By Megan Ruge Asst. living and arts editor
On Oct. 22, the Lore Degenstein Gallery in Degenstien Campus Center opened an exhibit featuring the Figurative Drawing and Painting Competition and Exhibition of 2016.
The competition is a national, juried visual art competition and exhibition. It features two-dimensional figurative artists—referencing the human figure— working in painting, drawing and printmaking.
Many of the pieces feature different drawing and painting mediums and techniques.
Some are comprised of charcoal drawing, acrylic painting and some even incorporate yarn and other forms of interesting dynamics, such as the use of a functioning light.
According to the Susquehanna events page, the juror this year is Judy Takacs, an Ohio figurative artist best known for her blog, book and portrait series, “Chicks with Balls,” which honors unsung female heroes.
The jurors job is to select the exhibition works from the pool of entries and the winners were announced after a small speech at the beginning of the gallery opening.
The gallery featured 63 different pieces, selected by Takacs out of 329 entries, all from different artist over the age of 18.
Five winners were chosen at the gallery opening and awarded prizes for different aspects of their paintings that the juror complimented when awarding them.
Takacs commented on how she chose these pieces and what technique she used to award the prizes.
“I looked for that spark of life, that Frankenstein jolt if you will,” Takacs said.
“I seek that human connection where the painting becomes a person. When you deliver that life blow that makes this inanimate jumble of colors or values live and breath,” she added.
Takacs began her talk by singing the first few bars of “People” by Barbara Streisand, a unique way to start a gallery talk, but instead of singing “people who need people,” she changed the lyrics to say “people who paint people are the luckiest people.” She continued by saying that the statement should apply to all artists of people, because they get to “create life where there was none before.”
Takacs went on to award the five prizes to the show winners. Fifth prize was received by Mike Manente for his piece, “The Protege.” The piece depicts an older person, with a very content, yet hardened look on his face.
Takacs chose the painting for the life she saw within it. She went on to say that she enjoyed the way the painting depicted an older person, and referred to them as the protege, as apposed to a younger person, which we typically think of.
Fourth prize was awarded to Ellen Cooper for her piece, “Light Unfolding.” The piece depicted a woman looking off into the distance. Takacs commented on the use of self-restraint in detail to bring the subject to life. Takacs called it a “gem of subtlety in managing what’s not there.”
Third prize was awarded to Geoffrey Beadle for his piece, “Inconceivable.” The juror described the piece as one where the man in the artwork is drawing what she imagines to be his wife and through his art he is making her pregnant.
“I just thought this was a very powerful composition and beautiful drawing with a lot of complexity, huge amounts of quality, a lot of mastery, imagination and whimsy,” said Takacs.
Second prize was given to Judith Peck for her piece, “Steeled.” Takacs describes the mood of the piece as “so thick you could cut it with a knife.” Takacs commented that Peck used the empty space of her piece well, making it feel not empty at all.
She said the mood and atmosphere of the subject’s face and their surroundings was strong enough to carry over into both panels of the piece.
First place and best in show went to Alexandra Tyng for her piece, “Heirs and Protecters.” The piece depicted three boys, one in the center, in a throne of sorts, and one to each side.
Takacs saw the boy in the center possibly having some sort of developmental issues and the boys to his sides being his brothers, or his protectors.
She saw the power of this piece coming from the reality of the piece, how when their parents are gone it is up to the brothers to take care of their brother who might need a little extra help in life.
Many people were in attendance at the opening reception for the gallery.
“It looks like all those who entered pieces really put their hearts and souls into every one of these paintings,” junior Zach Kane said.
“Each piece appears as if they took the time to do it,” he added.