Artists have been capturing the human form for thousands of years. Their aim: to appreciate the human body, express their inner emotions, or preserve a memory. Some of the most famous works of art are portraits or figures, and works like da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring or Michelangelo’s David might come to mind. Artists manipulate tools and materials to convey in a static image the emotions, personalities and situations of the subjects. This is portraiture.
During the month of February, the St. Augustine Art Association is celebrating diversity, spunk and emotional connections in the human race with a special exhibit of over 100 works of Figures and Portraits. The portraits and everyday life interpretations evoke relatable emotions and experiences, drawing the viewer in to a visual experience.
Incorporated into the display are selected pieces from the St. Augustine Art Association’s Permanent Collection, including a newly acquired self-portrait by Courtenay Hunt, a versatile artist who produced an outstanding number of portraits in his career. This work, and others from the Collection are an expressive compliment to today’s artists and award-winning pieces.
“The work, mediums and subjects are so diverse, thoughtful and engaging. The artists should all be very proud of the work they did for this exhibit,” said portrait artist and judge, Tony Wood, who was tasked with curating the exhibit and selecting the award winners.
Ten artists were recognized with awards, but as Tony said, all of the participants can be commended for their creative efforts. Xi Guo’s watercolor, “Blinds” which received the Jean Wagner Troemel Best in Show Award, addresses the idea of looking beyond one’s self. Three of these ten works, representing a variety of mediums and styles, were presented with special awards. Paula Pascucci’s emotive rendering, “Woman in Sunlight,” was selected for the Ann James Best Pastel Portrait Award. Bright colors and positive expression draw the eyes to “Selfie,” a mixed media self-portrait that took home the Carl Steinsieck Best Figure Drawing Award. Debilitating effects of addiction and the journey to recovery are expressed through a detailed colored pencil compilation “Pipe Dreams Recovery” by Deborah Thompson, which was selected for the Alice Alger Most Creative Award.
The place awards, sponsored by 97Park Residential and Commercial Real Estate, were given to four exceptional works. Reflection and personal growth are illustrated in the first place winner “Self Portrait at 35,” a mesmerizing charcoal drawing by Christina Grace Mastrangelo. Deanne Bushell’s encaustic portrait of “Kate” received the second place award, while Anna Miller was recognized in third place for her breathtaking oil painting “Water Dancer.” Donna McCarthy-Jensen’s clay sculpture “Corps de Ballet”, recognized with the fourth place award, portrays the unparalleled poise of a ballerina. An abstraction of gesture is visible in both Honorable Mentions “Almost Love” by Claire Kendrick and “Athena” by Nicholas McNally.
See the Figures & Portraits exhibition on display at the St. Augustine Art Association (22 Marine Street in downtown St. Augustine) now through Sunday, March 1, 2020. All of the artwork in the exhibit is for sale unless noted otherwise with proceeds benefitting the artists, the programs and exhibitions of the St. Augustine Art Association, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit art organization.
The Gallery is open to the public six days a week: Tuesday through Saturday, 12-4-pm and Sundays 2-5pm. Free Admission. For more information call (904) 824-2310 or go to www.staaa.org.