Saturday, June 8, 2019

Bird Tales Opening Reception

The new show at the Boatworks is for the birds, but that's no insult.  The exhibition is called Bird Tales, and the theme is indeed all about birds.  Artists were invited to submit works about birds and related things, and did they ever.  This show has over 60 pieces in a variety of mediums, filling both the front and back galleries.

This show was open to all mediums.  Various forms of painting dominated, but there are examples of sculpture (as in the above piece by Lisa Bagwell), photography, drawing, fibers, and printmaking.  The exhibition's director is Suzanne Crosby, who headed up the last bird themed show a few years ago, and the juror is Vicki Siegel, who is based in Florida.  As part of the application process, all participants were asked to provide a short statement, including a mention of what the main inspiration was for the piece- a particular artist, movement, etc, and some of this was included in the wall labels that accompany each piece.

This being a summer weekend in Belmar, the town was filling up, and as the exhibition reception was beginning, parking spaces were few.  Many of the people walking through the door mentioned the difficulty or the distance they had walked from their parking spaces to the Boatworks.  Yet people started to arrive before the official beginning and kept coming, and soon the building was quite full of visitors.

As a general rule, the more artists in an exhibition, the higher the attendance at the reception, so those more than 60 works brought in quite a crowd.  People were everywhere in the building, but as always the crowds started gathering in the back room, where the bar, refreshments, and some tables were located.

Near the halfway point, exhibition chair Suzanne Crosby introduced herself and exhibition juror Vicki Siegel, who had made the journey up from Florida for the occasion.  They in turn made the announcement of prize winning works and artists:

Honorable Mentions:
Deco Woman
Jennifer Santa Maria

Jerry Deutsch

Big Bird 2
Lisa Bagwell

Third Prize
Which came first, the egg or the emu
Sheila Kramer

Second Prize
Through the Restless Seas
Cheryl Greisbach

First Prize
Moineaux Curieux
Jill Alexander

Images of the prize winning pieces are provided by the artists as part of their entries.  Meanwhile, the award winners are all labeled there in the gallery, which is the best way to see the art anyway.

The Bird Tales exhibition remains on display during regular gallery hours and by appointment through July 13, 2019.  Admission in free.

Individual art images provided by the artists

Saturday, May 11, 2019

The Art of Bob Ross

The current show installed at the Boatworks is called "Happy Art: An Homage to Bob Ross."  Bob Ross* is not found in art history textbooks nor his work in museums, and he passed away a few decades ago, yet he continues to be an influence on artists across generations.  Ross learned to paint landscapes using a wet into wet technique, and arguably no one ever did a better job of demonstrating this skill and process on television.  For over a decade, his shows were on the air, half hour episodes in which he always managed to turn a blank canvas into a completed landscape painting, typically heavy on mountains, bodies of water, and of course, happy little trees and clouds.  These videos are still shown frequently, around the country and around the world, his English language words never overdubbed into other languages because then viewers would lose out on the opportunity to hear his mellow soothing voice.  His presence never really went away, but right now there seems to be a resurgence, with marathons of his videos on television and celebrations of his life and art in places around the country.  This week Belmar joined that category.

Endorsed art supplies go back to his lifetime, but merchandizing of his face and words has really picked up in recent years.  Our front room included this little Bob Ross shrine, and other items were found around the building.

The front room gallery has over 20 works, art that has in common that it shows the influence of
Bob Ross- style, technique, subject, etc.  Perhaps even just a "happy accident', a big part of his artistic philosophy.

Some food on tables in the front room, but most refreshments were in the back room where we traditionally keep such things.  One unique thing for today was a tray of Bob Ross brownies.  Standard brownies but with a reproduction of the artist and his work on top.

Another unique thing here today was an artist participation wall in the back, where people could add their own "happy little trees" to this group artwork.  I don't know about this idea of using markers; doesn't quite fit with the artist's typical style, but probably more practical and neater than hanging brushes full of wet oil paint.

The back gallery space also features art, again over 20 pieces, but this time the main focus was on art produced in Bob Ross themed classes.  The BAC has hosted a series of Bob Ross inspired painting classes, taught by Mark Saenger CRI,  who teaches official Bob Ross style painting. Students not only learned to make one of his traditional landscape paintings, but also had the opportunity to participate in this exhibition.

And right in the middle of the back wall there was a projection of the man himself, demonstrating one of his paintings.  It was on a loop and repeated, so if you missed part, you could catch up.  Sound turned off to not interfere with announcements, but the words don't matter much in this case- it's a visual thing.

Happy Art: An Homage to Bob Ross remains on display during regular gallery hours through June 1, 2019.  The exhibition is co-curated by Drew Leventhal and Louise Krasniewisz. Admission is free.

*the name Bob Ross and images of Bob Ross are trademarked by Bob Ross Inc.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

JAS15 Opening Reception

The latest Belmar Arts Council exhibition had its official opening reception tonight.  (the show actually opened on Wednesday, but prizes were announced tonight) This was the JAS 15, our 15th annual juried art show, the biggest and oldest art show the BAC has.  The first two occurred before we even moved into the Boatworks.  It generally draws our largest number of entries each year, and has some of the biggest prizes.  This year we had about 150 entries, from which the juror, Danielle Acerra, selected 50 pieces for the show, which fills both the front and back galleries.  Painting dominates, but many other mediums are also represented.

Not surprisingly, it is one of our best attended openings every year.  Between the artists in the show and their guests, the artists who didn't get into the show, and art lovers who just want to see the show, we always get a good crowd.  Plus people want to learn who won the prizes.

There was also art in our third gallery, the side room that is now a lounge area, but this is not part of the JAS 15.  This is actually a special exhibition just for artists who were part of the process of converting this former classroom space to a lounge area.  There was also art on the opposite walls, but the crowds around the food made it impossible to get photographs of it.

Shortly before 6pm, exhibition coordinator Denise Van Dyke and BAC co-chair Beverly Miller announced the winners of the exhibition.  Rather than awards in different categories, the juror decided to name 5 artists to share Best in Show awards.  Here are the artists and the winning pieces:

Jill Alexander

Edward Deverell
Window Light

David Dixon

Pam Malone
In The Waves

Sandra Taylor
April Skies

The exhibition remains on display during regular gallery hours and by appointment through May 4, 2019.  Parking and admission are free as always.

Images are all provided by the artists