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Juried Exhibition: ART IN COMMON


October 27, 2023 @ 11:00 am
December 17, 2023 @ 5:00 pm

Mystic Museum of Art (MMoA)’s curatorial theme for 2023 is “Art in Common,” exploring the innumerable ways in which art can bridge differences of identity, language, culture, time, and place. As an intuitive form of communication, art can transcend our individual backgrounds—from the local preschoolers who participated in this year’s Young at Art to the international roster of Modern Art masters such as Henri Matisse and Alexander Calder featured in From Crisis to Color: Derrière le Miroir (“Behind the Mirror”)—to create a visual experience we all share. In a world that is increasingly divisive, art facilitates communication; and communication, in turn, fosters healing.

The artists, authors, and poets who worked together in Derrière le Miroir after the devastation of World War II understood that by combining art and language, they could create a visual communication more effective than either form alone. Inspired by their example, MMoA’s year of ART IN COMMON culminates in a juried exhibition theme of the same name.

Artists were invited to delve into the combination of language and visual art incorporating elements of the written word, pulling inspiration from a favorite piece of literature (novels, children’s books, poems, plays, etc), or paying homage to the creative juxtaposition of these two elements.

This year’s juror is Caroline Joy Adams. Adams is a multi-media artist, author, and teacher who holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology and worked for years as a professional calligrapher in New York City.


Juror Statement

“I was honored to have been asked to jury this show, and  it was a wonderful experience spending time with each of the  pieces submitted,  and then  carefully selecting the award winners out of so many extraordinarily interesting and unique artworks. We ended up with a vast variety of mediums,  including oil paintings, pastels, watercolors, sculptures, mixed media,  drawings, calligraphy,  collage, photography, fabric quilts, silkscreen, and more.  The key commonality was that all of the pieces have delved into the combination of language and visual art, and therefore relate in some way to the power of words—whether  letters or words are actually embedded and featured in the finished art—which is the case with quite a few of the works – or whether a given work was inspired by a novel, poem, or other form of the written or spoken word, which shaped the artists imagination and creative process in a significant way.

Some of the pieces included are exquisitely beautiful to look at; others are whimsical, playful, dazzling, or vibrantly colorful; and others still are more dramatic and perhaps even harsh to the eye, yet carry an important, perhaps even urgent, relevant message, about the state of our world today. And this complex world we live in is certainly reflected in this show, which encompasses everything possible — from extreme beauty, love, delight, and compassion, to the agonizing, ongoing societal issues that also require our attention, including homelessness, war, insurrection, the pandemic, climate change, and more.

What I love most about the selections included is that a great many of them ask us to slow down, and take some time with them, really taking in the images and/or words they contain – as many of them present thought-provoking, intriguing questions about life. This, in turn, invites us to reflect on our own experiences—of love, family, relationships, community, creativity, responsibility toward others, towards our planet, and more. And I believe this is the great task of art—to ask the viewer/reader to participate in the process, by contemplating the questions raised, which can, at times, lead to some powerful conversations – and perhaps even deepened connections with those in our own lives. (And what could be a better result of a piece of art, or a museum visit, than that?) 

For example, one of the works included in the show is a lovely watercolor by Lisa Miceli, entitled “What is the Color of Hope?”.  And my own hope is that that visitors will allow this to spark a lively conversation with your museum-going companions, as you ask yourself — and one another — that same excellent question: “What is the color of hope, for you? (And—to take it a step further, what you can you do next to bring some of your own hopes in this life from dreams into reality?”) For when art can inspire us to open to deeper connection with others, or to greater contemplation – or to take action, it has truly offered us its most profound, priceless gift. And this excellent, unique show certainly gives us the inspiration we all must seek, so is well worth a visit (or more than one if you live nearby!) to view ART IN COMMON.”

Award Winners

J. Ott Labor of Love Oil on canvas Rudy Grunwald Award for Best in Show
Arthur Guagliumi Graphia: 5×5 Mixed media 2nd Prize
Diane Spira Autumn Rill Oil on canvas 3rd Prize
K. Hartmann A for Apple, B for Blame Watercolor Pamela J. Nelson Watercolor Award
Rita Dawley Where’s Mom Mixed media Mary Barthelson Pastel Award
Eric Hovermale A Faint Harmony Photography Honorable Mention
Lisa Miceli What is the Color of Hope? Watercolor Honorable Mention
Catherine Whall Smith Love Letters… As the Numbers GROW Fiber and photo Honorable Mention
Cathy Weiss An Abundance of Imperfection Mixed media Honorable Mention

Rudy Grunwald Award for BEST IN SHOW

J. Ott, Labor of Love, Oil on canvas

“I felt mesmerized by this lovely  oil painting the moment it caught my eye, as I absolutely loved the soft colors, the exquisite  use of light, and the intimate portrait of a woman thoughtfully  immersed in the world of words, though her student’s papers that she was grading, along with the glowing laptop, also filled with the endless energy of limitlessly flowing  words,  set atop the plush pink bedspread – along with the always good company of a curious, comforting cat.”

Arthur Guagliumi, Graphia: 5×5, Mixed media

“This is a fascinating work, incorporating  exciting visual design, and many elements of  a great variety of different written  languages, and requires some deep time and attention to contemplate – and I also appreciated the  accompanying artist’s statement, as it makes a profoundly important point.”

Diane Spira, Autumn Rill, Oil on canvas

“I loved the wonderfully soft,  flowing colors of this  painting, which feels like an invitation to just merge into this luminescent place – along with the excellent explanation of how the artists was inspired by the Victor Hugo novel, Toilers of the Sea (which I have not read, but now feel drawn to doing so!).”

Eric Hovermale, A Faint Harmony, Photography

“This is a gorgeous photograph, paired with words that seem a perfect match to the mood of serenity and melancholy, and really drew me in.”

Lisa Miceli, What is the Color of Hope?, Watercolor

“I loved the subtle use of color here, the way the words  were situated at the top, and the whimsical flower forest that the figures were immersed in. Such a wonderful and powerful question she asks here, and beautiful composition of all the elements.”

Catherine Whall Smith, Love Letters…As the Numbers GROW, Fiber and photo

“I was drawn to this as an excellent example of the creativity that arose for so many of us artists during the deep challenges and losses of the pandemic times—and incorporates beautiful colors, patterns, and symbols into a unified design that is very appealing to the eye, and layered in deep meaning at the same time.”

Cathy Weiss, An Abundance of Imperfection, Mixed media

“This is a powerful and intriguing work, combining a deeply meaningful poem on the theme of marriage, that I imagine many of us can relate to – and the overall design of the accompanying art, and the way it is mounted, makes for an exceptionally attractive and unique piece overall.”

K. Hartmann, A For Apple, B for Blame, Watercolor

“I loved the historical  inference, and  powerful message in this work, along with its elegant artistry and design. Definitely thought-provoking, and I  found the artist’s statement very illuminating as well.”

Rita Dawley, Where’s Mom, Mixed media

 “A fun, whimsical, vibrant piece, it is something that most parents will find relatable and enjoyable to look at.”


Accepted Works

Glynis J. Blanker Nina Part I Pen and ink
Glynis J. Blanker Simone Part II Pen and ink
Diane Brown Blue-On-Blue Oil and cold wax
Jill Abele Butcher Rest and Peace Acrylic on canvas
Milly Carlson Tang Dynasty Poem Collage and sumi ink
Milly Carlson Sing Ink and crayon
Rita Dawley Saying Goodbye Mixed media
Carole Erdman The Water is Wide Watercolor
Donna M. Frustere Holding Memories Mixed printmaking
Carol Giese Think About It – “Do Whatever Makes Your Heart Sing” Mixed media
Pamela Pike Gordinier Enough! Mixed media
Will Holub St. John’s Wood Acrylic and C-prints on linen
Laura Hopkins Escaping the War Mixed media
Eric Hovermale Hope Photography
Gunnar Johnson Art for Art’s Sake Acrylic and mixed media on canvas
Sean Patrick Kane Little Boy Blue Acrylic and ink
Melody Leary Capricious Machine Photopolymer intaglio with chine colle on paper
Susan Leggitt Yiddish Accent Mixed media
Susan Leggitt Alien Passenger Mixed media
Marilyn McShane Levine Two Sides Photography
Marilyn McShane Levine The Mandala of Protection Pen and ink on paper
Rafael Lino The Waiting Game Acrylic on panel
Catherine Mansell Ancient Script, Ancient Life Encaustic, oil, and paper on board
Catherine Mansell How We See, What We Say Mixed media on board
Vicky McGrath But where’s LOVE Photography
Janvier Miller North Atlantic Fishes Acrylic on canvas
Gustaf Miller PARKED and Waiting Acrylic on canvas
Joan Mullins Rage, rage Mixed media
Joan Mullins To Keats Mixed media
Nancy Oates Life IS. Photography
Linda Ouellette Metamorphosis Digital art
Susan Parish Box of Books Photography
Howard Park MODERN BIRTH of Venus Watercolor on paper
Alicia L. Peña Mari Graffiti Mixed media on wood
Dan Potter Where Are We Going? Mixed media
Alexi Rashan Seashore Silkscreen
Randy Richards Change is the Only Constant in Life Mixed media
O. A. Rolston All Common Things Mixed media
Beryl Salinger Schmitt Messages from the Old Country Oil on canvas
Sarah Savercool Eyes Upon Peacock Feathers Acrylic paint and book cut-outs
Sarah Savercool A Home for Me Acrylic paint
Ann Scavone House of the Holy Clay
Mary Burk Smith Pieces II Mixed media
Felicia Touhey Tata-Father Monoprint
Peggy Traskos The Road Less Traveled Pastel
Carmela Venti Pearls: Wisdom/Diplomacy Relief, silkscreen, lithograph, chine colle
Cathy Weiss Man Alone Abstract photography with minor embellishments
Ann D. Williams Grey Mist’s Beauty Watercolor
Ann D. Williams An Atrocity Mixed media