Upstream People Gallery

15th Annual Collage, Digital & Mixed Media Juried Online International Art

Juror's Statement | Return to Exhibition

The 15th Annual Collage, Digital & Mixed Media Juried Online International Art Exhibition is rather small in comparison to earlier shows, but it's mighty in many other ways that are inspiring in terms of the creative imagination and techniques. Following are some comments about some special works by some very special artists.

ROY R. BEHRENS, of Dysart, Iowa is one of those tipping the scale with a high level of imagination. As seen in his "Auto Parts" he digitally combines expressive qualities with photo segments. This same effect of combining various aspects is used in his "Heartfelt". In a rather dramatic fashion imposed by the strong coloration, he provides a strong work called "Mobility". More subtlety in terms of color contrast, "Shell Shock" is nicely done. And with the central figure bent over with an assortment of imagery he developed "Attention to Detail".

DON BERGLAND of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada again graces this year's show with three very imaginative and rather surrealistic works with his digital expertise as seen in "Sanctuary" with its wonderful counter-play of unusual combinations of imagery. This wonderful and visually powerful concept is handled quite well also in his "Omen". And "Leaving Babel" is another rich play of various imagery. All of these pieces use a child as a focus.

JAMES M. BROWN of Cambria Heights, New York takes on a sociological stance in his digital piece "The Plight of the Homeless" with the lone woman figure on the bus. And his rather startling portrayal of a young child behind broken glass in "The Raid". His comments about these works follow:

"THE PLIGHT OF THE HOMELESS - People pass them as if they do not exist and that they are not human and not of the human family.. They need to be seen and heard. They are endemic and ignored by local, state and federal governments. Essentially, society deem them as 'scum' poor, uneducated and down downtrodden. They have staked their own piece of the park bench, subway and as own little piece of humanity.

"THE RAID Is a recollection of the assassination of the Black Panther leader ,Fred Hampton, in Chicago [ 1969 ] by pseudo-governmetal excutionary forces. Secondly, the methodically cold-blooded murder of 16 children and adults by asergeant from a military unit in Afghanistine who assignment it was to execute these type of nite raids. It also was the remembrance of the MyLai Massacre in Vietnam. Finally, the current use of Drones in Pakistine, Libya, Iraq, Yemen and Somalia et al in the so-called war on terrorism."

JOHN CINCO of Staten Island, New York has a rich sense of interplay of all the art elements that are arranged in a profound composition. In "Nebula" the eye moves from one side to the other in dynamic twists and turns that are visually exciting. And his other submitted work "Virgin Worm" the strength is in the strong value contrast to enhance the movements.

HALINA DOMANSKI of Yuba City, California has a special way with abstraction. Her mixed media piece "Beverly Hills Show" is full of painterly qualities with strong red, white and black and with diagonal direction which shows well. And "Hollywood Attractions" is also strong with the expressive orchestration of red, green, yellow and black areas (or attractions).

IWONA DUSZEK of Springfield, MO in her "Quo Vadis" brings depth and intrigue with the graffiti and street scene underlay. The combination is very rich texturally with a two-dimensional/three-dimensional combo.

LOUIS ESPOSITO of San Jose, California shows some interesting and very crisp digital works. Perhaps the most striking is his "Cheesie Sphinx" with the asymmetrically symmetrical stance and the combination of the static and moving of the sail boat implied. Following is his artist's statement about the work:

"The idea behind the Chessie Sphinx came from the series of illustrations depicting Egyptian design elements, Egyptian art and the use of primarily large wild cats. When I began on my next illustration I asked myself, why not use our cats as well. I took a profile picture of our cat Chessie, I loved his profile and after some thought, depicted him as the Chessie Sphinx and with that I started to put together elements that I thought would support this illustration. "

MAYA FARBER of New York, New York uses traditional still life in a highly sophisticated manner, combining acrylic with collage. All three of her works are specially cited for their clarity and style. "Bouquet", "Fried Egg Poppy" and "Tulips and Melon" are exquisite. The dark background make these work all the more brilliantly.

JOAN FITZGERALD of Athol Springs, New York works as a painter and a sculptor as seen in her wonderful work interpreting the concept "Daddy Warbucks" with the two paintings and the installation all working together to enhance the idea. She states this about her work: "Daddy Warbucks concerns how this person is changed by love and what he really loves (money and war). It's a satirical piece."

KRISTIN FURBECK of Hamilton, New Jersey uses digital composite in print form to create a striking square formatted work entitled "Grid City" with a lot of textural patterning throughout. Following is a statement associated with the work:

"'The images in this exhibition are from a larger series entitled, "Atmospheric Pressure." I began taking aerial photographs two years ago, and I was instantly drawn to the grandeur and sublime beauty of the aerial landscape. The aerial perspective is a very unique and significant vantage point from which to see the world. Depending on the angle of the camera, you can create images with such unending vastness, but also turn the camera down and images is flattened. This realization of space in aerial photography is what led me to create Atmospheric Pressure. I am interested in the compression of space, and diminishing the illusionistic perspective that we are accustomed to seeing in a photograph. I see this series as an ongoing investigation into solving the visual problem of creating flatness in aerial photography. The strength in many of these images is the ability for the viewer to enter into the depth of the photograph but then be pulled back to the surface by another plane of color or a line. These images are about this type of play that creates tension between the foreground and background and blurs the distinction of these formal elements. The full series can be viewed at"'

JULIA HACKER of Toronto, Ontario, Canada uses a smiling girl in front of a cut of meat in the shape of the United States in her collage, acrylic and resin work entitled "Election Day". The snail with the stars and stripes adds further to the satirical humor that captures the attention. And her "When in Doubts" shows a beautiful lady in a rich shiny violet and yellow outfit brought out by the more tertiary background. Her "Animal Instinct" is a nice combination of her media approach with the female as the focal point.

KELLY L. HENDRICKSON of Rogers, Minnesota is involved with mixed media textiles and in the piece "When Life Hands You Lemons" the largeness of the piece of lemon with the squirting out juices, makes a good unexpected impact. And "Spring Forward" is handsomely and delicately portrayed with a soft overall field with flowing curving parts branching out from the time clock. She says this about her work:

'"When Life Hands You Lemons" - Bits and pieces of the work were playing around in my head for quite some time. The challenge given - create a piece that interacts with not only the sense of sight, but one of the other senses as well. This piece was designed to not only please the eye but to make one's mouth water as well.

"Spring Forward" - One of my favorite bits to use in Mixed Media is old watch parts. During this long winter, I was inspired to summon up thoughts of spring...made with watch springs and watch gears which burst out of the clock and whirl into spring flowers. It kept the hope of spring alive."'

JOSEPH L, KAGLE, JR. of Kingwood, Texas is a master who graces the show with further outstanding creations as seen in his "Waiting Room - I. See. U." series. The gentle pen and ink drawings of the people and his photo process and collage technique are ingenious indeed. And his "Redefining Possible - 20 - 1" series is quite arresting with all the wonderful interplay of imagery decked out with rich colors and shapes. It is nice to see a three-dimensional aspect of his work as seen in the "Redefining Possible - Open The Door Project". He states this about his work:

"...I wondered if this was the outcome of a path that I started years ago in terms of context where only the content has changed, therefore I went back and reviewed my writing in the 1960’s and found this short message to myself: “There seems to be no choice, although there are some that come to mind at once: give in to the system and lose the difference, accept the system and attempt to retain the difference (a stop-gap solution), attack the system and become something that I am not, run away (unconceivable because it is impossible), and lastly, direct one’s life (and visual work) toward a natural system (but that is the trick: ‘What is a natural system?’). But as I said, if there is no choice, if one is compelled to seek one’s life work, if one cannot work within an academy of ideas without creation, surface knowledge without excitement, and facts without aesthetic distance, then the only answer is to try to search out another path, another engulfment that is right, that is honest, that is true, that is my own, that is truly different.” In my recent work with The Waiting Room-I.See.U. series and the Open The Door-Redefining Possible series, I have once again found “my own and truly different.” That feels good and it is nice that others see it too!"

GWEN KERTH of Ottawa, Kansas has a sophisticated style and creates marvelous digital collages. Of particular note is her work "Judgment" with various clues written about with various imagery added in which to ponder. It is interesting to see "Judge Not" placed largely in the work.

JASMINE KUKIC of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada has a rather mysterious work entitled "Carte Blanche" with various imagery placed within a forest of trees in white and yellow. The panoramic approach bodes well for such a message. Her work "God's Secret" is also very rich wherein two are riding horses toward a black sphere or ball. "Homesickness" is awesome with the way the imagery is used so wonderfully. And "My Name is Red" is another of her great collages. And also "Power of Night" is another somewhat mysterious work.

DAVID M. VERSLUIS and ROY R. BEHRENS of Sioux Center and Dysart, Iowa, respectively show a great sense of combining rich imagery as seen in "Beetle", "Cicada" and "Dragonflies: Shadow Darner with Peeping Cicada". The juxtapositioning of representational imagery combined with the graphic elements make for a strong visual dynamic. Following are comments by Professor Versluis:

"'The pieces selected for recognition are collaborative prints by David M. Versluis, Sioux Center, Iowa and Roy Behrens, Dysart, Iowa. Behrens teaches graphic design at the University of Northern Iowa and Versluis teaches graphic design at Dordt College. The pieces are from the “Iowa Insect Series” of 10 images, which were completed during the month of January, 2012.

The basis of the collaboration evolved using Versluis’s collection of Iowa insects (dead ones) of which exquisite scans were made at high resolution. The process began by Versluis electronically sending Behrens the scanned files, one at a time, with the challenge that we should respond to them by beginning to build a digital montage, using Adobe Photoshop. We could do whatever we liked.

We then would pass the image back to each other, responding to each other’s move. With usually five or six back-and-forth turns, we mutually came to suspect that the work was finished."'

STEVEN D. STARK of Belmont, Massachusetts has a unique approach with contemporary imagery such as the crossword puzzle. In his "Scott's Crosswords -- II" he quotes F. Scott Fitzgerald amidst various colored crossword structures.

ANTHONY R. WHELIHAN of Plymouth, Massachusetts uses watercolor and mixed media. With a consistent color palette and subject matter he creates some striking pieces as seen in "Masquerade #4" and "masquerade #7" wherein the many faces and various colors enhance the mystery and intrigue.

So all in all this is a wonderful show by some very talented artists. Thanks for all the artists who entered. Please pass on the word about our international exhibitions.


Laurence Bradshaw
Curator, Professor of Art