An evening of well-placed honors opens artCentral’s spring exhibition season last Friday night, Feb. 2, at Hyde House. Created by members of the Joplin Regional Artists Coalition (JRAC), Art Speaks is a stunning, mixed media collection.

An evening of well-placed honors opens artCentral’s spring exhibition season last Friday night, Feb. 2, at Hyde House. Created by members of the Joplin Regional Artists Coalition (JRAC), Art Speaks is a stunning, mixed media collection.
The opening evening is made splendid by artCentral’s reception impresario, Judy Goff assisted by Heather Collier, filling the candlelit reception table with an abundance of palate pleasing delectables. Pat Goff, artCentral’s Treasurer, is adept in his serving and plating with the assistance of board member Gail White and David Greenwood-Mathé, artCentral’s indefatigable prepitor. Jackie Boyer, board president, Alex Boyer and board member Jane Van Den Berg also contribute to the evening’s vibrant hospitality. A special thank you goes to each of these enthusiastic artCentral supporting members and to JRAC president and Joplin artist, Andrew Batcheller, for all his hours and talents given to gathering the art and artists and the making of his exquisitely crafted award ribbons.
Prior to the opening, Juror Marian Stahl Chamberlain travels from Springfield and spends an afternoon engaging with the fifty works on display. When called away to Chicago on art business, Marian is unable to attend the Art Speaks full-house opening. In her absence I have the great privilege of announcing the artists and their art works recognized for outstanding artistic expression and excellence.
The notes Marian digitally transmits to me before the exhibit’s opening reflect the skills of perception, discernment and appreciation she brings to her daunting task of selecting the award recipients. She comments, “Judging this show was not easy. I walked through the gallery to get a first impression of each piece and was overwhelmed by the quality of all of the work. To view a venue filled with the art of so many creative people is one thing; viewing a venue filled with art of creative people who possess such high degrees of technical skills is truly impressive. I went through all of the galleries at least four times to take in all the richness! The pieces I’ve chosen for recognition are the ones I found engaging in various ways, including content, intent and high technical quality. While making comments on some of the works, I could do so with each one. I love something about every piece.”
With Marian’s notes the honors of the evening are awarded in four categories: Best of Show, 2-D, 3-D and Honorable Mention.
Best of Show: Paula Giltner: “Low Water Bridge” — There’s a certain amount of magic and illusion to this painting. The soft layered edges of the colors are mesmerizing. I look for more details the closer I get. Taking in the middle ground, background and foreground, the whole picture is filled with light, making light the true subject of the painting. The effects of light on the water are wonderful. Noticing the little details, I’m absolutely delighted in the waterfowl that cut through the water in the foreground.
2D award recipients include:
First Place: Koral Martin: “Middle Earth” — This photograph’s never boring, keeping the viewer coming back for more. The landscape’s sharp and lost edges combine for interest and depth. The reflective pearlesque quality of the surface absorbs and reflects light, increasing the feeling of depth.
Second Place: Andrew Batcheller: “The White Horse” —  There is a complexity to the technical aspects of Andrew’s work that doesn’t disappoint in the balance of composition and color. The application of the paint to create the luminous change in values is enchanting before even considering the symbolism of the piece.
Third Place: Jodie Sutton: “The Last Dance” — First seeing this piece, I’m physically drawn in. The small details of the encaustic surface demand to be viewed closer. I find this artwork to be almost magnetic. I resist the incredible urge to touch the wax to appreciate the material. The composition is simple, yet powerful.
3-D award recipients include:
First Place: Valerie Doerr: “Turning 17254” — A lovely form, enhanced by multiple complex textures! The velvety look of the wood is paradoxical to the rough edge of bark left on the piece. The turquoise that fills the cracks is the perfect color and value to complement the lights and darks of the wood’s annual rings.
Second Place: April Davis-Brunner: “Summer Setting” — The attention to the detail of the zinnias is amazing—not an idealized representation of the flowers, but a realistic one appreciative of the life stages of each blossom with qualities of interpretation from the hand of the artist. This is a very lovely sculpture in honesty of the subject and execution of the materials.
Third Place: Angel Brame: “The Voyage Home” has many different facets — the making of the pottery form, the application of glazes that accentuate the different textures of the surfaces and the assemblage of all of the pieces with various materials. All of the elements complement one another. Text is an intriguing accent giving the viewer an in-depth view of the artist’s thought process.
Honorable Mentions:
Helen Stiles: “Self-portrait” — Excellent use of light and dark. Contrasting values make the piece very powerful.
Linda Passeri: “Go North, Pilot Bird #12 — This piece draws and navigates the viewer’s eye to various parts of the work, dictated by the atmospheric perspective as well as the artist’s use of color and multi-directional planes.
Mary Parks: “Loud & Clear” — A bold usage of color with a strong composition.
Alice Lynn Greenwood-Mathé: “Unsilenced” — An exceptionally engaging work of art. The multiple, varying photographic views of a sculpture create a nice repetitive pattern. The accompanying text tells a compelling story. This is an artwork and a novel, all in one.
artCentral extends our sincere appreciation to Koral Martin of KOKA Art Gallery and to Cherry Babcock of Cherry’s Art Emporium for their underwriting of this impressive exhibit through March 18. Admission is free. Call (417) 358-4404 for information.