Upstream People Gallery

16th Annual Faces Juried Online International Art Exhibition

Juror's Statement | Return to Exhibition

This is the sixteenth year for the Annual Faces Juried Online International Art Exhibition and the gallery is always surprised to see what is submitted. The artworks are from a widespread area which helps to define the relevance of the subject of faces. Following are some comments about those works that sparked a high level of interest.

WILLIAM FRANCIS BRENNAN of Berlin-Neukölln, Germany. His "Self-Study in Clay" uses digital photography to capture the strong character in the use of color and clay on the artist's facial features; the red around the eyes and on the lips adds a great deal to the impact. And with a stretch of the imagination, his "Woman Driving to Las Vegas" is nicely executed in an asymmetrically symmetrical, colorful arrangement.

CHRISTINE COOK of Naples, Florida has a striking work entitled "Been Touch" using digital photography to capture a wonderful human study that has a slight reflection to the left. And her "Black Seminole" strikes an amazing chord with the intermix of textures. The tilted head echoes the diagonal play of pattern. Another fine work in the square format is "In the Moment" wherein the play of light and the linear movement of parts gives energy to the rather peaceful setting. "Mime" with its fascinating textural treatment, makes for an impressive piece. Her two centers composition "Shattered Dreams" uses broken glass to convey the discontent.

DUSTIN DAVIS of Cumberland, Maryland is a master with sculpture. In his wall piece "Wall Walker" he uses an overall aluminum colored intermixture of patterned pieces that are quite striking in variety and intense bas relief.

FRANCES ELSON of Somis, California is quite successful with the media of fused glass and enamels. One work in particular, that speaks well in her Cubistic approach is "Freda" with a basic color palette and playful abstract shapes.

BRUCE ERIKSON of Xavier University has some strong portraiture as seen in his "10th Floor Visitor" with the rather midtown red and orange glow effect on a cloudy day. His "Rainy Window Self Portrait" seems true-to-life with a rather meditative look. And his "La Baigneuse" also captures a kind of gentle reflective state.

ELIZA EVANS of Santa Fe, New Mexico has some special effects she uses as seen in her blocking technique in the monotype "East" reminiscent of a Warhol-like blocking approach but without the color play. The piece "Metal" is quite effective with the split, up and down faces and the actual sheet metal background.

YING FENG of FLUSHING, NEW YORK presents a traditional pastel work entitled "A Happy Boy" which shows her culture background very well. And her "The Lady of Yi" with all the intricacy developed in the outfit is quite nice. The play of light on the upper body is quite realistic. "Tibetan Old Man" is most effective with the great play of light on the face and beard. And "A Old Man" works in much the same way.

COURTNEY JACOBS of Pleasanton, California has a wonderful handle on expressive painting, so richly presented in her oil painting "Courtney" which is quite amazing. Her technique is also effective in the piece "Andrew".

JOE KAGLE of The Woodlands, Texas continues his amazing artistic journey with excellent mixed media works. "52. The Conservatory - I. See. U." shows the well positioned patterns and character drawing in pen and ink. The bold roses pattern on the shirt and the painterly effects in the background, in addition to the facial features, are quite rich in his "19. The Conservatory - I. See. U.". All of his works are wonderful character documents of artistic excellence.
Here is a statement from the artist about his works: "IS THE WONDER IN ART BECAUSE IT’S FAKE TOO? I have been critical of the reproductions at the Conservatory as “fakes”; but the outcome of these fakes is a sort of wonder that takes a viewer into another state of mind, another state of conscious sight. Isn’t that what all art has always been? It would not be fair or right to be critical of these images and not look closely at what I do; I find an interesting person’s face and posture, then ask, “Is this true?” When I finish my drawing with as much truth of seeing as I can muster, I add all the elements that I think might surround them. I do not bluster but I do cluster weird stuff around each person, each unique self. I look for things that might improve this stranger’s world, his or her wealth of experiences or my own joy in finding new juxtapositions, new wonders to share with the ‘others’ who want to play with this life that one endures. Yes, in one sense, all art is a fake. What is real is the holes in its body; holes left there by the artist, whose purpose must not be shoddy, whose only reason for making a work of art must be to open doors in the mind and eye of the viewer. I draw with lines that suggest corridors to walk and explore. All good art does that. So I must confess and say: “The conservatory was created as a place for art and people.” In its way, it is a work of art in motion, never complete-never ending. If I take what I created the other day: a visitor sitting in the lobby. I strive and got the right (for me) face strained in thought as the man worked his I-Pad. It was a marriage of THEN and NOW, Medieval fabrics and a hand that had learned to punch the correct keys, a wedding of island design and a ship from the time of the Vikings. I take what the Conservatory gives, then snip off the essence of what I see, what I wanted to see, and what I guessed could be for this stranger to our home. I fitted all that with the rest. FAKE-REAL? REACH IN; TELL ME HOW YOU FEEL. IS IT MY BEST? Just maybe the purpose of putting all these reproductions together was to create a collective experience, a place a senior could weather the storm of aging. I criticize the individual works where I see flaws but I must remember that I look for flaws in subjects as one who draws the chosen details that I find in an imperfect world that sings a melody that can never end, that interests many and finally brings a viewer a glimpse of what this one artist wants to show and know. If I am not successful, the work is not shown. I look for a special glow that shines through the wrinkles, the imperfection that comes with age; and if I am successful, a viewer sees the wonder and can turn a page in their life, or open a chapter in their struggle to live NOW with a smile. A good artist always struggles with what is seen and the choice of how to portray the essence of one life and an imagined world around him or her. Behind all the pieces is a search for wonders that abound.
So… I accept with time the imperfections in the reproductions of the past and in that atmosphere will learn to see a collective thing that may last. People do not flock to the Conservatory because they need a space
to life out their years. They come to conquer their fears, to join a race
that cannot be won with waiting for time to end but in how it is embraced, In how each resident is ‘busy being born’, and how their LIFE IS FACED."

SODAM LEE of Ames, Iowa takes symmetry to a high level in the black and white digital work entitled "Hidden Faces" wherein the wonder is found in the discovery of the faces. Most intriguing is the piece "Natural Identity" with the excellent handling of acrylic painting with realistic imagery in all the composed parts. And "Slaves" presents an interesting concept with its strong folded hands of the highly controlled composition which is visually moving.

WILLIAM LEUNG of Tarzana, California has some very successful airbrush works on canvas which at first glance look like photographs. "I Am Little Fist" is wonderfully executed and the idea of the softness of the little child with the strong fist is a nice little contrast. "Mommy Isn't Done Yet" is also amazing even in the area of the shadows of the hair. And "Yum" is just wonderful with the eyebrows up and the mouth and chin covered with the yummy food. These are great!

ANN NANCY MACOMBER of Arnold, California takes color and runs with it in her fabric collage with acrylic paint. "Just Whistle" is a delightful interplay of playful patterns for various parts of the body.

DENISE CORMIER MAHONEY of Bremerton, Washington has a rich gold leaf and acrylic work called "Epoch". In a serious inquisition, one could ask "What was she thinking?". The very nice handling of the media and the four faces, two upside down, present a curious mystery indeed.

DAVE MANRIQUEZ of Omaha, Nebraska gives an interesting portrayal of himself in his "Self Portrait, When I Paint My Masterpiece" wherein many pieces complete the puzzle, so to speak. The triangular organization and self-portrait focal point helps to stage the many aspects of his revealing narrative. And the mixed media makes for a good level of visual excitement.

MARY JANE MILLER of San Miguel Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico expresses "Cosmic Father" in an icon technique, depicting the Father God in a loving manner.

MARGUERITE MORIARTY of Portland, Oregon is a find realist oil painter as seen in her "Birth of Venus" wherein the variety of subject matter gently arranged in the triangular placement with the complementary color scheme, holds the attention, especially with the balancing of the cup-like piece on the spherical piece. And the portrait of "Katie" is quite effective with the strong tonal contrast with the background. Also, her chalk and charcoal work is quite nice in "Mr. Mustard" wherein the realism is there, captured very nicely in the gentle gazing eyes to the right, which counter balances the hand on the left.

NATHAN OPP of Tulsa, Oklahoma has some wonderful facial expressions he captures in oil. His "Sour" reveals his understanding of the situation with the puckered lips and the frowning forehead and the squinting eyes, all handled well with the brushstrokes.

ROBERT A PIOCH of Mundelein, Illinois does a wonderful job capturing a strong mood with the candle reflection of light onto the face in his watercolor "Spirituality".

MOISES RAMOS of Jacksonville, Florida has an interesting interpretation of the theme "Cardinal Sins". In his "Cardinal Sins #4" the roughness of the oil and acrylic technique and the warm and cool contrast, gives a very strong depiction.

PETRA RAU of Kronberg, Germany of one of the strongest artists dealing with faces. All of the works selected are striking and accomplished. "C'est Moi" with its lowered eyeglasses; "Gerd" with its amazing tinted eyes; "Gloria" with its bright depiction; "Mara" with the curly hair and "Miragirl" with the playfulness -- all done with pen and ink with watercolor. These are excellent artworks!

CELIA REIGLE of Miami, Florida has a sophisticated painterly style, especially notable in her acrylic on linen painting "The Red Hat". The strong tonal contrast in the face and the liberty in the use of the red paint in the hat, make for an interesting piece.

KYMI JOHNSON RUTLEDGE of Omaha, NE shows the delicacy and tenderness of the child "Vivi" with the lightly tinted watercolor on paper. The grayed paper helps to give it a calming effect.

JULIAN SAMBRANO JR. of Los Angeles, California has some wonderful presentations. "Happy" is certainly a joyful piece with the way it is painted with exuberance in the brushstrokes and the positioning of the uplifted chin and head.

ELIZA M. SCHMID of Albuquerque, New Mexico is very good at detailing. Her "The Chairmen of the Party" is quite fascinating with the several characters throughout in an overall second generation New York Painters' style of composition. A lot of the faces are quite strange indeed!

TONI SILBER-DELERIVE of New York, New York is quite adept with oil painting. Her "Alex & Evan" is nicely painted and presents a loving message. Her "Speeding Older Couple" is rather fun in concept in a kind of Alex Katz style. And the use of green helps to give the sense of energy.

RACHEL SIMKO of Quito, Ecuador is an excellent painter. Her "Chrochet Circle in Columbe", done beautifully in oil, shows the genre of the Ecuadorian people. The curve movement in the positioning of the heads echoes the many curves in the clothing folds.

DAWN SMITH of Fort Calhoun, Nebraska is a fine realist as seen in her oil painting entitled "Spring". The tilted face shows a kind of tenderness and the flowers in the hair reinforces the overall sweetness of the youthful and beautiful girl.

DEANNA VELHAGEN of Albuquerque, New Mexico shows three loving dogs she titles "Griffons". Her attention to the fine lines of the animals' fur is exquisite. The gradual fading out from the head works well with the overall spacing. And showing her marvelous use of graphite drawing, the work "Peggy" is so amazing on so many levels. Brava! on this one!

SUN WEI of Zingdao, Shandong, China is a special pastel artist as seen in her works in the show. Especially significant is the work "Plateau Son Named Luo Sang" wherein the facial expressions add a lot to the effect of a sunny day. The work "Tibetan Girl Named Zuo Ma" shows a different scene capturing the labor of a woman amidst the watery terrain. The gray sky helps to present the mood.

CHRIS WELLMAN of Leland, North Carolina brings "Him Crucified" to the show. The agitated massing of thick ink lines is very dramatic, especially when presented in the 2" x 2" size. On a calmer note, his "Sleeping Girl" shows his versatility and ability to model in graphite.

GARY L. WOLFE of Kenmore, New York is sensitive to various personalities and shows this in his oil and encaustic on tar paper. This aesthetic works quite well in his works. "Jesse: Out of Darkness" is nicely done with the dark of the window serving metaphorically. And "Tamberly: Out of Darkness" works in similar ways. The looking in the opposite direction of the dark background is quite effective. Also, in "Michael at Harbor House" he portrays the wonderful depiction of the guy with life's experiences shown on the face. And too, "Ludine: Out of Darkness" shows the woman looking toward the light in the window, suggesting a sense of hopefulness.

NAMI YANG of Whittier, California expresses with an air of Cubism in all her oil paintings. "Faces #1" works well with the warm and cool color contrasts of the abstract faces in a rather fluid movement. And the violet and yellow Kandinsky-like interplay of shapes and lines are strong in "Faces #3", "Faces #5 with the profile repeated and moving downward diagonally and next to the older looking frontal face repeated upwards is rather nicely presented. The light at the top and the darker tones at the bottom adds as well.

What a wonderful showing of many different and interesting faces. Congratulations to all the selected artists for their fine artwork. The gallery is very proud of you all. Thank you very much!


Laurence Bradshaw
Curator, Professor of Art