February 23 - April 1, 2009
Renowned watercolor artists from across the country will participate in an exhibition at the Parkland Art Gallery in the “State of the Art 2009,” the 11th Biennial Watercolor Invitational.
Participating Artists include Amy Arnston, Donne Bitner, Katherine Chang Liu, Paul Ching-bor, Cindy Craig, Randy Eckard, Tim Gardner, Charles Greenholdt, David Hamill, Alex Powers, John T. Salminen, Patricia Tobacco Forrester, Lee Weiss, H. Dean Willis, Cathy M. Woo, and Russell Yerkes.
Each year Parkland Art Gallery has a National Biennial Invitational of either watercolor or ceramics. Selecting a guest curator, typically a practicing artist, who has made an impact in their medium, provides a fresh outlook. The State of the Art 2009: Biennial Watercolor Invitational will be curated by Aletha Jones, a well-respected painter, and will feature the work of nationally recognized artists from Illinois and beyond. In her curatorial statement she writes “In selecting a primary focus for “The State of the Art 2009,” I explored several possible themes. But I kept returning to the one quality that links us together in this exhibition: the very deliberate selection of the medium itself. It is this choice, and the intensely personal nature of this choice, that joins us. For some of us, this preference for watercolor is our life-long passion. For others, it is a decision we make spontaneously, selecting from a wide array of materials as we sit down to create. But we each have chosen this medium because we feel that it can best express our unique vision, best speak our own truth on the pages we create.”
The artists in the exhibition focus on a variety of subject matter, many of them find inspiration in the landscape where they live or the environment that they find themselves submersed in.” says Lisa Costello, Gallery Director. “Take Illinois artist H. Dean Willis’s work for example. It reflects his upbringing and appreciation of farming in Southern Illinois where he grew up or Cindy Craig, living in Los Angeles, painting high end gems and jewelry to make commentary about the social obsession with material objects and consumerism. It isn’t always obvious where the inspiration comes from but Jones has done a remarkable job at curating the exhibition to include artists that are both passionate about the medium of watercolor and the underlying content of the subject matter.”
Jones has been a professional artist for over 20 years and has her studio in Madison, Wisconsin. Aletha exhibits her paintings at watercolor exhibitions across the country. She is a member of the Watercolor USA Honor Society as well as the National Watercolor Society, Midwest Watercolor Society and Rocky Mountain National Watermedia Society. Her paintings have won major awards at prestigious watercolor exhibitions across the country, including the American Watercolor Society’s Exhibition in New York, the National Watercolor Society’s Exhibition in California and the Rocky Mountain National Watermedia Exhibition in Colorado. Aletha has also been an active art fair exhibitor. Her paintings have earned awards in the Coconut Grove Arts Festival in Miami, the Cherry Creek Arts Festival in Denver, Chicago’s Old Town Art Fair, The Plaza Art Fair in Kansas City, The Saint Louis Art Fair, the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival in Florida, and Ann Arbor’s Original Street Art Fair.
This broad experience was one of the reasons she was selected as the curator for this exhibition. Her experience as a practitioner, teacher and active art fair exhibitor gives her a broad spectrum from which to pull the selected artists. Participating Artists include Amy Arnston, Donne Bitner, Katherine Chang Liu, Paul Ching-bor, Cindy Craig, Randy Eckard, Tim Gardner, Charles Greenholdt, David Hamill, Alex Powers, John T. Salminen, Patricia Tobacco Forrester, Lee Weiss, H. Dean Willis, Cathy M. Woo, and Russell Yerkes. A beautiful and informative catalogue for the exhibition will also be available through the Parkland Art Gallery. The catalogue contains a biography, artist statement and images of artwork by each of the artists.
In addition to the Curator’s Talk during the reception, Aletha Jones will be speaking about her own artwork earlier on Thursday, March 5th at 1:00 p.m. in the gallery. In speaking about her work she explains “In many ways, I feel that I did not so much choose art as a career, but rather found it an unavoidable companion. It has always been such an integral part of my life that its continuation has been as natural as growing up itself. From the time I was a child, my art has reflected my day to day experiences, a visual diary of sorts. Now, it serves to ask questions, at times with laughter, at times with quiet force.”