December 2022 Awards

Prizes and Rationale

We were impressed by the talent and variety on display in this show, and we had a difficult time narrowing down which works to award prizes. After about two hours of careful looking and thoughtful conversation, we agreed on three outstanding works and four additional honorable mentions.

First Prize $300

Cloverleaf  • Oil on panel • 36″×24″
Fields  • Oil on canvas • 36″×24″
Hope Zaccagni

This pair of paintings commands attention from the moment we enter the gallery. Bright colors and precise shapes have been used to abstract beauty from the real world engineering marvel that is the United States highway system. The loops and curves of the roads lead us into a whimsically idealized world where patterned fields and geometric buildings have been rhythmically organized into flowing compositions. Is the blue highway a man-made “river,” and if so, what other symbolic interpretations might be found in these roads? Certainly, the journey of life, full of unexpected turns, can always be seen as a road. Perhaps it is also worth considering that the highway system is paradoxically both a means of connection and a barrier of division. The visual richness of these paintings allows time for such ponderings. 

Second Prize $225

Scottie Sleeping  • Oil on canvas • 20″×40″

Geena Massaro

Arms limp and mouth slightly ajar, a young boy has fallen into a deep sleep while reclining on a couch in Geena Massaro’s Scottie Sleeping. This quiet, intimate moment is captured through bold, occasionally colorful brush marks that resonate on an abstract level. The canvas’s deep frame further emphasizes the importance of materiality in this work, while also elevating the importance of a small detail from everyday life. When viewed from a distance, the brushwork dissolves into convincingly illusionistic figurative painting, offering a sense of peace in this innocent scene of childhood.

Third Prize $150

Sedona Whilrpool  • Watercolor • 17″×28″

Sam Vann

Subtle contrasting colors and intricate swirls stand out in this exquisite, large-scale watercolor. The foamy, bubbling stream washes over and around coarse rocks, evoking a primordial scene of elemental earth and water. Upon closer inspection, however, a few slivers of green reveal improbable evidence of life, with a plant growing directly out of the central rock. Like that sliver of green, hope can sometimes be found in the most unexpected places.

Honorable Mention $75

After the Deluge  • Mixed media • 18″×25″

d darkan teska

This collage is rich with color, texture, and mystery. Layers of obscured messages and images seem to fade like a memory of grim times, or an imagined past. The trauma of powerful storms live on in regional memories and in some of humanity’s most ancient stories. With the recent increase in extreme weather events, one can only wonder what the future holds.   

Honorable Mention $75

Boots  • Oil on canvas • 24″×36″

Richard Marchant

Among the lines of cowboy boots populating the shelves in this eye-catching painting, one boot leans into the spotlight. The boot is a vulgar pink color, but it is fabulous nonetheless. The rest of the shelf is a near rainbow of similarly ostentatious boots that are brightly colored, bedazzled with rhinestones, and decorated with floral patterns. If the cowboy is the ultimate symbol of rugged American masculinity, these flamboyant and feminine boots capture the contemporary spirit that is challenging traditional, rigid ideas about gender. Hopefully, one day, the wearers of these boots will stride into a freer and more tolerant future.    

Honorable Mention $75

Summer Sun  • Oil on mounted canvas • 12″×16″

Robert Glisson

Beautifully unified color helps this peaceful pastoral cow scene transcend its subject matter. The scene successfully captures the light of an idyllic summer day, but also captures a sense of magic, with colors bordering on the psychedelic.    

Honorable Mention $75

Cernunnos: Summer  • Stoneware with acrylic and wax patina • 28½″×16″×16″

Andrew Fitzsimmons

This striking bust captures the presence of an ancient pagan god. There is magic and trickery in disguising a recent ceramic piece so convincingly to look like weathered bronze. The horns are wonderfully evocative of many forms: Medusa’s reptilian hair, tentacular vines, dreadlocks, or the gnarled branches of an ancient tree. This is a form that inspires fear and demands respect.