After a one-year hiatus, the Besser Museum once again has held its signature juried art competition.
The 2011 Northeast Michigan Artists Juried Exhibition opened last week, with the winners announced Saturday during a special two-hour reception.
Taking a short break from the event appears to have increased the interest in it.
News Photo by Diane Speer
This oil painting by Margie McKenna of?West Branch, titled “Between Innings,” took first place in the Northeast Michigan Artits Juried Exhibition.
"We had a record high 48 artists enter 125 pieces," said Facilities and Exhibits Manager Randy Shultz. "There were a lot of new artists."
Of those 125 pieces, 68 were selected for the show. Of those new artists, one of them won the first place award.
Margie McKenna of West Branch took top honors for her oil painting depicting Little League baseball players hanging out at the concessions stand. Her work appropriately is titled, "Between Innings."
"This is the first time she ever entered, and she won first place," Shultz said.
As this year's first place winner, McKenna received a $300 prize and her own solo exhibit at the museum in 2012.
Second place and a $200 prize went to retired Alpena Public Schools art instructor Anita Harmon of Alpena for her acrylic scene titled, "Sunlit Path."
The third place winner was Isabelle Renaud of Greenbush for her small oil scene titled, "Lake Huron Shore." She received a $100 prize.
A special honorable mention award also was given out by the museum staff. Receiving that honor was Kevin Willis of Alpena for a pen and ink drawing titled "After Shock."
Serving as this year's juror was award-winning local artist Chris Wozniak, who holds a degree in commercial art from Ferris State College. Since 1978, he has designed and created original paintings, many of which have been reproduced into prints and posters.
Wozniak also has entered several art competitions and done well in all of them. In 1990 and 1995, he was named Michigan Ducks Unlimited Artist of the Year. The Michigan United Conservation Club also named him their Artist of the Year in 1998.
According to Shultz, judging this year's entries took a great deal of time on the part of Wozniak.
"Chris said that with the amount of talent in this area, it was not an easy task," Shultz said. "I don't know if it's because we missed last year, but 48 artists is a lot."
Among the submissions were a variety of different mediums used by the artists, including colored pencil, oil, watercolor, photography, acrylic, pastel, pen and ink, etching, metal sculpture and textiles.
One of the more unusual techniques used is called "gyotaku," which is the traditional Japanese art of fish painting. Bettejane Godfrey of Atlanta had three of her "gyotaku" pieces accepted into the show. They involve a time consuming process of preparing a real fish or other sea creature and then using it to print an image onto rice paper.
Also featured in the show are several pieces done using a process known as "scanography." Artist John Porter of Presque Isle grouped objects together and manipulated them via a computer scanner to produce a collage-style image. His three pieces accepted into the show were titled "Road Kill 2," "Jordan River Forest..." and "Leaves from a Garden."
The competition is open to full-time or summer residents in 15 counties in Northeast Michigan. Alpena residents whose works were accepted into the competition were Larry Cates, Jacob Kuznicki, Kevin Willis, Florence Hines, Marjorie McConnell, Dodi Lance, Danyeal Dorr, Kati Meek, Gene Reimann, Mary Ewell, Marion Cook Jagst, Alexander Wisniewski and Elizabeth Willis.
Other area residents whose works are featured in the exhibit include Mary Iwanski, Marilyn Bachelor and Jean Stewart of Hubbard Lake; Vivian Hepburn, Diana Kilroy and Mary Alice Comar of Ossineke; Sisty Behmer, and Carol Chisholm of Harrisville; Maureen McWilliams of Herron; Karen Cracchiolo and Bev Suszek of Posen; Jack Thompson of Presque Isle; Kathryn Cubalo and Judy St. John of Lincoln.
Rounding out the list of artists are Karen Ann Jonker of E. Tawas, Carol Preuss of Mikado, Jean Lauwers of Rose City, Susan Lawless and Bradford Thompson of Ann Arbor; Dawn Barr of Cheboygan; Kathleen Fabera of Hale; James Fekete of Millersburg; Venita Larson of Glennie; and Beverly Chase of Oscoda.
The 2011 Northeast Michigan Artists Juried Exhibition will remain on display through Nov. 1.