Awards Judge Statement
I want to thank the Board of MySLArt.org and Executive Director Jenny Churchill for inviting me to serve as Awards Judge for the recent “33December” exhibition. It was my pleasure to work with this exciting organization and to have so many strong artworks presented to me for consideration.
I would like to acknowledge the MySLArt volunteers who determined what artworks went where—the people who curated & installed the exhibit are to be commended. The final presentation and installation of the show was done very well and with consideration.
The 33 artists whose works were featured in this show hail from many of walks of life & experiences and it was such a pleasure having the opportunity to meet & talk with many of them at the opening reception. Some of the artists I’d only ever seen their work before but not had the chance to meet them in-person, so this was a great opportunity to meet them and many others, too.
The 90+ featured artworks on display in “33December” represented quite a vast array of media including photography, collage, painting, mixed media, photography, and ceramic sculpture. It was a most impressive exhibit from which I had to may my selection for a Best in Show award. All of the artists in the exhibit should be congratulated for their hard work, doing what they love, finding inspiration, creating something out of nothing, taking something that they see or something in their head and putting that on paper or making it out of clay or paint—that is just incredible.
Of particular note, I want to mention the following artists whose works were particularly impressive and who I recommend you pay close attention to these folks—St. Louis is a big small town and these artists are doing really good work and will hopefully have the opportunity to exhibit (and sell) their works in all sorts of places around the region, so look for them when you have the opportunity: Tamara Peeples’ paintings are interesting, quirky & full of life; Ann Aurbach’s photographs are lovely and she knows how to look—a most important thing for a photographic artist; Matt Bird, who was awarded an individual artists’ grant from Regional Arts Commission this past Fall, makes mixed media scenes from his very interestingly-lived life; ceramist Ron Toile is making sculptures like I’ve not seen in StL; Dale Wilke’s large red painting was lovely; Peggy Franz is an adventurous photographic artist and her image of the Lion was superb; Mark Witzling’s portraits were refreshing and although I enjoy his large abstract pieces a lot, these works show that he is an accomplished artist in a whole other style; SCAIC student Marisa Drewes has a confident style for one of such a young age; Pablo von Lichtenberg’s multi-media montage’s were nicely done & incorporate bits of art history that tell interesting stories; Den Smith focused on cow skulls for this show—his work always succeeds; Terri Willits’ focus is consistent and her mixed media work is seriously strong; Steve Hartman’s paintings are just plain lovely as are Eileen Milford’s; there were others whose names I am forgetting, so I apologize for failing to mention everyone in the show.
Congratulations to Rafael Hurtado, whose works I selected for the Best in Show—he is a talented young artist and I was drawn to his paintings as I walked in the Gallery door. It actually took me over 3 hours to make my final Award selection, but I went with my gut and it was his work that struck me as deserving of the Best in Show Award for this exhibition.
Thank you for this opportunity to work with MySLArt and have the opportunity to see new art & meet some new artists.
—Robin Hirsch-Steinhoff, Artistic Director, Art Saint Louis