Upstream People Gallery

12th Annual Abstraction Juried Online International Art Exhibition

Juror's Statement | Return to Exhibition

This showcase about abstraction reveals a rather vast range of expression, style and media which gives a level of interest as found in many group shows. Many sculptures and paintings are masterful indeed.

Following are some general comments by the juror, which speaks to the artistic skill and the level of significant conceptual strength of the works deserving of special recognition.

MICHAEL D. BIGGER of Minneapolis, Minnesota has some intriguing sculpture pieces, including “Bronze Totem” which is very strong by his using powder coated aluminum. “Tsunami” brings to mind the tragedy of the recent tsunami. The blue color and the rippling effect adds to the expression and moreover the eighteen feet height makes it even more impressive, together with the diagonality. And perhaps the red color and the number of interrelated parts makes his “Cotulla” a very dynamic work!

ANTARCTICA BLACK of the Township of Washington, New Jersey has an understanding of line and texture which shows in her works. Most compelling is the extended work entitled “Evaporated Universe” whereby the front view is different from the back view. The piece “Lenore’s Spider” expresses well in her own fashion. This work shows a kind of eerie movement brought out by the shadow effects.

PAM BREKAS of Gardnerville, Nevada captures some rough textural surfaces and “Bodie Rust” is a good example. The play of warm on the right and cool on the left makes this work even more. With some sense of volume, “Skagway 2” with one part extending over to the other side, seems interactive and the flat and dimensional are a good combination.

ELINORE BUCHOLTZ is very much an abstract expressionist. One of her strong acrylic paintings is “Balance” which shows gestural brushwork movement. Another rich work is “Child’s Play” with the strength created in bright color and playful linear movements. And “Expansion” is very strong with the number of bright colors and various controlled directions.

DEBORAH JEAN BURDIN of Colorado Springs, Colorado uses mixed media and the most successful is her rather symmetrical work called “Unveiled Intentions”. The geometric circular parts together with the overlay of fluid brushwork movements is quite rich visually.

ALLISON B. COOKE of Milwaukee, Wisconsin presents a very strong mixed media and encaustic work entitled “Cadence”. The multi-textural areas with the complementary color works quite well.

MARY SEWELL COOPER of La Veta, Colorado has some interesting creative pieces as seen in the work “Ancestor”. The mixed media treatments with the central figure with dark and light contrast, together with the loose line is dramatic.

ASHLEY DuROSS of Petersburg, Alaska delves into Geometric Abstraction. Her “American Beauty” is beautifully defined in oil and the bold and subtle, warm and cool make this really work. Her piece “Double Escape” in its horizontal presentation is rather arresting, indeed, using a similar color palette of saturated complementary colors with black and white.

JOHN EATON of Aptos, California photographs the unusual as seen in the near symmetrical piece “Abstract Glass #3”. Another strong photograph is “Abstract Glass #4” with the light circular imagery centered amidst the dark, in a good square format. Also, “Abstract Glass #6” is kind of mysterious looking.

MARGARET P. EVANS of Shippenburg, Pennsylvania gives the show her “Everglades” series. The digital photograph “Everglades 2” is realistic but in the reflections on the water, it looks nicely abstract. The small spots of light sky blue and the small amount of rust color adds greatly. The work “Pink Dogwood” in color and “White Dogwood” in gray scale, are both wonderful abstractions because of the focused areas and the sfumato areas working together.

NICK FRANCO of Glendale, Arizona is able to create gradation and tonal contrasts in watercolor. “Baila” is one of those sensitively controlled works with a central linear movement. And his piece in oil and acrylic called “Flux” is strong in terms of the concept and the focus and unfocused background. This piece also works because of the warm, controlled rendering of the centererd linear movement contrasted with the cool, loosely painted background.

SHEILA GRABARSKY of Waretown, New Jersey works with a lot of mixed media to her advantage. How wonderful of an expression is “Flying Dog”, a figure/ground relationship with rich textural treatments throughout! “Summerscape” is rather jubilant indeed with the curvilinear areas of warm and cool with yellow as the star for summertime. And her “Fantasy Garden 7” is a great abstract interpretation.

LISA GRAHAM of Arlington, Texas shows her expertise in her digital print “Crane #49” which shows a unique manipulation. This one shows the directional force of the bird moving to the left and the more intense magenta counter balancing on the right. This shows a good use of open and tight patterning.

DENIS HAGEN of Wheaton, Illinois shows his adeptness in all of his works. “Andiamo” is quite arresting in terms of the abstraction, the large diagonal and small patterned lines coupled with the overlapping which gives the illusion of depth. This development is also successfully read in the achromatic work “Slate”. And “Tattoo 2047” is outstanding with all the colors and the movement he created with his manipulation skill!

FRANK HOEFFLER of Germantown, Wisconsin succeeds well in his piece “Traveling” which shows a great intensity with the overlapping and number of string-like lines, all done in oil. This work shows a lot of energy.

RON JANOWICH of New York, New York has an interesting concept dealing with “Morning Pages”. One of the strongest is the light and dark contrast seen in “Morning Pages #1”. The blurry effect adds to the idea of the morning time. Another effective one is “Morning Pages #2”. These seem reminiscent of the overall pattern painting period.

HUGH JONES of Arlington, Virginia submitted some realistic imagery but with a good sense of overall abstraction. “Bridge at Halong Bay, Vietnam” is strong, especially considering the vantage point where the picture was taken. And “Mekong Delta Arrangement” is very Eastern looking and nicely arranged in the view finder. Also, “Primate, Hanoi Waterpark” with the animal somewhat camouflaged, is quite nice in the high key value pattern.

LINDA LA ROSE of Levittown, Pennsylvania uses digital photography to make some significant visual statements. “Arrival” is very strong with the glowing blue and the black, but moreover, the baby face images make the work. Quite unusual is “Gaia” in the nice symmetrical formation with warm and cool sides. And “Monet’s Stream in My Dream” is rich texturally and effective in terms of the digital use of color effects.

KATARINA FAGERSTROM LEVRING of Kungsbacka, Halland, Sweden has a highly developed use of the tulip form. In “A Touch of Tulips 1” the red area covers the majority of the picture plane with a hint of light at the top, against the deep black background. The “S” movement of “A Touch of Tulips 4” works well with the dark at the bottom and the light at the top. Her ability to develop the works with such tenderness and softness is rather brilliant.

DON MICHAEL, JR. of North Las Vegas, Nevada has some striking works with the facial images as seen in “After Image” wherein the texture is overall, yet the face emerges. Also the more cool palette of “Evanescent” works in much the same manner.

GENA NEUMANN of Louisville, Kentucky presents two very handsome sculpture works. “The Wheel / 1” (An Encoded Piece) is rather mysterious, especially with the padlock. And “Pendeloque Noir” is rich in texture and media, even freshwater pearls are used. The soft and hard in the triangle form and mixed media in the circular part all add visual dynamics.

MINERVA ORTIZ of Watsonville, California is successful with her work in oil on panel. One of them is “Constant” showing the religious symbol of Christ emerging from the loosely painted lower part. An oval frame is not often used but it works for her message of “Intervention”. And “Transgression” is outstanding in terms of the variety of linear movements with the dark abstract figure-like image at the bottom.

PATTY PORTER of Tulsa, Oklahoma takes acrylic to a high level in her abstract expression seen in “Purple Passion”. This figure/ground organization works well for this concept. And the textural treatment in the center adds energy to evoke passion.

ALAIN G. ROGIER of Los Angeles, California has a sense of directness with dynamic brush strokes as seen in his diptych “Beauty and Evil”. Diptychs are workable especially when the concept deals with dichotomies like this. The yellow ochre used for both backgrounds unifies the artwork.

TED ROSEN of Rochester, New York gives a great amount of texture and light and dark value play throughout in his collage “Cataclysm” which does express the idea in a rather small space.

MARK ROSS of Las Vegas, Nevada creates a special work using photography. His work “Blazing” is quite successful with the glowing central area with the subtle spots surrounding. His pieces show his skill with light effects.

SHAKA M. SHEDEKE of Decatur, Georgia expresses tree forms in a very direct manner as seen in “Untitled” (1). And “Untitled” (2) works too with a similar color palette. This use of oil pastel and oil paint adds body to these pieces.

SHIKOH SHIRAIWA of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma expresses a situation in an interesting abstract manner. “He No More Shall See My Face” is presented quite well with the diptych division. The work “Song of Five Years” is very strong as a triptych and the use of skillful color tonality.

LAVINIA BRANCA SNYDER of New York, New York has a definite style in Digital C Print form. Perhaps one of the best works is “Rosary” which shows the three elongated oval shapes with the seven bead forms overlapping. The red, magenta and blue are well played in this one.

PAUL ANTONIO SZABO of New York, New York presents three works in his “Highway Series”. His “Highway Series 2”, “Highway Series 3” are well organized. And “Highway Series 1” is a bit more daring with more variables.

LESLIE TEJADA of Corvallis, Oregon is prolific and a high developed artist. The textural developments are rich and visually exciting. For example, “Saguaro” transitions from a mid tone range to the light tones at the top. And “Scent of Ambergris” is another strong piece. Perhaps the very best is the large work entitled “Shalimar” with the great detailing.

LANCE TURNER of Morganton, North Carolina is a master of pattern intrigue. “Daydream Nation” is strong in two ways; one is the five foot square size and two is the subtlety in the close values of the colors and the nice variations in the placements of colored lines. And “Self-Portrait Pattern” is great with the color and the interplay of the vertical and horizontal line work. Also, “Courtnay Pattern” is commendable mostly because of the attention to detail and the fact that it is acrylic on newspaper.

MACHIKO OSHIMA TURNER of Christiansburg, Virginia finds faces in the fluid play of her acrylic works. “Abstract Face I” is amazing when you see the face. The basic red and green, black and white contrasts make for a bold image. And on a different note, her controlled piece “Kiss” is nicely created in a little larger size.

CAROLE WELLEN of Toms River, New Jersey has one of the best pieces in the show. With the topic of “Inversion” she sculpts the form in a way that is quite convincing and amazing indeed! And in a rather humorous and at the same time excellently crafted, she creates “Stone Kebob” with finesse.

TINA WILES of Pasadena, California works the digital realm to her advantage in the piece “Traveler”. The abstract figure form highlighted in red looks as if it is moving into the adventurous realm. It is rather mysterious in the way the forms are manipulated and in the use of the low key tonality.

It is always a pleasure to see works that are abstract because of the way this style touches upon the imagination in a “wonder-ful” way. Hats off to all who are able to do this as seen in this year’s exhibition!


Laurence Bradshaw
Curator, Professor of Art