By Ann Reily
---- — 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.
“We all share this world and like so much of the same things,” he said. “I think what happens here is I come away with the complete understanding about how people in their lives want to intensify their experience — to reflect upon their surroundings, their personal relationships, the things that mean the most to them — and to take the time and the energy to apply the skills which they have learned to create a work of art.”
Sam Sargent Award for Best of Show: Joe Norris, “North of Buoy 4”
Institution for Savings Charitable Foundation Award for Work in Acrylic: Ron Emmerling, “Where is my Yellow Ball?”
Re/Max On the River Award for Work in Digital Art: Buddy Pritchett, “Dark Clouds”
Matter Communications Inc. Award for Work in Drawing: Skip Motes, “Trees on the Marsh”
Newburyport Development Award for Work in Fine Craft: Doug Johnson, “Blue Sky Over Boston”
Strem Chemicals Inc. Award for Work in Mixed Media: Paula Estey, “Lay a River Through My Heart”
Mary Alice Arakelian Award for Work in Oil: Eileen Patten Oliver, “The Schooners”
Laura Coombs Hills Award for Work in Pastel: Wolfgang Ertl, “Looking Down 6”
Newburyport Area Industrial Development Foundation Award for Work in Photography: Jeremy Barnard, “Angel”
Newburyport Five Cents Savings Bank Award for Work in Printmaking: Patty DeGrandpre, “Desolate”
Philip J. & Maria Stern Memorial Award for Work in Sculpture: Ryan Kelley, “Lonely”
H. Patterson Hale Jr. Charitable Foundation Award for Work in Watercolor: Ann Jones, “Squash Court”
Honorable mentions: Jean Connolly, “Red Barn in Morning Light,” oil; Brent Rotsko, “After the Storm,” oil; Natasha Latona, “Bread and Copper,” oil; Susan Dooley, “Isolation,” photography; Kathryn Broland, “Rhapsody,” acrylic
If you go
What: 17th annual Regional Juried Show
When: Tomorrow through May 25. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays. Free reception and awards presentation this Sunday from 3 to 5 p.m.
Where: Newburyport Art Association, 65 Water St.
More information: 978-465-8769 or www.newburyportart.org