Six Chicago-area artists were awarded a total of $3,000 in prizes at Bridgeport Art Center’s 2nd Annual Art Competition awards ceremony on the evening of March 8.
Charles Gniech, a professor at the Illinois Institute of Art – Chicago, was awarded “Best of Show” ($1,000) for his painting “Grounded”, which he describes as:
Part of a body of work that explores the meditative qualities of the fluid-like surface patterns found on many of the megalithic stone circles of Great Britain. Like that of Agnes Martin and Mark Rothko, the imagery conveys the serene qualities of meditation and inner peace.
Peter Walsh, who has exhibited in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and elsewhere, was awarded “Second Prize” ($750) for his painting “Indifference”:
This new work is the first in which I have begun to create representational work. “Indifference” is a large format painting. I made this to show how modern people are so dismissive of religion, though it is not an argument for religion. The painting is inspired by a brochure for a beach resort. The Christ figure is inspired by a Tintoretto painting. I enjoyed juxtaposing the two images together, creating a scene that makes people think.
The prize for “Most Innovative Use of Medium” ($250) was given to illustrator, animator and musician, Joe Fournier for his work “The Flutist”, featuring a large gestural ink drawing with online musical accompaniment accessible by mobile device. Chicagoans are familiar with Fournier’s political cartoons, which have appeared in the Tribune, Chicago Magazine, Sun Times and many other publications.
Winner of the “Best Three-Dimensional Work” prize ($250), Phil Martin’s “Looking for Balance” is a clock at its 11th hour, powered by electrical output of coal-fired power, symbolizing a ”sky-is-falling or “time-is-running out” scenario. Phil Martin describes his own work as outsider and visionary art (mixed media):
New things, shiny things, planned obsolescence are incompatible with my aesthetic. On the other hand, rebuilt, recycled, reinvested, re-purposed elements suit me just fine. It’s no surprise, then, that my three-dimensional assemblages – like myself- are considered “outsider” or “raw”.
Lora Delastowicz-Wierzbowski’s small gem-like landscape won the “Best Representational Work” award ($250). Lora is a long-time artist in residence at Bridgeport Art Center, and she is known for her portraits, landscapes and city-scapes:
From my first work, my focus has been on my environment, both past and immediate. I am a native Chicagoan. I’ve lived many other places, but returned here again and again. I produce art about the places I’ve lived/live in, and the people I’ve known/know. I always have a sketchbook and/or camera, so I am constantly drawing/taking pictures. Some of these develop into paintings.
Lisa Tolbert, a recent arrival as a resident artist at Bridgeport describes her technique as a “ very unique type of mosaic art, named – Pocasset Mosaic Art. This deals with broken china”. Tolbert received the Popular Favorite Award ($500) from opening reception attendees for “Mermaid Dress”, her dress form encrusted with glittering mosaic pieces.