Woodsman sculpture by Marc Robarge of Falls Church, VA
Still Life w/Peaches photograph by Fritzi Newton of Fredericksburg, VA
Clouded Vision mixed media by Linda Stanczak of Stafford, VA
53 Olds oil painting by Toy Fowler of Stafford, VA
Water Grass oil painting by Karen Julihn of Fredericksburg, VA
Blood Orange photograph by Kenneth Lecky of Fredericksburg, VA
Partly Blueish with a Chance of Red oil, metal leaf, patina painting by Patte Ormsby of Fredericksburg, VA
Dog in the Kitchen oil pastel painting by Guerin Wolf of Stafford, VA
Art provides us with a reflection of ourselves and the world around us. Through the hands of artists, we are beckoned to stop and contemplate, to see something in a new light, to feel empathy and shared joy. Technical skills are important in the creation of a piece of art and are often the first thing we notice. But it is the artist's ability to go beyond his or her training, to reach into the psyche and release the creative spirit that becomes most notable when viewing works of art that transcend technical proficiency.
Finding that spark, that inherent element of real passion, is what I look for when jurying exhibitions. It is really not an easily definable element. Sometimes it seems obvious to all, sometimes it is my own personal reaction to a piece. Viewing the works in person is critical to finding this special element and I often find the search quite easy once I stand in the gallery.
Awards are challenging, though, and I always reach that step in the process with trepidation. I tend to want to hand out more awards, recognizing the spirit in many works, but must focus my attentions on those that excel my expectations for the exhibition as a whole.
Creating art is a complex activity, one that can be simultaneously cathartic, exuberant, exhausting, and frustrating. I applaud all who allow the creative spirit to flow from their heads and hands. I am especially in awe of those who make the effort to put their work out there in front of audiences and the even more critical group of fellow artists.
Thank you to the Fredericksburg Center for the Creative Arts -- and especially to Carrol Morgan -- for inviting me to jury this regional exhibition. It is my third time jurying for FCCA and it was a joy, as always, to see the work of so many talented artists. My best to you all in finding success and fulfillment in your work.
Gina Cavallo Collins is an independent curator and freelance writer living in Richmond, Virginia. She has worked in the museum field for over 20 years primarily as a curator with an emphasis in contemporary art. Working one-on-one with artists is her passion and she has exhibited the work of, and written about, numerous national and international artists over the years. Since moving to Virginia in 2006, she has held a position as Coordinator of Statewide Exhibitions at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and, most recently, gone back to working freelance while managing her husband’s organic vegetable farm and raising two children. She has a B.A. and an M.A. in Art History from Arizona State University.