Sunday, September 05, 2004

A month ago or so, I juried a show from slides for Gallery International in Baltimore.

Last Friday I went to the opening and selected the prize winners. The Best in Show was won by area artist Paul Ellis, while the two awards of excellence went to Spanish-born New York photographer Yolanda del Amo for two-dimensional work and to Andrey Tsers for three-dimensional.

Yesterday the Baltimore Sun's art critic Glenn McNatt had a review of the show. McNatt writes:

"A touch of whimsy

The title of the exhibition at Gallery International, All Media Competition and Show, sounds a bit grandiose, but actually it's as apt as any for this sparkling group show, which brings together 48 artists from far and wide chosen by guest curator F. Lennox Campello.

Campello, a co-owner of the Fraser Gallery in Washington, selected the works on view from the more than 200 entries submitted, and he readily concedes that he followed no formula or format other than his own whimsy in making his choices.

The results, however, are as delightful as they are occasionally surprising. And, true to its title, the show's offerings are divided almost equally among paintings, sculpture, photography and mixed-media works.

There are also quite a few Duchamp-inspired artworks of the buzzing, whirling, mechanical variety, including Wade Kramm's ingenious Candle flipbook, an electric-powered contraption that mimics the flickering motion of an animated cartoon, and Adam Bradley's Dandelion, a weirdly alluring wind-up diorama depicting the soul's reluctant fall from grace.

Yolanda del Amo Domestica One of the most polished works in the show is New York-based photographer Yolanda Del Amo's Domestica, a large-scale color photograph mounted on Plexiglas and aluminum that recalls the staged but unforced naturalism of Tina Barney's upper-middle-class domestic dramas. The Spanish-born Del Amo, whose photographs convey a compelling but stubbornly ambiguous narrative thrust, is on the evidence of this work clearly an artist to watch.

The show runs through Sept. 24. The gallery is at 523 N. Charles St. Hours are noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. Call 410-230-0561."
Like any juried competition, this was a difficult one to jury, and I struggled for what seemed hours with the Best in Show decision. It could have easily gone to Yolanda del Amo (a RISD graduate), whose photograph is as compelling and sublty seductive as McNatt describes. Her winning entry (Domestica) is pictured above to the left, and it is from a series called "Maids" photographed in Argentina by del Amo. According to one of del Amo's friends who was at the opening (the photographer was not present at the opening), del Amo has been stirring quite a bit of interest in her neck of the woods in N'Yak and could be a photographer to keep an eye on (pun intended).

A while back, the former Art Editor for the British newspaper The Guardian discussed how and why a newspaper should have a high commitment to supporting the arts.

The interesting point in this article by Ian Mayes is that fact that he discloses that between the Guardian and the Observer (owned and run by The Guardian), they employ about 60 art critics backed by a similar number of editors and sub-editors!

And they made a deliberate effort to provide arts coverage in spite of the fact that "...the commitment is not simply or primarily a commercial one. In terms of revenue for the paper, many areas of the arts would not pay for the coverage."

I would guess that our own Washington Post, which has a daily (and shrinking) circulation of around 600,000 printed papers, and gets around two million hits a day for its great website, and owns several other newspapers, is probably about twice the size of the Guardian newspapers combined.

Does anyone want to count the number of Post critics and see if they employ or use more or less than the Guardian?