The Mazin Annual Art Exhibition is a treasure, as local shows highlighting local artists should be. Yet, for the first time, the exhibition coordinators threw its art net out further than in previously years. I’m largely myopic in the art world I write about, so I’m happy to say it still felt local to me.
Bernice Mazin started the self-titled art show 10 years ago at the Jewish Community Center (JCC). As an artist, Bernice knew people needed to get work out of the studio and into the public. And as a member of its visual arts committee (along with her husband Benjamin), JCC seemed a good fit. The Mazin Visual Arts Fund was born to showcase a yearly exhibition for local artists.
Since it is funded for artists in our area, why expand it beyond that parameter? The answer is availability.
“When you have a local show, there’s a good likelihood you’re going to get the same artists entering each year,” states Bette Levy, JCC Patio Gallery director and visual arts committee chair. “We wanted to broaden the pool of entrants so that we could get some artists who were unknown in this area.”
So the Mazin Annual Art Exhibition was opened up to a 200-mile radius of Louisville. Media was already a free-for-all, resulting in paintings, sculpture and photography displayed side by side.
This year’s juror is St. Louis textile artist Luanne Rimel. She selected 29 artists to be in the show.
Rimel awarded “Fusion” by Russie Wight-Waltman for the first place prize. The mixed media piece is unusual, made of string, wood and nails. It’s haunting, with four faces on interconnected spools against a marbleized background.
Second place went to Tom Pfannerstill for his two-part paint and wood sculpture “Band Aid” and “3-in-One.” I always appreciate his work immensely for the details and technique. The realistic oil on canvas painting “Woodford Reserve Distillery” by Alexander Taylor received third place. Honorable mentions went to “Wood” by Paul Reynolds and the textile “Las Ruinas” by Vickie Wheatley.
Other notables include works by artists who are also gallery owners: Craig Kaviar’s forged iron menorah “Illumination” and the painting “It’s a Warm Day at the Beach in Rimin” by Billy Hertz. The sculpture “Mermaid” by Kevin Schultz will have viewers reexamining what they think about crocheting. Another interesting sculptural piece (she calls it “3D painting”) is the encaustic “Epiphany” by Trish Korte (the use of wax in painting is not an easy task). And be sure to look at the riot of color that is the pastel drawing “October Burst” by Marguerite Rice.
I don’t envy Rimel her job. As an armchair judge, I would have moved “Wood” higher in the prize hierarchy. The dense forest scene was created with ink stippling dots set in a Victorian-style black frame. It’s a work that is a showstopper, for no other reason than the medium. What the heck is bleach on paper? Other terms used to describe this technique are pen and bleach drawing and bleach dots on black ink. It made me research how bleach is being used as an art medium. •