FinalNorthStar Watermedia Society, Third Place Award (photo right)
Michael Daly, “Breaking Trail,” watercolor
With so many gorgeous landscapes submitted to the show, this one stood out in its merging of the abstract with the representational. I get a sense of trees, land, sky, water, but with broad strokes of color they converge. I like the emotional depth of the work that is indebted to the excellent use of black.



palbickiNorthStar Watermedia Society, Second Place Award (photo left)
Christopher Palbicki, “Inside Parable #9, Greed is the Trap,” acrylic
Among the excellent genre works submitted, this one is both technically amazing and super smart. The use of a Monopoly game, but played by mice, with poor Mickey caught in the trap, is a comment on societal values, both humorous and biting at the same time.    

draegerNorthStar Watermedia Society, First Place Award (photo right)
Laura Draeger, “Past Perfect,” watercolor
Among the superb abstract work submitted, this is extremely ambitious. The paper itself becomes an essential part. It is cut out and elegantly creates a type of frame for the delicately rendered lines and geometric shapes. It looks like the work is folding in on itself, as there are painted areas that mimic the cut paper. The title references language, and it underscores how art in and of itself has its own language. Color, line, shape, all carry meaning, and this work seems to validate that idea on its own terms.














Here are some photo shots from the show. Thanks to Loren Kuusinen for the photographs!

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  THANKS TO OUR SPONSORS FOR THE 2016 NorthStar National Watermedia Juried Exhibition:

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