Upstream People Gallery

17th Annual Collage, Digital & Mixed Media Juried Online International Art Exhibition

Juror's Statement | Return to Exhibition

It is always quite interesting when an artist uses contemporary media to explore the possibilities available to one's creative prowess. Herein are some examples of artworks that utilize digital manipulation together with some more standard media such as collage and mixed media. Artists and artworks mentioned below are selected out of those chosen for this year's exhibition because of their meritorious achievement in some way or another as sensed by the juror.

DAVID BLOW of Hickory Creek, Texas has mastered the digital world wherein he creates works that combine various techniques. His "Canary Summer" is a delight especially for the canary but also for the viewer sensing that the bird in as happy as can be in such a cascade of sunflower blooms. Also, his other creature feature gives a wonderful array of color and fish movement all set in a panoramic environ. And what a wonderful integration of imagery he orchestrates in the wreath-like work entitled "Of this World" with a display of the delicate and a sense of depth. And let there be drama as developed in the dynamism seen in "The Gathering". This is rich indeed.

JOSE CALDERIN of Miami, Florida has a strong work in "Animal Series - Owl" wherein he creatively uses electrical staples on plywood in a mosaic fashion. The basic black and white help to give emphasis to the staring eyes. Bravo to Jose for this one! On another front in terms of mixed media, his "Urban Cities: The City of Meg-Ram" combines Plexiglas, computer parts and led lights to form a rich brilliantly created display.

The artist Jose Calderin states this about this work:

"Species Series: OWL
This series experiments with one kind of material: coaxial staples. This new inexpensive construction material is used to innovate an unusual tactic to draw pictures of animal species.
A simple and possibly recycled material does not only manufacture each portrait but, behind the making of this series, it also transmits a powerful message for the people. The symbolism is that through every nail hammered into the plywood we are penetrating the skin of every single animal to denote all the suffering we have brought upon him or her instead of appreciating the natural surroundings.
Throughout human history, we inadvertent have killed animals for wrong purposes such as consumption, garments, and even beautification. As the Buddha says, “One is not a great one because one defeats or harms other living beings. One is so called because one refrains from defeating or harming other living beings,” imparting that we as living beings are ought to care and protect animals. This series focuses on creating awareness on the mistreatment we have brought both on the animals and on mother earth.

Urban Series: Meg Ram
These pieces are based on a study of how to use recycled and other types ofunthinkable material to originate complex constructions of what nowadays would beconsidered as modern buildings.
The main purpose of this work is to exhibit an illustration of how unbelievablyhumans have substantially valued the materialistic world more than life itself. Eachbuilding shows how attached we are to technology and how our only focus is topossess the newest, fastest, and most appealing technology without considering thedamage we are causing to the environment and to ourselves.
Not only does this work demonstrate the poor awareness and the influential emphasis we place in society, but his work also provides the history of electronics over the past decade. The entire series is constructed of hundreds of diverse types of recycled material, allowing the artist to provide the history of the fast progression intechnology."

CHERYL DAWDY of Ann Arbor, Michigan has a delicate and expressive approach to mixed media. Her use of painted wallpaper, tissue paper, deli paper, dress pattern and other paper scraps gives rise to stupendous qualities and together with her sense of color harmony, makes for a strong work as seen in her "Autumn Field".

The artist Cheryl Dawdy's statement about this work: '“Autumn Field” reflects a move in a different direction for me, and also features more prominently some new materials I’ve been experimenting with: painted wallpaper scraps, and painted and printed deli paper.

Previously, I would almost always start a collage with some kind of printed imagery – usually parts of an old postcard and/or some other visually “identifiable” subject matter, portions of text and various other paper scraps, and rearrange them all into a still recognizable design.

A while back, a friend had given me some old wallpaper sample books, and one day, looking around for a new sort of paper surface to use, I thought of them, ripped out some “pages” and painted them with acrylics. Pleased with the results, I began using sections for color and texture in my work. Eventually, as I was incorporating larger and larger pieces, these wallpaper “paintings” took on a more prominent role, until, at some point they began to actually dictate the shape and direction of the collage, telling the story from their point of view rather than just playing a supporting part.

Tissue paper has always found its way into my work – usually in the form of dress patterns. I love the sheerness of it, the random lines and letters adding layers and depth. I had also been using image transfers to provoke a similar dynamic and enjoyed that technique, but it’s tricky and unpredictable. With deli paper I discovered I could achieve the same effect, and a whole new realm of layering and transparency opened up. I can paint and print on this lightweight material, and when adhered, the paper seems to disappear, leaving behind nothing but the image.

I’m pleased that “Autumn Field” was selected for Special Recognition, as it marks a period of new growth and expansion for me as a collage artist. It is the first piece for which all these new techniques I had been playing around with, finally seemed to click into place."'

ANGELA DUCLOS of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, in her collage-based inkjet print curiously entitled "House & Home" brings about a wonderful array of textural emphasis in a rather achromatic schema. What is striking about this rather abstraction is the rather camouflaged setting of the house and porch centrally located.

FRANCES ELSON of Somis, California has taken her glass media to greater heights especially seen in her work "Blue Crystal" wherein she forms a rather large geometric shaped sculpture composed of the many pieces of fused glass. The large and small aspects of this creation bodes well. And too, "Copper Web" with the similar approach, makes its presence known with its darker tone and of course the more literal aspects of the web. And probably one of the most investigative and experimentally successful pieces is her "Folly in Blue" with its fanciful interplay of vertical and horizontal pieces.

The artist Frances Elson says this about these works: "'These pieces are very special to me because I'm exploring the boundaries of new ways to use materials. Blue Crystal, and Copper Web are created from re-cycled "fireplace glass", which I re-fuse and shape into abstract geometric forms. In the case of Copper Web, I added copper wire and large ceramic beads, also "found" materials. Folly in Blue is the result of melting large amounts of leftover glass through metal grating materials and watching it carefully as it melts until it has achieved the shape I'm looking for. The the piece is mounted in a glass "tray", also created out of scrap glass. The tray is filled with kiln-formed beads and liquid epoxy to hold the entire assemblage in place and create the "floating" effect. I've also added some antique crystal beads to this fanciful piece."'

ROGER ERIKSEN of Monte Vista, Colorado takes on a contemporary color aspect of Red, Green and Blue Color Codes, an additive color model in which red, green and blue light are added together in various ways to reproduce a broad array of colors. His three works in his triptych are a play on this phenomenon and for this he achieves interesting playfulness. Each work is appropriately entitled "R", G" and "B".

JOAN HALL of New York, New York has a special signature style with a wonderful sense of style. Her "Fashionista" using bone, tin and wood, is quite striking not only in terms of the mixed media but in the playful stance of the figure. Another awesome combination using a goat skull with plaster, tin, a horseshoe, crab shell and wood, is quite remarkable. And too, her work "Virgin" is simply rich in the use of the keys and the folded hands. The use of iron, tin, plaster and wood gives the piece "Worshipper" a kind of raw strength!

NANCY HART of Odessa, Texas is known for her special combination of parts as seen in her "Anatomy and Abstraction" using wood and paper. The drawings are exquisitely perfect and the wood grain add wonderfully to the honesty in each piece. Another quite nice piece is her analytical work "Natural Sciences" all handsomely developed. "The Birds2" is another highly successful combination of drawing together with paint, paper in a wood setting.

JASMINE KUKIC of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada has mastered collage incorporating a kind of mysterious narrative. "Fading Call" allows one to think about the several metaphoric situations. Look closely around the work to find out even more hints of the message. Another curious arrangement "Mustard Seed" is rich in imagery and successful with the movement. On a simpler note she creates "The Last Cry" wherein much could be implied with this handsome work.

CANDACE LAW of Berkley, Michigan adds a lot of quality to her works in the use of encaustic. One of the special pieces is "What Lies Below" with the added mystery in the abstraction.

Candy Law's artist's statement about this work: '“What Lies Below”:
This mixed media piece combines rust printing with found objects to explore the juxtaposition of the man-made with the abstract. The work has a more formal organization that harkens back to my training in architectural illustration, combined with the layered, atmospheric feel that is unique to the ancient art form of encaustic (hot wax). Transferring rust from a metal object to paper creates a beauty of color and pattern that evokes a rebirth from industrial decay and becomes a metaphor for childhood roots and memories."'

SODAM LEE of Ames, Iowa uses digital photography to produce some intriguing works. "Heavy Shoulder" is interesting in terms of the carrying of the pales but in the context of the stacking figures there is an added weight felt. And the building structures at the top seem to give even more heaviness. "20 Euros" is quite nice with the juxtapositioning of the kind of foreground and distance and the realistic and the abstraction. Perhaps the most intriguing is "Fishing Boys" with the wonderful textural treatments and the boys on poles amidst the row of boats. This color palette is also helpful with the drama.

Further information about the artist Sodam Lee: "'Sodam Lee is an outstanding printmaker and digital artist who was awarded the Best of Emerging Iowa Artist at the Des Moines Art Festival two years in a row (2013 and 2014) and this is her another achievement.

"The most important theme that I have explored through my artworks is that art can change people’s perception through positive thinking. Experiencing the life in different countries and cultural environments, I have focused on the impact of the cultural environment on human life and showed how much of an impact different environments can have on one’s life."'

DAVE MANRIQUEZ of Omaha, Nebraska tackles a dramatic situation in his depiction of a mental condition. His "Dementia - I Get By With Some Help From My Friends Including Orozco and Kollwitz" is quite expressive and wonderfully visualized. This is one of his strongest pieces ever. Another honorable work is his "Portrait of Bob Cerv Signed Personally by Bob Cerv" which shows his attention to realism and the added collage pieces to further add to the personal characteristics of the player. And with heartfelt expression, another honorable work is his "Ballad of Ira Hayes" wherein the personality is richly developed via the several related objects and collage pieces.

The artist Dave Manriquez says this about these works: '"Dementia"- This painting shows the horrific results of Dementia on the individuals, and the individuals family. "Portrait of Bob Cerv"- Portrait of one of my Favorite ball players with whom I got to meet in Blair, NE. "Ballad of Ira Hayes"- Shows the plight of Native Americans and alcoholism."'

RYOTA MATSUMOTO of Mitaka-shi, Tokyo, Japan uses mixed media to create works that are absolutely fantastic and quite amazing indeed. "Hollow Ghosts for Those Restless Spirits" shows in striking images and colors, what such a restlessness could be like which must be quite exciting indeed! The work "Stretched into an Infinite Vapor of Spectral Resonance" with the loosely organized four sections still shows the richly developed orchestration. "The High Overdrive and Its Undefinable Consequence" and "The Indistinct Notion of an Object Trajectory" although less colorful, still approache the brilliance of the artists signature style. And too, "The Solar Flares for Transient Modulation" shows the same vibrance with a bit larger coordinates, striking and richly interplayed throughout.

Further information about the artist's work: "The artworks of Ryota Matsumoto develop and demonstrate the hybrid/multi-layered process, where varying scale, juxtaposition of different forms, intertwined textures/tones are applied to reflect the spatio-temporal conditions of our ever-evolving urban and ecological environments. They are created to act as the catalyst for defining speculative changes in our notions of cities, socities and cultures. The drawings explore a hybrid drawing technique combining both traditional media (ink, acrylic, and graphite) and digital media (algorithmic processing, scripting and image compositing with custom software )."

CAROL STAUB of Port Saint Lucie, Florida has a fine understanding of collage and in her dynamic piece "Ecovillage" she develops fine areas of shapes and textures with a workable palette showing the sense of windows and a rooftop in a rather large four foot wide collage. Her "Environmental Series 21" she makes some very rich earth toned visual textural effects that are nicely integrated. And her "Piano Man" with the hint of keys here and there gives a sense of the vibrancy of a Tsychovsky's dramatic orchestration.

The artist Carol Staub states this about this work: "When people view my art I want them to be drawn in and their curiosities piqued. I want them to take their own journey, ask their own questions and most of all, form their own conclusions. I want them to meander through the painting and ponder what the thought process must have been like when this painting was taking on life. My love of nature and all that surrounds me is my inspiration. I’m always surprised to step back and see that inspiration expressed in so many ways."

As artists submit their brief statements about their work, these will be included in due time.


Laurence Bradshaw
Curator, Professor of Art