Art of the Northeast, now in its 63rd year at the Silvermine Arts Center, 1037 Silvermine Road, New Canaan, features 26 selected artists and will be on display through May 24.
Curated by David A. Ross, chairman of the School of Visual Arts' MFA Program, New York, this year's show featured a new format, rather than a general survey that is found in a traditional juried show. In previous years, the show exhibited a single work by an artist, often limiting the viewers' ability to understand a work.
Ross had at his discretion the ability to select a suite of three to five works by an individual artist. While some works of art can stand alone, others require the context of multiple works by an artist in order to present his or her ideas.
Of the total number selected, there were 16 multiple works and 10 individual works accepted. Of the finalists, all but one were multiple works. In addition, new this year was the Best in Show prize, which includes a future solo exhibition at the arts center. There were 1,489 entries submitted by 398 artists.
Best in Show was awarded to Mary Jo McGonagle, a Silvermine Guild artist member from Southport, for her installation "Get Out."
"My art practice is a multi-disciplinary exploration of the many issues happening in the home," she said. "I strive to make people aware of the complexities that take place within one's `private' space and bring these issues forward to the `public' space."
Her installation uses decorative wallpapers, patterning and colorful language to conceal contemporary phrases, which are camouflaged within the wallpaper, giving an element of discovery.
In addition, she combines video and sound in creating her installations, reflecting her fascination with how our relationships take place in everyday lives, hovering between humor and desperation.
Other award winners are Charles Geiger of Poughkeepsie, N.Y., who received the Silvermine Board of Trustees Award for his acrylic on canvas "Fossil Fruit"; Joseph Madrigal of Purchase, N.Y., the Mollie & Albert Jacobson Award in Sculpture for "Offal Pink"; Phoenix Lindsey-Hall of Brooklyn, N.Y., the Carole Eisner Award for Sculpture for "Bone, Bat and Slab"; David Ottenstein of New Haven, the Steven Madwed Memorial Prize for Photography for his grouping of photographs entitled "House," "35 Acres," "Grain Co-Op" and "Cornfield"; Naya Bricher of South Kent, the Prutting and Co. Award for Mixed Media for "Bundle Blowup"; Ann Hodgdon-Cyr of Windsor, the Tom Ayoub & Christie Dombrowski Award for her grouping of photographs "The Other Side Eight," "The Other Side Four" and "The Other Side One"; and Susan Sharp of Easton, the Jerry's Artarama Honorable Mention for Painting for "Stumbling Stones."
"Over the 63 years Silvermine Arts Center has been organizing the annual Art of the Northeast Exhibition, the galleries have shown hundreds of dynamic works of art that reflect the changing aesthetics and ideas of contemporary art produced in the region," said Jeffrey Mueller, gallery director.
"We are very excited with the changes we brought to the competition/exhibition this year because it gives visitors the chance to get a more in-depth look into the ideas explored by an individual artist and helped the curator to present a more cohesive and thought provoking look at Art of the Northeast."
Ross, who has a 40-year career as an art museum professional and educator, has served as director of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art and the Boston Institute of Contemporary Art, as well as having curatorial and senior leadership positions at the Everson Museum of Art, the Long Beach Museum of Art and the University Art Museum at UC Berkeley.
Co-founder and president of the Artists' Pension Trust, Ross has lectured at various museums and universities across the country, has served as juror and commissioner at a broad range of international shows and exhibitions, organized more than 100 exhibitions of 20th-century art.
For information, visit www.silvermineart.org or call 203-966-9700.