NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

April 24, 2014

Art in abundance: Show features 150 works

Juror Bruce Brown had his work cut out for him for the 17th annual Regional Juried Show at the Newburyport Art Association.

First, he had to select 150 pieces for the exhibit out of 510 submissions in acrylic, digital art, drawing, fine crafts, mixed media, oil, pastel, photography, printmaking, sculpture and watercolor. He did this several weeks ago, wading through pictures of the artwork sent to him digitally.

On Tuesday, he traveled to Newburyport from his Maine home to view all of the pieces in person and select winners in 12 categories, along with honorable mentions.

Despite the long hours, he has enjoyed every minute of it.

“It’s been absolutely wonderful,” said Brown, curator emeritus of the Center for Maine Contemporary Art. “I love doing this sort of thing.”

Brown also said that it was fun to see the actual works after viewing them only on a computer and that he was surprised by how small some of them were, and vice versa.

“There were many of them that I clearly remembered, but when you look at them online, you’re not always aware of the various sizes,” he said.

For the Best of Show winner, Brown was drawn to an acrylic by Joe Norris titled “North of the Buoy 4.”

“Once I saw it, I thought, ooh, this is a real contender, and I pretty much stayed with it,” Brown said. “It’s a complete abstraction. It was really about the language of art making: composition, color.”

The painting features two collage elements, adding “a third dimension to this otherwise two-dimensional surface,” Brown said. “It breaks down on the page very nicely.”

Overall, Brown felt there was a “community feeling” in the majority of the works in the show, which is the only one that the art association opens to nonmembers.

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