The Fay Chandler Emerging Artist Awards at Boston City Hall

I was honored to be on the three-person jury for this year’s Fay Chandler Emerging Artist Exhibition at Boston City Hall. This is the 4th time this show has run, and the creativity of those living and working in Boston was fully on display.

Working with fellow Jurors Lydia Gordon from the Peabody Essex Museum and Claudia Fiks from The Eliott School, we carefully examined each piece, and debated the merits of many; agonizing over not being able to give more awards to the many worthy works.

In the end, here were the three winners, in the three categories. As I am going to have to read remarks for one of these aloud, they are written as such.

Best in Show

Sandra Lovelock William’s Muse is this year’s winner for Best in Show. This piece won over the jurors for its overall excellence. The subject, a young man stands in a corner. He is dressed for an important event with a buttoned shirt and tie, a waistcoat and trousers, and dress shoes. He looks ready to join in as he stands with his weight on both his feet, . At the same time, he also appears hesitant: his quiet gaze is directed downwards. His hands remain limp at his side, suggesting perhaps ambivalence: he is neither defensive nor eager. Here is a portrait of a young man on the edge of adulthood.

The execution is brilliant. Williams makes rich color choices, uses masterful brush strokes, and is confident in her work with light and shadow. She gives us an excellent sense of depth and texture. Williams’s work shows both control of her medium as well as great potential for the future. Well done!

Over 50

Julio, Hyde Square by Robin Radin is a smart black and white photograph of an urban scene. It has a timeless quality to it that makes it compelling and noteworthy.

An older gentleman sits outdoors on a step, half in the sun, half in the shade. A foot in each world, this photograph catches him in a moment of quiet contemplation. Over each shoulder is a door with a window to the interior: one is lit and one dark.

This play of opposites, as well as the diversity of line and texture make this a strong piece of artwork. The structure of the photograph’s framing is excellent: the upright doorways frame the top two thirds of the piece. These are interrupted by horizontal cracking concrete steps which break up the vertical lines and give needed horizontal force to the photograph. Overall, an excellent composition of what seems to be a candid photograph turned into a work of art.

3 Years or Less as an Artist

Wen Yu’s R2 is a piece that can be enjoyed both from far away and up close. From afar one notices the geometric orange, the white and black areas blended together, and the general energy that this painting exudes.

This energy, though, draws you closer. From afar you can’t quite figure it out. You wonder, what exactly am I looking at? You know that it’s abstract, but clearly more is afoot than just smudges of color. As you approach you are surprised and amazed – the complexity of this piece exceeds what you had anticipated. The smudges seem to melt into geometric patterns. Behind the washes of white and black lie an architecture of lines. Texture, color and pattern balance together to create a strong abstract piece, and one that suggests great things of the artist in years to come. Keep up the good work!

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