Artist Ann Gildner of Cheboygan, known for her strong bold colors and use of found objects, has taken the top award in this year's Northeast Michigan Juried Art Exhibition sponsored by the Besser Museum. Her piece, Chair Metal, won her a $300 cash prize and a solo exhibition in 2013.
E.P. Lewandowski, juror for this year's competition, said Gildner's winning piece "is a perfect blend of abstract metal construction with beautiful color composition."
Not only is Gildner an artist, but she also maintains her own art gallery in Cheboygan that features an estimated 400 pieces of art by approximately 25 artists from across Northern Michigan. She is enthusiastic about art and often encourages others to try their hand at creating.
Chair Metal by Ann Gildner of Cheboygan, first place winner
Gildner previously had her own exhibit at the museum in 2010.
Taking second place with an acrylic painting called Mrs. Cardinal was noted wildlife artist Chris Wozniak of Alpena. His piece was one of three of his that were juried into the show.
"Mrs. Cardinal" by wildlife artist Chris Wozniak is a bird study meticulously rendered in composition and presentation," said Lewandowski.
And the winners are...
First place: Ann Gildner of Cheboygan, Chair Metal "a perfect blend of abstract metal construction with beautiful color composition"
Second place: Chris Wozniak of Alpena, acrylic painting, Mrs. Cardinal "a bird study meticulously rendered in composition and presentation"
Third place: Thane Whitscell of Hubbard Lake, photograph, Father Time "combines an interesting blend of images working in harmony with each other"
Special recognition awards:
- James Stoll of Alpena, acrylic, The Four Horses and The Bison for originality
- Bettejane Godfrey of Atlanta, fish print, Gyotaku for originality and medium execution
- Leon Ruder of St. Ignace, oil, Petoskey Fall Delight for composition
- Paul Vernier of Alpena, photograph, Belle Isle for composition
- Paul Vernier of Alpena, photograph, Egret for composition
- Judith St. John of Lincoln, mixed media, Swampland for originality
- Betsy Willis of Alpena, oil, Afternoon Escape for originality and medium execution
- Isabelle Renaud of Greenbush, oil, Springtime in Greenfield Village medium execution and composition
- JoAnna Kondrat of Alpena, watercolor, Divisions for composition
- Sisty Behmer of Harrisville, mixed media, Been a Long Road for medium execution
People's choice award: Rex Reynolds of Alpena, medal sculpture
Since 1978, Wozniak has designed and created numerous original paintings, many of which have been reproduced into prints and posters. In 1990 and 1995, he was named Michigan Ducks Unlimited Artist of the Year. He did the sponsor print for them in 1998. The Michigan United Conservation Club also named Wozniak its Artist of the Year in 1998 with a painting of redpols.
Wozniak received a $200 cash prize as the second place winner.
Receiving third place honors and a $100 cash prize was local photographer Thane Whitscell of Hubbard Lake. Lewandowski selected his photograph, Father Time, for its "interesting blend of images working in harmony with each other."
Whitscell is a recognized local photographer with his own business, Photography by Thane. He considers himself both a photographic artist and a connoisseur of life.
This year's competition drew a total of 52 artists and 131 individual pieces. Just having a piece accepted into the exhibition is considered an accomplishment as only 54 of the 131 made it in.
Lewandowski was impressed by the quality of the entries, so much so that he chose to honor an additional 10 artists with awards of special recognition.
"The quality and quantity of images submitted for this event exceeded my expectations and I felt compelled to award a second round of special recognition," he said.
Recipients of those awards included James Stoll of Alpena, Bettejane Godfrey of Atlanta, Leon Ruder of St. Ignace, Paul Vernier of Alpena (two awards), Judith St. John of Lincoln, Betsy Willis of of Alpena, Isabelle Renaud of Greenbush, JoAnna Kondrat of Alpena and Sisty Behmer of Harrisville.
The museum held its opening reception for the exhibition last weekend and announced the winners at that time. Those in attendance were given the opportunity to vote for their favorite piece. Receiving the people's choice award was Rex Reynolds of Alpena for a metal sculpture.
The annual competition is open to artists living in Alcona, Alpena, Arenac, Cheboygan, Chippewa, Crawford, Iosco, Luce, Mackinac, Montmorency, Ogemaw, Oscoda, Otsego, Presque Isle and Rosommon counties.