It’s been said over and over that this year has been a whirlwind of unprecedented events. October is usually the month the St. Augustine Art Association installs the Tactile Art Show for the blind and visually impaired. Unfortunately, with the pandemic, touchable art couldn’t happen. Taking the place of the Tactile Art Show this year, This is My World, sponsored by Vystar Credit Union, is an exhibit of works embodying personal stories, struggle and emotion in an overwhelming response to events that have happened in 2020.
Artists of all ages and backgrounds poured their feelings into their art, and the results are striking. Large scale works offset by fine-print details and bold colors create a visual feast for the viewer that evokes emotions and a sense of connection to each piece. Jacksonville artist Dustin Harewood had the difficult task of judging the artwork and selecting award winners. “What I enjoyed about the overall work was the variety of materials and mediums. In regard to the awards, it was a difficult decision. Though there were many pieces, I tried my best to give each one the moment of attention that it deserved.”
“Sleeping” by Diana Augustine, is a painting beautifully executed and filled with emotion. “Learning how to love the people in my life has always been a difficult task for me,” the artist said, “Particularly those I live with. So often they appear to get in my way. Now that so many of us find ourselves working or attending school from home, the frustration of getting along with our families can be exacerbated. At day’s end, let us each take a look at our sleeping loved ones and remember, they are people just like we are, wanting love and validation just like we do.”
“Reading the artist’s statement really drove it all home for me,” Harewood said of the painting which he selected for the Jean Wagner Troemel Best in Show Award.
Sylvia McIntyre-Crook received the Alice Alger Most Creative Award for her painting “Space Explorer III.” A tiny woman in a retro space suit floats through an isolated and uncharted micro world representing the virus not only on a molecular level, but also the effects it has had on people navigating life in such an usual way. “I felt myself transported to another place and time. When I got in my car to drive home I was still thinking about this piece,” the judge remarked.
The 97Park Residential & Commercial Real Estate First Place Award went to Marisela Quiros for “Misericordia (Mercy)”, a four-piece mixed media assemblage. The images are composed of adornments which are meant to be in communion together, go out into the world alone, and then flock back together.
The remaining place awards were given to: Marilyn Antram for her painting of chaos entitled “Unveiling of the Unexpected”; Mona Costa Mauri for her digital collage reflecting on a happier time in life, “Mi Vecina Cubana” (My Cuban Neighbor); Ed Hall for his haunting painting, “Alone.”
The judge recognized four pieces with Honorable Mentions: Jerome Domask’s “Wild & Wonderful South Africa,” a bright and cheerful message of perseverance; “Caged” by Kathleen Warren, a digital piece about how being quarantined and cautious can make us feel trapped; Misti Balzer’s “Community Healers,” a bold mixed media piece full of encouragement and empowerment; Ted Head’s painting “Choices” which represents the decisions we have to make that not only affect ourselves, but others too.
With a total of 91 pieces, this exhibition is not one to miss. The artwork is thought-provoking and therapeutic, offering viewers a release of emotion. Encompassing a variety of mediums, the collective works are reflective of the current state of life experienced both individually and as a community. This isn’t my world, it’s our world.
The St. Augustine Art Association’s This is My World exhibition (October 2-23) can be viewed Tuesdays through Fridays, 1-4pm in-person at the gallery on 22 Marine Street in Historic Downtown, or online at www.staaa.org. Artwork is for sale and benefits the artists and programs of the St. Augustine Art Associaiton, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit arts organization founded in 1924.