The early snow that prompted rescheduling of the Olney Art Association’s annual juried show at the Kentlands Mansion only served to heighten the camaraderie of the group and their diverse collection of work representing several mediums. Now in its 44th year, the Olney Art Association (OAA) was founded by five Olney-area artists.
OAA President David Terrar said, “The show displays the broad interests and perspectives of the 30 or so exhibiting artist members. The unusual collection of artwork digs deep into the artists’ personal and sacred places.” Terrar added that he tries to encourage members to go a little bit further beyond their comfort zone and “peel back the onion to paint the pain, not just the smiles and grins.”
Juror Deborah Maklowski, a nationally recognized colored pencil and impressionistic plein air landscape artist, gave a comprehensive and thoughtful presentation at the artists reception on Nov. 20. The show encompasses a variety of styles and diverse subjects. Gracing a corner of the entrance hallway is Isabella Martire’s Best in Show “Power.” Maklowski said it “knocked my socks off” when she first saw it—its strength and spirit are evident with the sensitive use of light and shadow.
Martire, a physician and cancer specialist when not painting, astonished me with her admission that she had been painting portraits for only three years while attending local artist Glen Kessler’s Master Student program at Artists & Makers in Rockville. “It’s like going back to school,” she said. “I’ve wanted to do it my whole life. I’ve been drawing since I was a child.” Her other portrait, “Fierce,” is arresting in color and expression portraying Hannah Dwyer, the only female in her school’s ice hockey team and the daughter of Martire’s office manager. “I want you to express when you’re going after your adversary,” Martire recalled in coaxing Hannah’s pose.
Color alone can make an emotionally powerful statement, as evidenced in Jonathan Jaeger’s pieces. I was struck by the successive imagery in his “Gin Joints Night,” which received an Honorable Mention for its response to joyful energy, emotion and expression of sound. Jaeger began painting as a hobby and then made a move to full-time art. “I didn’t feel fulfilled,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to create, wanted to join every association I could.” He is self-taught and works out of his studio at Artists & Makers. “Twilight Hours” is impressive with its use of blazing colors in pastel, paint and oil crayon. Jaeger explained that the piece is a sort of homage to Trayvon Martin and shows a nightclub singer, a heavyweight boxer and other symbols—“a lot of stuff. … It is very cultural and spiritual—things you may dream of when you think about America reminiscent of the 1920s.”
Sally Drew, OAA’s secretary for the past eight years, provided a history of the group. She commented on her “Kitchen Chaos” with its vivid colors and fanciful mood. Ann Bolt, who writes an art column for Leisure World’s newspaper and is president of their Rossmoor Art Guild, exhibited several tranquil watercolors. Her “Backyard” was done “just before spring came, before the leaves turn green,” she said. “Safe Harbor” was painted in Honfleur, France, on a trip to Normandy Beach. “I took a picture,” Ann said, “fascinated by the reflection on the water.” “The Listening Rock” is a view from Leisure World’s golf course.
Antonia Tiu’s “The Tourist” is a captivating work inspired by a photo taken on a recent trip to Eastern Europe and is her first attempt in charcoal. The retired architect said her technique was “charcoal done in a pen-and-ink style in one stroke.” Watercolors “Arc de Triomphe” and “Camaraderie” present different facets of her talent.
Several other Honorable Mentions were awarded: Deborah A. Wolfe for “Spring Surprise,” a unique approach to florals with strong intense colors; Anne Pielert for “Abandoned,” a moody look at trees and branches against stormy skies; photographer Howard Clark for “Air Force Memorial” with its strong sense of movement and alternating feelings of abstract and realism; Sandra Bordeaux for “Garden Girl” with its riot of color and vegetation engulfing a young girl (her granddaughter); and Joanne Aarons for “Verbena.”
Juror’s Awards were presented to Rawligh Sybrant for “Orchidian,” which featured natural symmetry and strong colors; Karen Norman’s “Knapps Narrows Evening,” highlighting workboats in golden late afternoon light; and Cecile Kirkpatrick’s “Cathedral in Passau” with its sense of atmosphere, light and shadow. Stop by the mansion for a tranquil holiday break and see the show through Jan. 6, 2019. Call the mansion at 301.258.6425 for hours prior to your visit.